08 December 2015

On this day in 1980...

I hope Berk Breathed will not be angered by my sharing his FaceBook page for today.

There's a tenuous connection between Mr. Breathed and myself that should be preserved for posterity (why? who knows-). He graduated from the Department of Journalism in May and my graduate student days began in August. His desk was still warm when first my butt sat upon it.

Many faculty were not sad to see him move onward as he had lampooned and speared them mercilessly during the years he drew Academia Waltz for the Daily Texan and later, Bloom County. When he targeted a faculty member for humor, the rendition, although a cartoon, possessed adequate verisimilitude for virtually everyone to know who had been gigged by Berk.The rumor mill said they invariably deserved his attentions.

At the other end of my academic career, we passed in the night in New Mexico, 1986; I had just returned from The University to real life. Sorta, anyway... He broke his back when his ultra-light airplane crashed while attempting to land at the little airport in north Albuquerque. His friends put a gigantic get well card on the billboard across from his hospital so he could see it from his bed. I could be in error, my memory isn't what I think it used to be, but it says he met his first wife, who was a nurse, while bedridden.

Strangely, we almost passed each other in Santa Barbara, too. And, no, I am not stalking him.

Giant Purple Snorklewackers live even yet. I'm trying to locate a pure blood line to breed here at Stratheden Farm; if you know of a breeder, please notify me.

06 December 2015

On this day in 2008

Miss Lily and Mr. Fuzzy awoke on this day in 2008 to their first sunrise on Stratheden Farm. Miss Lily feasted on a can of especially odoriferous cat food for breakfast; Mr. Fuzzy had to go into town to the Blue Ridge Cafe since everything was still loaded in the back of the Penske moving truck sitting in the driveway.

But first priority, of course, just after crawling out of the sleeping bag, was to fix a cup of steaming hot tea (yes, a pan and tea cup had been packed in his luggage). Just one problem: the pilot light on the stove wouldn't remain lit long enough to ignite the burner. OK, bundle up and out to check the propane tank in 18F wind... well, that came as a revelation: the propane tank gauge was sitting on zero - with a blizzard and 0F night in the forecast. The sellers had run the tank to completely empty before moving out.

About midday brought a return trip to scenic, bustling downtown Floyd for some small items at The Farmers Supply hardware store at the stoplight. Screws, sand paper, a few more little things. At the cash register I reached into my pocket for a wallet and realized it was laying on the kitchen counter at Stratheden. Monte looked at me and said. "no problem, pay me when you're in town next time." He'd never seen me before. This was the first hint of how different a place Floyd is from mainstream America.

Then stepping out of the hardware store, the next move was to find a good position to observe the Christmas parade which was minutes away from starting. Ah, on a 26F day with blustery winds and nothing but a blue jean jacket & sweater for warmth (the parka was still somewhere in the cave of the Penske truck) a spot in the sun seemed a good idea. A village this small couldn't have much of a parade, right? It shouldn't take 15 minutes then back home to thaw out. Forty-five minutes later, the tail end of the float procession was in sight at last. Mr. Fuzzy had frozen in place.

That evening was the old "Dickens of a Christmas" celebrated in downtown Floyd and at the Jacksonville Art Center. Don George told me the first joke I heard about Floyd, I enjoyed the caroling and cookies, but without a decent coat, it was cold... off to the only restaurant people said would be open: The venerable Pine Tavern, wherein my first draught was consumed and my first good friend here, David, introduced himself [we marked that anniversary tonight by having another draught].

Night brought the swirling winds of an invading arctic cold front. Mr. Fuzzy had a bright little blaze burning in the fireplace, sitting on boxes of household goods, wearing several shirts, multiple sets of socks and The Sweater, sleeping bag draped across the lap with Lily under the bag, just her head emerging for oxygen. What a pair that night.

Its been a wonderful life here. A few road bumps but no interesting path is smooth. Thanks to you, dear readers, for remaining with the blog for more than 600 posts and seven years.

Lily (at center top) has to share the bed these days

02 December 2015

A Refreshing Few Days Away

As much as Mr. Fuzzy loves Stratheden and its denizens, even a perfume factory needs a breath of fresh air once in a while. For good cause, a few days away in Covington and Lexington, Kentucky, was a fine tonic to offset the onset of winter blahs.
View of Cincinnati from my hotel window

The cause was the first marriage in the family in 18 years, my cousin Charles, who has always been more like a little brother than a cousin. With the recent Supreme Court ruling, he was finally able to marry his companion of more the twenty years, Chip. It was a pleasure to be present and to act as one of the official witnesses.

It was a civil ceremony with old friends and family present in their new home. Restrained, dignified and fun. Their old friend, Artie, performed part of the ceremony and the local magistrate, Steven, made sure the legal parts were conducted properly.

Artie, Master of Ceremonies
Local Magistrate at labor

Charles has always been a superb host and the night before the big event, they took Mr Fuzzy to dinner at a marvelous local restaurant, Bouquet, in downtown Covington. Superb cuisine, amazing service staff, refined decor, huge, diverse and top flight wine list, etc. Definitely five stars, right down to the men's room. What a delightful evening. Thanks, guys! And Sybilka... oh my...

  The next day's agenda was to slip down to Lexington to visit my buddy, Paul. The weather was grey and sharp but there was the entire afternoon to venture less than 90 miles - so a two lane back road was chosen for conveyance. Little traffic, a fine cemetery and some wonderful old barns that were all fodder for the Panasonic GX7.

May you have pleasant adventures in your life as well! [remember, you can click on any image to enlarge it]