Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sometimes I wonder if Felicity was as good as I remember it being.

I love it when people see things that go unnoticed (or are at least viewed as "lacking potential") to most others. Maybe "an aesthetic eye" explains it. Maybe it's a matter of simply taking more time. Maybe it's luck. Regardless, I admire the inherent creativity that spawns these artists' end results... and the inspiration that their results inevitably spawn for the rest of us philistines.

Here are a couple of examples...

Okay, I've driven by this abandoned house probably hundreds of thousands of times. This is what I've seen:

And, here is what my sister, Leigh Morgan, sees:

I've said numerous times that we in Cumberland County are so fortunate to live in an absolutely beautiful place...but I rarely appreciate the landscapes as much as when I see them reflected in Bill Guffey's work.

By no means am I comparing myself to either of the two artists featured above. I simply include this to show you that ANY of us can take the time to see things, even the most seemingly ordinary, with new eyes. In January I showed you my "draw a tree a day" project. I now offer my "draw a coffee mug a day" March homework assignment.

I love this project not only because it, along with journaling, gives structure to my mornings, but because it forces me to view details in ways I typically would not. It has also become a test of relaxation/non-OCDness. I am a fanatic about keeping a clean house (which is completely incompatible with loving my animals like children), often putting far too much pressure on myself to finish a ridiculous list of chores (including things like: make sure all books are straight on bookshelf, fold kitchen counter towel evenly, dust stairs) before walking out the door. With this assignment, however, in elementary ways, I have to let stuff go. I use a pen. I make mistakes. Often, the mug doesn't look realistic. I don't get myself worked up about it though; I remind myself, "there's always tomorrow morning and that one will look better." This is progress for me.

I encourage you to start your own, "Draw a ________________ a day" project!
I love it when particular color blocks are cleverly integrated in, and ultimately become fundamental to, the cinematography and the story of films or videos (Watch two of my favorite movies: Amelie and Waitress). This is one reason I'm crazy about this clip:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It might seem antiquated, but keep cutting those newspapers: Dad, Papa, and the CCN.

Here are a few reminders why scissors, your local newspaper, and manila storage envelopes will always be more important than digital copies.

Thank you Gramma (Etta Brown Turner, Papa's mother) and Mama (Charlene Turner) for keeping, and passing these along, to Mom and the girls.

Horsin’ Around: Local Teacher, farmer hopes horses will become more than a hobby
Morris Allen Grubbs, August 18, 1983

"Driving through Waterview, KY, six miles west of Burkesville, you may imagine a scene from a Bluegrass Portrait. The setting is rolling pasture land, beautiful mares, frolicking colts and elaborate stables – a scene most of us only dream about. But Curtis Lee Turner is an exception.

The Turner farm is home for some 14 mares, numerous colts, three horses in training and a stud. A newly constructed, contemporary styled barn overlooks the farm providing plenty of room and certain conveniences for the horses. Outside the barn one can see a motorized circular walker for horses in training.

Across the road from the Turner residence is the location of perhaps the most eye catching and exciting part of the farm. This is the Turner training track, complete with starting gates and seats (bales of hay) for the curious. The track stretches a quarter of a mile down and around the creek-bordered field. Passersby on Hwy. 90 find themselves stopping to observe the training.

Although Turner has entered his horses in numerous races, winning in and out of state, racing is not his ultimate goal. Buying thoroughbred mares, breeding and selling them to farms in the west is his wish. Turner says he would like to raise five or six mares of his own and become recognized in the horse breeding circles.

The Turners plan to continue developing a working knowledge of all the aspects of the business. The dedication is apparent throughout the family. Their two young daughters, Leigh Ann and Liza, constantly admire the horses and can sometimes be found helping and encouraging their father.

With school beginning, the Turner farm will be operating primarily in the afternoons and nights as both Turner and his wife, Jackie, teach school. Entering races in Oklahoma is on the schedule, but as for Keeneland and the Kentucky Derby, they’re not sure."

I love this picture of Dad. And yes, he is smoking while spearing tobacco. :)
This was a Production Credit Association spotlight on local farmers. One of my favorite pictures of Dad (which most of you have probably seen on here or Facebook) features Dad sitting on the front porch in a flannel shirt and his PCA hat.
Love his socks in the above, his pants in the below. Farmer, teacher, coach, and trendsetter (Bet Mom had something to do with those pants though; I'm even more confident he had cowboy boots on with them).

