Saturday, August 28, 2010

For Parents With Teenage Daughters--Boyfriend for Rent (And Some Pictures)

My youngest son, age seventeen, recently broke up with his girlfriend. Being a thoughtful parent I had to remind myself that I was once that age and approach the situation accordingly. One of my finer parental moments I must say. However, what I did not see coming was how this event was going to impact me until I noticed that the grass in the front yard had grown to almost knee level in places. What you may ask does the dating habits of a seventeen year old have to do with lawn care? Isn't it obvious?.....Let me give you a little lesson in capitalism.

My son receives financial remuneration for mowing the lawn from mom, as they are wont to do; while Dad just stands by and grumbles about never getting paid for doing chores at his age-- as we are wont to do. But the remuneration itself is not the prime motivator. For most of us older folk our motivation is to provide for our families. Pay the bills, groceries, and occasional night out on the town, and whatever else our wives want. But what is the motivator for a seventeen year old boy? You got it! A seventeen year old girl--or somewhere in that age range--to spend money on! No girl. No motivation to earn money. Which in this case translates into knee high grass in the front yard. Which in the end meant that yours truly instead of being able to waste time posting pictures on this blog was out pulling weeds and mowing the lawn! Thus my dilemma.

So if anyone out there has a spare teenage daughter in the seventeen year old range I've got a seventeen year old son available for rent or lease with terms negotiable. He is in the National Honor Society, loves to cook, very artistic, plays the guitar and drums, and is a perfect gentleman. Any parent would be proud to have their daughter dating him. You can feel good that your daughter is out with someone who will respect her and I will have the time to post pictures instead of having to mow the lawn. Is a win win for everyone!

And yes I do realize that my youngest off spring will soon be leaving the nest and leaving me with lawn care duties. Fear not I've already got plan B in place. A retired friend of mine is planning to sell his house in the county and move into a condo a few blocks from my house. His one regret will not having a yard to take care of. No I'm not making this up. I'm told that when you reach a certain age a chemical imbalance or something occurs in the brain and you begin to enjoy yard work! So I have graciously offered my friend the opportunity to take care of my lawn. What a guy right? So as my son walks out the door to go forth and make his mark on the world my friend Dan will be out front mowing the lawn.

Not one to disappoint I will struggle through with my cut, bruised and blistered hands (yard gloves are for girls) and post a few shots of my recent travels through Olde Virginny.........but first

Boyfriend for Rent
My son Joshua getting ready to go para-sailing during our recent trip to Myrtle Beach. As I write this my fingers are cramping up and my blister is beginning to sting. Don't know how much I will be able to post if I have to do yard work again. Any help in the girl friend department would be greatly appreciated.
Marquis Road, Orange County
Finally got some rain over the past few days so we are beginning to see some green again. Traveling down the back roads of Virginia is the highlight of my job. Never know what is going to around the next corner...........
A Question for the Car Enthusiasts Out There.......
Off the beaten path in Orange County. Actually the beaten path ended about half a mile before I got to this site. My 2010 Ford almost didn't make it back out which makes me wonder how this old Ford got in. My knowledge of cars pretty much ends with knowing where the gas goes in, how to change radio stations, and knowing where the A/C button is. So anyone know what model and year this is.....was.

Did You Know.......
That in New Zealand this would be called a, "long drop." In Australia it would be called a, "Dunny," or, "Thunderbox." In Chile an "Aldaco" and in parts of Brazil a, "patente."

In the US a term used to describe it is a, "biffy," which is derived from Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) who serviced them. It was also referred to as a, "kybo" derived from Kybo coffee. The cans were used to hold the lye used to deal with the smell.

On August 29, 2007, the highest outhouse in the continental United States — which sat atop Mount Whitney at about 4,418 meters (14,494 feet) above sea level, offering a magnificent panorama to the user — was removed.

I could go on but I think that is enough for this, "Learning Moment" on Outhouses. Remember! If you learn one new thing every day you will be a genius by the time you die.
I'll Have the Smoked Turkey on Wheat With the Works But Light on the Mayo....
Here is where your sandwich begins. A family owned turkey farm in northern Louisa County. Cute little guy isn't he?
.......And Then There is Turkey Pot Pies, Turkey Bacon, and Those Yummy Unidentified Processed Meats.
A family portrait. This particular farm has about 15,000 turkeys on site at one time. From the time of arrival until they leave to be prepared for your dining room table is (20) weeks. This farm processes about 45,000 turkeys a year and is considered a small operation.
A Free School
Outside Beaverdam--Free schools were set up, for the most part, by the local gentry, to provide a free education for working class children before the public school system was established in Virginia. In 1659 one Thomas Eaton left 500 acres, buildings, livestock, and two slaves for a school to serve Elizabeth City County. In 1820 the Virginia General Assembly began to oversee the establishments of such schools setting boundaries, appointing trustees, etc.

This particular school was know as the Hall Free School and was established by an act of the General Assembly on February 6, 1846. The establishment of the school was a condition of the will of Arron Hall, "To establish a free school in the neighborhood of my residence in order that the youth of my acquaintance may enjoy the benefit of the include at least reading and writing in the English language and arithmetic."
Not Something You See Everyday......
Caroline County--A caboose sitting in the middle of a field with no railroad tracks in site. Nothing left on the car to determine what company owned it or anything that would give any hint on how it got there. Spent a good half and hour (sorry boss) tramping around it and inside it.
A Church No More?
Louisa County--An abandoned church. Nothing remains to tell the story of those who worshipped here or what happened to cause it to be abandoned. The latest date on a gravestone in the back was 1966. The pews are still in place inside ready for the next service to begin.
Unkept But Not Forgotten

To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die.

