Archive for October, 2011

A visit with my dear friend, Ed Anderson, Friday, October 7, 2011

October 10, 2011 - 7:18 am No Comments

Back to Elberton, Georgia.    From the time we were in kindergarten through the 10th grade, Ed Anderson and I were close friends.    He didn’t live on Carey Street, but he lived on Elm Street, around the corner.   When we were 6 years old and in the first grade, we were chosen to have our photo made by the master photographer in Elberton, Everette Saggus.   The photo was on the front page of the local newspaper, the Elberton Star, on February 14, 1955.   I’m not sure why we were selected from Mrs. Vandiver’s first grade class in Stevens School to have this photo made.    I wore the dress Mother made for my kindergarten graduation (it was a big deal back then).   Ed wore a tuxedo which his aunt made for him.    The gist of the photo was that of celebrating Valentine’s Day.   Neither of us remember much about that day—but we both know it happened because we have the evidence in photos.

When we were about 15 years old, Ed’s Dad, Boadie Anderson, moved the family to Oklahoma to start a granite business.    He was an experienced granite man since Elberton is known as the “granite capital of the world”.    I was totally mystified by this—how can you move a 15 year old to another place so far away????   We were just learning to drive and have some independence, for heavens’ sake!!   I remember being totally horrified that Ed would move so far away—permanently—but I also remember he was very stoic about it, and was determined to make the best of it.   It so happens that Ed has loved his life in Ada since the very beginning, plus he met his future wife,  Judy Noble, while he was in Oklahoma.   During the next several years, Ed and his family came back to Elberton from time to time to visit.   His aunt and grandmother still lived there.   We saw each other during our college days as well.    Then we graduated from college, each of us got married, and started raising our families.   Ed’s Elberton relatives passed away, we moved away, and we didn’t see each other for a long time.   OK, let’s face it, it’s been 40 years.    But when I think of my childhood, Ed Anderson is still an indelible part of it.

When I started planning this trip, I realized we would be in the vicinity of Ada, so I called Ed and we had a great visit over the phone.   We made plans to stop by for a visit.   Ed became business partners with his dad after college, and subsequently took over his Dad’s granite business when his dad passed away and has done a great job with it.  Ed and his wife Judy work harder than anyone we know.  I mean they work 10 to 12 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week as needed.  Ed asked me “what do you DO since you don’t work”.   I say “uh uh uh, well, we do whatever we want with no schedule and no rules”.   Ed says “uh uh uh, I don’t know if I can do that”.     They have built a big business and Judy works beside Ed all the way.  They have two sons, Boadie and John who are also partners in the business.   They each have 3 children, so Ed and Judy now have 6 grandchildren!!!

We arrived at Ed’s granite finishing plant around mid-afternoon.    Ed and Judy greeted us and showed us around the plant and explained their business.    They cut and finish granite monuments and stones from all over the world.  Ed and Judy are also very community minded.   We saw many examples all over town where the Andersons donated the finished granite for a veterans’ memorial as well as many other things.   They are very well known in the community.  They give to their community in various ways because, as Ed says, they have been blessed ten-fold in their lives.  They are very active in their Methodist Church as well.

It was so good to see them.   After we toured his plant, Ed led us over to their home.   They have an absolutely beautiful home on the golf course in Ada.   Ed and Judy designed this home for warmth and fellowship.   It is elegant, but it is also “grandchildren proof”.   Their outside patio is full of granite tables, wooden stools, several table and chair sets, etc.   They have a full outdoor kitchen as well.  I think Ed said they can seat 60 people.   They have a lot of social occasions at their home—last weekend they had their Sunday School Class over for a cookout.   For dinner we walked over to the golf clubhouse and had drinks and dinner with three couples who are their good friends.    We enjoyed their fellowship and Ed and I told hilarious stories from our childhood days.  It’s funny how each of us remember things, sometimes totally differently!   LOL

It was a fun evening and we walked across the golf course home for the evening.

Tomorrow we will go over to Oklahoma City to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, which is the memorial to the victims of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in downtown Oklahoma City.

Stay tuned.   Bonnie

Quiet day in El Reno, Oklahoma

October 6, 2011 - 1:41 pm No Comments

No photos today—-we spent the morning in the laundry room!    The wind is really blowing out here—-it blew during the night, not as much as the day, but still a lot of wind.   I wonder does it blow like this all the time?

This afternoon we are reading and doing some housekeeping, getting ready for our visit this weekend with the Ed Anderson family in Ada, Oklahoma.   Will have some photos later to share from the weekend.   We’ll drive over to Ada tomorrow –  about 150 miles.