He was such a Renaissance Man. In addition to filling all roles previously mentioned, CLT was a good writer, a brilliant storyteller, and an engaging and incredibly smart conversationalist. He just knew a little bit about everything. I wish I had taken the time to learn more from him about the farm, conservation, and nature in general.
Also included in the folder: pictures, report cards, and Dad's baby book. How cute was he?
Not bad, CLT.
Some of his playmates' names may look familiar.
Dad got it naturally...Papa was quite the farmer, entrepreneur, and storyteller himself. I can just hear him excitedly (and repeatedly:)) sharing this one...and imagine him ultimately doing the "right" thing. (If you get a chance, reread the post about the type of man Papa was).
Leon Turner Markets Invention

"Leon Turner of the Marrowbone Valley is more than just an ordinary “chicken farmer.” Today, he’s a full-fledged inventor with patents and manufacturing contracts to prove it.

Mr. Turner has invented a new type of chicken debeaker that will be on the world market soon under the label of “The New Model TT Debeaker,” manufactured by Turner & Lyon of the Lyon Rural Electric Co. of San Diego, California.

Mr. Turner has worked on this invention for several years and has now patented it, not only in this country, but also in England, Germany and Japan. After several conferences with the Lyon Rural Electric Co. of San Diego they reached an agreement in which Mr. Turner will share in the receipts from sales around the world.

During the remainder of this year Mr. Turner will be traveling around the country making demonstrations on the machine. He will be helping in the marketing in this fashion."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fred Bumpus

In honor of "Pet Appreciation Day," a holiday likely celebrated only by those in the Awe-Manac journaling community (and on the heels of St. Patrick's Day, a holiday that most know nothing about, but inexplicably wear green and/or skin-tight shamrock shirts and drink a bunch anyway; see long-ago post about arbitrary or poorly- understood holidays), I offer a tribute to Lucy and Willie.

Reasons I appreciate my pups:
*They always seem excited to see me, whether I've been gone 20 minutes or 2 days.
*They love to sleep with me. And I love that I can tell which one is flanking which side by feeling the thickness of their ears.
*They make me laugh, even when Willie is being jealous of the attention Lucy is getting and proceeds to jump on her, in the water bowl, or into the baby gate that divides dog land and living room land.
*They would protect me if I were in any danger. I don't doubt this at all.
*They know when I'm sad and amp up licks and cuddling.
*They have been by my side through the toughest moments of my life. They always made me feel needed and gave me something to focus on.
*They will wrestle like any brother and sister, but they also sleep on each other in the car and sometimes share the same bed. They are precious.

*They give me something to which to be 100% devoted. They remind me that I can unconditionally love.
*They get excited when we go for walks, no matter if it is just to the creek down the road from our house or long strolls through Marrowbone. They don't mind that DC likes to go with us.
*They are quiet company. Sometimes it's really nice to have someone here...but, two someones that aren't asking questions or bothering me.
*They love at all times and forgive daily. They never keep a grudge if I fuss or take out frustration on them.
*They truly brighten everyday.
How amazing is my sister, Leigh Morgan? She took these last Sunday at Mom's farm, pretty much perfectly capturing how much we all love each other.
I'm definitely not the only Turner girl who loves animals...

Janet Hume, one of my wonderful co-workers, wrote the following tribute after the passing of the beloved Hume/Melton family dog named Fred. She kindly made me a copy and gave me permission to include here.

Brandon was about two years old when he went to Billy Jo Thomas' house to pick out a six week old beagle puppy. He found just the one he wanted from the rest of the litter. Fred was the runt of the litter and Rick wanted Brandon to pick another puppy, but Brandon had found the one he wanted. He brought it home, wrapped it in a towel and brought it down to Ma's house to show her his tiny puppy dog, which he named Fred. (He certainly didn't want Fred to make a mess in Ma's house). Brandon loved Fred and Fred loved Brandon. As Fred grew into an adult dog, we all grew to love Fred and he seemed to love all of us, as well. We would now like to share some special memories of our favorite beagle named Fred.

When fishing with the Meltons, Fred couldn't be still in a boat. He went to sleep on the boat and his ears would perk up and run around when Brandon got a bite. That was the last time he went camping and fishing.

Fred was very, very scared of thunderstorms and lightning. He could sense a storm coming even before the black clouds appeared. One night, it was storming. Charlotte and Ricky had their screen door open for some fresh air. They didn't pay an attention to Fred on the outside, scratching, whining, yelping - wanting to get in out of the storm. All of the sudden Fred appeared in the living room. He had made a running jump and had come through the screen on the door, tearing the screen all to pieces. He came in, lay down in the doorway and seemed to make himself at home.

