Archive for October, 2012


October 31, 2012

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow!

Sharpen up your pencil and your wits, and join thousands of others who will write a novel in one month.

Sugar listened to an interview on NPR last week about John Grisham, and Sugar was happy to share that it takes John Grisham ONE YEAR to finish a novel, so how can I write one in ONE MONTH?

I never said it was going to look pretty.  It’s about output, not editing.  You simply write, and write, and write some more.  Editing is for later, like after November.

That’s the formula, and it’s tried and true, so why not?  We’re not getting any younger.

Want to know more? Click here.

We start tomorrow!  Or if you are in an earlier time zone, you are already writing!

(Good grief.  I don’t even have a category or a tag on this blog about writing.  What kind of slacker blogger am I?  Don’t answer that.)

The Beach at AllJoy

October 29, 2012

Today we took a little tour down memory lane.

Sugar grew up in B-ton, a little community that had 500 people in it.  Today it has been annexed to death, unless you love subdivisions and outlet stores.  The annexed part now bypasses the once-sleepy village which has also done some growing up.  The closeness of the river has allowed these properties to become expensive.

There’s a point of land with a boat dock and a tiny little strip of beach.  Sugar used to bring his girls here to the beach when they were small.  The beach itself is a shallow protected area on the tidal river, and it’s a perfect spot for the littles.

This way to the beach.

Closer, closer.

This little strip of beach has been used for decades, mostly by the locals.  When this part of the village was being developed, many years ago, folks from the Garnett and Estill parts of South Carolina bought lots and built homes.  Entire families would spend the summers here with the fathers coming and going on weekends.  There are still many old-school types of homes, but some of those have been torn down and bigger, more modern home built in their place.

If you are standing looking at the water, the property to your right is private, and there are sea walls and high fences protecting the property.  Many locals have partied here for generations, so you can understand why the property owners want to keep the revelers at bay.

And where the public beach ends and the private property begins, we see a late-blooming PantyRose.

Enlarge, if needed, by left-clicking on the image.

These folks built up their sea wall and planted pyracantha to protect their property.

Not familiar with pyracantha and its evilly sharp thorns? Then click here.

We got back in the van, and drove to another little sandy lane that connected the main road to the water where Sugar said someone else in the family had owned a property, now out of the family.  You can’t see the house and property that he was talking about, but you can see how the lane opens up on the water, and if you lean in realllly close to your computer screen, and scratch on the image below, you might be able to smell the salt air.  At least you can if you have installed the scratch-and-sniff application on your computer.


I liked this lane so much, I took several photos.  It was a quiet Sunday morning, and few people were about, and you can just stop your car and take photos to your heart’s content.

We headed on to the grocery store by way of another connector to get to the main highway that connects the outlying popular island with the interstate, and I realized that we were on the road where I used to live when we moved here 11 years ago.  I turned in to the subdivision, and drove around the loop until I found the house.  It was much the same, yet different, because the trees had all grown so much and the yard was shady and green.

We finished our errands, and Sugar wanted to head back to our little town by way of the dirt road that cuts through a hunting plantation.  The road must wind along for twenty miles, and sometimes we see deer, or hunters, or fox squirrels as big as a cat.  He likes that road, and I don’t mind it, but I am always concerned about having an automotive breakdown, and there’s no cell service.

Right before we turned onto the dirt road by the plantation, I saw what I thought was a strip of tire rubber in the middle of the road.  I mentioned it to Sugar, who had not seen it, because he was busy concentrating on pouring a canned coke into a glass, and we decided to turn around and go back to see for sure.

The strip of tire rubber began to move, and headed back into the woods.


What a weird outing.  Every day brings something odd.

Sharing: “An Open Letter to Ann Coulter”

October 26, 2012

An Open Letter to Ann Coulter.

Sylvia’s Dilemma

October 26, 2012

Sylvia is the first cat I’ve ever owned, and it was completely accidental.

