family

A (Short) Veteran’s Day Note

Take 4.. I have deleted 3 posts with this title.. Why? Short take is I wanted to do a big post with lots of mentions of family members that have served. However, my genealogy software and I are at odds on how to search my trees to find information. The software won… So I’m just going to focus on one member of my family (I could do 10000 words on the veterans in Wifey’s family) – Clifford Leo Hicks. Uncle Clifford was my mother’s younger brother, and the eldest son.

He never married. So, no children. I have several memories of Uncle Clifford, (never Cliff – even his siblings called him Clifford) mostly good, but a couple scary (at least to the child of 8 or 9 that I was at the time). He never told any war stories to me, but I was in the room, or at least close enough to hear some of the tales when he was talking with the adults. Especially when his brother-in-law, Uncle Homer was there. They were both WW2 survivors.

He was at Pearl Harbor that fateful day, and as his gravestone shows, a veteran of Korea as well. I do recall him mentioning that running through the falling bombs at Pearl Harbor was nothing compared to the snipers while on patrol in Korea. He still had nightmares of running for cover while bullets were bouncing off the rocks at his feet.

Florence National Cemetery, Florence, South Carolina
All the Hicks kids. Uncle Clifford is second from the left and my mom is to his left (white sweater and black dress).

My sister says she remembers he thought of himself as a “ladies man”. She has a picture of uncle Clifford with a bunch of women. She mailed it to me a few days ago, so I can’t include it here, unfortunately.

Please leave a comment with the veterans in your life. They may have departed from this life, but they’re never truly gone as long as they live on in our memories.

Peace,
B
(Sgt. (R), US Army and proud father of an active duty soldier)

Two Weeks In

Well, here I am, two weeks into my semi-retirement. Just so you know, I have not been sitting on my ass the entire time. Mainly because I can’t sit for all that long, nor stand, nor lay down for that matter. The herniated discs in my back have not improved as I had expected.

And, since this is Veteran’s Day weekend, we have our annual “smoke out”. We used to do this twice a year, at Memorial Day as well, but we had to cut one out. Just too much work, and too expensive. As usual, we’ll have about 25 folks show up. Some driving an hour or so just to hang out with us. I consider this an honor and privilege to host these folks. Son-the-elder will not be joining us this year as he is still overseas with his Army unit. It’s also granddaughter-the-younger’s birthday celebration.

That’s just over 25 pounds of brisket and 18 pounds of pork butt to smoke! I have never smoked this much meat at one time…

I have also been doing physical therapy three times a week in an effort to get my back and legs stronger, so that I can handle smoking all that meat overnight Saturday and most of the day Sunday. It’s been mixed results, as this week has been a very difficult week with a high level of pain. But between the doctor, my wonderful tech lady, Wifey and doing my exercises and stretches, I feel much better today. The jury is waiting to hear the complaints after this weekend..

I’ve also been trying to do some more of the home repairs/upgrades we started a couple of weeks ago. That is slow going for me, but I do what I can and take a break to rest my back and legs. Much to Wifey’s surprise and delight, I do the basic housecleaning (sweep/mop/etc..) during the day as I can. I am still looking for a part time job to both supplement my income and keep me from going stir crazy. I can only sit and do nothing for so long. I’ve already read three books down my down time.

For now, my beer costs have not gone up. I am doing my best not to start drinking at lunch every day. And so far, that has held true. But “watch this space”. One thing that has gone up is coffee. When I was working I would normally have just one cup at home in the mornings and then drink the job’s coffee. Now it’s my usual four cups every morning. And we won’t get into weekend consumption when both of us are hitting the brew hard.

I think this song is appropriate.. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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It’s A Dog’s Life

Here at Campbell Castle (West), we like our pets. So, let me introduce you to our “Big Guy”, my “grand-dog”, Baron. Baron has lots of titles; Baron Von CouchPotato, Baron Von LazyBones, and Baron Von ChowHound to name just a few.

Baron is a good dog, not the sharpest crayon in the box, but he doesn’t seem to care. He loves his girls, and is rather protective of them.

We rescued Baron just about a year ago. When we brought him to the first vet visit, he weighed about 75 pounds (32 Kg for you metric folk). Then just 7 months or so later he developed “Idiopathic Head Tremors”. This is a very scary looking event where the dog’s head and neck shakes like it’s having a seizure. It could be an epileptic seizure, but usually isn’t. I was lucky enough to catch one on video and we took him back to the vet.

He owns the couch.

