Sunday, May 20, 2018

After almost three weeks, we have left the beautiful town of Lincolnton.  When we are in the same place for an extended amount of time, it is sometimes hard to find things to write about.  So now that we’ve move on, I’ll tell you a few highlights of our stay in N.E. Georgia.
First of all, our forever friends, Jack and Jeannie Dickson, arrived from Joplin, Missouri in time for Jeff and Sheri Easter’s Homecoming Festival. My sister, Nancy, flew into Augusta, Georgia, from Morgantown, West Virginia.
Richard is in charge of taking care of the parking area for campers at the Lewis Family Homeplace.  He received a call from a lady in Canada who was making arrangements for herself, her sister and her mother to come to the concert but they would be staying in a motel.  They were excited about meeting Jeff and Sheri and seeing them perform in person.
Richard was very impressed that the three where making such a big trip to see the concert. He decided it would be a nice gesture to have me fix a luncheon for the ladies.  I said sure and set about making plans for what I would need to serve a luncheon under a tent outside the bus. 
Richard said no, that maybe Carol Norman would allow us to use their screened-in patio. Carol graciously agreed.  Then Richard decided it might be nice if Carol’s husband, Walker T. Norman, Chairman of County Commissioners of Lincoln County, Georgia, would come by and talk to the ladies about Lincoln County.
Richard also decided it might be nice to ask Sheri Easter to stop by to visit with the ladies who had traveled so far, but, sadly, Sheri had a prior appointment.  Everything else went really well and just as Richard had planned it.

Chicken Salad on Butter Lettuce
Grapes          Bacon Crips
Strawberry Trifle
Lemonade              Sweet Tea 

Paula, Jeannie, Me, Laurette, Sandra
and Carol
Laurette, Paula, Sandra

      After lunch, Walker took the ladies for a tour of Lincoln County. When I first met Walker, he took me and Betty Brooks on that tour. We had no idea we would be gone so long and neither did Shelby Hewett or Wanda Givens who were waiting on a park bench in front of the library for Betty and me to return from Walker’s office at the courthouse.  During our ride, he made tactical maneuvers never attempted at Atlanta Speedway. It was an                                                         unforgettable trip.  
      I wasn’t around when the Hansen Ladies got back, but I was told they enjoyed the tour.  They also got the opportunity to meet Jeff and Sheri and they learned the Hansen’s were singers.  During the concert, Jeff invited sisters Sandra, and Paula, and Mom Lauretta onto the stage. Their beautiful voices entertained the crowd.  And Richard and I enjoyed meeting and entertaining them for a short while.

Until later,


Monday, May 7, 2018

This is my most requested entry in my travel blog.  People write to me to get a copy so they can get someone else to read it  It was originally posted June 1. 2013.  Wasn't too funny then, but I can't read it now without laughing. Hope you enjoy it.  Be sure to post comments.

Day 7--Day 13   May 3, --  7, 2018
Since we crossed the border from New York into Canada today, I thoug it might be a good time to remind those who have heard my border stories before and to tell those who have never heard them what it is like to cross the US and Canadian borders, at least for Richard and me.  We have crossed the borders at many different places, and every time, learn something new.  I can’t remember when most of them happened, but that really isn’t important.  It’s what happened that counts.

                One time we were going into Canada on our way to Alaska, and we were going to enter on the western side of the US.  Well, it was early in our traveling time and we hadn’t been well educated on what you could and couldn’t take with you into Canada.  We soon discovered pistols are a no-no.  We could take a shotgun, but we had to register it for $50.00.  This was a trip where we had parked in the airport parking lot in Vancover, British Columbia.  We drove a van, which we had towed, with the intention of giving it to a family member up there who could really use the van.  We would then do our trip through Alaska on a train and then a bus and then we would sail on the Princess Cruise Line back to Vancover where we would get back to our bus.

