Archive for September, 2008

Hurricane Ike Refugees

September 20, 2008
Lily, Clem, Betsy, Bert and Matt.  Fairfield Glade, Tennessee.  September 19, 2008.

Lily, Clem, Betsy, Bert and Matt. Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. September 19, 2008.

Yesterday we had a visit from son Bert, his girlfriend Clem, and her two children, Matt and Lily.  The four of them are refugees from Hurricane Ike and are currently staying in Chattanooga with Bert’s father.

Bert and Clem live in Galveston and work at Pointe West, a resort community on the western end of Galveston Island.  They know that their house is still standing, although it did get water on the first level.  Fortunately they had moved their most valuable possessions up to the second floor, so they feel that most of their things are safe for the time being.

But of course Galveston has no water, no electricity and no working sewer system.  People are not allowed to return for now, so Bert and Clem have no idea when they can go back to even check on their house.  It certainly doesn’t sound as if they will be able to live there any time soon.

Point West received relatively little damage, but they have no electricity.  Since Pointe West is at the extreme western end of the island they will be the very last to get electricity.  There is so much damage between the city of Galveston and Pointe West that Bert thinks it will be after the first of the year before electricity gets to Pointe West.

Bert and Clem have many decisions to make over the next few weeks and we certainly will have them in our prayers.  But yesterday we just enjoyed being with them.

Fort Frederica

September 19, 2008
Cannon along the river at Fort Frederica.  June 25, 2008.

Cannon along the river at Fort Frederica. June 25, 2008.

After visiting Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, Betsy and I drove  to Fort Frederica National Monument, also on the island.

The town of Frederica was founded by General James Oglethorpe in 1736, three years after the founding of the Georgia colony at Savannah.  In the 1730s Great Britain was engaged in a struggle with Spain for land in what is now the southeastern United States.  Both countries claimed the land between St. Augustine (held by the Spanish) and Charleston (held by the British).  The British founded Georgia to serve as a buffer along their southern frontier.

In 1736 Oglethorpe landed on St. Simons Island with 44 men (mostly skilled workers) and 72 women and children.  Their first task was to build a fort to command the river, but they then built the town of Frederica.  By the 1740s Frederica was a tsubstantial village of about 500 people which would easily fit in the English midlands.

War broke out between Spain and Great Britain in 1739.  In 1742 the Spanish invaded St. Simons and got to within sight of Frederica, but were beaten back.  Later that same day the British won a decisive victory against the Spanish at Bloody Marsh and the Spanish left the island within a week.

Peace brought about the fairly rapid decline of Frederica as soldiers were no longer stationed in the  town.  The town survived a fire in 1758, but fell into ruin soon thereafter.

To see more of our trip to Frederica click HERE.

Happiness Is A Blueberry Muffin

September 18, 2008

The picture above is of my mother enjoying a blueberry muffin at lunch yesterday.

Mom is truly a remarkable woman.  She developed macular degeneration more than 20 years ago and has been legally blind for most of the time since.  But most people meeting her would never know that.

She and Dad had gotten along quite well until several months ago when Dad was diagnosed with macular degeneration.  He, too, is now legally blind.

They now have to rely on members of their church to get them around.  Yesterday a church member took them to the doctor and then to their Bible study.  After the Bible  study our good friends Judy and Charlie picked up Mom and Dad and took them to lunch.

Charlie took this picture of Mom with her blueberry muffin.  It looks as if all’s right with the world.

Epworth By The Sea

September 17, 2008
George at Lovely Lane Chapel, Epworth By The Sea, Georgia.  June 25, 2008.

George at Lovely Lane Chapel, Epworth By The Sea, Georgia. June 25, 2008.

When we were planning our anniversary trip Betsy wanted us to go to St. Simons Island, since she had been there previously and wanted to show me around.  In addition to St. Simons Lighthouse, she especially wanted me to see Epworth By The Sea, the Methodist Conference Center on the island.  The purpose of Epworth is to provide a Christian place for worship, study and fellowship.

The ties between Methodism and St. Simons are strong.  John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church, visited St. Simons Island and Fort Frederica in March of 1736.

One of the features of Epworth By The Sea is Lovely Lane Chapel.  The chapel is a church built in 1880 as St. James Union Church and is now the oldest church building on St. Simons.  When the Methodist Church purchased the property containing the church in 1949, the church was renamed Lovely Lane Chapel after the site of the 1784 founding conference of American Methodism in Baltimore, Maryland.

Epworth By The Sea is a beautiful place and I understand why Betsy wanted to share it with me.  To see more of our visit to Epworth By The Sea click HERE.

Paying the Price

September 16, 2008

I know I should do more walking.  I need to walk to help control both my weight and my high cholesterol.

A couple of years ago we bought pedometers in hopes that they would help motivate us to get our daily exercise.  And I must admit that I think I did fairly well —  last year I averaged almost 5 miles per day and did pretty well with both my weight and my cholesterol.

But this year has been a different.  I did pretty well until mid-Spring, but then because of discomfort from my hernia, I cut back on my walking.  Of course I didn’t do much walking after  my surgery, either.  Then it was too hot to walk.  I had all kinds of reasons not to walk, but I promised myself that I would start walking when it cooler.

Well, it got cooler yesterday and I thought I had better start walking.  I took a path across the golf course that I had easily walked last year — I thought it would be an easy way to get back into the swing of things.  But it didn’t take me long to notice that someone put more hills in the trail than there were last year.  I think they also managed to stretch it out somehow!