In my opinion the vet tried to oversell us. She wanted to put Baron on several meds and send him for neurological exams. I didn’t agree with this plan at all. One thing we did find out was that Baron Von ChowHound seemed to be Baron’s usual mode. He was over 100 pounds! 101 to be a bit more precise. Needless to say, a new diet plan was instituted.

After a month of easing his portion size and slowly introducing a low calorie dog food, we had to switch the brand of food. The vet had suggested a prescription weight loss food. Baron didn’t like it much, and was eating way too little. And crying. The boy is very vocal. Not so much barking, but whines and cries like no other dog I have ever heard.

Dogs love trucks!

Yesterday we took him for his yearly exam and he has lost 11 pounds. This is only over a 3 month period too! He seems to be doing much better on this new food, but still is always begging for more. But once we get him back closer to the 75 – 80 pound range, then he should be able to get a slightly bigger portion of food.

We call this “monorail dog”.

Baron is a very good looking, though somewhat smaller version of Scooby Doo. He has a lot of personality, and is a big bully. His head is as big as a bowling ball, and he uses it to push his way into everything. We had to buy a garbage can with a locking lid to keep him out of the trash.

As I mentioned at the top, Baron is my “Grand-Dog”. Everything is registered under son-the-younger. He lives here with us and loves to dig up my yard!

Son-the-younger and Baron a day or two before he came home.

And since we have switched him from the Purina food we have not seen any more tremors. We even did the “Doggie DNA” test. We did this mainly since he was a rescue, we had no idea his mix of breeds, and we wanted to be prepared for any possible future medical issues we might encounter. Such as – Idiopathic Head Tremors are very common in bulldogs, and Baron has a high percentage of Bulldog DNA.

We have a fire station less than a mile from the house. Seems the sirens are.. well, you decide.

He is singing the song of his people!

Peace,
B

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It’s Samhain Again!

Or for the new world folks, Halloween.

Once again, I will be my usual psychotic self for Halloween. I have saved a ton of money this way. I don’t have to buy a costume. Let’s face it, psychotic folks looks just like ordinary folks. We blend it quite easily. That is, until someone hits that trigger button. Then all bets are off!

Instead I’ll post some pictures from the past years.

This is from 1983. That’s son-the-elder that Wifey is holding. I bet if I quit shaving my beard would be the grey now!
Son-the-elder, 1986.

I can’t seem to find any pictures of son-the-younger in costume. But I do have his daughters all Halloweened up.

But we will always do a Jack O’Lantern.

Son-the-younger and his wee bonnie lasses did the carving this year.

Even the computers are getting into the act!

How are you celebrating the day this year?

(Previous Samhain posts are here, here, and here.)

Peace,
B

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What’s In A Name?

Now that I’m “retired” I have time to get back into my genealogy. My loyal readers (I do have loyal readers, right?) know the problems I’ve encountered researching my Campbell line. I have spent untold dollars on DNA tests for all three aspects for using DNA with genealogy (as in not for medical reasons). While I have found many cousins on my mother’s side, and on my paternal grandmother’s side, not many Campbell’s. My joke is that my male Campbell cousins won’t do a DNA test for fear of being tied to a cattle raid in the 1500’s! Not true of course, but I find it funny.

So let’s take a look at the typical naming conventions used in Scotland over time.

According to “The Scottish Onomastic Child-naming Pattern,” by John Barrett Robb, another naming system called the “ancestral pattern,” generally went as follows:

The first son was named for his father’s father.

The second son was named for his mother’s father.

The third son was named for his father’s father’s father.

The fourth son was named for his mother’s mother’s father.

The fifth son was named for his father’s mother’s father.

The sixth son was named for his mother’s father’s father.

The seventh through tenth sons were named for their father’s four great-grandfathers.

The eleventh through fourteenth sons were named for their mother’s four great-grandfathers.

The first daughter was named for her mother’s mother.

The second daughter was named for her father’s mother.

The third daughter was named for her mother’s father’s mother.

The fourth daughter was named for her father’s father’s mother.

The fifth daughter was named for her mother’s mother’s mother.

The sixth daughter was named for her father’s mother’s mother.

The seventh through tenth daughters were named for their mother’s four great-grandmothers.

The eleventh through fourteenth daughters were named for their father’s four great-grandmothers.

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Scotland_Names_Personal

First, we’ll generally ignore the “eleventh though fourteenth” parts. Not only is that way too many children, I don’t have any families on the Campbell side with more than 9 offspring. Still, 12 kids running around the house? No thanks! Of course that does mean more farm hands are available.