Thomas Campbell

Behind the church is a small graveyard. As with the church itself Mother Nature has begun the process of reclaiming what had been lost. Someone has left a token of their love for the deceased but have not tried to deter Mother Nature's efforts.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Trip to Myrtle Beach.....North

A beach sunset is beautiful but also mundane because we expect it to be beautiful. In your life’s travels take a closer look around you for the unexpected, the quirky, the incongruous. These scenes may not be as beautiful as a sunset on the beach but they are a hell of a lot more interesting!


Just got back from a week at North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. For those of you expecting pictures of romantic sunsets on the beach or scantily clad co-eds playing beach volleyball you should know by now I don't have much use for the expected. Come on gang where is your drive to experience and see new things? ...........OK , here is a site with photos of breathtaking beach scenes, and here is one with breathtaking photos of spring break If there is anyone left here are some photos of some of the unexpected and interesting sites of North Myrtle Beach...........

Welcome to North Myrtle Beach.....
The main drag into North Myrtle Beach, SC--17th Avenue South. Lined, as expected, by Palmetto trees. You may notice that unlike most beach spots not every inch of space at least four blocks back is taken up with high rise hotels, condos, bars and cheap gift shops. Most of North Myrtle Beach is covered with beach houses without views of the beach--thanks to the hotels on the beach which have such interesting and unique names like, The Dunes, High Tide, and By the Sea. And to add insult to injury at least one has a Tiki Bar. Just for edification Tiki is a male figure in Polynesian, i.e, Pacific, mythology, sometimes identified as the first man. You definitely cannot use the words originality or cultural sensitivity in the same sentence with beach front community.

LEARNING MOMENT--The palmetto tree was adopted as the state symbol in 1861 (On their way out of the Union) to honor Moultrie's heroic defense of the palmetto log fort on Sullivan's Island against the attack of the British fleet on June 28, 1776.

Typical North Myrtle Beach......
A rather typical colorful and well landscaped two story bungalow two blocks off the beach. In my travels through the city I noted that there was a good mix of housing from small one story bungalows to three story duplexes with balconies, pools, and garages. An egalitarian utopia of sorts. Judging from the beach crowd the mix went from red neck to white collar.

Yes This is Almost Beach Front Property......
As already noted North Myrtle Beach is not your typical overdeveloped beach front. This scene is two blocks off the beach and there are two very nice two story bungalows on either side of this dense jungle lot. There are a number of similar lots through the area. To have reached the tree to put up the "No Trespassing" sign would have required the use of a machete. Getting beyond the tree to trespass would be almost impossible. If you did get past you may never find your way back. I am told that Jules Verne got the idea for his classic work, "The lost World," while vacationing in North Myrtle Beach.
Quirky Times Two.......
Another unique aspect of North Myrtle Beach are pillars all over the place marking, "Public Walkways." These "walkways" cut through yards, between yards, and through backyards. You will note that there are really no walkways involved. You are just walking through someone's yard. In this particular case we add to this beach front oddity the fact that this particular "walkway" is blocked by two mailboxes, a tree, a telephone pole, an addition to the left, a shed, and a bush at the other end. One may think that the city of North Myrtle Beach might want to reconsider this particular, "Public Walkway."
A "Heroic" Weather Vane
With the clouds and lighting behind it this is one impressive weather vane don't you think. A rhetorical question of course. Makes your heart beat and bit faster and gives you a lump in your throat. Have Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," playing in the background and you will feel a sense of pride being a member of the North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina community. Sign me up!
North Myrtle Beach Rorschach Test
While wondering the streets of North Myrtle Beach in the wee hours of the morning I came upon this scene. OK gang--What jumps into your mind when you first looked at this picture?
Look How Interesting Perfection Can Be
For centuries philosophers have debated the definition of perfection. One line of thought is that everything is perfect. I believe it was Descartes who wrote of a rotten peach and asked whether it could not be considered a perfectly rotten peach? Well could this not be a photo of a perfectly overweight, pale, middle aged white guy? Be honest. If this had been a photo of a bikini clad babe you men out there would have given it a quick once over and moved on--a dime a dozen. Ladies, you would be making some unkind comment about my character or lack thereof. But this photo is unexpected, quirky and incongruous, i.e., interesting. By the way for those wondering the guy did twitch after I took the picture.
Erin Go Braugh! Y'all
Whether there be palm trees, palmetto trees or pine trees an Irish pub will be there! The only eating establishment on the main drag South Ocean Blvd.--Molly Darcy's. They have traditional items on the menu but I settled on a steak sandwich with cheese, grilled mushrooms and onions. They did give it a catchy Irish name which escapes me at the moment. Nothing in the decor honoring the boys of 1916 though. Brought up that issue with the waiter. Didn't seem to know what I was talking about.
For the Ladies.....
Being the gentleman that I am I would be remiss if I didn't post at least one beach scene at sunrise. Beautiful but mundane as it is. I do draw the line at including the usual couple walking through the breaking waves hand in hand. For those types of scenes I would refer you to the beach scenes website alluded to earlier. This is not that kind of blog thank-you very much.
For the Guys........
No babes but you would agree that sitting back and relaxing with a Guinness or two....or three is just as good if not better. A cold Guinness is satisfying, low maintenance, and will never turn you down .