Some Sunday Memories

One of the things that I love most about my home in the mountains is all the little churches. The steeples just seem to pop up above the canopy like friendly wave of hello. I remember as a kid that one of the most important jobs in the congregation was to be responsible for ringing the bell. The call to worship had to be given at about an hour or so prior to the start of service and then again when it was time to get started. On a good day we could hear the bell ring from miles away. Soon there was a parade of cars moving on the one lane road. You had to there early so you could get a good seat and a place to park. The funny thing is that everyone occupied the same seat and parking spot every Sunday. And, if one of the kids sat in a different place an adult would quickly remind them of the unwritten rules about where to sit. “Hey, that’s where so-and-so sits.” We would have to move around until we finally wound up in the same spot we sat in last week. At the end of service was another unwritten ritual. The shaking of hands. In a small country church the Right Hand Of Fellowship is a common practice. But young boys are mischievous by nature and quick to adapt a custom to their own uses. As soon as the service closed there was a race to the door where The Right Hand Of Fellowship was changed into the Running Of The Gauntlet. The boys would line the exit and extend their shaking hand to anyone trying to leave. The adults would then be obliged to accept the handshakes before they could exit thus creating a bottleneck at the door. I think that final joke was on us boys because we grew up to be the adults caught in the bottleneck later in life. I have to smile and and get warm fuzzies every time I see the steeples poking up from the trees. It always brings back childhood memories of the little churches and the extended family who attended them.

The Providence Of God & Walking With My Grandfather

Some of my most cherished memories are the long walks with my grandfather. He was World War Two veteran who walked with a cane due to shrapnel that was embedded in his leg but that never seemed to slow him down. He would come over to our little house trailer which was next door to his house and invite me to help him check on the cattle. He was also a survivor of the Great Depression and on our walks he would teach me about the things that they used to do to stretch the budget. One their best resources was the wild edible plants that are found in abundance in Appalachia. Pictured here is Chicory. All parts of the plant are edible. The leaves are eaten as a salad green and the roots are roasted and then ground into a coffee substitute. ( no caffeine). The blue petals if Chicory are a natural litmus test. When exposed to an acid they change from blue to red.

In the background of the image is Queen Anne’s Lace. ( the white flowers). Now, you have to be careful about collecting it because there’s also poisonous look-alikes such as hemlock. Queen Anne’s Lace usually has one tiny little blood red flower in the center of all that white. How’s it used? Well, I’m pretty sure that most of the world already knows because it’s simply a wild carrot. The root doesn’t really look like what you buy in the store or raise in your garden. It is small, white and kinda bland. But, it is a carrot none the less.

Most people look at the plants that grow without any help from humans and all that they see are weeds but I see the province of God and hear the voice of my grandfather.

Images of Oak Island North Carolina 2018

I have just finished editing my images of Oak Island North Carolina. At almost 50 years old I prefer the quiet beaches and small town feel as opposed to the large commercialized beaches. This area is teeming with wildlife. The brown pelicans make regular patrols up and down the beachfront as they foraged. I wasn’t really able to dedicate as much time to setting up photos as I wanted to so most of the images are shot from the hip during our daily walks along the shore or from the balcony of the condominium. (I highly recommend South Shores Villa, they were awesome!) I hope you enjoy the slideshow. I plan to use the images individually in the future.

Lloyds Lens Photography: Images of Oak Island North Carolina

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A Couple Of Stories From Summersville Lake

Summer should be spent on or around boats. Summerville Lake in West Virginia is a great place to be a teenager with a boat. It was just a little day cruiser with a small cabin but it was an adventure machine. We did the usual stuff with it. Fishing and white I never mastered the art of water skiing we did have a knee board that was a lot of fun. Perhaps the most interesting knee board story would be the time I didn’t quite get my shorts properly secured. The way to start off on a knee board is in the prone position. Dad hit the throttle and the boat was running particularly well that day. Yup, pulled me right out of my swim trunks on a crowded lake! I dove as deep and as fast as I could. I could almost touch them but I was running out of air and had to surface. Head only of course. I spent the rest of the day wearing a brightly coloured towel as a loincloth and in fear of breeze created by a boat at full throttle. Most of the time we just puttered up river (The Gauley River runs underneath the lake.) Into one of coves and when the fishing wasn’t really all that great we’d have a swim. Camping isn’t allowed on the shore except in designated areas but you can anchor off shore and spend the night on your boat. One morning we was cruising out to a quiet spot on the lake and encountered a lady who was totally freaking out. We thought maybe she was in trouble so we pulled along side their boat to offer assistance. She produced a broken fishing rod. A large one similar to the ones used to fish the shore of the ocean. The rod was broken at the base and the hook was pulled out straight. She had experienced one of the monster catfish from the very bottom of the lake. The Department of Natural Resources maintains that these unnaturally large fish do not exist but we have certified Scuba Divers who will not dive Summersville Lake after spotting one. Life on Summersville Lake is an awesome experience. I hope to see you there sometime and be sure to bring good strong fishing tackle. You might be the one who pulls a monster out of one of submerged caves.

Campfire

Summer is definitely in full swing in West Virginia. The smell of campfires and the sound of treefrogs are filling the evening air. The best thing about a campfire is the conversation that abounds as friends and family come together. Sometimes in the back of my warped imagination I can hear cave parents fussing with their cave kids that they will never be successful in life if they don’t stop sitting around the campfire all day. “You’re never going to be able to provide for your tribe if if you don’t stop playing in the fire and go out to learn how to be a hunter gatherer ! Says papa caveman. That child probably grew up to be the first blacksmith or Goldsmith. 😉 But I digress. The important thing was that the campfire was the center activities for untold millenia. It was the original social media. Charcoal from the fire was used to create artworks on cave walls and solidify the record of the stories told at the fire pit. Now that I think of it I have to wonder if any of those cave drawings are actually the first meme? You see, I don’t believe that humanity has really changed all that much since the beginning . Yes, our technology is more sophisticated and that has lead to more opportunities but our basic needs and drives are still the same . Come to think of it, we’re all not so different from each other today. Yes we have different styles and solutions to problems but it’s all problems that stem from the same basic needs. The internet is really just a very sophisticated campfire which we gather around to share stories and art. And hopefully make a friend or two.

Along with tonight post I do have some housekeeping to address. I have returned from to my Appalachian Mountains from a week at Oak Island North Carolina and I’m still selecting and editing the photos. If you’ve reached this article on Facebook the odds are that you clicked on a link that I have shared to one of the groups that have graciously allowed me to share to. Most of the time these groups are about life in Appalachia or specifically West Virginia. Because my Beach photos don’t really follow the theme of these groups you will only be able to see them from my Business page.

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