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My Sweet Boy Levi

Rosedale GardenLevi, my fourteen-year-old Hooligan was recently poisoned, it seems.  I have the underground wireless fence system, so he stays at home.  He was jumping up and down with Lucy Saturday night, wanting to be fed.  Sunday morning, he didn’t want his biscuit, which was very unusual for him. He’s always hungry. That afternoon, he was laying on his side in the driveway not responding. I ran a little water on the corner his mouth every thirty minutes.  He was sitting up the next morning, and off we went to the Veterinarian’s office.  In addition to the toxic liver, he had some tumors.  IV’s and liver biopsies to see what was causing the damage was suggested.  I asked my vet if it was going to make him better, and she said no.  I told her I wasn’t going to put him through all of that.  I wasn’t going to let him suffer.

Levi deck   Levi snow

He was at the shelter in Columbus Tennessee, the same one that Patches came out of. He was due to be put down the next day.  Karen at NW Alabama Herding Dog Rescue, sent me his picture.  I told her that I didn’t need a male dog around all my flowers.  She said he was a sweet boy, and could let him be put down.  A few days later, I went by her house to pick up rabbit pellets to compost.  When I opened my truck door, he was in my lap licking me in the face.  I knew I was licked, and he came home.  When Mom saw him, I told her I was fostering him.  For some reason, Mom didn’t believe me. That sweet boy never left foster care.   He loved getting his picture taken.  One photo of him sitting pretty in his first snow, was used a few times in an on line GRIT advertisement for the magazine.

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When you lose a pet, you don't realize that their companions who are with them 24 hours daily also grieve. When I took Patches to go over the rainbow, Blackie and Levi saw me take her off. Every time I come home; they go to the back door of my truck looking for her. I was feeding Levi and Patches in the back garage, and Blackie on the driveway by the house garage. Things were more peaceful when Patches and Blackie weren't together at feeding. Levi doesn't want to eat by himself, and Blackie isn't eating all of her food. Being 14, the same age as Patches, it's a worry for me. Patches lost 4 pounds in just a few days.

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When I put Casey, my rescued Aussie my last dog to sleep 16 years ago, she was the only pet, so I didn't see this. Loosing Casey was very, very hard on my Mom. Casey would go to her house while I was at work. Mom would fix her breakfast. When it was time for me to come home from work, she would come to the end of my property and be waiting on me.

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Levi had been in a depression since he lost his best buddy Patches.  He wasn’t active and gain weight, even though I wasn’t getting him a full ration of food.  I adopted Lucy a smooth coat Border collie from the West TN Border collie rescue hoping to perk him up.  She just wore him out with her energy, and he slimmed down and got back in shape.   Now she is trying to rough house with Blackie, my fifteen-year-old, and the last of the Hooligans, but Blackie is not having any of that.

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Farmers in the area were having a tough time getting corn planted with all the rain in the area.  Those able to plant corn have lost some of it since planting due to heavy rains.  What survived is up about six inches to waist high, with good stands.  The weather turned from a cool spring to the hot days typical of late August.  Now, corn is starting to wilt due to lack of rain and the heat.   It looks like a lot more soybeans and cotton will be planted this year due to the amount of rain that hampered corn planting.  Winter wheat has put up seed heads and turning golden. Canola is getting close to blooming out.  Several fields are still under water from the floods in February.  

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A fund raiser for victims of the February flood at Nathan Estates in Muscle Shoals that was planned at the Alabama Hall of Fame for last Saturday May 11, was rescheduled for May 18.  Several homes had standing water inside for over a week and a half.  Some homeowners are still living upstairs, and others haven’t been able to return home yet.  FEMA came through about three and half weeks after the flood, and didn’t stop to go inside the homes we visited when planning for the fund raiser.  The homes look great from the outside, but inside are a mess.  The homeowners were turned down for help via FEMA. 

The end of April, I photographed at Recall LaGrange and the Martha Crawley events.  LaGrange College and the town around it was burned by Union forces in 1863.  The town never came back to life.  Martha Crawley was kidnapped by the Creeks in 1812 in Tennessee and brought down the Natchez Trace to Colbert Ferry near Cherokee Alabama. The incident led to the Creek War and their loss of two thirds of their territory in the state.  Local students enjoyed learning the game of stick ball.