A simpler version is like this.

The Scottish, for the most part, had a naming pattern which can be seen in many families. The pattern generally went as follows:

The first son was named after the father’s father.

The second son after the mother’s father.

The third son after the father.

The first daughter after the mother’s mother.

The second daughter after the father’s mother.

The third daughter after the mother.

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Scotland_Names_Personal

My one and only male Campbell DNA match is with my my 3rd great grandfather’s generation, James Richard Campbell Jr. My cousin’s line stems from James Jr’s. brother Richard Campbell. I was very lucky finding my cousin as he had paperwork from the area of Pennsylvania that our family lived in the 1790’s or so. With paperwork to back up the DNA match I knew that I had a very reliable match.

But the names I have are not following the pattern I mentioned earlier. Since I had a Junior, it is reasonable to assume that his father would be a Senior. Good to go there?

Let’s follow the naming pattern starting with my grandfather, Herbert. As the first male child, he should have been named for his paternal grandfather. But he wasn’t. I can find no other Herbert’s in earlier generations.

Next we have Herbert’s father (my great grandfather), Samuel. Following tradition, my father should have been named Samuel. He wasn’t (Donald). And Samuel, being the third male child should have been named for his father’s father’s father (his great grandfather). Nope, he was James Sr. Again, the James Sr. is somewhat speculative. I can only assume that I have the “Senior” correct since, I know that his son was a “Junior”.

The pattern isn’t holding here. Is it due to becoming “Americanized” and the traditions have faded or am I missing children of my earliest ancestors that have come to America? James Jr. is actually the fifth son born to James Sr. That would mean he would have been named for his father’s mother’s father. And that information I do not possess.

James Sr. is where I am currently brick walled. I have a lead for his parents, John Campbell, Jr., and Jean Ralston. Here we go with the Junior again! I have this John Jr. born in Scotland and dying in Pennsylvania. If the naming convention holds true that would make him the third son of a John Sr. Alas, according to what I have found he is the eldest son. I will readily admit that the two Johns are best guesses. Even James Sr. is unverified.

To further ignore the naming, my eldest sister should have been named Dora (mother’s mother), my brother Herbert (father’s father), my elder sister Josephine (father’s mother), and me Talmadge (mother’s father). Not a single one. I cannot find any ancestors with our given names at all!

I didn’t know of this pattern when my sons were born. But in a way we followed it. Son-the-eldest is not named the same as my father but they have the same initials (DSC). Son-the-younger is named for his mother’s father, we just switched the first and middle names.

Peace,
B

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We’ll Give $20 If You…

Background.. Just so you know.

The place would be Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The year, we’re not all that sure. It would have to be between 1990 – 1992. I remember that it was my second tour at Ft. Bragg, but that’s as close as any of us can remember.

The cast would be me, Wifey, and our friend Lloyd Brown, and an unknown guitar player. Let me give you some history on Lloyd.

I first met Lloyd around 1987. We were both stationed at Ft. Greely Alaska. Let me clarify that statement. Lloyd and I were both stationed at Ft. Greely, but not in the same unit. So, until that fateful day we met, we had never even seen each other. Why do I say that? Because we met when he was hugging Wifey!

We were coming out of the PX (for you non-military folks, a PX is the department store on the base. Much like a Wal-Mart now, but then much smaller), with my hands full and our very young son-the-younger in a back back when I notice that Wifey and son-the-elder are not with me. I turn around and there she is hugging the neck of some guy who I had no idea who he was! I was not happy at all.

But rest assured, it was not an issue. Turns out that Lloyd and Wifey grew up together. Lloyd was a good friend of one of Wifey’s brothers. The phrase “it’s a small world” really rings true in the military. I have been stationed with folks that went to the same high school I did (and Wifey too), or that grew up just blocks from either of us.

Now you have the backstory, lets get on with the “rest of the story” (RIP Paul Harvey).

Lloyd and I both enjoy Jimmy Buffett‘s music. We both play guitar and both sing. Over the years since our chance meeting Alaska, Lloyd has rented spare bedrooms in our house several times. We were caretakers of his dog and cat during deployments, and he helped with maintenance and such when I was deployed.

One evening we all went out to dinner together. At that time there weren’t too many places we enjoyed going to eat. Lloyd is, shall we say, a picky eater. Burgers with bacon and lettuce, and fries were his go to meal outside of the house. And a PB&J when home!

