Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Meandering in Ivor Virginia

It is the season of our constant wanderings on the back roads of Virginia and North Carolina. Late afternoon light is beautiful, the roads wind and bend, with little adventures waiting for us around every turn.

A sign on the side of this weathered old building above reads, "Sycamore Cross."  I'm not sure if that refers to the old house that sits next door or perhaps it refers to the street's name.

This late afternoon, we ended up in little Ivor Virginia whose population of about 300 people has not changed much since1910.

Ivor once had a passenger railroad stop, along with other tiny Virginia communities like Waverly and Disputanta. 

Otelia Butler Mahone, wife of the owner of the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad,(now Norfolk Southern) was a great fan of Sir Walter Scott's novels. Local legend says that Otelia named various stops after places in Scott's novels, such as Ivor and Waverly Virginia.  
Thanks to Find-A-Grave.com
As for Disputanta, it came about after Mr. and Mrs. Mahone couldn't agree on a stop's name, i.e. they had a dispute about it.

Ivor lives on and still is primarily agricultural.  This old grain silo was probably there back in 1910.
I don't see ghosts. However, I fancy that I hear echoes of the past in old places like Ivor.  In my mind's eye, I see women heading to a small grocery fanning themselves and saying, "I declare it is hot."

I see shoeless boys heading to a creek to swim. I hear mothers ringing large bells from the back door calling, "Supper's ready."

Can you see the checkered tablecloths and piles of cooked sweet corn, sliced tomatoes, and iced tea sweating in the sun? I see freckles, heads bowed over grace, crooked teeth, straw hats, aprons, strawberries made into jam, and ribbons in little girls' hair. In my mind, these types of "ghosts" are everywhere.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Dr. Walter Reed House Murfreesboro NC

This is Dr. Walter Reed's home in Murfreesboro, NC.  We are all familiar with this name, what with the famous Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the Washington DC area. How many of us know why he is famous?
Dr. Reed researched yellow fever, once a terrible scourge with periodic epidemics in the United States. His painstaking investigation both in the US and Cuba (the part of the US), confirmed the cause of the disease. He was a pioneering biomedical researcher using strict scientific methods and studies to confirm his theories.


Dr. Reed received his medical degree at 17 from the University of Virginia, the youngest person ever to do so.

Dr. Reed's wife, Emilie Lawrence, was born in Murfreesboro, as was Dr. Reed's mother.  His father was a circuit preacher. Walter lived in this home during his father's preaching tours and also later as an adult. 

Yellow fever hit warm locations, as it is spread by mosquitoes. Can you imagine Dr. Reed's fatigue in working with no relief from the temperature with no certainty whether he would survive exposure to it?  In 1855, ten percent of my local population died from this infectious disease. Yellow Fever

Walter Reed died in 1902 from a ruptured appendix. Medicine had not yet advanced to the point that this was a routine illness.
I thought the porch with its interesting railings and cornice decorations was lovely in the late afternoon light.

I've known about Walter Reed my entire life, what with a father who was also an Army physician.  However, I never knew that he had a distinct presence here so close to home. 

It seems so odd to have run across his house, as I just finished this book regarding Yellow Fever.  American Plague by Molly Caldwell Crosby was mesmerizing.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Like I Said - It Is Poor Grammar

I am a grammar Nazi. I admit it.

My mom, a teacher, raised us to speak properly. I remember answering the phone at Fort Monroe, VA at 5 saying, "Captain Galvin's residence, Annie speaking." My mother spent a lot of time teaching me to do that.

She drilled us in grammar and syntax.  I disliked it as a child. However, as I grew up, I appreciated her instructions very much. I ended up doing well in job interviews and in expressing myself.

So it is in that spirit that I offer this: Peeps...The term is not "LIKE I said." The proper term is "AS I said." 

I'm hearing this term often with professional newscasters. It makes me cringe. Someone used "like I said" on Friday on the Fox News noon show, "Outnumbered."

These are all smart, well-educated women (with one rotating male guest) who have no excuse for not using proper grammar.
Just to be an equal opportunity grammar snob, I also hear this term constantly on the Today Show on NBC.

Thus, my dear friend Debra's very well-written blog is As I See It Now and not Like I See it Now.