Richard from Garnett reported one day, years ago, that there was a pregnant cat hanging out at the liquor store.  There was a bit of a worry that this was not a safe location for an unwanted cat who was going to produce more unwanted cats.

I talked to the lady who owned the liquor store, and offered to have the cat fixed and vaccinated, if she would take the cat back.  No, she did not want the cat back.  It wasn’t her cat, and she already had a cat, and the new cat was eating all the cat food left outside for the resident cat.  The woman also said that some of her customers did not like cats, although I’m guessing that if I needed a drink, and the only thing standing between me and a drink was an old alley cat, I’d get my drink on.

So I had the bright idea that I would find a home for the cat.  Sugar and I set a trap, went off to have lunch in the nearest town about half an hour away, and he twitched all through lunch.  He was worried about the cat.  Maybe she was in the trap, and she was getting hot.  Maybe the sun was shining on her.  Maybe she was upset and thrashing around.  Maybe, maybe. maybe.  Gotta have something to worry about.

So we headed back, and sure enough, the cat was in the trap, sitting quietly, giving us a wise stare.

Back at home, cat and trap in hand, I set up a large dog crate with bedding, food, water, and a litter box, and managed to get the cat from the trap to the crate by just opening the trap door and letting her walk into the crate.  She cooperated beautifully.

Did I mention that I’m afraid, yet fascinated, by feral cats?

This cat was odd.  She had a look that would go right through you.  I attempted to scratch her head with one finger, and she let me.  A few times she, without warning. grabbed my hand with both paws, claws extended, and bit my hand, never breaking the skin, just holding my hand between her teeth.  When she was ready, she let me go, and I learned not to push my luck.

I decided that she was not so feral, just odd, and she graduated to the laundry room in anticipation of having her babies soon.  One day she walked right up to me, and head-butted my hand to be petted.  She started to drool, copious amounts of drool, which was alarming, but I learned that some really happy cats drool when they are really happy.

Fast-forward to this week.  I never pet Sylvia until she asks me to, or she just might rip me up.  She doesn’t want to sit on my lap, but she might sit in the same general area.

Sugar loves Sylvia, but he is too smothery.  He wants to hold her and talk to her in babytalk.  He always says, “Where’s Silly?”, and then he wants to pick her up, and he even says, “I want to hug you.”  I warn him EVERY TIME, and yet, he does it.

Last week, he went through the silly/babytalk/huggy portion of our program, and then put her down.  And then, he. did. it. again.  And I said again, “Don’t do that.  She’s going to rip you.”  Because Sylvia only has so much tolerance, and then she’s done, and she will rip you.  Respect the cat.

When he picked her up again, from behind as usual, because she will not tolerate wasting her gaze on humans, he hugged her to him, and her legs stiffened out straight and her body got stiff, like always when he does the huggy stuff, because she really hates it, even from Sugar.

And she turned in one supersonic instant and grabbed his forearm with teeth and nails, and ripped him, and let go, and walked off, because clearly they are now disengaged.  He looked a bit surprised, and it was hard for me to be sorry for him.


Sylvia: “Maybe next time I’ll sit in Sugar’s lap.”


Sylvia: “Or maybe I’ll simply bite Sugar’s face.”


Sylvia’s not mean.  She’s not cuddly, either.

Respect the cat.

Peachy’s Problem Personality

October 24, 2012

Peachy is the cat that lives at Sugar’s grooming business, out back behind the building, because he’s a soft feral cat.

Sugar made a dandy hay house with a plywood penthouse at the edge of the woods for the Peach.

A few days ago, Sugar and I went over to the grooming business to do a little fence repair.  As we rounded the corner, there was adorable Peachy on the penthouse.


A few weeks ago, Peachy caught a squirrel, and proceeded to take the squirrel into the woods and consume the whole thing.  BabyBoy gave a report that Peachy ate it ALL.  He and Sugar’s BabyDaughter could not get the squirrel from the jaws of death.  Peach danced out of their reach, and headed into the underbrush, where he could not be found, until he showed up later that afternoon at dinnertime, burping and belching and patting his engorged tummy.


