Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month is a picture of one of my favorite birds, the Eastern Bluebird. He looks cold, doesn't he????? Welcome to January!!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

In Memory of a Great Friend

JO SUSAN HOLLIFIELD DAUGHERTY
 June 2, 1942- July 28, 2011

It is with much sorrow that I have to write this blog post.  Yesterday morning, one of my very best childhood friends,  JO SUSAN HOLLIFIELD DAUGHERTY (Susan or SuSu to me) passed away peacefully--after a long battle with Breast Cancer.  You may remember that I wrote a blog the first of June on "Perseverance" about Susan.  Click HERE to read that post.   Susan has fought her battles for several years--and has had some good and some bad times.  Recently,  she truly did 'rally' ---and I thought she would be around much longer. 

Susan,  about Age 12
This time though,  Susan reentered the hospital about June 17 (while George and I were on our trip out west)--and this time,  she did not rally.   They did all they could to help her --but when it became apparent that there was nothing else to be done,  her family wanted her comfortable.  So they put her in a very nice hospice facility.  The bottom line is that I knew her death was inevitable,  but when it actually happened,  I found myself crying and crying yesterday.

Susan and Duke,  with sons Brad and Ben, taken about 1970
Susan (and my other 2 childhood friends, Reida and Nita) call ourselves the Getaway Gang --or even the Ya Ya Sisterhood.  You will have to read more about our special bond (click HERE).   All four of us were born in the summer of 1942.  We grew up together and were great friends throughout childhood.  When we turned 18, we all left for college --and then went  our separate ways into different lives.

A sweet picture of Susan and Duke, 2009
Then in 1992,  when we all turned FIFTY,  we decided to meet for a few days of catch-up... That 'get-together' was AWESOME ---and we talked a mile a minute for about 3 days!!!! We decided at that time to try to meet every year in the Fall for another special time together.   We have done it most every year since 1992. 

Betsy and Susan, in 1992, on our first Getaway trip
One thing about these trips together is that we spent more time in our robes and gowns than our clothes!!!!! We looked through old yearbooks and talked about everyone that we knew 'back in the day'.... I have such wonderful memories of those trips together.


That cute little Susan getting ready to take a 'dip' in the creek (NOT)
Susan was the sweetest one of the four of us.. She was a peacemaker ---and always saw the best side of everyone and everything.  When we would get in a 'discussion' about a certain issue,  Susan would be the one who could see both sides --and helped us to come to a good  balance.

This gal always had a smile on her face.
Susan lived in Atlanta and worked for many years in the insurance business.  She married an Alabama boy --who loved her with a passion.  You can imagine how hard all of this has been on Duke.  They raised two wonderful sons, Brad and Ben.  Brad got married in 2001 --and I was was privileged to attend that wedding.  He and his wife Joy have given Susan three wonderful grandchildren... Ben is getting married in the Fall --and Susan had hoped to live long enough to go to that wedding.  She will be there with them in spirit now.

Betsy, Nita, Susan, Reida
The picture above was the last picture that the four of us have together.  It was on our 2009 trip to Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  We knew at that time that SuSu had cancer, but she was doing well then.  That trip however will remain in my memory as one of my favorites.

Look at all of my winnings!!!!!
Susan and Nita had a good time when we went to New Orleans in 1995.  We went on a casino boat ---and they just had to play the slot machines!!!!!  Susan actually won a little money!!!!  One would have thought it was a million dollars! ha

In the Sevierville, TN area in 2007
Our trip in 2007 was to a gorgeous condo in Sevierville, TN... We of course had to do some 'window shopping' in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg.  Susan wanted to take that big pumpkin home with her!!!!

Taken at the Wunderland Hotel,  near Gatlinburg, TN --1993
"Sweet, Sweet Susan:  You will be missed.  Our trips won't be the same without you.  I'm glad that Nita was with you when you died because she represented all 3 of us... We love you dearly.  We'll be watching for your smile from that big pink cloud in the sky."

Susan gave all three of us a gorgeous photograph album in 2009 ---with pictures from all of our trips together.  In my album,  she wrote this for me:  "For my dear friend, Betsy.  I  will forever treasure these memories of our 'Getaway Gang' trips.  Love you, Susan"

Susan's Response to us
This picture jumped out at me yesterday when I was going through our photo albums looking for special pictures.  This picture was taken in New Orleans in 1995 ---but I think she really made this picture for us today.   I can almost hear her say: "Hey Girls,  I am fine --and will be watching all of you from above.  Now behave yourselves. When you get here,  we'll have a big party."