Let me get the following other issues off my chest:

1.  Your - belonging to you
     You're - contraction for you are.

2.  There - at that place
     Their - belonging to them
     They're - contraction for they are

3.  To - preposition indicating direction of motion
     Too - also
     Two - the number after one

4.  Using the term "I seen" when you mean "I saw."

5.   Here - at this place
      Hear - what your ears do

6.  Using the word "like" as an oral connector for no
     apparent reason.

     So like I went to the store and there weren't any 
     avocados and like I was jonesn' so much for 
     some guac. So my Mom was like all up in 
     my grill and like she said to just like move on 
     and like get some clam dip instead.  Like, I don't
     have needs?

7.  Here's a favorite: "He don't know any better." Please 
     peeps it is "He doesn't know any better."

8.  Its - belonging to it
     It's - contraction for it is.
Finally, we need to remember that "apostrophe s" after a word ('s) as in the word pump's above, means "that which belongs to the pump" as in "That pump's notice is grammatically incorrect with poor spelling."  Pumps, no apostrophe, means more than one pump.

How about:

The pumps are not taking debit cards. Please pay inside with your debit card and then pump gas. Credit cards can be used right at the pump. Thank you. We are sorry for any inconvenience.

My husband is a great writer with excellent grammar and syntax.
And God help me if I made any mistakes in this post!





Laura Ingalls Wilder and Great-Grandma Delphenia Hurd

This is Bruce's great-grandmother Delphenia "Della,"above but I think she looks like a lot like Laura Ingalls Wilder pictured below.

Many similarities exist between Great-Grandma Della and Laura. They were homesteaders on the prairies. They both cut their bangs in what was then called, "the lunatic fringe" by older adults who criticized this new style. These adorable little bangs are curled around their foreheads almost identically.  According to Laura, they used pencils heated up over a kerosene lamp to achieve this style.

Both girls have the typical high-necked and proper dresses of the period. Laura and Della are wearing their best (and probably only) piece of jewelry.  

Pa Ingalls and John Hurd must have had a lot in common. He must have had that wanderlust like Pa. John, Bruce's second great grandfather, started out in Ohio and ended up in Thedford, Nebraska territory. This was the time when the federal government was encouraging homesteading.

As an aside, and in what I think is one of the coolest things EVER, my mother-in-law, Della's granddaughter, grew up in a sod house like the Little House book, "On the Banks of Plum Creek."  

Della's daughter Irma taught in a one-room schoolhouse on the prairie, just like Laura. Only Irma supervised recess with a rifle over her lap ready to kill rattlesnakes if need be. 

Irma's grandson and my husband, Bruce, teaches Alternative Energy Systems on the college level, among other courses. One topic explored is modern uses of sod houses to conserve energy.  It's just in his DNA, I guess.

I think Della was just a tiny bit prettier in her picture, but I'm not objective.



Friday, July 21, 2017

Buddha's Hand


How peculiar looking is this citrus fruit? The label at Fresh Market said, "Buddha's Hand."

They had a lovely aroma, despite their rather creepy appearance. Buddha's Hand fruit can be used to impart a flavor to sugar and is used in mixed alcoholic drinks.  

You can take part of a Buddha's Hand and add it to vodka, infusing it with a lemony flavor.

According to the Smithsonian, five varieties of Buddha's Hand are cultivated by farmers in China.

Buddha's Hand is definitely the most unusual kind of produce that I've ever seen.

To learn more:

Kitchn.com Buddha's Hand

Smithsonian - Buddha's Hand



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Bloom Where You're Planted


Does the ground feel rocky?  Do you think you'd do better if only you had: more time, more money, a better place to live, better health, a better job, or a million and one other "if only's?"

Bloom where you're planted baby!

The "if onlies", notions of future perfection, and lots of money may never come so love your life right now.

God uses nature to show us that one may bloom even in the rockiest of environments.

So do something today, right now, this minute to improve your situation.  Pick a free bouquet of flowers right outside. Pray intensely for someone. Create something, fix something, paint something, DO something to make things better.

Send an email to a friend,ride your bike, go to a river or the ocean and let it soothe your soul,take a walk, cook a lovely meal, make your bed, throw out the trash, play with the dog, pull some weeds, etc.

Godliness with contentment is great gain.  1 Tim 6:6