                We went through so much to get the gun registered.  But, also, we had to figure out what to do with a pistol Richard had.  “Oh, oh,” he said, “I have a brilliant idea.”  Those 5 words always drive me into a fetal position.  Mr. Wilson put the pistol under his jacket and went into a local bank and rented a safe deposit box and put the pistol there.  He can do things like that because he is . . . well, Mr. Wilson.  I on the other hand would have tripped, fell face first, the gun would have slid across the floor.  Several security guards (none of which would look like Patrick Swayze) would bounce on me.

                But Richard got away with it.  It was several harrowing hours later when we crossed the border, parked the bus, and then loaded our tired bodies into the van and took off for Alaska.  As I said we were tired, so Richard decided to stop at a rest area and take a power nap.  He opened the van doors, folded down the seat that turned into a bed and soon was asleep.  I took my book and coffee to a nearby picnic table.  It was a beautiful day with beautiful flowers.  Suddenly, two cars loaded with many people pulled up on both sides of the van.  I watched in amazement as about seven small Oriental people emerged from each car and began to talk very LOUDLY in their native tongue—whichever Asian country has the highest pitch to their sounds.  It was loud.  I just sat there and watched the confusion that ensued.

                Let me add this-Richard spent 10 years in the USMC and served in Vietnam.  He doesn’t have PTSD, but I saw that day that he would react quickly if he was under attack.  He was rather shaken; I was all but laying on the ground rolling around in hysterical laughter.  He decided the nine and a half minutes he had slept was all he needed.  So, we were back on the road.  About an hour later, we were talking about all we’d been through that morning with the pistol and getting the gun permit.  Suddenly, he slammed on the brake, and he said the funniest thing I think I’ve ever heard him say.  “I forgot to get the shotgun out of the bus.”

                When we got back to the states, Richard went back to the bank and got his pistol.  He couldn’t understand why I chose to sit in a nearby cafĂ© while he went to retrieve the pistol.  I told him one of us needed to be able to bail the other one out and that I was too pretty to go to jail.

Second Crossing of the Border
                We were going into New Brunswick from Maine.  John and Wanda Givens were with us in their own motor home.  We had learned about leaving pistols behind and about getting permits for the shotgun.  All under control.  They asked if we had any weapons.  Yes, we have a shotgun.  We were told to pull over and John and Wanda were also told to pull over.  They had a huge (2 ½’ high) stuffed dog.  Please remember that.  The STUFFED is important.  They checked all our papers and then brought out the dog.  Real, not stuffed.  They asked Richard where the gun was and he told them in a cabinet over the bed.  They brought on the hounds, I mean one hound.  He ran straight to our bedroom, jumped on the bed and sniffed the cabinet.  The handler brought him back out and told the other customs agent that it was right where we told him it was.  He then moved over to Wanda and John’s coach.  He took one look inside, turned around and told the other guy that they had a dog in there and he wasn’t going to take his in.  Richard searched northeast Canada and the US for a stuffed dog like that, but never found one.

Third Crossing of the Border
                We were going into Canada from Maine, I think.  Anyway, Jack and Jeannie Dickson were with us in their motor home.  We had found a really nice winery and had bought a couple of cases.  When we got to the border, we found out we couldn’t take the wine in and out.  My sometimers has kicked in and I can’t remember the exact details, but it involved more pistols that had to be shipped and wine that was left somewhere, for a minimal amount, and we retrieved it coming back into the States.  Richard and I refer to this as our Border Dance.  We actually feel like the border patrol is shooting at our feet like they used to do in the western movies.

Fourth Crossing of the Border
                This also involved Jack and Jeannie Dickson.  Richard and I made it through without a scratch.  Jack and Jeannie?  Not so much.  Somehow, in the conversation they had with the little man in the customs booth, the subject of Wolf Chili came up.  They had had some in their motor home and the patrolman moved them over to the side and went through and through and through their coach in hunt of Wolf Chili.  They said they had to inspect it.  I think they were just wanting lunch to go along with the oranges and bananas they had confiscated from the coach ahead of us.