Sadly, we can’t remember the name of the restaurant in which this story takes place. I assure you there is story in here. Just keep reading. I recall it was Phat Daddy’s, which was up near the mall. Lloyd thinks we we’re down closer to Raeford Road, which is no where near the mall.

Well, wherever it was were were eating that night, there was a guy with a guitar playing and singing. I don’t remember much about this guy other than he sucked. Lloyd and I just sat back and laughed at the guy and talked about what mistakes he was making. Wrong lyrics, missed chord changes, you name it, this guy screwed it up.

We didn’t care too much, it was more fun laughing at him, until he (tried to) played “Margaritaville“. We all cringed when this happened, even wifey and son-the-elder. Luckily the “musician” went on and butchered some other songs. And we went back to drinking and laughing at him. But only for a short while, then he completely destroyed “A Pirate Looks At 40″. We couldn’t handle this. Something had to be done. Think of the children! So we came up with a plan.

Together Lloyd and I walked up to that stage and offer the guy $20.. to never play any Jimmy Buffett song again! The guys face took on a bit of a shocked look (understandably). “You guy must not like Buffett” he tells us. “No,” we reply, “we love Buffett, that’s why we don’t want you to play anymore of his songs”.

He didn’t play any more Buffett songs that night. But I guess he continued to ruin songs after that. Hopefully someone either gave him some good music lessons, or good advice – to not quit his day job!

Lloyd now runs the Wildlife Rescue of Dade County. They do amazing work helping injured wildlife get healthy and released back into the wild when they can. Check them out.

Here’s ” A Pirate Looks At 40″ from Jimmy’s live album “You Had To Be There“, and I was there. Part of the album was recorded at the Gusman Center, Miami, FL in August 1978, and I was there and Jimmy had his leg in a cast! Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In (Wifey’s) Head – 26 October

Yes! This is a wifey post! Well, she’s not really doing the post, but she did give me the song. And that counts. So there!

From the Wiki page:

The song is about two boys (“Me and Julio”) who have broken a law, although the exact law that has been broken is not stated in the song. When “the mama pajama” finds out what they have done, she goes to the police station to report the crime. The individuals are later arrested, but released when a “radical priest” intervenes.

The meaning and references in the song have long provoked debate. In a July 20, 1972 interview for Rolling Stone, Jon Landau asked Simon: “What is it that the mama saw? The whole world wants to know.” Simon replied “I have no idea what it is… Something sexual is what I imagine, but when I say ‘something’, I never bothered to figure out what it was. Didn’t make any difference to me.”

More recently, in October 2010, Simon described the song as “a bit of inscrutable doggerel“, while the “radical priest” has been interpreted as a reference to Daniel Berrigan, who was featured on the cover of Time on January 25, 1971, near when the song was written.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_and_Julio_Down_by_the_Schoolyard

The song is from Paul Simon’s 1972 self-titled studio album. Which had another of my favorite Paul Simon tracks, Mother And Child Reunion. Wifey says the lines; And it’s against the law, it was against the law
What mama saw, it was against the law
“, are what’s stuck in her mind.

I’ve always thought it was a political act that got those two in trouble, hence the line about being released by a radical priest. Wifey says “It’s drugs. Pure and simple.” But as the quote above from Paul says, even he doesn’t know. It doesn’t take a complete story to make a good song. Just a great concept and you’re off to the bank! The song topped out at #7.

Personally, I just love the rhythms throughout the song. Enjoy!

Peace,
B (and Wifey)

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Finishing The Question

As I mentioned yesterday, my brother and I were discussing the greatest American songwriter. He settled on Paul Simon while I thought Bob Dylan. We both agreed that, in our opinions, the greatest songwriter of our time was John Lennon. Wifey, said that Sir Paul McCartney is a better songwriter. To which both my brother and I replied (almost in unison); “silly little love songs”.

Look at the list of songs John has either written or co-written, mostly with Sir Paul as a member of the Beatles. The lists are quite long. And today, 9 October, just happens to be his birthday. He would have been 79 today.