So this day in particular, when we were getting ready to work on the fence by reinforcing the bottom of the chain link, there’s Peachy looking all mellow.

We started working on the fence, and Sugar commented that he heard distress sounds.  I heard them, too, the squirrels chirruping and the mockingbirds calling, and I thought that they were warning the others that Peach was out and about.

Suddenly, Peachy walked out of the underbrush to bring us a present.  He had a squirrel in his mouth.  Sugar sprang up after him, Peach took off, and I ran inside to get a towel and cat crate, just in case Peachy dropped the squirrel and I could scoop it up.

Peachy melted away into the underbrush.   We couldn’t find him, and he must have had some secret hiding place nearby, perhaps under a shed or a house.

He showed up again later that day, right in time for dinner.

To Catch A Dog, Part 2, Or Perhaps Part 3

October 20, 2012

Two years ago, Sugar reported that there was a stray dog on his postal route that he was feeding.
Time went on.  She had two puppies, and he continued to feed them all.

After a while, he only saw one remaining puppy and the mother.

More time passed, and he didn’t see the mother any more, only the puppy, who was rapidly becoming a young woman.  We tried to trap her, but she was trap-wary.
Then he saw the grown-up puppy with puppies of her own this past spring.  He continued to feed them.  And then, a stretch of time went by when he didn’t see them at all.

After a few weeks, he saw the mother and her puppies at a new location.  She had moved them at least a mile away to a safer area, still on Sugar’s mail route.

One day, he saw the mother lying by the roadside ditch, looking quite deceased.  She was in someone’s front yard, and there were people about, and he’s quite worried that someone is going to complain to the post office that he’s leaving food by the side of the road, because people will complain about *anything*, and he doesn’t want to jeopardize his job.

After that, he didn’t see her any more.  But he did continue to see the puppies who were rapidly growing.  They live in a wooded area across from a cattle pasture.  There are houses within sight, but also safe places where the pups can go.

Last week, he had a day off and wanted to go put out food for the dogs.  When we turned the corner onto the road where they hang out, they were lying down waiting for him, even though we were there hours before he usually gets to that spot on his route.

I’m driving, and we’ve turned the corner onto the road where the dogs hang out, and there they are, just enjoying the day as only feral dogs can.

Then I hold the camera in my left hand out the open driver’s window, and squeeze the button.

The female is on the left and the male is on the right. This is a zoom photo, still holding the camera out the window.

The male is more shy, and cannot maintain his gaze.

There were three pups originally, but now he only sees two.  Of course, one of the two is a female, so this cycle will probably continue, until we figure out how to break it without getting shot.

Willie May Pierce Packett And Her Baby Lucile

October 16, 2012

Once, back in the day, BigBroBob went to see Mom when she was in the nursing home.  His visits weren’t just visits, they were events.  He knew all the residents, and they loved his visits.

On his last visit with Mom, which he didn’t know would be his last, he had his notebook and did an interview.

Mom told him some stuff that, when he shared with me, I had never heard before.

It seems that her mother had been engaged before she married James Packett.  She broke off the engagement when she learned that her fiance had gotten another woman with child.

But that wasn’t all.  It seems that James Packett was married before, but his wife and baby had died.  I thought that meant that his first wife died in childbirth.


I’ve been browsing the death records of Loudon County in 1908.  There were many deaths from tuberculosis, heart problems, accidents, cancer.  One of the more bizarre causes of death was pellegra.  I couldn’t remember what that meant, but I did remember in health class many, many years ago, we were learning about diseases caused from nutritional issues, like scurvy, rickets, and pellegra.  Sugar looked it up after I told him about it, and he said it was caused by a niacin deficiency.  I looked it up, too, and the photos I saw looked like a horrible way to go.  Here’s a quote from the article I read:

In the early 1900s, pellagra reached epidemic proportions in the American South. Pellagra deaths in South Carolina numbered 1,306 during the first ten months of 1915; 100,000 Southerners were affected in 1916.