Today’s Crossing of the Border
                To set this up, Richard and I did everything we could to make sure we didn’t have anything we shouldn’t have.  No oranges.  Our pistols were illegal to carry in New York, so we stopped in Pennsylvania at a licensed federal firearms dealer and shipped the pistols to a licensed federal firearms dealer in Fairbanks, Alaska.  We still had a shotgun, which you are allowed to carry through Canada if you have a permit.  We had a permit for it from several years back (refer to crossing #1), but it was expired so we expected to have to stop at the border and renew it.  No, problem.

                Problem=When we stopped, a couple of agents came to the door and ordered us out of the bus.  I had just gotten out of the shower 30 minutes before.  I was dressed, but had no shoes on and my hair was still wet.  I turned to put on my shoes and they yelled get out of the bus.  I’ve lived a good life, and if it is my time to go, so be it.  I put my shoes on and THEN got off the bus.  We were ordered to go across the parking lot and stand against the wall.  Richard told him where the gun was, which was at the foot of our bed, unloaded.  The agent didn’t like the idea that Richard told him he was going hunting in Alaska.  So, this brought on a full-fledge search of our bus.  I don’t mean peeking under bed.  I mean take apart EVERY inch of space inside our coach, the bays, the engine compartment, our car, under spare tire, under the hood.

                It was then I got the opportunity to cross something else off my bucket list—I was frisked by a uniformed officer.  Although, I must say, SHE wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I put that on my list.  I was ordered to turn around, put my hands behind my back, she grabbed my thumbs.  I was ordered to take off my shoes, spread my legs, point my toes out (yeah, easy for her to say).  My arthritic knees objected violently.  She then proceeded to rub her hands all over my body in places Richard hasn’t even touched in years, if ever.  I was okay with all that, but I was highly offended when she kept asking me if I had anything in there and she would dig under my rolls of fat.  Now, I have been guilty of sticking napkins under some of those rolls, and lose them until I stand up from the table and they all jump out of their hiding places, but nothing of importance.

                To this point, we still didn’t know what they were looking for.  We had told them everything they asked.  I did catch whispers of us carrying more cash than we were allowed to.  Several people asked us the same questions over and over again.  They kept asking what we were doing there.  I bit my tongue to keep from saying—you mean other than having our property destroyed and our bodies violated.

                By 1:30, I was feeling lightheaded because my sugar level was dropping and I hadn’t eaten since early this morning.  We had been there approximately 3 hours and a half.  We still didn’t know exactly what was going on.  Richard was in the office and I was on a bench outside.  A female officer (different from Happy Hands) came out and asked if I was okay.  Richard had told them I am a diabetic and she came to check on me.  I asked her if I was allowed to ask any questions.  She said sure.  So I asked what they were looking for.  Well, Richard didn’t realize he had to ship the magazine clips with the gun.  Past experience had told the patrols that if there were clips, the pistols were hidden somewhere on the bus.  I told her we shipped them to Alaska, but we didn’t realize the clips had to go too.  Turns out not shipping them with the gun was against the law.  She asked if I had proof we had shipped them.  I told her yes.  She told me I could go to the bus to take my meds and get some crackers.  She didn’t mention drugs, but I needed some badly.

                They asked how much money we were carrying.  He told them and it turns out we were a few thousand over the limit to not be declared criminals with ill-gotten gain.   They opened our safe.  After almost 5 hours, we were fined $500 for the citation for the clips.  We were also told we could have been fined $25,000 for having too much money, but they were going to be nice to us and let us go.

                We have never had a problem going from Canada to the US.  (We probably will now that I mention it.)  It appears the US isn’t as picky about who comes in.   I need to lie down and put an ice pack on my throbbing head.