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The week before I was at Courtland Airbase for Wings Over Courtland.  The airbase was a training base for pilots during WWII.  Today only the airstrip and building foundations remain.  A fly in by several WWII area planes and fly over town occurred.  In town twelve WWII Veterans were honored along with several from more current times.  While in down town Courtland Sat during the Wings Over Courtland, I was waiting for the Veterans to be loaded up on a wagon before the parade. One WWII Veterans was in a wheelchair, waiting with his attendant for his turn to be loaded, and had his shirt laying in his lap. He was very frail. He smiled at me, and I smiled back. He was clutching a uniform shirt, and said, I was one who sacrificed. I lifted up the shirt looking to see if his name was on it, and told him thank for your service sir. He just smiled. I've been looking through the 1500 pictures I took to see if I remembered to get him.  I don't know how many folks have come up to me over the years telling me I got the last photo of one of their relatives.

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On the way home, I swung by Wheeler Dam to check out the birds, and then to Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller for pictures.  The azaleas were in full bloom.   The Helen Keller Festival will be the last week in June.  I was also honored to photograph Mac Davis at a fundraiser dinner for the Fame Girls Ranch.  The Ranch is located in the home of Fame Recording founder Rick and Linda Hall.  It was donated to the Sheriff’s Girls Ranches of Alabama.  A program was announced at the dinner for providing for the girl’s college education after they leave the ranch. 

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Earlier, I attended the Ronnie McDowell fundraiser for the Roxy Theater in Russellville, AL.  The last time I took his photo with the Franklin County Arts Council in front of the Roxy, I was almost hit by a drunk driver. Someone in the group that I was photographing saw him and started screaming.  I barely got out of the way. Whenever Hall of Famer song writer Peanutt Montgomery sees me now, he says, “I thought you were a gonner.”  This time, the street in front was kept closed until pictures were taken. 

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Lucy, my new smooth coat Border collie, and becoming a typical hooligan, eating everything in sight.  I came home a few days back, and she was sitting in the driveway looking at a black cone.  What has she got now I thought to myself?  I got out, and a king snake was rolled up with its head down in the top of the cone.  It had a few chew marks on it, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to survive.  I picked it up and put it in the ditch in front of the house.  When I check on it later, it was gone.  After the rescue, I started mowing the grass, and went around some pots in the back yard.  As I made the second round, I noticed the tail end of a king snake, just the tail end, and nothing else chopped up in the yard. Over to the side, Lucy was sick with whatever she ate. 

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Mom’s One Tough Lady

Rosedale GardenI hope all Moms had a happy Mother’s Day last weekend. 

My Mom was born in Yugoslavia.  Her Dad was German and Mom Hungarian.  After WWII broke out a German officer rode up to the door of their house and told my Grandfather that he was to report for duty, and if he didn’t, they would come back and shoot him. After much discussion with my Grandmother, he decided to report. He came home a few times, but is listed as MIA in the area of Yugoslavia now known as Bosnia.  In the meantime, my Grandmother was taken to a Russian concentration camp.

My mother, at nine years old, was left to fend for herself, begging for food, after her Grandfather’s death and her brothers took off for Germany.  After a year on her own, she eventually found her Mother, who was rented out by the Russians to work in farmer’s fields during the day.  She was then also placed in the concentration camp with her Mother for 18 months.  The Russians lined up the men in the camp, and were taking every tenth man for a work detail.  Her brother who was dying of cancer, saw what was happening, and tried to swap spots with him, but he refused.  The ones chosen for the walk detail were tied together and led into the woods never to be seen again.  Those with mental issues were taken on a picnic, but didn’t come back.

Mom was playing under a bunk and found some money. Grandmother used it to pay the underground to help them escape with a group of 60 from the camp.  The person leading them didn’t want to take Mom as he said she was too young and small to keep up.  Grandmother told him that she would stay behind if she couldn’t.  At one of their stops, she fell asleep on the cold concrete and awoke to a guard watching her and crying.

Mom tells the story of stuffing her little dog in the bottom of her bag, and piling clothes on top of him so she could sneak him on a train.  When they got to where they were going, she took the clothes out of the bag, and the dog wasn’t moving, and she thought he was dead until he jumped up and loved on her.  Travel became very dangerous for the group. They next group leader made her leave her dog behind.  She could hear him howling for miles.  