Have a great weekend---and hug the ones you love. I am taking a couple of days off from blogging and commenting.  See you Monday!
Hugs,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Day Lilies and Lilies in our Yard

Are you tired of seeing the Day Lilies and Lilies in our yard????  I hope not---because here comes another post!!!!!!  Even though we were gone for 3 weeks in June,  we have been fortunate to have so many different Lilies and Day Lilies blooming off and on for these past couple of months.  Altogether,  we have had 20 different varieties of Lilies and 19 different varieties of  Day Lilies.   AND--that doesn't count the ones we totally missed seeing in June.  SO---we can't complain!!!  They have been so pretty --and many still are!!!!

Today I will show you some of each...  IF you missed any of my other posts,  you can go to the sidebar and scroll down to labels.  Then click on either DayLilies 2011 or Lilies 2011.  Above is a picture of another of our Day Lilies.  It's name is appropriately,  BICOLOR DAY LILY.




CAROLYN CRISWELL  DAY LILY  (I love this yellow color.)




SPANISH GLOW DAY LILY (This one didn't bloom last year ---so we'll say that this is a new one for us!!!)




This one is named MERO STAR LILY.   Isn't it a gorgeous lily?




And this little yellow beauty is named TREBBIANO LILY.




And I think this has been one of my favorite lilies this year.  Its name is SIMPLON LILY.   Doesn't it remind you of old-fashioned fabric called Dotted Swiss???  Or --maybe it's like tapioca pudding.... 




Finally,  here's the reason I love the SIMPLON LILIES so much... There are so many of them --and they are truly gorgeous!!

This is probably the last of my lily and day lily posts for this year... IF you don't have them in your yard,  then you need to get some...  They are such a joy to have around.

Hugs,

P.S.  Many of you talked about the sad faces in yesterday's pictures.  If you remember, it took a very very long time back then to take photographs..  It was not a fast project.  People couldn't have held a smile for that long---so that is why people in old pictures never smiled.   I also read that people didn't have good teeth back then either---so that is another reason for no smiles much.  BUT---I truly feel as if my family had many happy times and were never as sad as they looked in photos.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

One Woman's Story

As most of you know,  I love Genealogy.  I have been working on my family's history off and on for several years.  Most of this time has been spent putting names and dates on my software program ---trying to get accurate information on births, marriages, deaths,  etc.

On Saturday night,  July 16,   I pulled out a packet of my Family History notes.  I got to reading --and while reading,  I realized something.  I know names and dates of many of my family members that go back many years.  What I don't know --and what I want to know now are their stories,  how they lived,  what they did, etc..   While thinking about these Family Stories,  I realized that I don't really have too much on many of them.

I did find a story about my Great Grandmother,  MARTHA MATILDA CARR.  This is a typical story of what it was like in the mid-1800's  when the Civil War was going on in our country.  Times were rough --and for a young woman like Martha,  life was especially hard.

Martha was born  on November 7, 1849 in New Hope, in what is now West Virginia.  Her father was Robert Carr (1801-1874) and her mother was Sarah Sallie King (1808-1878).  There were FOURTEEN children in the family.  Martha was the 3rd from the youngest. 

I read that the family were loyal Confederates ---so when the boundaries were changed between Virginia and West Virginia,  the family moved to make sure that they were in Virginia.  In 1861,  Civil War broke out in our country.  Martha was only about 12 yrs old.

WELL---during those years,  many members of her family were killed or wounded either in that war or due to that war, so Martha saw her little world just fall apart.  (I cannot imagine going through this.)  All of the boys in the family (except one who was too young) went to war.  Here were some of the deaths or those wounded in her family:
  • -a sister, Nancy Mary, died at age 23
  • -Sarah,  an in-law, died in 1861, at about age 30
  • -Reverend William, an in-law, died in 1861,  at about age 32
  • -John, an in-law, died in 1863 of battle wounds (he was in the infantry), at about age 33
  • -Jane, his wife and a sister to Martha,  died on Oct. 1, 1864, at age 30
  • -Jess Green,  Martha's brother, died in 1863, of a fever following a battle wound, at age 28
  • -Joseph,  another brother of Martha, died in 1864, of battle wounds,  at age 18
Can you believe it:  FOUR men and THREE women in the same family died,  all between the ages of 18 to 33????    But---besides the dead,  three brothers came back from the war.  James Shannon and John were both severely wounded,  and Giles had a mutilated right hand.   While reading this information,  I just sat there with tears in my eyes ---thinking about that family and what they went through.

