October 30, 2009

How did that happen?

**repost from last year**

The festival of Samhain was celebrated in ancient Irish, or Gaelic culture as the end of the harvest season and a time to put up stores for the winter. Celebrations were scheduled for this festival that marked the end of Summer and observed a time in which lore dictated that the lines between the world of the dead and the world of the living were blurred.

Bonfires were used to help keep any evil spirits away and light the parties that would go on all night as cattle were slaughtered for meat to see them through the winter. Costumes were used to make sure any roaming spirits couldn't differentiate their own kind from real people, ensuring the safety of mortal souls. Turnips were used to ward off any evil spirits or bad occurrences due to superstitious beliefs. As it was thought that the head of a living thing contained the power and spirit of life, faces were carved into the turnips and candles sometimes used to light them in accordance with the legend of Stingy Jack, who once trapped the Devil in a tree. Jack paid for his actions by being cursed to roam the world at night with his only source of light being a carved out turnip with a candle inside. Giving birth to the Jack O' Lantern...

During the time of Pope Gregory the fourth, the observance of All Saints Day was moved from the Spring to November first. This day is traditionally observed to celebrate the dead who have had the beatific vision, or have seen and are with God. All Souls Day follows on November the second, celebrating those that have died, yet not attained their place in Heaven.

There are many theories as to why this move was made, the most popular is the belief that the church attempted to usurp pagan celebrations and eventually turn them into Christian times of worship. It was thought that this would eventually lead to the diminishing of pagan belief and practices, replacing it with Christian ethos and ensuring the salvation of future peoples.... A fairly successful plan if you think about it, well, maybe as far as diminishing pagan beliefs. See Christmas and Easter... instead of winter and spring solstice... Let alone the imagery stolen from non Christian religions used to place faces and symbols upon what was considered to be evil. It's a shame that most of these symbols predate Christianity as a whole. The term pagan was originally used as we would use the term "redneck" today. It has morphed over time to include anyone that follows a religious theology or belief structure that does not place the shared God of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam at the head of spiritual thought. (yes, yes.. I know you don't worship no Allah... so don't send me any hate mail, maybe you should read something other than people or penthouse magazine)

With popular beliefs and traditions of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Pagans mingling world wide, the use of readily available and easier to use items, such as pumpkins instead of turnips, modern media images promoted since the mid 1800's, and the ever present desire to turn a profit, we have thus given birth to Halloween.

October 27, 2009

Jack O Lantern

This past weekend saw a family reunion. This was the family that we spent every holiday with until the past few years after my grandmother passed away.... Hmmm... my grandmother... Zeddie Perry.. damn... I do miss her. She and her husband, H.C. "Doc" Perry, lived at the end of Doc Perry Rd. here in Newnan. The house they called home was built by my grandfather for his wife and three sons, Delmos(my dad), and his brothers, Thomas and Donald. It's a small four room home that I have seen filled with more laughter and love than you can begin to imagine. Every time I was around them tales and laughter seemed to pour from everywhere, it was infectious and a pure delight to behold. They were simple folk, God fearing and hard working. My grandfather bought his land from a mill owner that he worked for running a company store. He saw how the store kept the employees in debt to the company and vowed that he wouldn't fall into that trap. So he raised what food he could and made a monthly trip to the farmers market in Atlanta (in the early days they traveled by wagon) to get what they needed that they couldn't provide for themselves, in this way he saved his money and bought his land. My grandmother told me the story about how proud he was after he had made the deal. They walked the property line and crisscrossed over the land taking it all in. She confided in me that it made her tired and she wasn't really interested in walking every bit of it but, "It was what Doc wanted and I wanted to make him happy... he was so proud that he had something."

Timeless and plentiful were the stories that my grandparents told me. I would sit in awe during hot summer afternoons on their porch as my grandfather would whittle and my grandmother would run in and out of the house "fetching drinks". Doc, or Daddy Doc as we all called him would tell me about things like a turtle that would bite you and not let go until it thundered. The snake that you could cut up and watch as it joined itself back together was another favorite of mine. On one memorable occasion we followed him through the woods on a long walk until he came to an old stump. We stood transfixed as we watched him reach into the stump and pull honeycomb out and fill several jars with it. He was covered with bees but didn't get stung... It was amazing to see. Without a doubt that was the sweetest honey I have ever tasted.