Pa had a golden retriever dog, named Ginger. She and Fred liked to run together on the fame, especially down by the river. Fred would get so tired of running with her that he would come back home, lap up lots of water and lie down to rest and sleep for a couple of hours. Fred and Ginger liked to go hunting for rabbits, and oftentimes they would bring in rabbits to the house and chew on them all afternoon. Ginger liked to ramble around and one day she was in the road and a car came along and hit her. The first Pa knew of that was that Fred came up to him and began his "talking" trying to tell Pa that something was wrong with Ginger. Fred missed Ginger terribly for several days. He would to to her pen looking for her.

One night Charlotte and Rick were asleep in bed. All of the sudden, Charlotte felt something big jump on the bed and land on top of her. She jumped up, screamed, felt fun, and slung whatever it was clear across the room. She then got up to see what it was, and there was "poor Fred" shaking over in the corner of the room. Somehow, Fred had sneaked in the house when someone came in or went out the door earlier in the night. He had hidden somewhere in the house until 2:00 am when he decided to get in bed with Charlotte.

Another time, Charlotte was cleaning and straightening the living room when she saw something black sticking out from behind the couch. She couldn't imagine what it was until she looked and there was Fred lying back there wagging his tail. He had again slipped into the house when nobody was looking.

While Rick and Brandon were four wheeler riding over on Raft Creek (a few miles from home), they looked around and there was Fred trotting along following them. Brandon had to hold Fred in his lap the rest of the ride. Fred seemed to like Brandon better than anybody else. He somehow knew that Brandon was his "buddy."

Fred was the father of a couple of liters of pups with Travis's female dog, Scrappie. Pa asked Brandon one time, "Where is Fred? I haven't seen him for a while." Brandon, who was not very old, said, "Guess he's got a girlfriend."

Fred was a "picky" eater. He'd look at his food, put his nose down and think about it. Every morning, Fred would cross the road, looking both ways, to visit the neighbors. He wanted to see what kind of food they had thrown out. Fred liked turkey. Last Thanksgiving, Ma had fixed her turkey the night before, wrapped it in Reynolds wrap int he pan in which she was going to cook it the next day. Her refrigerator is small so she decided to put the turkey in the pan on a table on the back deck for overnight so it would stay cool. She was finishing up in the kitchen when she heard a big "thump" on the deck. She ran out and there was Fred just about ready to drag the Thanksgiving turkey out the gate. He had chewed and gnawed on the corner of the tablecover, then pulled and pulled on the corner of the cover until the turkey pan had fallen off the table. There was Ma's turkey on the floor of the deck. She wasn't to be outdone, however. She just picked it up, brought it back in, washed if off good and rewrapped it for cooking the next day.

We all miss Fred, but we know that he lived a long life and that he's not suffering anymore. We'll always remember Fred, the "talking" dog, and the many experiences and incidents that happened during his time with us. Fred was a "smart, little dog" and we were fortunate to be his friends. But most of all, we're glad that Fred was a friend to us and that he'll be remembered by all those who knew him. Thanks, Fred, for being such a remarkable dog!
I just think this is so endearing. What are some of your favorite memories with your dog(s)?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Your hat strategically dipped below one eye...

One of the journal prompts in a recent Awe-Manac entry encouraged readers to write a poem about an odd juxtaposition; this morning I chose to combine two of the suggested options: rain in a desert and sunshine in a coffee mug.

(Even if the end product is a silly poem, a drawing of a tree that doesn't look like a tree, or a paragraph at which you will look back on and roll your eyes, I encourage you to have your own "creative time" in the morning.)
Both seem vast and hauntingly empty,
a strange comparison given the cosmic scope.
I look out in one, down in the other,
my eyes flooded with nothing, yet my mind consumed.
Wasteland? No. But longing for something? Yes.
The hand-thrown, shades of tan, mug sits quietly on the table,
still in the way the shades of tan grainlets seem to lay dying.
They wait, both hopeful of an unprovoked, out-of-their-control surprise,
a gift from some god displeased by the void,
an offering from one who needs neither welcome mat nor semi-circle, curled-finger motion.
It might arrive if patience and pure luck prevail;
maybe as a trickle, one noticeable only when squinting into fabricated light;
maybe an abundance of breakfast blend #2 flowing from the transparent pot.
Coffee mug, be filled, desert dune, be surprised.
Snippets of my life in coffee shops and cafes...

Damn clouds.