Martha Matilda got married in 1873 to Daniel Hoge Bruce.   They moved away to a remote and rugged area in VA, which was far from her home --so she didn't get to see her family very often. Daniel taught school --and life was hard for the family (there were 7 children) as they worked to raise family crops and apple trees,  plus canning and meat curing, etc.  It became too difficult, so the family had to give up the farm and move into town--where the children could continue their schooling. Most of the children eventually became school teachers.

Of the 7 children, one was my Grandmother Ida Elizabeth Bruce.  My grandmother (the eldest child of Martha and Daniel) died herself at the age of 30.   Then,  Martha's  husband,  Daniel,  developed a severe disease which they called Creeping Paralysis (probably Parkinson's Disease).  He became helpless himself and had to be fed and tended to like a baby.  Martha also suffered by losing her hearing totally --but she still managed to nurse her husband through all of those long, painful years --with great patience, cheerfulness and love.

I read that this lady was full of self-confidence and great composure which seemed to carry her through some very sad times.   Daniel died in 1915 at the age of 68.   Martha lived a few more years,  dying herself in 1918.

I only have 2 pictures of my Great Grandmother ---both showing a very sad woman.  As I write her story,   I yearn to know more about my family on a personal level.  That is why it is important to get these stories written down for future generations.  If nobody tells the stories,  they won't get told.

I cannot imagine living a life like my Great Grandmother lived.  From what I read,  Martha only lost her composure one time --and that was over something quite insignificant.  After Daniel died,  Martha was heard saying when she saw a new piece of furniture:  "I never had a new piece of furniture in my whole life".   Needless to say,  the family pulled their money together and bought her a beautiful new loveseat.   I guess  that that little statement popped out culminating all of the heartache she had endured her entire life... 

This is only one story --of one brave lady. I am proud to be her Great Granddaughter --and only hope that I show a tiny bit of her fortitude and self-assurance.

There are two pictures today.  The one above is of Martha Matilda Carr Bruce, my Great Grandmother. The one below shows the family of my Great Grandparents.  From left to right:  First row:  daughter Lula Margaret,  my Grandmother Ida Elizabeth,  my mother Edith Marguerite-in front of her mother,  Great Grandfather Daniel,  Great Grandmother Matilda;  2nd row: daughter Flora;  daughter Rosa;  Son Robert; daughter Alice;  and daughter, Hattie.



Have a great day---and remember to write down the stories of your loved ones... Their stories,  no matter how sad,  need to be told.  These stories also help us in today's world appreciate our lives much more.  They also should help us to quit complaining about what we don't have ---and be thankful for what we do.

Hugs,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

66 Diner ---on Route 66

On June 12,  on our way out west,  we spent the night at Albuquerque, New Mexico (took me about a month to learn to spell that city).... While we were there,  we wanted to visit the 'old town' area (another upcoming blog post),  and we wanted to drive a little on Route 66..  WELL---while driving on Route 66,  we were also looking for a neat little place to have some dinner... And we found it!!!!!!

We ate at the Route 66 Diner...What a neat little place .... There were so many memories in that little place ---of my life growing up in the 50's.  Today I'll just share some of what we enjoyed that evening --besides the delicious food....

Above is the outside of the little diner....  I remember those windows well ---since the old bus station in my home town in Virginia had windows just like that... Do you remember those kinds of windows????




Remember these things???  We had a 'hang-out' in my hometown when I was a teen,  called Carmines... I remember buying a chili bun and a coke for a QUARTER back then.  There were pinball machines in Carmines and also a juke box---similar to the one above.  We all loved that place!!!!




AND---do you remember the old-fashioned soda fountains???  We had one in our hometown --and my Daddy would take me there to buy me some ice cream when I was very young.  I  have loved ice cream to this day!!!!