Mom

They hid out in corn fields during the day, eating raw corn in order to survive.  They traveled at night and crossed over the border into Austria.  After going to Austria, somehow, they were united with my two uncles and came to the U.S. as refugees aboard the troop carrier USS Hanselman. How did Mom and Dad meet?  My Dad requested a family to come and work for him through the Catholic Relief Services. Another family was to come and work for him, but their children developed the measles, so Mom’s family was selected.  After a brief courtship, mostly hiding and kissing behind a stack of milk crates, they were married and had five children.  

With Dad milking cows, bottling the milk, going on the Sheffield or Tuscumbia routes to deliver the milk, going to the field after he got home, and then milking cows, we didn’t get to see him much.  Mom made sure that she took us different places such as Davy Crockett State Park, the Dismals, Cullman, and Spruce Pine to see the Duncan’s.  A great time away from cleaning the barn, feeding chickens, pigs and calves, and helping haul hay.

Our old hay barn had a rail system in the top that was once used for hauling hay into the barn with mules. When the barn was empty, we would hang onto the rope and swing from side to side or ride the rope down the rail from front to the back doing our best Johnny Weissmuller imitation.  When the barn was full of hay, we would climb to the top of the stack and open the back door and hang the rope out and play mountain climber down to the ground from about twenty feet up.  we recently told Mom about the Tarzan thing in the old barn.  I’m glad she didn’t know at the time what we were doing. We thought she was going to have a stroke.  Thinking back now I realize what danger we put ourselves into.  We could have fallen into a crack in the hay and suffocated or slipped off of the rope and fallen onto the rocks below and done some serious damage to ourselves.

Raising the five of us was one tough job.  I would be under the kitchen window making mud cakes one minute, and gone the next, either to the barn, or going with Shep through the cows going to see my Aunt Lillie. Aunt Lillie really wasn’t my aunt, but we all called her that while her husband Jack worked for Dad.  I gave her grief also, when she saw me walking through the cows.  She would yell at Jack to go save her baby.

Mom is one tough lady. She recently had an aortic aneurysm repair.  Dr. Cleveland told her she was not to get on her riding mower for six weeks.  Her girlfriend told me that she planned to get back on the mower, so I hid the keys to her mower to keep her from getting on it before the six weeks were up.  She stills mows her own grass, except for once a month, when she has someone cut the grass and do the weed eating.

Mom is one classy smart lady, that I love dearly.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Mom and hooligans
Hooligans ready for my supper.

None Left Behind

Rosedale GardenForrest Richard ‘Rick’ Jackson, Vietnam Veteran, died January 1, 2019 at the age of 76.  After discharge from the Army in service of his country, he moved to the Shoals. The Colbert County Coroner located two relatives out of state, but they hadn’t corresponded in twenty years and declined to claim his body and take care of the funeral arrangements and expenses. A niece and her family who had contact with him didn’t find out until the day of his funeral that he had died.

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Corinth National Cemetery in Mississippi

His body remained at the morgue at Helen Keller Hospital waiting for someone to claim it. TC Dawson of the local Patriot Guard was contacted by the VA and friends of Mr. Jackson. The Patriot Guard decided that they were going to take care of his funeral. No one left behind is their motto. Morrison Funeral Home in Tuscumbia, upon hearing the story of this veteran, waived funeral expenses.

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Left to right: Don Lacy, Eddie Craig, Bill House, Phillp Davis, TC Dawson, Donnie Owens, Marco Shindleborrer

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A funeral of almost one hundred fellow veterans, Sheffield American Legion, friends, church, and Patriot Guard members were at his funeral on January 10th.  Many said it seemed odd not having a registry to sign. There wasn’t family there to give it to. The service started with the Patriot Guard and then the American Legion giving its final salute. TC Dawson, veteran and Patriot Guard Senior Ride Captain said “The American Legion Chaplin spoke of all soldiers in a war time situation, being in the dark, alone. What an eerie feeling, yes, tears flowed as we honored our lone veteran. It was as we were his family.” At the end of the ceremony, the American Legion folded the flag as all stood, and saluted as Taps was played.

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A friend shared TC Dawson’s post about escorting Forrest Jackson’s body to the Corinth National Cemetery in Corinth Mississippi the morning of January 23. They were meeting at 9 a.m. at Morrison’s Funeral Home in Tuscumbia. I got to talk to the group for about a half hour before it was time to go. One of them had a President Trump Inauguration medal. Some had come as far away as Hartselle, two from Athens, Decatur, Greenhill and Elgin Cross Roads. We said a prayer for a safe trip, and left in a light rain. TC was riding his white motorcycle with a large USA flag flowing on the back and took the lead, followed by the Morrison hearse.  I rode with Phillip Davis, another veteran, in his truck.