For years some of the stories he told that held my attention the most were about jack o lanterns. They were the ghostly lights that you would see floating around in the woods late at night. He told me that he would be working at night about the place and often would stop and watch as balls of fire would float around in the trees. I would ask him what they were and he would kick his hat back on his head and say, "I don't rightly know... some folks say they are ghosts, some say swamp gas... but whatever they are, they look scary... but peaceful.." On one occasion he told me about being in a boat out on the pond down behind his house. He was having a good time fishing on a Saturday evening and the fish were biting pretty good, so he stayed out there as night came on.

"It was gettin' late... but I was catchin' fish pretty good and didn't want to quit.. I knew Zeddie knew where I was at so I didn't worry much about it, and stayed on..."

I knew this was going to be good so I settled at his feet on the porch step and tuned in for the tale...

"Well.. as it got dark I started hearing the beavers wakin' up.. They come out of their houses and started splashin' and playin'.. whomping their tails calling to each other.. then it got real quiet.. I knew they were going out to work on trees for their dams so I listened and sure enough I heard 'em chewin' and cutting after a while... I was at peace.. it was calm and quiet and the fish just kept on bitin'..."

He leaned over and spit his usual Bruton snuff into a Styrofoam cup he always had near at hand. Then he leaned back in his rocking chair and wiped his head with a handkerchief.

"Long about the time I heard the whippoorwills start up I got this funny feelin' like somebody was lookin' at me.... I kept tryin' to ignore it but it just kept creepin' back in on me... then all of a sudden I saw it...."

He paused for effect as the blood ran cold in my veins... Then I jumped as my grandmother came out of the door with, "Doc you ought not scare that child that way.."

He looked at her sideways and kept on... "It was the biggest jack o lantern I had ever seen in my life.. It came floatin' up over the dam out of the swamp and headed straight out over the pond right toward me.. There was just something about that light that wasn't right... Without thinkin' about it I tucked in and rowed that boat right back to the shore and walked home through the fog as fast as I could.. left that whole mess of fish laying there too... and it was good bunch of bream.."

"Were you scared?"

"No.. just wasn't comfortable with it, the colors were all wrong, like something sick.."

That was the day I had gone over there to spend the night with them. The summer of 1975, so I was eight years old... Later that evening we went into town, on the way back I started asking him questions about the jack o lanterns. My grandmother assured me that they were nothing to worry about, but I was afraid of sleeping out in the woods in that little house... All sorts of visions of sick looking green lights making their way through the woods up from the pond were running through my head.... About half way down the road to their house he slowed the car down, and then came to a stop. He opened the car door and stepped out, calling to me, "Come out here and look at this.." My grandmother and I both got out and he pointed up into the pines growing on the bank next to the road. And there it was.. A silent ball of fire about the size of a basketball slowly moving around close to the tops of the trees... I watched as it moved around for a few minutes then seemed to slowly fade away. He shook his head and looked down at me, "They're something to watch ain't they?" Indeed they were...

As I was sitting there Saturday watching my cousins talking and the kids running around I thought about all of these things at one time... Like a flood gate opening. I could hear them all.. the people that have gone on.. Woodson, Irene, Reba, Donald, Shirley, David, Daddy Doc, Grannie, and my Dad.. It was a hard thing to hear, their laughter. I thought back to the days when that little house would be packed with people and hotter than you could imagine, tables laden with food, Christmas trees piled high with gifts and laughter.... the laughter of wisdom and age.. of knowing, caring and love...

My cousin had brought pictures with her and as I flipped through them I was stopped cold at a picture of my grandfather laying on a bed with a baby.. I turned it over and saw "1967" written on the back of it.. I almost couldn't breathe.. I handed it to my mother and asked, "Who is this?"... She looked at it and without a beat she said, "That's you and Daddy Doc right after you were born.. taking a nap on his bed.." She handed it back to me.. It was all I could do to hold the tears in as I took my camera in hand and snapped a shot of the photo... I had never seen it before...

A few minutes later my sister and I stood next to the table, laden with almost everything I could remember from my childhood.. My uncle Thomas walked by on the other side from us and said, "What have you got on?.... Your mind?" He sounded so much like my Dad that I stopped cold and all my blood drained from me completely... I turned around and looked at my sister for a second and we both knew what each other were thinking... for that brief moment it was as if my dad had indeed walked right by us.. I turned away from her and teared up a bit.. Then headed for the dressing.. and damn.. it was as good as I remembered it..

