Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our third annual reunion coming up soon!

I called my cousins in Jacksonville, Florida this afternoon. You guys still coming up on Thursday? Yep. "I'll be there sometime middle of the afternoon," I told them.

This will be the third year my cousins and I have gotten together on the old Morgan homestead (Morgan is my maiden name). This is land that has been in my dad's family since it was deeded from the government "way back there."

To be honest, I look forward to this time every year much more than I would a luxury vacation at an elegant resort. Why?

Well, there are a lot of reasons. As kids, all of us roamed this land at least a couple of times a year. We'd go to the rural south Alabama town where my grandparents lived and end up spending a day over at the farm, which is what we called it back then. My grandparents raised their four children there. Popa was a prosperous cotton farmer back before us cousins were born, until one Sunday they came home from church in their horse and buggy and their home had burned to the ground. Back in those days, following the Great Depression, my grandparents didn't believe in banks. Every dime they had was stored in that house.

I was close to my cousins back in my growing up years - Bruce, Debbie, Paul (before he died tragically in 1961), Richard, Pam, Kenny, Rita, June, Gwen. There were the Thanksgiving dinners at Aunt Dot and Uncle Millard's. The adults ate at the big table and us kids were sent to a smaller table in the next room. We would fight over who got the drumsticks or the wishbone! I remember the year Kennedy was assassinated. That year we ate Thanksgiving dinner glued to the black and white TV to hear the latest on that unfolding story.

Then I got married and in 1974 moved to New York State. I was many miles removed from my Southern cousins, busy raising my two sons. I didn't get back down South too often.

In 2003, my father died unexpectedly. At his funeral, I saw many of my cousins again for the first time in over 30 years. I remember Debbie coming up to me at the funeral and giving me a hug, and I had no idea who she was. Then there was Kenny. The last time I saw him was on my wedding day and he was a skinny, shy kid of 16. Imagine my disbelief at seeing him again as a gray haired man!

This was not good. Yes, I was busy with my own life, but you don't just forget about your roots, even though time and distance separates you.

In 2009, I asked everyone what they would think about getting together for a day over at the "farm" for a small reunion. It took off from there. We all meet at the property on Saturday morning. Some of us, who are into guns, do some target shooting and show off our toys to each other. We have a pot roast meal that I cook in my camp dutch oven and just spend time together. At the end of a long day, Rita invites us over to her in-laws' vacation home on a huge river. It is just a fun time together and something we all look forward to now.

So, in the coming weeks, I'll be posting about the Big Reunion again, complete with pictures. . . still have to figure out how to do pictures on my new Mac!

I would encourage each of you to stay in touch with your relatives. It is easy to lose touch with this crazy, busy world we all live in now. But just do it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Run, Granny, Run!

As most of you know, I'm a news junkie. Lately, there is enough doom and gloom in the world to wear down anyone. But this morning, as I was enjoying my coffee and watching the news on TV, there was a very heartwarming and uplifting story. Ida Keeling is a 95 year old sprinter. Yes, I said 95! Okay, so maybe she runs about as fast as most of us walk when we are in a hurry, but God bless her! She proudly displayed her medals that she has won in running.

She says she grew up during the Depression and in her words, "it's all about attitude!"

We could all learn a lesson from this old lady.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A total outrage

Just now I was going through the news websites that I follow. One,, a local news station, had an article on a Buddhist Temple here that for the last two years has kept a deer as a pet. It was dropped on their doorstep as a fawn. They nurtured it, cared for it, and everything was fine. . . until a neighbor turned them in to the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation).

The DEC, in their grand wisdom, determined that the deer must be killed. That, according to them, is the law. After a public outrage over that stupid decision, they agreed to take the deer to a "licensed rehabilitation expert", whatever THAT means. It seems it is even against the law to feed deer.

No wonder our country is in such sad shape with idiots like this running it.

Now, if the temple was harboring a bear, or a tiger, or other animal that could be dangerous, I could understand. But please explain to me what harm can come from a deer???

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Escape from the winter blahs

"Okay, folks," my e-mail began, "The winter blahs are getting to me. I gotta start thinking about summer." I sent this to a small group of close friends that go canoe/kayak camping with me every year. For a number of years we have gone to the same place in the Adirondacks. While we really like this area, several in the group mentioned last year that maybe we should look around for a new place for Summer 2011. As for me, I was neutral on this idea. So I could be swayed either way.

Can you believe I actually spent several hours Friday night leaning over huge canoe maps on the living room floor and loving every minute of it. . . never mind the temperature outside was in the single numbers.

There is the trip from Long Lake up through the Racquette River to Racquette Falls. I've done this trip dozens of times over the last 25 or more years. A flood of memories raced through my mind. There was the time I took my son, Michael, there. He was about 9 or 10. I remember how excited I was, just me and him, paddling for a weekend. . . until panic set in. Geez, what if something happens? This is a remote area and you may not see another human for long stretches of time. My panic was unfounded and we had a great time.