Stay tuned.  Bonnie

Hello from El Reno, Oklahoma Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 5, 2011 - 1:45 pm 2 Comments

What a night we had last night!   The winds howled all afternoon, then slowed down by bedtime.  But during the night the winds picked up and we rocked and rolled for a while.   If you can picture us out in the middle of nowhere, not a tree in sight, flat as a pancake, and there’s nothing to hold back the wind.    On top of that, I’m still aggravated that this modern park did not have WIFI.

We left the park by 8:3o a.m. and found a Super Walmart for grocery shopping.   Then we stopped at McDonald’s for a cup of coffee.   The clouds were ominous this morning and we had off and on showers as we drove.   Texas and Oklahoma need way more rain than we had, however.   The landscape is dry and you can tell it’s been a while since they’ve had a decent rain.

We were going to stop in Elk City, Oklahoma for the evening but when we pulled into the RV park, we didn’t like the look of it.   I usually have very good luck finding parks using my Good Sam Directory, but this one did not fit the bill.   So I found another park about 70 miles down the road toward Oklahoma City.   So we are in El Reno, Oklahoma for the night, and perhaps Thursday night as well.

We will go to Ada, Oklahoma on Friday to visit a childhood friend of mine from Elberton.   I’ll tell you the story of our friendship later.   We’ll spend a couple of nights with them and then Sunday morning we’ll head down to Austin, Texas to visit our youngest son, Benjamin.

Today’s photos are more sights from Route 66 taken yesterday.  Nothing interesting to photograph today!

Stay tuned.  Bonnie

Gettin’ our kicks on Route 66—Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 5, 2011 - 1:26 pm No Comments

Last night we spent the night in Tucumcari, New Mexico.   I didn’t realize until I did some research that Tucumcari is famous for several iconic relics from the old “Mother Road” Route 66, namely the Blue Swallow Motel.   This motel is a famous icon of Route 66 and had a garage for every room at the motel.  We drove most of the Route 66 from Tucumcari to Amarillo, Texas.   Route 66 is 2,448 total miles (from Los Angeles to Chicago) which became known as the Main Street of America.   Route 66 helped raise a crop of new vocabulary words for the American public:  fast food drive-ins, service stations, convenience stores, strip malls, etc.  Route 66 began in 1926 during a national movement to standardize America’s highways.  Route 66 enjoyed a pop cultural homage of sorts when a television show named “Route 66” came into the baby boomers’  living rooms from 1960 to 1964.  Beginning in 1956 when the federal interstate highway system was spreading across the landscape, Route 66 began to fail and in 1985, Route 66 was decommissioned and passed into history.

The onset of the interstate system virtually killed the small towns directly on Route 66. Travelers preferred the speed of the interstate over the slower Route 66.   But today we enjoyed part of it.   We drove slowly through Tucumcari and took lots of photos of small motels and gas stations from the past.   We drove several portions of Route 66 off and on the interstate.  You can see the remains of many farms and homes.   Some of Route 66 is in very good condition, and some parts are impassable.  So when driving through this area, you are on and off the interstate according to the condition of the road.   Route 66 follows closely I-40 through the top portion of Texas and on into Oklahoma.

We stopped at the Oasis RV Park in Amarillo for the evening.   It truly is an oasis, because it sits in the middle of nowhere, not a sign of a tree in sight.   The wind blew so hard when we arrived (and all afternoon) that we could hardly open the RV door.   No way could we put out our awnings.   But I thought it would be fine for one evening—that is until I tried to log on the internet and found the “WIFI” is seldom available.   How can that be possible?   We are in one of the most modern parks we’ve ever been in, and no WIFI.   What an aggravation!!

We’ll head into Oklahoma tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned.  Bonnie

A stroll down memory lane with Sadie Glenn

October 3, 2011 - 3:31 pm 3 Comments

When I was a little girl from the age of 2 years to 18 years old, my family lived an idyllic life on Carey Street in Elberton, Georgia.   This little town was just  like Mayberry.   During the 50’s and 60’s when I grew up, our neighbors were like family.   Each family kept an eye out for the other children.    We played around the neighborhood without fear.   We did not lock our doors, and we left the keys in the cars.  The neighbors brought their lawn chairs out in the evenings and visited together in one yard while the children played.    If one neighbor caught fish, we had a fish fry with all the neighbors pitching in.   We shared vegetables from our gardens.   Our neighbors were Nellie and Alton Cannon, Ping and Ruth Johnson, Mae and Papa Durham, and our next door neighbors were Mattox and Sadie Glenn.    I remember Mattox as such a tall handsome man, and Sadie was just about the most beautiful and elegant woman I ever saw.   I loved them both when I was growing up on Carey Street.   When I went to the prom, Mattand Sadie (and others) came over to our house to see me in my prom dress.    When I graduated from high school, they came over to see me in my cap and gown.   They kept up with me, through my parents, all my life.  In 1970, my parents built their dream home and moved away from Carey Street.   Greg and I go back to Elberton once or twice a year to visit my parents’ graves, and we always drive down Carey Street.   In my mind’s eye, I can still see all us children playing in the street, and all my neighbors in their houses.   It was a wonderful place to grow up.

