Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pictures of the Boys

Dear Stevio, Caleb, and Jack, Oh how I love being with you. Nana

Monday, April 15, 2013

McConnico Cemetery

Dear Garner McConnico,

This is what things look like now.

McConnico Meeting House is no more at this location, but the cemetery remains.  Surely you would be surprised at how the stones, so straight and few when you lived, are now askew and broken and many.

The storm of 1909, referred to in the sign must have been quite a tornado, for even the neighbors at Taproot Farm are still talking about it.
The acreage, known as “Nolencrest” was first deeded to John Nolen in 1807. He built the first log house on the farm. The land was farmed in succession by John Nolen, Littleberry Nolen and Stephen Nolen, when in connection with the battles around Franklin the log house was burned in circa 1863, gun fire exchanges are evidenced by Civil War bullets found in the garden. The house was rebuilt as a two-story home on the same location by Milton Berry Nolen, whose family lived there until the tornado of 1887 removed the roofs of every building on the farm except the Springhouse in the cove. The two-story house was wind-damaged beyond repair. Dr. William Stephen Nolen, his wife and five children rebuilt the home and lived in it until the second tornado on April 29, 1909. Once again the home was damaged beyond repair. William “Billy” Nolen rebuilt the house as it stands today. This was the fourth Nolen residence built on the same site.
So your friends and descendants of the Primitive Baptist Church moved to what might be a safer spot, where they are still flourishing and worshiping on Sunday mornings, for I saw them yesterday. The parking lot was small but full and a tall woman was carrying preparations for the post-service coffee in the back door.

As you can see, someone has been caring for the cemetery in a fashion. They have carefully punctured the earth with white pvc pipes and placed silk flowers at each stone. Some of the stones are legible still, but many are not. Still the caretaker respected all and left a token. 

 I think that it must have been a descendent of the Nolens, for, as you can see, Littleberry Nolen's grave has been refreshed with a new marker, while, though your family's marker was lifted from the tall grass, is broken and old.

Your friends, the Beech family, the Cox family, the Waltons, and others, each remain, guarding different corners of this property.  Some installed fencing topped with iron spears, fancying, I suppose that this would guard them from storms, or haunts, but in the end, even I and my camera climbed over and stole the images that I have posted here.

The folks at the Ramada Inn reported that a visitor, presumably a Nolen with pvc pipes stayed at their establishment a few years ago and worked diligently to bring order to the discord that years of neglect  had wrought upon the cemetery. But even that work is suffering the blasts of time.
Yet, I appreciate what I imagine is an ongoing tribute from the neighboring hotel, a three flag salute at half mast. Perhaps, they are saying with me, that in spite of the passing of time, the McConnicos and company are not yet forgotten.

See slideshow of additional images.

My regards,


Sunday, March 17, 2013

More on Best Dressed Cardinals

Dear Vatican Watchers,

First captivated by the Onion's photo essay entitled, The 8 Worst-Dressed at the Papal Conclave, I was then mesmerized by a fleeting couple of images shown during the pope's first prayer during his first public address. Perhaps the cameraman closed his eyes and incidentally focused the lens upon the back of the elite at the vatican window. Why this set of images didn't get any media play, is beyond me.

Note: Little signs of the new pope's personal styling choices include his decision to appear on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica without the red mozzetta — the telltale short cape of the papacy.

For more on the stylings of the patriarch and his compatriots, check out the Style Page in the Catholic Register.

And for more fun with the kids, try out these vestments for your papal dolls!

Do you wonder whether we'll see this puppy (the Papal Tiara) pulled out for special occasions during Pope Francis' casual reign? I'm kind of doubting it. 


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Books and Studies, 2013

This is just a listing of the books I'm reading/have read this year, 2013.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by  Ernest Hemingway

The New Testament Part I by Bart D. Ehrman (The Great Courses)

Life Lessons from the Great Books, Part I by Professor J. Rufus Fears

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

The John Updike Audio Collection (Short Stories) by John Updike

My Lady Ludlow by Elizabeth Gaskell

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

The Modern Scholar: Upon This Rock: A History of the Papacy from Peter to John Paul II by Thomas Madden

The Professor by Charlotte Bronte

The Diamond Necklace and Other Stories by Guy de Maupassant

 Life Lessons from the Great Books, Part II by Professor J. Rufus Fears

Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America by Cabeza de Vaca

Following the Path by Joan Chittister

Don Quixote de la Mancha Volume I by Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote de la Mancha Volume II by Miguel de Cervantes

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez

Marcelo and the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

Tuesday Club Murders by Agatha Christie

I, Claudius by Robert Graves

The Illusion of Separateness
by Simon Van Booy

One of our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief  by Dorothy Gilman

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

A Death in the Family by James Agee