Some of my favorites (in no particular order);

  • Dear Prudence
  • And Your Bird Can Sing
  • Baby’s In Black
  • Day Tripper
  • Rain
  • Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – my brother doesn’t care for the song due to the political aspects. I like it since Christmas doesn’t start until I hear this played.
  • Fame (Yes, the David Bowie song)
  • The Ballad of John and Yoko

I could go on and on. But the lists are linked above if you wish to check them out. The video below is just a representative sample of John’s talent. It’s a Lennon-McCartney written piece, and showcases George Harrison on guitar. This track, along with Day Tripper are the guitar riffs I hear in my head all the time.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Questions Between Brothers

One of things my brother and I talk about, a lot, is music. We talk about individual songs, musicians, bands, and songwriters. Anything and everything;

One of the discussions we had not long ago was “Who is the greatest American Pop songwriter?” He popped this question on me while we were painting my living room, so neither of us were going anywhere soon. As qualifiers, this person had to have longevity, numerous hits, and also had to be a performer. He also threw a curve saying “You’ll never guess who I think it is.” I had to think this over.

Some names came to mind immediately; Stephen Stills, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Carole King, Brian Wilson. We threw around some other names, but they didn’t have the longevity factor; Dan Fogelberg and Jim Croce, even Buddy Holly. The list went on for some time. My choice was Bob Dylan.

Finally I had to ask who is choice was. “Simple” he says, “Paul Simon”. And he was right; that name never came to mind. But why not? He has written so many great songs.

Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Simon’s musical career has spanned seven decades with his fame and commercial success beginning as half of the duo Simon & Garfunkel (originally known as Tom & Jerry), formed in 1956 with Art Garfunkel. Simon was responsible for writing nearly all of the pair’s songs including three that reached number one on the U.S. singles charts: “The Sound of Silence“, “Mrs. Robinson“, and “Bridge over Troubled Water“.

The duo split up in 1970 at the height of their popularity, and Simon began a successful solo career, recording three acclaimed albums over the next five years. In 1986, he released Graceland, an album inspired by South African township music, which sold 14 million copies worldwide on its release and remains his most popular solo work. Simon also wrote and starred in the film One-Trick Pony (1980) and co-wrote the Broadway musical The Capeman (1998) with the poet Derek Walcott. On June 3, 2016, Simon released his 13th solo album, Stranger to Stranger, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Album Chart and the UK charts.

Simon has earned sixteen Grammys for his solo and collaborative work, including three for Album of the Year (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy After All These Years, and Graceland), and a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2006 was selected as one of the “100 People Who Shaped the World” by Time. In 2011, Rolling Stone named Simon one of the 100 greatest guitarists. In 2015, he was named one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time by Rolling Stone. Among many other honors, Simon was the first recipient of the Library of Congress‘s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007. In 1986, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, where he currently serves on the Board of Trustees

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Simon

We both agreed on our favorite songwriter, but he’s not American. And that will be the subject of tomorrow’s post. (Hint: His birthday is tomorrow.)

I will leave you with this video of Paul. It’s not his biggest hit, but I love the story it weaves. Enjoy! And I’m still holding out for Dylan…

Peace,
B

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Another Post Bites The Dust

I had a really cool idea for a post, even had Wifey on board to help me, just to find out my entire premise was wrong… So what’s a ramblin’ blog writer to do?

Well, I guess I could write about genealogy. How I had a cousin (not on the Campbell side, of course) that I had not heard from in many years contact me. Now she did send me the message on a website I very seldom use back in August and I just saw it yesterday. But we’ve had a good conversation via email since then.

I could post about the ongoing home repairs, but all we’ve really done since the last post is hang a few pictures. I did finish painting one set of closet doors. But that’s it. It was while we were going through the many boxes of photos we have to see if we want to put new pictures on the wall that made me go to the genealogy site where I found that message board post. Funny how things tie together like that.

Also there was the little fair we went to Friday night. We all took the girls to see the newest Aladdin movie “under the stars”. I didn’t stay long as my back and legs were acting up in a very bad way. Plus even though there were two beer tents they weren’t selling any beer that night. What a waste.

Maybe I could use how our contracted garbage company (contracted by the county, not us personally), won’t pick up some wood that’s in a garbage can. I realize that when they came by for their usual pick up they thought that it was construction waste. It does look like that. This is wood from some old chairs that son-the-younger broke apart so we could stash them away when the last hurricane was headed our way. But when I called and explained what it was, I was told I had to take it out of the can and “bundle” it. WTF?? They won’t take loose pieces. This is the same company that doesn’t have a claw truck to pick up tree branches and such. We live in a very hurricane prone state, and trees not only get blown down in these storms, folks have to cut them back on a regular basis for safety.

I guess I don’t really have anything to post about after all. So here’s a video. Enjoy!

You saw this one coming, didn’t ya??

Peace,
B

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