Twenty years ago, Mattox passed away and Sadie moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to be near their only son.   She has lived a long and healthy life and now at 94 years old, she has moved into an assisted living facility in Albuquerque.   She only gave up driving when she was 90 years old.

I did not tell her we were coming to Albuquerque until the day before we visited her.   I did not want to disappoint her if something happened that we could not stop to see her.   I called her yesterday afternoon and told her we were in town for the Balloon Fiesta and we would stop by to see her on Monday morning and she was thrilled.  I haven’t seen her in more than 40 years.

We left the American RV Park this morning and made a quick stop at Freightliner to buy a set of windshield wipers.   We found Sadie’s facility without any trouble.   She lives in a beautiful complex called Atria Vista Del Rio.   We signed in at the front desk and were given directions on how to find her apartment.    I knocked on the door, and in a moment, Sadie was in front of me!!!

We hugged and she looks wonderful—still elegant and beautiful at 94 years old.    We had a great visit reminiscing about our life on Carey Street.  We both agree it was a perfect time and place to grow up.   I brought photos of our children and grandchildren and Sadie was amazed that I am now a grandmother.   Of course she remembers me as the little blonde girl who lived next door.   She is in touch with many friends from Elberton.    She told me how difficult it was to leave her home that she and Maddox built and lived in for 60 years.   But she was brave to know when it was time to move near her son in Albuquerque.   She has made many friends who live near her and she told us about her dining partners.

When we got ready to leave, she walked us to the front door to bid us farewell.   It was so good to see her and relive some of the best times of my life.   In one of the photos you’ll see Sadie holding our hometown newspaper, the Elberton Star.   It’s a tradition with our hometown that if you visit a native Elbertonian, you should take a photo with the Elberton Star and the photo and an article will be put in the newspaper for all the townspeople to enjoy.   I’ll send this photo to the newspaper so that all her friends can see how well she’s doing.

We drove about 175 miles to Tucumcari, New Mexico for the evening.   It seems we are in the middle of nowhere, but actually this is in the middle of the famous Route 66.   The temperature is now 85 degrees and it is very windy so we actually have the air conditioning on for the first time during this trip.   We have had temperatures all up and down the scale since we started our trip!

Tomorrow we will drive part of Route 66 while on our way over to Amarillo, Texas.   Stay tuned.  Bonnie


Balloon Glow and AfterGlow Fireworks

October 2, 2011 - 8:36 pm 1 Comment

We didn’t realize it when we attended yesterday’s opening ceremonies, but The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta again set the world record for most balloons launched in one hour, sending 345 hot air balloons into the sky from Balloon Fiesta Park during the opening day of Balloon Fiesta.   Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Inc. is seeking the world record for the greatest mass hot air balloon ascent in one hour from Guinness World Records.  This is the 40th year for the festival.

The events now known as balloon glows were invented in Albuquerque in 1979, when local pilots inflated balloons on Christmas Eve night as a thank you to local residents. The sight of balloons lit from within at night like giant holiday ornaments is breathtaking, and glow events are now held all over the world. Balloon Fiesta launched its Balloon Glow, the world’s biggest, in 1987. Fiesta Glow or Balloon Glow is when all the balloons fire their burners and light up at the same time.  This is  perhaps the most spectacular single moment in all of Balloon Fiesta. The Balloon Glows are followed by New Mexico’s most spectacular fireworks displays – and are now among Balloon Fiesta’s most popular events.

We have made many friends during our stay at this park.   There is a “festival” atmosphere in our park and everyone is trading stories and advice about where to get the best views, etc.   So we had a quiet day in the park, ready to get on the shuttle for  tonight’s “Balloon Glow” and fireworks.  By the time we reached the Fiesta park, the wind had picked up and there were rumors in the crowd that the balloon glow would have to be cancelled.   We walked around and picked up a couple of burgers at one of the stands on the fairway.   It was so windy we had to hold on to our food!     There were thousands of people in attendance and everyone was milling around the area where the balloons would be lit.    Around 6:30 p.m. the winds died down and there was an announcement that the balloon glow would go ahead.  As the sun set, the balloons starting lifting in place (not off the ground) and the announcer would count down from 10 to 1, and all the balloons would turn on their burners at once so they would glow in the dark.   It was very pretty, but I must admit, being on ground level with so many people around made it difficult to take photos.    But I’ll show you what I’ve got.