                When we got home, we received a letter of apology from the government; they returned our money, and the clips they had confiscated.  The best part is we have been cleared from the data base as hostile and evidently marked as nice people.  We’ve made several trips back into Canada since that time and we are sent right on through at the speed of light. 
My mug shot.

Until later,

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Day 5—8 May 2—5 2018
     I find it very hard to spend my time at the state park where the concert is being held, then come back to the bus exhausted and try to type out pearly words of learning and/or entertaining.  So, I’ve missed a few days of blogging, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment.  Tonight is the last one until next Thursday.
     Since this is the last night, we won’t be in the state park any more.  But I’d like to tell you some of the history of the man and his courageous wife who settled in this area a long time ago.
           As I’ve mentioned, the festival is held in Elijah Clarke State Park in Lincoln County, Georgia.  Besides being a beautiful 474-acre state park located on the J. Strom Thurmond Lake, it is also a memorial to Elijah Clarke.  He was born in 1742 in Anson County, North Carolina.
Elijah Clark (1742-1799)

In 1773, this area belonged to the Creeks and Cherokee Indian nations.  After 1773, a treaty was signed with Europe.  Elijah Clarke and forty other families settled in the area.  He was a frontiersman, a Continental Army Officer and Revolutionary War hero.
After the war, Clarke was elected to the Georgia legislature.  In 1794, he organized the Trans-Oconee Republic, several settlements in counties of Georgia in the traditional Creek Territory.  From there he attacked several Creek villages, but was restrained by the Georgia government.

Clarke's Home inside the park
Houses built with dog-trot construction (a central open hallway divides the rooms of the house) were common during this time.  A newly renovated log cabin displays furniture and tools dating back to 1780.  The house had four rooms.  Two of the front rooms were paneled in maple, which was unusual for the time.  Windows were barred and also had shutters for even more protection.  Gun ports were in every room through the outside walls.  Because it was hostile territory, Clarke knew he had to protect his family.  He also used the central hallway to house cows and horses by stretching rope across each end to keep them safe.  The cabin was known as Clarke’s Fort. 
In the house, their beds had ropes under mattresses drawn tight in place of springs we have today.  The ropes were kept tight for comfortable sleep.  That is where the expression “sleep tight” came from.  If someone over-stayed their welcome, Hannah would loosen the ropes to make for uncomfortable sleeping so the company would leave. The mattresses were made from hay.  Expression “hit the hay” came from this.
The kitchen is in a separate house.  Hannah believed a real lady cooked inside and not over a campfire.  Breakfast would be corn meal mush, apple cider.  Lunch was usually a stew made from whatever meat the men killed.  Last meal of the day would be cold leftovers.
 Clarke’s wife, Hannah, was a Virginia lady, who followed her husband into the frontier.  She made all their clothes.  It was important to her that each of her eight children have two complete sets of clothing—one to wear, one to wash.  On a loom, she produced linen for two shirts for Elijah, which she was very proud of.  When the Tories started over running the settlements, she hid the linen shirts under the smoke house floor.  When they got to their home, the Tories asked the kids where all their treasures were hidden.  They led them to the shirts.
Hannah helped fight in several Indian attacks.  Once, when Elijah was gone, the Tories took over their home and burned it.  Hannah escaped with all eight kids.
Elija and Hannah Clarke's grave marker
         Elijah Clarke died on December 15, 1799.   He and his actions served as one of the sources for the fictional character of Benjamin Martin in The Patriot (a 2000 Mel Gibson film).
The park is also the site of the graves of Elijah and Hannah Clarke.  I think Elijah and Hannah Clark were brave settlers.
Until next time,

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Day 4--May 1, 2018

     During the many years we have been lucky enough to travel, we enjoy finding out-of-the-way places to visit.  Usually, we get into a campground, eat, then go for a ride in whatever direction looks the most interesting.