Needless to say, I didn’t set any speed records yesterday, but I did get a start.  I wonder how I’ll do today?

Project Complete — For Now

September 15, 2008

A couple of days ago I mentioned that I had an new project in our yard — the flower beds around two trees

Edger blocks used in one of our original flower beds.

Edger blocks used in one of our original flower beds.

and our lamp post needed to be replaced.  They were among our very first projects and although they worked quite well for a couple of years, they were starting to to fall apart.  The picture at the right shows what the bed around the lamp post looked like this year.

Fortunately we learned a few things in the time we’ve been landscaping our yard, so we knew that we could make better beds by using retaining wall blocks.  So we had to start a series of “Lowe’s Runs” to get the necessary materials.

I’m glad to report that building the new beds required more brawn than brains, and once I had the number of blocks needed for each layer, the beds went fairly easily.

Betsy and I finished the last flower bed Friday before we had all the excitement with Hurricane Ike.  Betsy and I are quite happy with the

The new bed around our lamp post.

The new bed around our lamp post.

way the new beds look.  You can judge for yourself — the picture below is of the new bed around the lamp post.

St. Simons Light

September 14, 2008
George at the walkway leading to the beach at St. Simons Lighthouse.  June 24, 2008.

George at the walkway leading to the beach at St. Simons Lighthouse. June 24, 2008.

On our anniversay trip, after exploring Savannah for much of the day, we headed south to St. Simons Island.  We reached St. Simons in the afternoon and went to the lighthouse, which was built in 1872.  The lighthouse and keeper’s house are the oldest surviving brick structures in Glynn County, Georgia.  The lighthouse is 104 feet tall and is open to the public, but we passed on the opportunity to walk up the 129 steps to the top!

The present lighthouse is the second on the site.  The original lighthouse was built in 1807 and lasted until 1862, when it was blown up by retreating Confederates when they abandoned St. Simons.

We visited the beach and park near the lighthouse.  The park contained several huge live oak trees which we paused to admire.

After driving around St. Simons for a little bit, we decided to try one of the local restaurants for dinner.  To see more of our visit to St. Simons Lighthouse, click HERE.

Hurricane Ike Hits Crossville

September 13, 2008
Hurricane Ike heading toward Houston, September 12, 2008.

Hurricane Ike heading toward Houston, September 12, 2008.

As I write this Hurricane Ike is heading toward Houston.  The news of this hurricane just keeps going from bad to worse.  It now looks as if the storm surge is going to go up the Houston Ship Channel, which has been described as the “worst case scenario” by the National Hurricane Center.

Betsy’s son Bert, his girlfriend Clem and her children made it to Chattanooga from Galveston after an 18 hour trip.  At least they made it safely and will be able to get some rest.

Son Mark and his family are still in their Houston suburb.  So far they are still high and dry, although they lost power earlier Friday night.

Everyone keeps talking about what a huge storm this is — much bigger than Katrina was.  What I didn’t realize is that the hurricane is so large that it already has had an impact in Crossville, Tennessee.  Friday we had to run some errands and we noticed that gasoline here in the Glade had gone up 34 cents a gallon from Thursday.  And one of the two gas stations here in the Glade had only premium grade gasoline left available.

Once we got into Crossville all the stations seemed to have gas but the prices were even higher than they were in the Glade.  One station had prices which were $1 above the price we paid on Wednesday!

If gasoline has gone up so much before the hurricane even makes landfall, how high will the price go after it does damage on land?

I Used to Like Ike

September 12, 2008

The presidential election of 1952 is the first I remember in some detail.  I have vague remembrances of the 1948 election, but my recollections of 1952 are much more vivid.

Like most of my male classmates at least, I liked Ike.  We were young and General Eisenhower was a famous victorious general.  Many of us sported “I like Ike” buttons like the one above.

But today I feel much less favorably toward Ike as hurricane Ike heads for Texas.  Betsy and I have been watching this storm with great interest because we have two of Betsy’s sons live in the Galveston-Houston area.

Yesterday we learned that son Bert, with his girlfriend Clem and her two children, have evacuated their home in Galveston.  They are heading to Chattanooga to ride out the storm.  It’s a long drive, but they can get a free room with Bert’s Dad, so they are probably saving money in the long run.

The last we heard from son Mark was that he and his family wouldn’t leave their new home in Seabrook (a suburb of Houston) unless they absolutely had to.  But now the forecasters are talking about a 20-foot storm surge in the Houston area, and I know that Mark’s home is not too far from the water and that the land around there is pretty flat.  We’re anxious to hear from Mark and his family or about them very soon.

No, I don’t like Ike the way I did back in 1952.

So Near and Yet So Far

September 11, 2008

The picture above is the total rainfall for Wednesday, September 10, 2008, here in eastern Tennessee.  You’ll notice that Crossville got the most recorded rain — 1.64 inches.

We live six miles from downtown Crossville.  We went into Crossville yesterday morning to do our weekly grocery shopping, and although it was cloudy, there was no rain.  After we got back home, we started getting a little drizzle, and after a while our driveway was damp.  Then we heard thunder!  Finally, we were going to get some rain!  We really need it.

It drizzled for a couple of hours and then stopped.  I checked the rain gauge and it was damp, but that was about all — it didn’t even make it to 0.01 inches of rain.  We were so disappointed.

And then Betsy noticed that there was a flood advisory for central Cumberland County (that’s us!!!).  Then we learned about all that rain in Crossville.

It looks like we’ll have to do some watering in the yard today.  All that rain — so near and yet so far!