As we got to Cherokee, the rain came down harder. Even though we were going the speed limit, with lights flashing, we were being passed.  As a trailer truck passed as though we were going at a snail’s pace, I remarked to Phillip that the Southern funeral courtesy seemed dead today. For a moment I thought TC may have been blown off the road, but out of the cloud of water, I saw the flag flying on the back of his motorcycle. After we crossed into Mississippi, we pulled into the weigh station outside Luka at ten after ten, where we met three Mississippi Patriot Guard riders led by District Ride Captain Greg Underwood. After quick handshakes and hugs, we were off to keep on schedule. The Mississippi Patriot Guard would finish the lead escorting Forrest Jackson to his final resting place. 

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88929 arriving Corinth

We arrived at the cemetery in a steady rain. The cemetery had standing rain, and the wreaths from the Wreaths Across America were still on the graves. We were met by a couple of the staff of the cemetery. The casket was placed on a receiving area off of the driveway covered by a tent. From there the body of Forrest Jackson would be taken to his final resting place later for burial without friends or family. TC asked if Taps and a 21-gun salute would happen. The cemetery had forgotten to call and arrange for it.

TC went to his motorcycle and brought back a small speaker hooked up to his cell phone. Everyone stood at attention while Taps played. Afterwards a prayer was said. As we departed, a cemetery staff member in a long black trench coat stood at attention by the casket.  Someone would be beside him guarding until he was buried.

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The Big Floods

Rosedale GardenThe recent heavy rains and flooding brought comparisons back to the Wednesday, March 14 to Friday, March 16 of the 1973 flood. The flooding this year was the second worst flooding we have had, with the 1973 flooding being the worst. During our monthly Deshler Class of 1971, the topic of the current flood and that of 1973 came up. I was attending Florence State College at the time and working part time as a secretary at Our Lady of the Shoals Catholic Church.   

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I started out that day that most of the worst part of the flooding occurred and hit the big dip on Woodmont Drive south of Spring Creek. The little dry creek was overflowing its bank and the road was closed. I turned around and thought I would go via highway 43, but when I got to the two bridges south of the 72 and 43 intersection, water was everywhere.  A car had tried to cross the water, and landed up floating down the creek. The driver had to be rescued. The last option was going over Gobblers Knob, which was a narrow dirt road at the time.  I wasn’t the only one who had that idea.  The ruts were horrible, but my little Dodge Dart finally made it over to Frankfort Road. 

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As I got to the old Hook Street bridge over Spring Creek, water was coming over the roadway. I was one of the last ones allowed to cross it before it was closed. After I finished my story, Wade Gann said that the bridge was knocked a few inches off of the pillars by the force of the water, and they had to use every large truck they could find to pull it back over.  In the back of my mind, I wandered away from our conversation, and I started counting the number of times I had crossed that bridge between 1973 and the time it was replaced with the new bridge.

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During the 1973 flood, ten inches of rain fell during the three days. I reported 9.38 inches during the recent flood to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) during this past week flood event. During the 1973 flood, Wilson Dam was spilling 550,000 cubic feet per second or 4.2 million gallons over the spillway gates. This time Wilson has been spilling 1.7 million gallons per second for most of the week, with a high of 3.5 million gallons per second, this past Sunday.

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During the 1973 flood, Courtland Hospital had to be evacuated. The area along both sides of Woodward were flooded, including the area where Gusmus Pond was located at one time. Gusmus Pond was replaced by South Gate, so Woodward Avenue was called Woodward Lake during the flood. FAME recording had built a wall around the recording studio and was running seven pumps until water came over and entered the back of the building.  Afterwards, FAME had a sign on a flatbed trailer which read “Your TAX Dollars at work, TVA experienced in flood control, this water from TVA reservation."

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It took a week for the flood waters to subside in Muscle Shoals. Southgate Mall had after-flood sales. First Colbert National Bank (now Bank Independent) had an ad “banking by boat” showing someone in a boat at the drive through at their Southgate Mall branch announcing all branches were opened back up.

