HELLO, WE’RE HERE! – Rich Paschall

Now What? by Rich Paschall

What do you do when friends come to visit?  Do you plan a nice dinner?  Do you stay in and cook or do you go out?  Do you plan some activities or do you go for spontaneity? Do you bring out old photo albums or run pictures on a computer or even on your television?  There are a lot of things you can do if it is just for a day.

What if friends and family are coming for more than a day?  A few days of guests may take a little more planning.  Maybe you want to both eat at home and go out.  Maybe you want to take your visitors around to meet other family and friends.  Maybe this is the opportunity for a lot of conversation that has been missing in your friendship in recent years.  But what if they come for a few weeks?  Yes, weeks!

When I was small, perhaps 6 years old, I recall visiting Tennessee with my grandparents or other family members.  My grandparents were from Tennessee but they spent the late 1940’s to mid 1960s in Chicago.  There were plenty of relatives in the small town and rural areas for us to visit, so we made the rounds whenever we arrived, staying here and there.  Since I was the little kid from the north, these friends and relatives of my grandparents enjoyed entertaining me when I first arrived.  That probably wore off quickly.

Down on the farm

Down on the farm

We stayed with people I do not recall and, since I was little, the details are a bit sketchy.  I had no idea that decades later I would be interested in these vague memories.  I do recall that sitting around the living room, or front porch if the weather was nice, and telling old stories was a popular pastime.

“Well, how ya’ll doin?  I guess it’s downright cold from where you come from.”

“No, it is hot there too.  It’s July!”

“I swear you are the spittin’ image of Robert Lee at that age.”

My father’s middle name was Lee.  I guess I heard plenty of stories of my father when he was my age, although “my age” seemed to take in his entire childhood.

Most of these visits included my grandfather or some other relative telling how my father got that scar on his chin.  It seems that he was not much more than a toddler when he ran into a barbed wire fence chasing after my grandfather.

“He was told to stay put there at the house but he wanted to help out in the field like everyone else.”  I could not see my father as a farmer, at any age.

Sitting around telling stories is a trait of a lot of families.  It is a happy thing to do when family and friends get together.  In a rural area, it might just pass as the most exciting thing you could do anyway.

I do recall that I must have been the entertainment sometimes as the southern folks took the city boy around the house or farm.  One time some adults had finally convinced me that I should walk across a field to pet a cow.  Never mind the fact that I was just a tot and the cow was, well…, a cow.

I headed out  across the field, a bit scared I am sure, but determined to pet the cow.  When I got near the cow, he took off in another direction.  I guess he was just as afraid of the little city boy as I was of him.  Anyway, he wanted nothing to do with me.  There are some more amusing farm animal stories but, fortunately, I can not think of anyone still alive to tell them.

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

After my grandparents retired I was old enough to get put on the train in Chicago and collected from the train in Fulton, Kentucky.  It was the nearest stop to my grandparents in Tennessee.  Yes, we went around and visited relatives and friends.  I could now participate in some story telling.  I was still told I looked like Robert Lee, which I was always to take as a complement.  In my grandparents’ retirement years, there was not much more to do.

“You can walk right down there to the Dairy Queen and get yourself an ice cream cone.  If you go down there after dark, you can hear that bug zapper getting something every minute or two.”  Now that’s entertainment!

Robert Lee’s boy

When my grandmother passed away at some point in her 90s, we returned to Tennessee for another round of family visits.  My father and I attended some family reunions in other years.  One time it was at a Baptist church, the next time it was at the John Deere dealer.  It seems the John Deere dealer had the largest room in the area, bigger than the church.  We didn’t need any farm equipment, but it was interesting to see.

Even decades later, our visiting routine was to travel around and see relatives, mostly without advance warning.  We were always welcome, however.  Once my father and his brother, my uncle, tried to remember how to get to someone’s house using landmarks from when they were kids.  The amazing thing is there was little movement of families and we always found our way around.

On one trip my father wondered if old Aunt Ella was still alive.  She would have to be in her 90s and we were not confident we would find the small town well off any highway, much less Aunt Ella.  When we spotted a mailbox with our last name, we went up to the house where an old woman sat on the porch.  My aging father had not seen her in decades.

“Well, I guess you don’t know who I am,” my father started out.

“Why, you’re Yancy’s boy, Robert Lee,” she declared without missing a beat. “And you must be Robert Lee’s boy,” she said to me.  I must have been in my 40s by then.  We sat around and talked, as was the custom.