All this made me curious to know more about the causes of death during this time frame.  While randomly scrolling through the death records of Loudon County, I found a death certificate for Lucile Packett whose father was James Packett and mother was Willie Pierce Packett.  I didn’t connect that he was my grandfather.  At first glance, I thought that it was his grandfather James and grandmother Millie.

When I enlarged the certificate, I found that Lucile was the baby, and she died from “hermorrhage from the lungs following pertussis”.

Little Lucile.

And this made me curious to find out what happened to her mother, who clearly did not die in childbirth, at least not with this child.

Willie May Pierce Packett.



Willie May and Lucile are buried at Pleasant Hill Church Cemetery.  I went there once maybe ten years ago to see if I could find their gravestones, and of course, I could not, because I have that issue about not being able to see things that are right there in front of me.

James went on to marry my grandmother, and if not for that, and some other factors, I wouldn’t be here today, and BigBroBob wouldn’t have been able to interview Mom.

And as grateful as I am to be here today, I still feel bad that Willie May and Lucile are buried in a different graveyard than my grandfather.

Good night, and sleep well.

In Which I Make A Plan

October 12, 2012

So I’m still looking for some Rogers folks.  I went to high school with a particular girl that I wasn’t friends with, but only because I didn’t know her.  We didn’t travel in the same circles, which was neither good nor bad, it’s just the way it was.

Anyway, we are friends now, albeit virtual ones, and we might even be related.  She is looking for her Rogers family, and I am looking for Lillie Rogers and where she came from.  It would seem that, in a town the size of Lenoir City, that we must surely be related.  We just can’t prove it.  YET.

Her particular Rogers is one Samuel Ro(d)gers.  On his death certificate, the informant was his wife Lona, and she did not know the name of his father, and she only knew that his mother was named Martha Rodgers.  I thought this meant that Lona knew her as Martha Rodgers, even though the maiden name was supposed to be given.

So hold up a minute.  What if Lona knew what she was doing, and Martha Rodgers WAS the correct maiden name, which would mean that Martha married a Rodgers.  Martha Rodgers Rodgers.  It would certainly make it easy to sign her correct name, but, oh so confusing for researchers.

I can’t find a death certificate that I am certain is correct for Martha Rogers Rogers.  I DID find a marriage certificate where Martha Rogers married John Rogers, but I can’t be certain that they are Samuel’s parents.

So why don’t I just look through all the death certificates online?  They start in 1908.  I started with Loudon County.  There were only 56.

Near the end, I found two brothers.  They were the children of the very first headstone photo that I took back in July at the Lenoir City Cemetery, that of Fred P. Derieux.

Fred P. Derieux

And in the 1910 census, his wife Mollie went on record that she had given birth to 8 children, but only 6 were living.  I found the two babies, or at least I found their death certificates.

Richard Derieux, age two.


Halbert Derieux, aged nine months.


The two-year-old died first, then about two weeks later, the baby died.  The father, Fred, had lost his father the year prior to this.

So much death, so much sadness.

I forget now what my plan was.

Lillie Packett, Provided By Tim

October 4, 2012

Here’s a family sketch regarding Lillie Rogers Packett and her husband John William.  This is a scan of a copy of an email that Tim Packett sent me on March 20, 2000.  The world had not ended because of Y2K, fortunately, and we had found each other, so to speak, through the magic of email.


I’ve extracted my favorite part of the email.  It’s about Lillie Rogers.


Lillie, who went by Lila in the later census reports was a widow in 1910, and living with her son and daughter-in-law Joseph ad Bessie in 1920.  I do not have the death date or info on John William.  Do you?  He is not buried with Lillie in the City Cemetery and records just state “Lillie w/o J.W.”.  None of my family contacts know what happened to him or where he ended up.  Some seem to think he went to Alabama or Georgia.