We were lucky to have gotten to the 66 Diner as late as we did --since the crowds (and there were lots of people) had thinned out --just in time for us to take some pictures.




Remember that little gal??????   Remember the old gas pumps???? There's even an old bicycle hanging above Miss Betty.





There was so much memorabilia around that it was hard to take time to eat.... So many memories....




This really brought back memories to me.  My mother collected Green Stamps --and I remember sticking them in all of those little books for her.... I think she got some pretty nice items by saving these.... Remember this?




AND finally---did any of you ever own a Plymouth???  We never did --but I grew up and learned to drive on a 1950 Pontiac ... It was a straight-shift ---and I loved that car!!!!

Looks like this Plymouth had a "popeye"-----or maybe some say "perdiddle"....  Know what that means??????


As you can tell,  we had a great time in the 66 DINER in Albuquerque, New Mexico...  AND--the food was delicious... Their dessert special was Rhubarb Cobbler with ice cream.  WELL---I just "HAD" to have some of that since I haven't had rhubarb in many years... My mother used to make rhubarb often and I've always loved it.  The cobbler was FAN-TABULOUS!!!!!
 
Hope you enjoyed the 66 DINER....  There are so many neat places along old Route 66.  Hope you can check them out yourself sometime.



Hugs,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Birds-Birds-Birds

This past Thursday,  during our horrible heatwave,  we finally did get a little rain here in Fairfield Glade.  And what happens after the rain??????????   The birdies come to the feeder to get a bite to eat!!!!!!  It happens every time we get some rain!!

I stood there watching them for only about 15 minutes ... And of course,  I just HAD to take some pictures to show YOU!!!! (Aren't I so sweet????) ....  WELL---the good news is that in that short period of time,  I got 3 pictures of some of our latest backyard BABIES!!!!!

Here are seven pictures of my sweet little backyard birds!!!!  Above is an adorable picture of an immature NORTHERN CARDINAL. Isn't he just the cutest little bird?




Several of you enjoyed seeing a female Goldfinch in my last bird blog... SO---today,  I hope you enjoy the gorgeous male GOLDFINCH.  We have more Goldfinches this summer than we have ever had.. There must be several families of them around here --and they all must have had a bunch of babies!!!!




This is a BROWN THRASHER.   They love to come to the suet feeder..   Look at that beak!!!!




I love this little guy... He is an immature male DOWNY WOODPECKER.  Can you tell that he is beginning to get some red on the top of his head ---which shows that he is a male?




I don't see these birds very often,  but when they do visit,  they also like the suet.  He is a GRAY CATBIRD.




I never tire of seeing this gorgeous bird and they are regulars at the feeders --off and on all day long.  He is a gorgeous male NORTHERN CARDINAL.  




Finally,  here is my favorite picture of the group today... This little guy is an immature RED- BELLIED WOODPECKER.   Isn't he just gorgeous???  I'm not totally sure that this one is male, but I think he is...

Hope you enjoyed today's Backyard Birdies at my home...

Hugs,

Friday, July 22, 2011

Kolob Canyons, Utah

On Monday, June 20 (as part of our 3 week trip out west),  George and I drove first on Scenic Highway 14 to Cedar Breaks.  (I will blog much more on Cedar Breaks at another time).  Anyhow--after leaving Cedar Breaks,  we drove through Cedar City and headed south on I-15 to KOLOB CANYONS.

Kolob Canyons is a lesser-known section of Zion National Park --but is in a fabulous location (just off of Interstate 15 south of Cedar City).  Even though it is not as popular as Zion and not nearly as large,  Kolob (sometimes called the Finger Canyons) offers soaring cliffs of red Navajo sandstone and deep pocket canyons just waiting for someone like us to discover!!! We loved it there since it was so peaceful and serene----AND there weren't nearly as many people around!!!! Yeah!

The word "Kolob" is from Mormon scripture meaning "residence closest to heaven".  We took the scenic byway (which is only about 5 miles long).  This route followed along a ridgeline,  climbing over 1100 feet in elevation, while we enjoyed the deep reddish-orange cliffs,  protruding abruptly from the ground as the road  followed portions of Taylor Creek,  the headwaters for Kolob Canyons.  The road ended at a turn-around place called the Timber Creek Overlook, which was a nice place for a hike.