     Everyone around the Lewis Family Home Place and Elijah Clark State Park is very busy preparing for two big events two weekends in a row. So, while we are in the true working stage of the events, I thought I'd tell you about a few places we have visited.

     Did you know that the Smithsonian Institued has a Tick Museum in Statesboro, Georgia? Most people don't, but stick with me, I'll show you the whole United States.

     The World's largest tick collection is only open for one hour every Wednesday or by appointment. You will see the largest and smallest they have in bottles.  They have a machine that freeze dries the ticks and coats them with gold for better viewing under the high powered microscopes.

     The museum workers have put together +one of the largest curated tick collections in the World.  There is over 125,000 accessioned lots, over one million specimens, their associated data, and an extensive library (reprints, monographs, and books). The collection contains specimens from all continents, most of the approximately 860 known species of ticks, and a quarter of the primary tick types. It belongs to the U.S. National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) and has been open since 1990.

Tick Tock Tick Tock
     Let me know if you've ever visited the tick museum.  I'd love to hear your comments.


Day 3 April 30, 2018
     I know everyone has heard the phrase “Be careful what you wish for.” Well, today, that truly came back to bite me in the posterior.  When we arrived in Lincolnton, I felt at peace with the beautiful surroundings here at the Lewis Family Home Place. I prayed for just a day with no problems and turmoil.

     Well, when I got up, we had no phone or internet service.  We soon found out it wasn’t just us, but the whole county. So without my lifelines, I lay back down and went to sleep.  I got up every hour and checked—No phone or internet service.  It was scary.  It was at that time I realized how my grandkids feel when I make them put their phones away and communicate with those around them.  I looked around, and there was no one to communicate with.  So back to bed.

     By the early evening, when we were reconnected to the outside world, I had given my inside eyelids a good inspection.  All is well there.

     Jeff and Sheri Easter and Bonnie and Little Roy Lewis came by the bus for a visit.  They are a hoot.  I love to hear their stories.  Jeff brought Richard a cap. The back of it says “If you don’t know me, you aren’t from around here.” Richard never meets a stranger and even here in Lincolnton, if you need something or need something fixed, he is the one to see unless it is to catch a snake.  Lizzy is the one to call for that.  She is the local snake wrangler.

      Quick story:  The other night when I was singing Richard's praises, my dear friend, Vickie King read the part of him taking the tractor out and cutting the grass.  She said she was impressed with that, but what really impressed her was that Richard carried his tractor with him.  Where does he store it, in one of the bins under the bus?  I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  Tears and choking pretty much took over.  Finally, I was able to explain that it was Jeff's tractor parked under the pavilion.  My fun for the day. LMBO

     I’ll be back on schedule tonight. Hope you all have a good day.



Sunday, April 29, 2018

Day 2—April 29, 2018
     I’ve been writing these travel blogs for many years.  Long before Facebook was even thought of.  I’ve also used Richard as my go-to person to poke fun at.  Those of you who have known us our entire life together know I love him and wouldn’t trade him for a million dollars, but wouldn’t give you a quarter for another one just like him.  Most of the stuff I write about him is true, just embellished slightly.

     A new friend emailed me today to ask if it hurts Richard’s feelings when I write about him.  (Note:  I can picture a few of our old friends rolling on the floor, laughing their butts off or for you FB people ROTFLTBO.) After 43 years of marriage, I know what I can write about him.  But here is the thing—No one will ever know if it hurt his feelings because he has never read even one of my blogs.

     But this cool, beautiful Sunday is one day I won’t be picking at Richard.  Not with everything he has done today.  He started the day off by going to the Huddle House to get me breakfast.  He came back and fixed his own breakfast while I ate. He is very picky about his breakfast.

     He got out the tractor, cut some grass, then leveled some ground around our bus site.  I helped him get the bus parked in the perfect spot. While I did housecleaning, my precious husband went back to the Wall to get one more picture for me to use in this blog. He hurried back to get a couple of campers parked in their reserved sites. He built a small wooden porch outside the door of the bus to make it easier for me and others to go in and out.  Took me to the pizza place for supper, and then we visited with several friends who knew we are here.  Great friends, crisp air, and beautiful moonlight made it a perfect evening.

