Thursday, October 27, 2016

Kentucky not just horse country

My friend Terry and I just completed an eight-day tour of horse country near Lexington, KY.  We did make a few side trips that didn't involve horses, so I thought I'd take you down the lane on our quest to find barn quilts. 

The barns in Kentucky are mostly two story structures painted black, not white as those we are accustomed to seeing. Some of these may have started out as tobacco barns.  

The dark paint helped to raise the heat inside the barns for the cut tobacco. This particular day we were near Versailles and Stamping Ground. 

You can purchase ready-made quilt blocks from local sign companies in the area. These are made of metal and will last longer.

I prefer the hand-painted blocks. I hope to put one on my barn someday soon.

 Hope you enjoy them.  Other side trips and thoroughbreds are coming soon. 
Here are two views of the same barn which had five quilt blocks.

This is the logo for Old Friends Equine, a retirement home for Thoroughbreds. This is an Ohio Star block with the horseshoe added in the center.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Which Way

I just returned from another wonderful trip to Chickasaw State Park near Henderson, Tenn., thanks to friends who are good enough to put up with me for five days.  Here are a few highlights.

Poplar grove on third day ride.

Cathy Hays and Frida Astor work on a Southwestern puzzle at the end of day two.  Wild times in Chickasaw! (right)

Mary Hurley and her Splash on day one.  Splash is a
Pintaloosa, a Pinto-Appaloosa cross. (below)

Mack and Cathy Hayes on Mia and Moonshine have been coming to Chickasaw for many years.  He was our trail guide. Here is a heated discussion as to whether we are on Turkey or
Turkey Extended Trail. (below, right)

"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nancy on Leo-Pard and Frida Astor on Doc in the breathtaking pine thicket on day one. 

Switch-A-Roo.  Mary on Leo and Nancy on Splash at the end of day two.

Day four I stayed in camp by myself to catch up
on some reading and rest my aching bones.  If
you want a Diet Coke bad enough, you will
visit the worm refrigerator.

When there is confusion on the trail, you alway ask Yogi.  "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!"  —Yogi Berra

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Three Dog Night's Chuck Negron has message for music industry

This morning at church, our acting music director asked the question (in front of dozens of youth there for a weekend retreat), "How many of you remember Three Dog Night?"  If you are down here at the front, I'm sure you don't," he said.  "They had a song call ONE, 'One is the loneliest number that you'll ever know..."

I punched Howard, and whispered, "Wow the choir is going to sing ONE or maybe JOY TO THE WORLD, Jeremiah had a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine, or TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS or MAMA, TOLD ME NOT TO COME."  But I really couldn't see how those wonderful old tunes would fit in the church service.

He went on to point that Jesus was the One way to salvation, the one savior.

But I couldn't help but think of my own Three Dog Night experiences.  I was bad and not listening to most of the rest of the service.

When I was a young teenager, 15-17, my group of friends and I loved Three Dog Night.  We followed them from concert to concert, in stops including Memphis (many times), Shreveport, Jackson and Greenville.  If we could't drive that far we could buy a ticket on the small Southwestern Airline, the one with the smiley faces, for about $50.  Off we went.

My absolute favorite of the three was the beautiful, perfectly mustachioed Chuck Negon.  He could hit those high notes like no other, and with his long hair and fringe, he was IT. Or so I thought.

When we were in Shreveport to see them, one of my friends and I got up to go to the restroom and walk around.  We spotted one of their roadies and spoke to him by name.  He gave us two back stage passes and go sit on those drum cases right off stage.  My heart was pounding, but I was also a little scared.  I might have been 16 at the time.  So off we went to the stage.  It was magical. I could see the sweat when he flung his long hair and the fringe swayed with the music.

I was having the time of my life until I spotted our other friends sitting in the audience.  They must have wondered where we were, and when they saw us one in particular looked like she might throw up.

Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Corey Wells, who died last year. Photos by

After the concert the roadie looked at us and asked us to come back to the hotel with them.  While this was cool and all, my radar said no.  Big Mistake! I looked at my friend, and we disappeared. We saw the same roadie at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis the next year and he didn't remember us or gives another backstage pass.  Good decision.

The band grew apart as most bands do.  Chuck's gigantic heroin habit, mostly to blame.  After going to rehab countless times, he finally hit bottom.  In his biography "Three Dog Nightmare" he recounts his addictions, failed relationships, trips to rehab and the journey back.