Family legend has it that during one of their many legendary fights, John threatened to leave and never come back.  Lillie supposedly replied, “You’ve got diamonds on your back.  The farther you go, the better they shine!”  He supposedly left that day and they didn’t hear from him again.  How much of this is true or just embellishments I can’t say.  Perhaps you know the true story?

Also Lillie is listed as a Rogers until later in funeral home records of some of her children, and she is listed as Lillie Simpson.  Do you know anything about that or is it just misreported?

She was living with my father’s family when she died, and he and his siblings have all kinds of memories of her, none of which seem to be very good.  They all say she was a very hard woman who could curse like a sailor and had all the children very afraid of her.  She did fascinate them when they had catfish for dinner.  She could put fish in her mouth, chew on one side while working bones out the other, talk, and drink without ever getting choked!  Isn’t it weird what small children remember?  They also said that she would sit on the porch and if someone came walking down Bon Street she would holler into the house to my grandfather, who was a Primitive Baptist Minister, and ask, “Hey, Pug, who th’ hell is that bastard walking down th’ road?”  My father, who was only four, remembers his older siblings grabbing him and running for cover!  They say as she grew older she had a large goiter on the side of her neck that had hairs growing out of it, which made her even scarier.  My father said that after she died there was one of her trunks in the attic full of old clothes and mementos, and the kids were afraid of it, too.  He said that they would scare him by saying Granny Packett is waiting for you in there!  It must have been awful being the youngest in the family.


So choose your email words with care, because you just might end up someday on someone’s blog…

Benjamin Grubb Humphreys, 8/26/1808-12/20/1882

October 3, 2012

Remember this girl?  That’s right, she’s none other than Mary Humphreys Stamps.  Her father was Benjamin Grubb Humpreys, and he’s a great big heap of history.  I did a google search for Benjamin Grubb Humphreys, for Sugar and history, and I came up with some stuff, the standard fare like Wikipedia, but there was also a jstor article.  B.G.H. is Sugar’s g-g-g-grandfather (or course), and Sugar want to know where the “Grubb” came from.  He was pretty sure that the article would answer that question.

Sugar got all antsy about the jstor article.  Do you know about jstor?  You. Must. Learn. Then.

JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways.
©2000-2012 ITHAKA. All Rights Reserved. JSTOR®, the JSTOR logo, and ITHAKA® are registered trademarks of ITHAKA.

Does that sound too complicated?  Well, here’s the link to jstor –, and let me say that scholarly articles are online, for a price of course.  And before you get all squirmy-uncomfortable about the word “scholarly”, keep in mind that this includes historical articles about, ummm, historical stuff, including people!

Somehow, Sugar found out that there was an article, an AUTOBIOGRAPHY, for his ancestor Benjamin Grubb Humphreys.  He has been bugging me for weeks (weeks, people!) to order this durn article for him.  I tell him to do it himself.  He says he can’t.  He says he doesn’t know how.  He says he doesn’t have high-speed (yes, he is the last one on the face of the earth that uses *dial-up*).  He says you already have an account.  He says he will pay me.

Oh, he’ll pay, alright.

And truly, because of the water-dripping-on-the-stone method, I finally did it.  I went to jstor, signed in to my account, found the article, paidfor and downloaded, and the article arrived at my jstor account in the form of a portable file document.  I must say that it took a while, like a day or more, for the article to arrive.  Not complaining when you compare that to postal mail, but this was the first time I’d ordered one and I kinda-sorta thought it would be sent to my email.  Newer, steeper learning curve, and just when I thought I knew some stuff.

I scanned the article, after purchasing, of course, and I was a bit put out with old Benjamin Grubb Humphreys.  He was definitely a white man of the times, and Sugar keeps reminding me of that.

(I’m trying something new today.  This article was downloaded as a PDF.  I attempted to insert the link for the entire PDF instead of individual pages.  I tested the link; it worked.  If you have any issues with viewing this, let me know.  God forbid that you use dial-up – insert rolling of eyes here.)


And yes, the article answers Sugar’s question.  Of course.