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Fame Recording and the City of Muscle Shoals filed lawsuits against TVA. It was alleged that TVA had altered the natural flow of Pond Creek by building several small road bridges across the drainage ditches and didn’t make provisions for handling a large volume of water. The suit charged that the embankment and bridges “effectively obstructed the flow of water off Pond Creek.” The water then backed up over large areas of Muscle Shoals, most notably, South Gate Mall and the businesses around Buena Vista, which included Fame Studios, Biscuit Village, and several others. I transferred to Auburn the next fall, with little access to Shoals now, so I don’t know what happened with the lawsuit.

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Remarkably, no one died in the Shoals during the 1973 flood. Only one death was reported in North Alabama. 

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With the weather, the sandhill cranes and whooping cranes migrated back north from Wheeler Wildlife Refuge in Decatur, AL.  I was able to make one trip to there and get a few photos. The American White Pelicans have been swimming around in the creeks and sloughs back away from the main channel of the Tennessee River. Spring Park in Tuscumbia was under water this time for a week. The swans spent several days sailing around on the golf course. Several of the newer subdivisions in Muscle Shoals were still flooded a week later. The small town of Leighton still was holding water when I drove through last weekend. We had a lot of road damage all over our area. I had almost ten inches of rain in my gauge in a week.  If the rain had been continuous like the 1973, the flooding would have been as bad. 

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One difference between then and now was the large number of sightseers out during this flood with cell phones in their hands.  One guy apparently was hiding under a cabbage leaf when common sense was handed out and crawled over the fence at the end of the old railroad bridge. He was photographed standing on one of the pillars with what looked like a child hanging over the water on his back. As a result, everyone was chased off of the bridge, and the gates were locked. The pillars are over 150+ years old, and I wondered if they could stand the force of the water, along with the numerous folks on it.

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In 1973, we didn’t have cell phones, and were concerned with getting to where we needed to go, and helping those in need.

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Transition

Rosedale GardenRecently, I’ve been hearing transition mentioned for passing away.  Transition is a foreign term for me as far as someone dying.  Some of the sayings I grew with were:  passed, passed away,  went to meet their maker or Lord, kicked the bucket, the good die young, Bless his/her heart, I guess it was just his/her time, bought the farm, bite the dust, belly up, at peace,  cashed in their chips, croaked, counting worms, dead as a door nail, dead as a dodo, curtains, crossed the Jordan, died with his boots on, dropped dead, give up the ghost, has gone to a better place, gone to the big place in the sky, met their maker, take a last bow, swim with concrete shoes, turn up one's toes, to join the whisperers, up and died, wearing a pine overcoat, pushing up daises, take the last train to glory, one’s hour has come, shuffle off this mortal coil, and take a last bow.  For pets, it was going over the rainbow bridge.

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One thing a lot of folks don’t consider is the photo that your relatives will use on the on-line obituary that then gets printed in the newspapers for all eternity.  I still remember one particular photo of a gentleman standing in front of a closet.  A hanger is behind him on the door.  In the photograph, it looked like the hanger is coming out of both ears.   Pick out a picture and send it to your relatives.  Those in mourning may not make good choices when stressed.

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Thursday December 6, 2018 marked the end of my place that I’ve worked at the last 43 years, Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital or ECM as most folks call it in the Shoals area of NW Alabama.  As the area grew, the hospital was put together piece mill in sections starting in the late forties to fifties.  Each addition had different government regulations to the point the newest section had floors taller than those in the original building.  By the time you got to the third floor, there was about a twelve-foot difference if floor heights.  You had a long flight of stairs to climb from the old to the new side.  She was replaced by a new state of the art facility overlooking the Tennessee River in Florence, and given a new name of North Alabama Medical Center (NAMC).  I retired full time, and went part time in September of 2017.  I normally work Thursday’s on dictionary builds in our computer system for resulting the tests in the laboratory.   I took the day off to roam around taking pictures of the move starting at 6 a.m.  Twenty ambulances were pulled in from west Tennessee and east Mississippi to help Shoals ambulance with the move.  Two Anchor buses helped moved patients who were ambulatory.  The move was expected to take twelve hours.  I took pictures of the first ambulance loading at ECM and arriving at NAMC.  I went back to ECM, and documented the closing down of ECM.  I did get a little teary eyed when Kenny, one of our maintenance guys was painting over the ECM signs by the emergency room entrance, and some of the bigger signs being taken down.  At 1 p.m., all 137 patients, of which twenty-eight were critical care, were gone from ECM.  The old gal was no longer after 99 years. 