     Then Richard began to lock up the bus. The entrance door lock broke.  The electric window shades wouldn’t work on the right side of the bus.  (Note: Yes, David, you heard me right. A shade quit working.  Film at 11.)  All that was okay because Richard is Mr. Fit-It.  He’ll take care of those two things in the morning. Wonder how early the shops in Lincolnton open?  I need to go.

     Then Richard, who had done so well all day long, spoke the six words that always send terror through my body.  I’M GOING TO USE THE COMPUTER.

            I’d like to end today with a few statistics about The Wall That Heals. The three-quarters scale Wall replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at the tallest point.
58,318 Names on the Wall                   1,500+Service Members Unaccounted For From the War
8 Women on the Wall                           600 Cities Visited By the Wall That Heals
31 Sets of Brothers on the Wall            3 Sets of Fathers and Sons on the Wall
              246 Most Casualty Deaths for one day/January 31, 1968
Marvin Gude King High School Class of '67
      This Thursday night, Dailey and Vincent (one of my favorite bluegrass bands) will be performing at  the Little Roy Lewis and Lizzy Long festival at Elijah Clark State Park. They sing one of my favorite and most touching song ever with Jimmy Fortune.  Here is a link if you have time to listen:

Until later,


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Day 1—April 28, 2018
     Hi everyone.  I hope you had a wonderful Saturday. The trip from home to Lincolnton, Georgia was great.  The country roads were lined with wildflowers.  The sky was almost solid blue.  Only a few puffy clouds. Of course, with my imagination, the few clouds floating above had shapes in them. One looked like Snoopy asleep on his doghouse. Another was a bear claw—the animal type, not the delicious, crusty, sweet pastry.  But I digress.
     Now that it is time to write about the day, I couldn’t decide what to write about.  What I saw? Who I saw? What I was thinking? Where did I hide the body?
     Speaking of Richard. He has been wound tighter than the shoes I bought online from Japan.  Those ladies have small feet. Okay, maybe my feet aren’t as dainty as theirs.  And the shoes were sooo cute. They had little yellow ducks on them.  I wanted to wear them when my sister (who is going with us to Canada) wore hers with flamingos on them. Hey, we are West Virginians, raised in Tampa, and King High graduates.  Let it go.
     Okay, back to Richard.  I’m hoping he comes down to the solid ground, gets some rest, and has some fun for a change. If he doesn’t, and my kids receive a large UPS box, please tell them to open it immediately, because they will only let me put 1 bottle of Zephyrhills water and 2 packages of peanut butter crackers in the box. If that happens, I will have to hire someone to drive the bus for me.  My only requirements are they must be over 18, can drive a bus, and that HE speaks English. 

     Okay, I want to at least touch on a serious subject. Tomorrow I'll write more about it. When we arrived in Lincolnton after dark tonight, Bonnie and Little Roy Lewis picked us up and took us to the movable Vietnam Veterans Memorial Replica.  It is quite a site lit with bright lights, backed by the darkness of night and a huge bright moon.
     As I touched some of the names, chills crawled over my entire body. Sadness came as I remembered each of the boys I graduated with whose name is forever engraved on the wall.  We took pictures of two of them.  It takes quite a while to look them up and then go find them.  I’m going back tomorrow to find a few more I know of.  If there is anyone you’d like me to look up, let me know before noon tomorrow at the comment section at the bottom of this post or go back to Facebook.

Let me hear from you whenever you can.  Writing these posts is fun for me, but knowing there are people reading them is even funner. All my writer and teacher friends, I know that isn’t a real word, but it’s my word. 
The Wall That Heals

Greg Denton
Allen Mooney