This scenic road we took runs along the Hurricane Fault,  a fracture in the earth's crust,  stretching over 150-miles from the Grand Canyon to Cedar City,  marking the western edge of the Markagunt Plateau, a plateau in southern Utah.  Erosion along the Hurricane Fault  has served to change the landscape of Zion.  

The first inhabitants of the Kolob area were the Anasazi (or "ancient ones").  Very little is known about them or why they disappeared from the southwest region about 1200 AD.  The Paiutes were next to establish themselves in the area, and they still consider Kolob to be a sacred place to receive emotional and spiritual sustenance.

The Spanish explorers, Dominguez and Escalante, first documented the Kolob Canyons as they tried to establish a trail from New Mexico to California.  Mormon pioneers settled the Kolob area in 1852.  They used the area for a variety of purposes (timber, raising livestock, prospecting minerals).  Kolob Canyons was set aside for protection as a national monument in 1937 and added to the Zion National Park in 1956.

Here are some pictures we took from Kolob Canyons when we were there.  Above shows one of our first views of the canyons when we entered the park.  All we could say was WOW!  It doesn't look real, does it?




George took this picture of me as I admired Kolob Canyons at one of the overlooks.  Behind me is the Horse Ranch Mountain,  one of the tallest peaks,  at 8926 feet.




We stopped all along the road to take pictures of these massive and gorgeous cliffs.  I read that we should come back in spring to see some waterfalls cascading down the rugged cliffs.  OR--maybe we should come in winter to see some snow on the cliffs.  OR--maybe we should come in Fall to see some of the Fall colors...  Ah Heck---let's just come every season!!!!




I took this picture of George at one of the overlooks.  It was interesting that it named all of the mountain ranges in that area.




The cliffs appear solid and motionless.  But the visible scars tell a different story.  In July of 1983,  a huge slab  broke off the cliff marked with an oval.  It left a buff-colored scar and tons of rubble at the base. The entire event was over in minutes.

These canyons are not permanent scenery.  Many rockfalls shaped the dynamic and evolving canyons.  Dramatic facelifts like the 1983 rockfall are relatively rare,  but frequent small piles of rocks on the roadway reveal this terrain's volatile personality.




George found this adorable little flower while hiking the Timber Creek Overlook Trail.  So of course, we had to take a picture of it... This is a SEGO LILY,  the state flower of Utah.  I had never heard of one or seen one before.  They are SO pretty.   Did you know though that the bulbs of this lily were roasted, boiled or made into a porridge by Native Americans and were also used as a food source by the Mormon pioneers?  (Isn't it interesting what we can find when we search for more info!!) 

The Sego Lily has 1 to 4 flowers,  each with 3 white petals.  They bloom in early Summer and are 6-18 inches in height with linear leaves.  This plant is native to a number of western states.




Find the hanging valley!!!!  The tracks give it away.  Dark mineral stains on the wall (below the oval) indicate an occasional waterfall that pours over the cliff after heavy storms.  Waterfall tracks can also indicate that a hanging valley lies above them.

So what is a Hanging Valley, you ask!!!!  It is a tributary valley with the floor at a higher relief than the main channel into which it flows.  The upper valley appears to be 'hanging' above the main valley.  Often,  waterfalls form at or near the outlet of the upper valley (as the picture shows above).  If you have seen Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite National Park,  it flows from a hanging valley.

Originally, in the one pictured above,  the upper side canyon's stream was a tributary connected to the main canyon's stream. Uplift along the main canyon wall separated the side canyon.  In time, the side canyon was marooned,  hanging a thousand feet above the main canyon floor.  Interesting, huh?




Finally,  this picture was taken at the  turn-around place at Kolob Canyon.  They told us that the light late in the afternoon (when we were there) was best for photography with a breathtaking view of the Kolob Terrace.   I think it was.   What say you?????

One thing that many people want to see at the Kolob Canyons is the Kolob Arch.  It is considered to be one of the longest natural arches in the world second only to the Landscape Arch at the Arches National Park.  Kolob Arch is 287 feet long and Landscape Arch is 290 feet long.  We didn't hike to see the arch (although it would have been a great hike).  I think I read that it takes about 14 hours round trip!!!!!

Hope you can visit Kolob Canyons when you are in that area.  As I said above,  we'd love to visit during EVERY season.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday.
Hugs,