After posting some of the pictures and commenting that I’ll have trouble with turning left after crossing O’Neal instead of going right, one friend commented “thanks for sharing, I feel like we were all there for the transition.”

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Other comments were: “Mary Carton I'd be like you---I would always turn left coming up Court Street from the bridge!!! I used to cross the bridge every day to get home; but I didn't remember it!!! I miss all my good friend from the old hospital, many who have now passed on to glory!!”

“So glad to see your memories! It was a healing place, a happy place along with sadness. Many souls came and many left there. It's hallowed ground!”

“So many happy times with babies being born. Sad times when family and friends were sick and happy times when they were healed and got to go home. I had my tonsils out here as a child. My oldest brother had to be shocked back into the land of the living several times here (and is still living). My great-grandmother and my father-in-law passed away at this location. Amazing impact on the community, families, and individuals over the years.”

“Twenty-eight years went by fast.  My car automatically went to ECM.”

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“My 3 were born there.  I remember as a child in the 40’s driving by at night & seeing all the iron lungs when there were polio epidemics...and some people don’t want to immunize their children. “ 

I responded that I did get to see a iron lung in operation.  A man took a shotgun to his wife, and the hospital borrowed the iron lung from the TVA museum. 

“She was a fine "Lady" who served us well!

“Hate to see torn down, I spent approximately 34 years there.”

“My oldest and youngest was born there.”

“I spent about 21 years there!

“Sad to see it go. My brothers, me, my cousins were all born there. Life goes on. It has served its purpose well.

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“ECM I’m going to love you forever. Thank you for being there for me!!  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for your care when I was at deaths door and in ICU 81 days and 43 days on 2nd West back in 1983. I spent months with you then.  I will remember you forever! What an emotional day today is.”  This happened when she was eighteen.  She and three friends were in a VW beetle when hit by a young man celebrating getting his driver’s license.  She received over 120 units blood during those four months.  After she was moved to 2nd West she became very hard to obtain a blood sample from.  I was asked to go up and try to get a sample.  It took one stick.  As I was drawing the sample, she said “see prayers work, I prayed that you would get it on the first stick, and you did.”  I got teary eyed with that.  Later she became an RN, and now her daughter is one at ECM, rather NAMC.

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There were several more comments as to the closeness of the employees.  Back then employees tended to stay at one place a lot longer than they do now.  Winter storms were more fun.  A command center would be set up, and the Alabama National Guard would help get employees to the hospital.  Bill Robshaw would drive an old ambulance from the Korean War era, like the ones in the TV show MASH to pick employees up.  He would have fun terrorizing his passengers with his driving and sliding around curves.  Now days, employees are expected to get to work.

A new hospital was greatly needed, but the old name Eliza Coffee Memorial has transitioned into extinction as the first ambulance arrives at North Alabama Medical Center.   The hospital has gone to a better place.

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Introducing Lucy Lou

Rosedale Garden

 

Back last May I had to put down ‘Problem Child’ Patches, age fourteen, a couple of weeks after one dose of a monthly flea/tick medicine.  They were being eaten up by ticks, and nothing was working.  I found out afterwards that coconut oil works very well.  The FDA filed a warning about two of the medications a few weeks back.  Patches was one of these Border collies who was smarter than her college degree owner.

Lucy Levi Blackie

A month ago, Karen, President of NW Alabama Herding Dog Rescue through whom I rescued my Hooligans, before she retired to WV, sent me a picture of a smooth coat Border collie named Lucy.  She had shown up in someone’s yard in Memphis.  West TN Border Collie Rescue was looking for a foster for her until she could go to rescue.  I contacted them and a few days later after she was fixed, some friends and I met them on I-40 somewhere between Nashville and Memphis. 

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On the way home, we stopped at Hagy’s Catfish Hotel in Savannah for lunch.  She sat in the passenger seat watching the door of the restaurant until we came out.  As we were walking along the Tennessee River before we left for home, a gentleman from Alcorn, MS came out of the restaurant and saw Lucy.  As he was walking toward us, she stared at him with hair standing up on her neck and back.   She was okay once I started talking to him.  He said his neighbor had just gone to Kentucky to get a Border collie. 