After the balloons glowed, the fireworks display started.   It was quite a display of fireworks and they went on for about 30 minutes, which is actually a long time for a fireworks display.   We boarded our bus back to the campground and arrived safely around 9:00 p.m.   We’ve had a great time in Albuquerque!!!

Stay tuned.  Bonnie



Up Up and Away! Another item for your Bucket List

October 1, 2011 - 2:06 pm 1 Comment

Didn’t sleep a wink last night.   It wasn’t that we had set the alarm clock (although that does cause some stress), but I just couldn’t close my eyes.   Until around 2:00 a.m. that is.   Then the alarm was set for 4:30 a.m. so you get the picture.

We got up before the alarm went off and got everything stowed away before heading for the office around 5:10 a.m.    As soon as we opened the door to leave our RV, we saw people walking all around us, heading for the office.   Now that was a strange sight!     Coffee was waiting in the office and Greg had quick cup before we boarded the buses for the Fiesta.    We made it without any trouble until we got within sight of the fiesta field and then the traffic stopped.    Just ahead (remember it’s still dark) we saw one balloon, then two, then three, quietly lifting off the ground.   The sight was awesome, but I couldn’t get a photo because we were on the bus!!!!!   Everyone was getting antsy as we watched day break and we were still sitting in traffic.   So close but so far away…….

One gentleman on the bus said “let’s get off this bus and get to the park”.   So we all made an exodus off the bus (right in the middle of the road), leaving the driver sitting in the traffic.   You’d think after doing this for 39 years they would have it right by now.    We walked the short distance to the gates, all the while watching the strange sight of the balloons lifting off silently, while we made our way onto the field.   Day is breaking as we make it down to the area of liftoff.

All we can see, as far as the eye can see, are huge balloons, laying on their sides, with fans blowing into the belly of the balloons.   There are  of hundreds balloons on the grounds, only a few lifted off in the darkness, to check the flow of air above us.    The rest of them are laying quietly, being filled with air.    People are milling all around, watching the awesome sight.    When a balloon starts standing, a worker jumps into the basket with one or two other lucky folks.    Then the pilot shoots the hot gas into the balloon to give it the lift.    When the balloon is ready to lift off, the pilot releases the tether, a whistle blows (telling the crowd the balloon is about to lift off) and up and away they go!!!   Everyone is clapping and shouting and then we move on to another balloon being filled with air.    The colors are brilliant, and as the sun rises, each photo I take becomes more and more brilliant.   We make our way to the VIP tent to have complimentary coffee and doughnuts.   There ares table of krispy kreme donuts as far as the eye can see.   I think Greg had three of them but I didn’t look too closely!!   LOL

Soon we are part of the crowd, moving from one balloon to the next, watching the process of the air going into the balloon, and liftoff.    There are thousands of people, and hundreds of balloons lifting off during the two hour “ascension” on opening day of the 2011 Balloon Fiesta of Albuquerque.

As luck would have it, there was also a huge tent filled with artists and their wares.   And as luck would have it, I found a native american woman named “Rose” who had the most beautiful turquoise jewelry.   And as luck would have it, I found just the bracelet I’ve been looking for—a sterling silver cuff bracelet with a beautiful large turquoise stone in the center.   Greg found himself a$6 slide whistle.   His excuse is that he can make Olivia and Grayson (our grandchildren) laugh; my excuse, well, I didn’t have one.

By 9:00 a.m. most all the balloons were up in the air and moving away from the field.    Then we turn and walk back to the bus to be taken back to the campground.    The event is basically over until later in the day when they have a gas balloon race inflation,  balloon pin trading activities, and finally in the evening is the Balloon Glow.   Around 6:00 p.m. each day, Balloon Glow happens.   The balloons fill with air and the light of the hot gas makes the balloons glow as sun sets.   We will go back to the fields tomorrow evening to watch this event.

This is a strange sight—–by 9:30 a.m. there was a mass exodus out of the field while the balloons land and are maintained until the evening activities.   This is something you must see once in a lifetime.    But we returned to our rig around 10:00 a.m. and were exhausted.    Stay tuned.   I’m going to take a nap…….


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