On another trip through this area, I was with a group of paddlers from the Adirondack Mountain Club. I brought along my camp dutch oven for dinner each night. On the second night, I began putting together a pot roast dinner with potatoes, carrots and onions. We sat around the fire with a glass of wine, enjoying the company and being in a wilderness area far removed from the rat race of the everyday world. . . UNTIL the sky broke loose and rain came down in buckets. I was horrified! How were we going to eat dinner? There was no way my pot roast was anywhere near being done. I totally underestimated the resourcefulness of three men in our group. They were not going to let anything deprive them of that meal! Before I could realize what was happening, they had rigged up a primitive shelter over the fire, threw on more charcoal and we ended up with a wonderful dinner that night regardless of the deluge of rain. We were in a lean to - a three sided structure with a floor, common along the trails of the Adirondacks. No, we didn't have to sleep on a wet ground!

I can't mention this canoe route without telling you about the spectacular, make that SPECTACULAR!, Racquette Falls. This is a cascading stretch of white water tumbling wildly over huge boulders that is about a mile long. NO! You don't paddle through this, although there are remnants of an old aluminum canoe from years ago to show you what happens when you do try to paddle this part of the river!!! Instead, there is a carry of just over a mile around the falls where you carry boat and gear to the other end. This is the one discouraging element that my paddling friends can't seem to get past!

Following my canoe map a little to the left, there is Rollins Pond Campsite, a huge area, run by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that is a paddlers dream. There are more paddling opportunities here than you can cover in a weekend, everything from large ponds to tiny winding streams. This is another area where I have spent a lot of time in years past. The one trip that will always stand out in my mind from Rollins Pond is the time a bear walked right through our campsite one night as we were sitting around the fire! At first we thought it was a large dog. This was definitely not a dog, folks! It walked right past us, not even ten feet away, totally ignoring (Thank you, Lord) our presence.

That year this area had two second year bear cubs that were getting too close to humans for comfort. You see, the Mama Bear pushes the young cubs out of the den and they have to go out on their own. The DEC had been trying to catch these bears, tranquilize them and remove them to another area. . . away from humans! Don't know if they ever did, but I can tell you, being that close to a bear will make your heart stop for a moment!!!

Can you tell I'm excited about our upcoming paddling trip this summer?????

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Tuesday nights have been taken away

I received an e-mail last night informing me that the Tuesday Night Defensive Pistol group that I participate in is cancelled until further notice. . . the roof over the indoor pistol range caved in due to the weight of snow. This isn't the first case of this happening in the Rochester area this winter. A church gym roof also caved in this week.

I really enjoy the Tuesday night group. It is a fun and safe way to learn defensive pistol skills and it is a nice group of people.

Each week there are different scenarios set up. When you are finished shooting, the Range Safety Officer tells you what you did good and what you need to improve on.

While most of us will never have to use our guns to protect our life, it is good to have the training if that day ever comes. At the same time, we practice safe gun handling to the point that it becomes habit.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Blizzard that wasn't!

Whew! Rochester dodged a bullet this time. Yesterday schools and other organizations began canceling classes and other activities for today. Day care centers announced closings for today. Every reliable weather forecasting group was calling for a really bad hit this time.

I got up this morning and looked outside and thought I was dreaming. Not much new snow, no wind. . . Everything appears to be a typical Rochester winter day!

The drive into work was uneventful.

Just maybe we can get through till Spring without a "major event!"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My two years of blogging

Two years ago this month I started this blog. Previous to that I had a website. It had become kinda stale, for lack of a better term, as well as my website designer wanted to get out of the freelance business. "Why don't you try blogging," he said to me.

"Blogging?" I asked. That had never crossed my mind.

Nevertheless, here I am two years later! I had no idea where this thing would go. I knew I could stop any time I wanted, so why not give it a try. What I never could have imagined in the beginning was the fun I would have and the friends I would meet through my blog. There is Lois, over at From Lois' Hands, and Granny, at grannysgarden in Australia, and Bridgit at Home on the Range, to name a few. There are a few that I e-mail back and forth with on a semi-regular basis.

It just never occurred to me that anyone would care to follow my blog. Yet many of my family and friends follow it as well as people all over the world that I have never met face to face.

Some bloggers have a theme, or themes. As for me, I just write about whatever is on my mind or whatever is going on in my life at the time I sit down to start cranking out the words. Although I tend to be an opinionated person, I really try to stay away from controversial topics here. . . well, most of the time, anyway!

I enjoy the comments I get, although most of the people that read my blog regularly don't comment.

So, thank you for visiting and let's see what the future holds for Sherry's Place!