Once we got home, the greeting from Blackie and Levi went better than I expected. Lucy was the one growling at them.  The next morning, we started training with the underground fence and back garage doggie door.  The doggie door was learned in less than fifteen minutes.   She did very well with the wireless fence.  Right now, they are locked in the front and back yard.  Soon, the flags will come up and they’ll have three acres to roam on again.  

With a fifteen and fourteen-year-old, I’ve forgotten what a young Border collie can be like.  I had to child proof everything back then.  I have three ‘Ruby slippers’ oakleaf hydrangea that I’ve been watering in the containers since spring.  Finally, we had enough rain about 2 months ago, so I could dig a hole to plant them in front of the house.  She wasn’t bothering my azalea’s, so I didn’t think about the hydrangeas.  She must have noticed the orange tags on them and had them for dessert after eating a 100-foot hose.  Later she somehow pulled a brand-new pair of goat skin garden gloves still in the package off of the third shelf and ate the ends of the fingers and thumbs off.    She keeps one of my old garden shoes in her bed in the back garage. She ate the other one.  I didn’t realize she was watching me while I was measuring rain in my rain gauge I use for reporting to CoCoRaHS.   It had little bit of ice in it, so put it on the patio table by the house, and laid the measuring tube in a pan on the table.  That little voice said to put it in the back pan on the table.  Later I went back to finish measuring, and the measuring tube was gone.  I found it in bits and pieces by the front door. It had gotten very difficult to read.

My fifteen-year-old Blackie is just not going to tolerate her. Lucy hangs out with my fourteen-year-old Levi.  He had gotten a little on the chunky side since Blackie is no longer able to chase him.  Lucy has slimmed him back down to a good weight.  He’s getting a regular amount of food now.

Hooligans Letter to Santa

Dear Santa, we’ve been very good doggies this year.  Mom took Patches off a while back, and every time she comes home, Patches is not in her truck.  We miss her; well Levi does.  Recently Mom came home with this new juvenile she calls Lucy.  She is just a nuisance for us old folks.  She keeps chasing after Levi, and he is just worn out. He was getting a little on the chunky side but now he has slimmed down, and is very tired.  After all he is an old boy of fourteen.  He’s been finding things for this young whippersnapper to chew up so she’ll get into trouble. You can take her back to where Mom found her please. 

  

My Christmas Wish for you:

Wishing you the Warmth of Home, the love of Family and Friends. May you have Enough. 

May you have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

On the home front, I’ve been very busy with Veterans Day and Christmas events. I was able to make the Veterans Day Parade in Russellville, AL, The Tuscumbia one was rained out. 

77356 Vet Day Parade

The Dickens Christmas Y’all went inside due to lots of rain.  I made two trips to the Roxy in Russellville to take pictures at their wonderful production of Legends of Toyland, and back for the KGB show with guest Leroy Troy from Hee Haw the Marty Stuart show. 

Legend Toyland 8054

Legend Toyland

Legend Toyland 89886

Christmas in the Country at the Lagrange College Site is a yearly event, along with Belle Mont’s Plantation Christmas.  The mansion is decorated in the style of the mid 1800’s. 

Plantation Xmas 8281

Plantation Xmas 8284

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Dickens 8452

The music and dance are of the same period. The Trees of Christmas at the Tennessee Museum of Art in Tuscumbia, featured twelve decorated trees by various groups. 

8094 Trees of Xmas

Several of the Christmas parades were rescheduled or cancelled due to the rain.  I made it to Tuscumbia’s Christmas parade.  The Christmas concert at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame featured Bobby Tomberlin, Aaron Wilburn, and Mark Narmore.  Jessie Lynn joined them for a couple of songs.  Wilburn had the crowd in stitches will his song ‘Wal-Mart on a Saturday night, after Midnight’.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and if you see Santa, give him a peck on the cheek.

Dickens 84506

 

Fall 2018 in NW Alabama

Rosedale GardenFall has arrived in the south. So far, it's not sweater weather. Temperatures are still in the nineties.

Hummingbirds see to be staying around a lot longer than previous years. Maybe it's the effect of all the tropical storms, or the warm weather.

The first weekend in October and I still have three feeders up, and seeing several birds. A large percentage of corn has been harvested, along with early planted soybeans.

73191 cotton

Beans planted later are starting to show a yellow fall color. Farmers have defoliated cotton and started picking.

cotton picker 72613

Most have switched to the pickers, which makes the large round bales wrapped in plastic that are easier to store in at the gin or barns until it can be cleaned and baled. It is able to pick more cotton than the old-style pickers.