What do you do when relatives come calling?  Do you ever go to visit old family and friends?  Go to restaurants? Visit museums, famous landmarks, local hot spots?  Have actual conversations?

NOT A HINT OF FALL BUT THE CANAL IS BEAUTIFUL – Marilyn Armstrong

We went out looking for a hint of autumn but all we saw was summer. Usually, by the end of August, you can see yellow leaves and bright colors in the vines. You can usually see changes in color in the maple and aspen trees.

Not this year. It’s as deep green as a mid-July day.

On the positive side, it was beautiful weather with a shiny river and canal that looked like a mirror. The sky was something special. It looks almost unreal with that deep blue sky and puffy little white clouds.

REFLECTIONS: THE COLORS OF FALL – Garry & Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Reflection


Reflections in the Blackstone in the fall are beautiful. The colors are soft in the water, though if the water is quiet, sometimes it is as close as you can get to a mirror.

Rivers usually are not quite as silky as bigger bodies of water. Ponds and lakes sometimes are so smooth, you can turn the picture upside down and it looks almost the same, both ways.

Despite the lack of a brilliant fall, this October has produced a lot of pictures. Garry was outside today because we had sunshine. No reflections today … we don’t have any water here … but plenty of pictures.

River reflections – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Blackstone River in Rhode Island – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Reflecting river – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Mumford river reflections – Photo: Marilyn Armstrong

Reflection of the bridge on the canal – Photo: Marilyn Armstrong

Full reflection in the canal – Photo: Marilyn Armstrong

REFLECTING — THE YEAR THAT WAS

REFLECTIONS

A lot of us have a lot of things upon which we can reflect. Many of them are at the very least, unpleasant and many verge on Perfectly Awful and Deeply Depressing. I thought it was time to skip morbid and just run with beautiful, so this is a collection by Garry and I of our favorite reflections for this year.

Here’s hoping for a better year to come. May we all have a peaceful holiday or at least, a peaceful slide from darkest, longest nights of winter to the lengthening days of Spring to come.

HELLO, WE’RE HERE!

Now What? by Rich Paschall

What do you do when friends come to visit?  Do you plan a nice dinner?  Do you stay in and cook or do you go out?  Do you plan some activities or do you go for spontaneity? Do you bring out old photo albums or run pictures on a computer or even on your television?  There are a lot of things you can do if it is just for a day.

What if friends and family are coming for more than a day?  A few days of guests may take a little more planning.  Maybe you want to both eat at home and go out.  Maybe you want to take your visitors around to meet other family and friends.  Maybe this is the opportunity for a lot of conversation that has been missing in your friendship in recent years.  But what if they come for a few weeks?  Yes, weeks!

When I was small, perhaps 6 years old, I recall visiting Tennessee with my grandparents or other family members.  My grandparents were from Tennessee but they spent the late 1940’s to mid 1960s in Chicago.  There were plenty of relatives in the small town and rural areas for us to visit, so we made the rounds whenever we arrived, staying here and there.  Since I was the little kid from the north, these friends and relatives of my grandparents enjoyed entertaining me when I first arrived.  That probably wore off quickly.

Down on the farm

Down on the farm

We stayed with people I do not recall and, since I was little, the details are a bit sketchy.  I had no idea that decades later I would be interested in these vague memories.  I do recall that sitting around the living room, or front porch if the weather was nice, and telling old stories was a popular pastime.

“Well, how ya’ll doin?  I guess it’s downright cold from where you come from.”

“No, it is hot there too.  It’s July!”

“I swear you are the spittin’ image of Robert Lee at that age.”

My father’s middle name was Lee.  I guess I heard plenty of stories of my father when he was my age, although “my age” seemed to take in his entire childhood.

Most of these visits included my grandfather or some other relative telling how my father got that scar on his chin.  It seems that he was not much more than a toddler when he ran into a barbed wire fence chasing after my grandfather.

“He was told to stay put there at the house but he wanted to help out in the field like everyone else.”  I could not see my father as a farmer, at any age.

Sitting around telling stories is a trait of a lot of families.  It is a happy thing to do when family and friends get together.  In a rural area, it might just pass as the most exciting thing you could do anyway.

I do recall that I must have been the entertainment sometimes as the southern folks took the city boy around the house or farm.  One time some adults had finally convinced me that I should walk across a field to pet a cow.  Never mind the fact that I was just a tot and the cow was, well…, a cow.

I headed out  across the field, a bit scared I am sure, but determined to pet the cow.  When I got near the cow, he took off in another direction.  I guess he was just as afraid of the little city boy as I was of him.  Anyway, he wanted nothing to do with me.  There are some more amusing farm animal stories but, fortunately, I can not think of anyone still alive to tell them.