In 2013 Chuck released the third edition of his best-selling autobiography, Three Dog Nightmare, which chronicles his personal life and death struggle with addiction and the miracle that saved his life on September 17, 1991. Chuck has been clean and sober now for nearly 24 years.  Chuck spent over two years writing his book Three Dog Nightmare and recorded the accompanying soundtrack CD entitled “The Long Road Back.” from Three Dog Nightmare 

“I would have nothing without the people who cared for me and helped me find my way,” Negron says. Chuck remains active with several of the organizations whose aim is to keep drugs out of the music industry. Chuck also spends time helping the addicted. Cri-Help in North Hollywood, California has been most important to Chuck’s ongoing recovery. “I’ve been singing, performing and recording for over 50 years. I’ve always been grateful for my voice and my life as a musician. I look at it as a gift from God. It has afforded me the opportunity to touch so many people in such a beautiful way. Music has brought me joy, inner peace and comfort that I thrive on. I feel very blessed to be in the game again.” Three Dog Nightmare
Chuck Negron still tours as "Chuck Negron, formerly with Three Dog Night." The band tours under their original name.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Great summer read found in Circling the Sun

I love to just stumble upon a great book, not one whose author I have already read and like, not one that is on the top ten list, not one that just sounds good, but one that just finds me.

I am an Out of Africa fan.  I was mesmerized by the 1985 account of Karen Blixen (Karen Dinesen, Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke), who wrote under the pen name of Isak Dinesen, and her love affair with aristocratic big-game hunter Denys Finch-Hatton.

If you were a fan of the movie, you remember that their affair came to an end when Karen began putting pressure on Denys for more commitment in their relationship. What we don't know that he was ready to begin a relationship with Beryl Markham, and she is worthy of a book on her adventurous life.  In Out of Africa, Markham's character is named Felicity.

The daughter of famous British horse trainer Charles Clutterbuck, Beryl moved with her parents to Kenya.  Her mother did not like the African way of life, and soon returned to England taking Beryl's brother with her and leaving her in Kenya with her father.

Barely an adult, she became the first licensed female horse trainer in Kenya.  Besides her fame in the horse world, she became a master aviator and was the first person to fly the Atlantic east to west in a solo non-stop flight.

Beryl was a stunning woman, blonde, almost six feet tall.  She wore slacks and trademark silk shirts. She was married three times, and her list of lovers was impressive—including her friend Karen's husband Bror von Blixen-Finecke.  Her affair in 1929 with Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was allegedly cut short by the Windsors. And there are many others.

But back to Finch-Hatton.  When her friend Karen's relationship with him began to fail, Markham began her affair with him which lasted about a year until his fatal flight.

On a personal note, I don't see the appeal of old Denys.  Besides leading aristocrats on safari, he is not noted as having achieved much of anything, except being the lover of interesting women, according to one report.  He was no Robert Redford in my book.

Denys Finch-Hatton

Well I can't tell you much more about this work of wonderful historical fiction. McLain makes the dialogue sound like old Hollywood, wonderfully British except for Blixen. Markham, herself, wrote an account of those days in her memoir, West with the Night.

This book is a thrill from beginning to end.  McLain is also the author of The Paris Wife, another historical fiction account of Ernest Hemingway's first marriage to Hadley Richardson.

I can't wait to check out more of McLain's works.

Robert Redford and Meryl Streep as Finch-Hatton and Karen Blixen in the 1985 movie Out of Africa.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On the Bookshelf

Beginning next month, I may add a sidebar that will feature books I'm currently reading. I'd love to get input from you on what you are reading.  Summertime means beach reading, late-night reading, well, anytime is good for reading in my book. (pun intended)

I did something lately that I rarely do. I re-read a book.  Not long after Jodi Picoult's book "Leaving Time," came out in 2014, I added it to my Kindle library.

I found it to be the most compelling read of recent years. I've never really quit thinking about the storyline.  Picoult's works are known to carry an underlying social theme. This book was true to form.

It had all elements necessary for me to be a great book........romance, adventure, animals, and pure human drama.

If you didn't read it, do it now.  Let it settle in. Then you will know why you need to re-read this work.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cantrell's new work highly anticipated

I was looking forward to the book launch for "The Feathered Bone" by Oxford writer Julie Perkins Cantrell. The event is set for tonight at 5 p.m. at Off Square Books in Oxford.

I'm not going since I am still fighting the cough that will not die.  This third book for Cantrell has gotten positive reviews. You may remember my recommendations of her first novel, "Into the Free" followed by "When Mountains Move."

This newest work promises to be riveting, although hard to read at times.  By hard to read, I mean facing some harsh social trafficking for a young girl.

When I wrote Julie to regret that I would not be there, she said, "I hope (being sick) gives you tons of reading time.....somewhere warm and cozy."

We'll that's where I'll be tonight.  The book magically appeared on my Kindle.  I have on an old shirt, my husband's Napoleon Dynamite sleep pants and fuzzy purple socks.  Makes being sick worth it.

Best wishes, Julie. You make us proud.