72612 soybean combine

They have less waste than the pods that were used previously. The pods were made on the ground, so the bottom layer would be lost if it stayed out in the field, especially with a lot of rain.

Temperatures have been in the nineties, above normal, through the first part of October. We had a warm fall and winter in 2010, and had a big snow storm the next January.

I lost a lot of dogwoods and fruit trees that year. This week temperatures have been below normal with temperatures in the seventies.

I'm getting over food poisoning from a local restaurant in which over 170 became ill from a norovirus. It took a while for my stomach to get back to normal.

You'd think if you were basically on a liquid diet for a couple of weeks, one would lose weight. But no.

Now it's the attack of the giant ragweed. I was checking fencing, and had to go through it and goldenrod down along the dry creek.

That night, I had a sore throat, plus stuffy ears. The coughing was so bad, even the 'Recipe' couldn't help.

Thanks to my Facebook friends, they placed my lost copy of the 1962 cough syrup prescription from a Pediatrician. I had legal moonshine, lemon juice, local honey and peppermint for making it.

It helped for a little while, but every time I went outside around the ragweed, I would have a relapse. Being a Microbiologist, I don't like to take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.

After a week, I could see I was heading toward a case of pneumonia. A trip to the doctor, and a change in antihistamine/decongestant and a course of antibiotics greatly helped.

70424 Madras Maiden

With everything going on, I still was able to take a media ride a Pathfinder B17 bomber the "Madras Maiden" operated by the Liberty Foundation. It is only one of twelve B17's that still fly today.

The media were given a preview of the plane the week before she was available for public tours designed as a fundraiser for the 1.5 million dollars needed to keep the "Madras Maiden" in the air and out of a museum. We were taken on a low-level trip around the Huntsville International Airport in Huntsville, Alabama.

Madras Maiden 70867

The flight made me appreciate what our airmen went through while flying the aircraft. I could imagine how cold it was flying at its highest altitude with all the open-air turrets, and gun bays.

When flying in rain, the inside of the plane would get wet. I could imagine what they went through trying to stay in the air without being shot down.

The B17's held twelve 500-pound bombs in a bay right behind the pilot's compartment. In order to go from the back part of the plane to the front, you walked through the middle of the bombs, six on each side, on a narrow I beam.

70545 Madras Maiden

If one of the bombs were hit during battle and it exploded, along with the other eleven, nothing would be left. There was a total of 12,732 B-17's that were produced between 1935 and May 1945.

Of these 4,735 were lost in combat. In a single 376 plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England.

In 1942-43 it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in Europe.

70539 Madras Maiden

After we got back on the ground, both elbows had boo-boos from trying to get through the bomb bay during the flight. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

My hope is that the public will continue to support the Liberty Foundation's mission and keep this aircraft flying. The younger generation needs to know what their grandparents went through to defend their freedom.

70657 Madras Maiden

I entered a press lottery for press box or sideline passes for Auburn's home games. I drew the Southern Miss and the Tennessee games.

Auburn 74368

I was able to go to the Southern Miss game, but had the allergy crud for the Tennessee game. The game with Southern Mississippi started at three p.m.

Auburn game 74359

A lightning delay for an hour and half with four minutes left in the second quarter, meant the game was over after nine p.m. I got home to Tuscumbia around two a.m.

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Auburn's Bald eagle, Spirit, flew from one of the stadium towers to start the game, and circled around the inside of the stadium before landing in the center of the field. Since it was homecoming, fellow alumni Governor Kay Ivey was there, and I was able to meet her.

Auburn Gov Ivey 73992

Auburn's mascot, Aubie noticed I was taking his picture and put on a show for me.

Auburn Aubie 74044

Auburn Aubie 74299

Cooler weather started this week. With the cooler weather, some of the water birds are back at the river.

I saw my last hummingbird on October 6, but one of my feeders in a spot that I can't see from the house, looks like it is being used. I'll leave my feeders up until the first part of November.

67200 ruby-throated

68472 hummer

Monarchs and other butterflies and dragonflies have disappeared. I need to bring plants into the garage that I want to keep over winter soon.

dragon fly 72691

monarch 71141

buterfly 71010

butterfly 71112

Hopefully there won't be a snake trying to hibernate in one of them this year. The Hooligans aren't happy when they see one in a hanging basket.


Photos property of Mary Carton.







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