What the Hooligans and I Have Been Up To During the Crash 2013

Reader Contribution by Mary carton
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Well if you are able to read this, I guess the IT department has worked out most of the bugs with the update.  As one who helps build some of the dictionaries of our information system, I’m all too familiar with making one little change  and it screws up something else totally unrelated.

Since I last talk to you, I’ve spent 10 days enjoying the W.C. Handy Jazz Festival.  Ten days of sitting in a lawn chair or walking around taking photos at various events around, and also keeping the food vendors happy.


Normally I take my vacation during the festival, but this time couldn’t. I had several 5 a.m. shifts at the hospital and after staying out late each night, it took several days to catch up on my sleep. W.C. Handy is a Florence native, but most think he was born in Memphis or St. Louis.

Muscle Shoals was the hit capital of the world back in the 1960s and several Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers were on hand. Where else can you get up with stars such as Mickey Buckins, Spooner Oldham, Donnie Fritts, Gary Nichols, Travis Wammack, Christine Ohlman, the beehive queen from SNL and others? Boots Randolph used to visit before he died. If he liked a band, he would grab his sax and join them. Concerts are in retirement homes, parks, restaurants, libraries, churches, and schools. Numerous concerts in churches highlight his contributions to religious music.


I took one day off from the festival to attend the Saddle Up for 17th Annual St. Jude Trail Ride and Concert at the Gardiner Farm in Tuscumbia. My buddy Kerry Gilbert and the KGB was playing and there were lots and lots of horses.  The head liner was Tracy Lawrence. The event has raised more than $1.2 million for St. Jude’s in its first 16 years.  


This year more than $120,000 was raised at last update. Next year I hope to borrow a horse and ride on the trail ride and take pictures. Kerry was recently diagnosed with inoperable cancer confined to his pancreatic lymph node and will be starting chemotherapy next week. He and his band have done numerous benefit concerts over the years, now his friends are returning the favor to help pay his medical bills.

I’m not one who follows country music, but have been exposed to it a lot lately between Saddle Up and the Helen Keller Festival, so the only thing I can measure whether a country band is famous is by the type of bus they arrive in and the crowd they draw. Tracy Lawrence, Darryl Worley and Restless Heart must be big stars.

This summer has been unusual in that the temperatures were mild with a few ninety degree range and high humidity days dispersed in the mix. We’ve had a lot of rain also, so the corn and soybeans have been very happy. Farmers are trying to bale hay and bush hogging fields around the rain. My flower beds are so overgrown from all the rain, that I’m not able to find the flowers in all of the grass and weeds. My watermelons are just sitting there with the vines only two or three feet long. My Cherokee Purple tomatoes are just starting to come in and also apples and figs. One apple called Pixie Crunch had fruit for the first time this year and is a fantastic eating apple. Two of my apple trees fell over during a storm, and the Hooligans have been having a field day helping themselves to the apples and also figs they can reach. Oh course they don’t eat the culls or ones with bad spots. They only pick the best. Last Saturday, while I mowed my three acres, I watched Blackie stuff herself with every apple on one limb of a downed tree. I just knew she was going to be sick the next day, but she must have a cast iron stomach. I know I’d be sick if I ate that many apples.

One night the Hooligans were playing with a black cat with a white stripe down its back.  I got up the next morning to go to work and the odor was floating in the air.  Thankfully each only got a partial dose of the spray.

One of the concerns with all the rain was if the farmers were going to be able to get into the fields to combine. The rain stopped at the right time and so far it’s been a bumper crop. Corn prices are way down this year since so much of it was planted.  This is the first year I’ve remembered that I haven’t seen a single cotton field, only corn and soybeans. A lot of hay was baled this summer between the rain storms.


Noah the neighbor’s cat has been sneaking up to my yard right after I leave for work.  Some mornings, I’ll see him sitting in his driveway and as soon as I turn out of the driveway and go down the road, he’ll start walking down the road to my house. He’ll sit by the mailbox just teasing the Hooligans and watching them have a hissy fit.

The hummingbirds in the middle of migration have really been hitting the feeders. They started a couple of weeks early this year. Hope that’s not an indication of the type of winter we’ll have. Check out more of my hummingbird pictures part 1 on myRosedale Gardens part 1 hummingbirds. I finally saw a monarch for the first time this year feeding on an over ripe fig.


The owner of the Sequoyah Caverns was retiring and closing the cave, so had to add that to my bucket list in late August. It has a shallow pool throughout and the ceiling was reflecting off of the water. I tried to get most of my shots without a flash. Labor Day I attended the 76th birthday celebration of the Key Underwood Memorial Coondog Cemetery south of Tuscumbia. You have to be a certified coondog in order to be buried at this cemetery.


Next I ventured over to Courtland for the birthday celebration of Fighting Joe Wheeler at his restored home Pond Springs. A lot of work remains to be done. 

The 11th annual Walk to Tuscumbia from Tuscumbia Landing along the Tennessee River in Sheffield to Spring Park took place in September. It is part of the Oka Kapassa Festival, which commemorates the kindness of the citizens of Tuscumbia while the Indians were forced to relocate to Oklahoma. Along the way they had encountered hardships, beating, starvation and theft of their property along the Trail of Tears corridor except in the city of Tuscumbia. Here they were given food, clothes shelter and a doctor before leaving the area through Tuscumbia Landing.


I’ll have a break from the festivals for a few weeks and maybe I can find my garden and flower beds. Well, I did have the riverboat American Queen to visit our area. 

And Levi?  He’s still hungry.

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