Tri-Cities Tour

I am looking forward to seeing storytelling friends and readers at the 40th Annual National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee the first weekend in October. It is the perfect setting to launch my next book and the story of the Children of the Revolution.

Book 3, Children of the Revolution in the Westward Sagas series is simultaneously being introduced in Jonesborough, Johnson City, and Greeneville during National Storytelling Week. East Tennessee is where many patriot soldiers settled after the American Revolution. Children of the Revolution is about their progeny, America’s first generation coming of age in Washington and Greene Counties.

Well known pioneers; David Deaderick, Dr. William Chester, Nicholas Fain, Christopher Taylor, Adam Mitchell, Reverends Doak, Balch, and Witherspoon all played important roles in settling the area. All are characters in the 100-year odyssey of the Westward Sagas series that includes Book 1, Spring House; Book 2, Adam’s Daughters; and Book 3, Children of the Revolution.

All events I will be participating in below are open to the public and free of charge. Hope to see you at one of the events.

The week starts with a TV appearance on the “Daytime Tri-Cities” Show with Amy Lynn and Morgan King, Tuesday morning, October 2. This will be my second appearance on their show and a great group they are at WJHL/CBS affiliate.

A book signing and reception at the Historic General Morgan Inn in Greeneville, Tennessee on Wednesday, October 3, 2-4 p.m.

Storytelling and book signing at Gracious Designs in Johnson City, Tennessee, Thursday, October 4, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by afternoon tea.

Book signing in the Jonesborough Visitors Center, Thursday, October 4, 1:30-5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, October 7, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Click for additional Appearances.

Downtown Jonesborough

Promises Kept

On a flight from Austin to San Diego, the pilot announced “if you look out the left window, you can see the Grand Canyon.” Seated on the right side of the plane, I stretched to catch a glance, but only saw desert lands. A kind stewardess (that’s what they were called then) asked if I would like to move to a seat on the left. Through that small plexiglass portal, I intently watched as the 266 mile long canyon disappeared behind the plane. I made a promise that when my tour of duty with the U.S. Navy was up, I would explore the Grand Canyon.

Many years later, here I am. I took the Grand Canyon train from Williams AZ, to the canyon transferring to a bus for a tour of the South Rim that included lunch. One evening, I drove to Mather Point to watch the sun set. The canyon walls and floor, one mile below the rim, became a kaleidoscope of ever changing colors as the sun slowly faded away. Twilight brought a refreshing breeze; suddenly deer appeared only a few yards behind me, grazing on the sparse vegetation. I sat quietly watching them, glad that I kept the promise. Next blog – Room With a View.


Obsolescent Necessities

The first book in the Westward Sagas was named Spring House because most of the important scenes in the story took place in a spring house.

My grandparents, whom I discussed in my last post, also had a spring house. It was no longer in use, but I remember exactly how the native rock structure looked. I thought it was pretty cool, and it was. Cool spring water came out of a natural flowing spring running inside the structure by way of troughs that allowed the spring water to slowly trickle down the man-made trace into a pool of water twelve to eighteen inches deep. My parents told me how Grandmother would place the crocks of butter, milk, and eggs in the circulating water to keep them cool.

Granddad eventually bought an ice box, which eliminated running to the spring house on the creek for a glass of milk. The ice box worked pretty well when the local ice man came by twice a week during summer months to replenish the quickly melting ice. The residents along the Pedernales River called on their congressman and neighbor Lyndon Johnson to get electricity to the area like the folks in the city had. His support for the Rural Electrification Project earned him a lifetime of praise and support for his efforts.     

 It was an exciting day when Granddad switched that light switch on for the first time. An electric refrigerator soon replaced the ice box, no-longer-needed kerosene lamps were stored in the ice box, and the spring house became just a cool place to be after a hard day of work or a place for the grandchildren to play. The word spring house and ice box would become obsolete.

Look for words next week that have been recycled to mean something other than their original intent. You might be surprised.

Generation Gap

They're climbin' in your Facebook, they're snatchin' your data up
This Christmas I hosted the family at Goat Creek—the first time in years that I didn’t load the dogs up in the RV for a trip. My thirteen-year-old grandson, Nicholas, taught me about Facebook. He says it’s a neat way to meet girls. A glimpse at his Facebook page confirms that.

When I asked him a question, Nick looked at me like, “You don’t know that?” He did a great job of teaching me, much better than some of the online courses that I have taken on this new phenomenon known as social networking.

Cousin Les Bowles told a story about our Grandfather John Bowles that relates to my indoctrination to the PC and the many applications for its use. Granddad was born in 1874; he purchased a horseless carriage at about the same age that I was introduced to computers.

Around 1929, my Uncles Lester and Elmer took my grandparents to Austin, Texas to pick up the new conveyance. The salesmen put Granddad in the driver’s seat, without the engine running, in order to explain the gears, clutch, brake, spark, and gas levers of the Model T Ford. The salesman gave the Tin Lizzy a crank. It started; Granddad let out the clutch and drove off toward the Bowles Ranch on the Pedernales River. The boys caught up before they reached Williamson Creek at Oakhill. Everything went well down the bumpy gravel road, with dust billowing up and Grandma hanging on to the bonnet she always wore to protect her fair Scots-Irish complexion.

Granddad turned quickly down Cox Crossing Road, the only crossing on the Pedernales at the time. Fortunately the ranch gate was open, and he whizzed right in. Grandma looked like she was about to jump out of the open touring car. As they neared the rock house, he circled a stand of large native oak trees. Thinking their father was showing off his new vehicle for them, my father and Uncle Leroy came out to watch.

Granddad headed straight towards a thicket of brush, pulling back on the steering wheel and hollering, “Whoa, damnit! Whoa, damnit!”

He stopped in the middle of the thicket. Grandma jumped over the door on one side as Granddad did on the other. He headed to the house with her in close pursuit, swatting at him with her bonnet and giving him a good tongue lashing all the way.

Seems he didn’t remember the instructions on how to stop this new-fangled contraption. Granddad never drove the Model T again. He depended on his sons to drive him everywhere he went until his death in 1952 at the age of 79.

Having traveled at least once by horse or buggy to Indian Territory and back to Texas, Granddad understood the concept of making a horse or a team of horses stop. This new horseless carriage was as strange to him as the PC was to my generation when the Internet opened up 17 years ago.

I hope that my grandchildren and all young people will understand why some of the ever-changing computer applications are a challenge for the previous generations to grasp. In time, you will be tested on some futuristic technology as every generation before us has been.

photo credit: joe.ross

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