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

After my grandparents retired I was old enough to get put on the train in Chicago and collected from the train in Fulton, Kentucky.  It was the nearest stop to my grandparents in Tennessee.  Yes, we went around and visited relatives and friends.  I could now participate in some story telling.  I was still told I looked like Robert Lee, which I was always to take as a complement.  In my grandparents’ retirement years, there was now something more to do.

“You can walk right down there to the Dairy Queen and get yourself an ice cream cone.  If you go down there after dark, you can hear that bug zapper getting something every minute or two.”  Now that’s entertainment!

When my grandmother passed away at some point in her 90s, we returned to Tennessee for another round of family visits.  My father and I attended some family reunions in other years.  One time it was at a Baptist church, the next time it was at the John Deere dealer.  It seems the John Deere dealer had the largest room in the area, bigger than the church.  We didn’t need any farm equipment, but it was interesting to see.

Even decades later, our visiting routine was to travel around and see relatives, mostly without advance warning.  We were always welcome, however.  Once my father and his brother, my uncle, tried to remember how to get to someone’s house using landmarks from when they were kids.  The amazing thing is there was little movement of families and we always found our way around.

On one trip my father wondered if old Aunt Ella was still alive.  She would have to be in her 90s and we were not confident we would find the small town well off any highway, much less Aunt Ella.  When we spotted a mailbox with our last name, we went up to the house where an old woman sat on the porch.  My aging father had not seen her in decades.

“Well, I guess you don’t know who I am,” my father started out.

“Why, you’re Yancy’s boy, Robert Lee,” she declared without missing a beat. “And you must be Robert’s boy,” she said to me.  I must have been in my 40s by then.  We sat around and talked, as was the custom.

What do you do when relatives come calling?  Do you ever go to visit old family and friends?  Go to restaurants? Visit museums, famous landmarks, local hot spots?  Have actual conversations?

SHADOWS AND REFLECTIONS – BLACK & WHITE

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: REFLECTIONS AND SHADOWS

I did each of these in a different style. The first is high-contrast black and white. The second is a duo-tone version. The third is an antique-style yellow-sepia with analog effects.

72-bw-hi-contrast-green-river_01

72-bw-split-tone-green-river_12

72-bw-analog-antique-green-river_01

All were taken at the creek just over the Rhode Island border on a very green day in mid-August.

Shadows are dominant on land, reflections in the river. All taken on an Olympus PEN, probably with the new f1.8 25mm.

RIVER BEND LATE SEPTEMBER – GARRY ARMSTRONG

72-Riverbend-GAR-0919_012

It was a beautiful day. Almost every day this summer has been perfect. Except for a scarcity of rain, I don’t remember a better summer in New England. No stifling humidity or weeks of tropical rain. No blistering heat. Just sunshine, moderate temperatures, low humidity. It doesn’t get better than this.

72-Riverbend-GAR-0919_032

With a little bit of luck, Autumn will be equally perfect. And maybe (please, oh weather gods) a mild winter to follow?

72-Riverbend-GAR-0919_039

A trip to River Bend Farm to see the beginning of Autumn in the trees. It was nice to see the Blackstone River looking pretty much normal. Hopefully that bodes well for our water supply.

BROKEN MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO’S THE FAIREST OF US ALL?

The Mirror Crack’d – You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?


selfie in gray teeNo mirrors? How about a shiny car bumper or the reflection in a shop window or do you posit the loss of all reflections of every kind everywhere?

Vanity will out. Those who need to study their reflection will find a way. As for me, I think I would be just as happy to not have mirrors. We don’t have many even now. Just the standard ones over the bathroom sinks so I can do my hair and Garry can shave and not cut himself.

I’m not sure I ever spent a lot of time hovering around mirrors. Probably more when I wore makeup and when we go out, I still give a final look in the mirror to make sure things are aligned properly, my hem isn’t caught in my waistband, and I don’t have toilet paper stuck to the sole of my shoe … or some other equally embarrassing thing.

I could as easily just ask my husband if I look okay and he would tell me if I need fixing.

I don’t think my self-perception has much to do with mirrors — or ever did. Maybe smoke and mirrors in the sense of illusion and magic.

Many years ago, I went to camp in Maine for a couple of weeks with a bunch of friends. About half way through, someone asked if anyone had a mirror. No one had brought a mirror. There were 8 of us and there wasn’t a mirror amongst us. Maybe that’s your answer. Not necessarily the answer you were expecting.