October 17, 2009

I killed my television

I had been sick for a couple of days. During the illness I watched very little tv, to be precise.. I watched very little infotainment, or news, as it is still called in some circles. This evening I decided to tune in to see what the latest headlines were. I was met by the excited image of Geraldo Rivera going on and on with a torrent of babble about something. There was a crawl zipping along the bottom of the screen proclaiming that an "imminent arrest" was about to take place. I paid close attention as he threw it to an on the scene reporter, proclaiming that the international media had caught the story and the suspects had been followed by a Brazilian news crew and were currently in their home as search warrants were being served by local officials.

I sat in abject horror as I watched the back-story unfold.

A family was being accused of telling a lie about their six year old son being inside of a twenty foot balloon as it was floating around for two hours....

I shit you not.

I was dumbfounded... I began flipping channels, checking out all the cable news programming. The heads bobbling around the screens were all deadly serious. The expressions they carried were of the type you would expect from people reporting that Washington DC was under a nuclear attack. I was amazed... this is news? From either angle you approach the story, whether the son was lying for some reason about being in the balloon, or the family had done this at the behest of the attention craving father for simple exposure... This is not news.

If this is was a publicity seeking event should they charge the family in question for the cost of the rescue effort? Exactly how many different tv shows did the six year old boy throw up on? Why did the father run out and immediately get on Larry King? Was the mother involved? If the father put these children up to this, should child protective services be contacted to evaluate his fitness as a parent?

Who gives a damn?

Some asshole called the cops and reported that his kid was in a huge balloon floating around in an uncontrolled manner. My interest would wane with the answer to the question, "Was he ok?" being, "Yeah... turns out he wasn't in it."

Without further pontification, I turned the television off and decided on the spot that I would not tune into another news channel for the duration of my life on this planet.

October 11, 2009

It must be cursed....

Some time back, I started working on a walking stick with a stubborn knot on the end. during the removal process I sliced my hand open in a fairly raucous manner. The picture over to the left was taken the next day...

This morning I decided to retrieve that walking stick and begin working on it again, and yep, it happened again. This time wasn't as bad, no stitches.. Just a touch of super glue and a couple of band aids, with, as you can see, little blood loss. I am beginning to think that the damn thing may be cursed. The wood came from a tree that was downed in a storm last year, it's pear. The downed tree took out the corner of a house and an air-conditioning unit. I helped the owner of the house move the tree, then went over the entire thing and scavenged the remains for pieces I could use. I took eight or nine all told, and each one of the walking sticks I have made from it have sold. This is the last piece left, and somehow I think it's trying to throw some kind of voodoo on me.

To quote a movie line I once heard, "I feel like a voodoo doll. It's grim. It's gross. "

I am determined to finish the walking stick and damn the evil spirits associated with it back to the darkest level of hell that they spawned from. I decided that I will carve it into a snake, to celebrate the evil nature it seems to have, because lord knows... It couldn't be my fault... So if you want to purchase a ready made item for tossing a curse on me.. come up with the cash when I'm done & my eternal soul could be under your control... for a mere eighty dollars... I'm cheap that way.

October 05, 2009

Bill Maher

Why do I watch this program? I have decided that I simply watch it to get angry. The opinions he spouts are just that, opinions... But man... come on..

George Bush is the devil revisited and all the woes suffered by this nation were created by him and the cattle industry. Maher is bad enough, but couple him with Janeane Garofalo and you have the makings for an evening of blithering bullshit that could only be seconded by a three hour meal with Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan.

I just bit the bullet and watched these two asshats pontificate on his latest HBO showing. Garofalo, as usual, blamed every criticism of obama on racism, and Maher almost came to tears while soap-boxing about the stupidity of those that don't buy into man made global warming. They have no original opinion between the two of them and waste time that could have been given to a guest that could've created an interesting dialogue. Why did HBO get rid of Dennis Miller and put this clown on? He is the spokesperson for walking in lockstep with the mindless masses of drooling simpletons that get their information from Jon Stewart.

It seems that fad and fashion is what should rule the day when you are interested in current events and political points of view. The people you have to deal with are mindless, either parroting Limbaugh or Maher.. what the hell is the problem? what happened to people actually reading a damn bill in congress to find out what it really says, or just simply digging into an issue to get to what is really going on? Maher is constantly speaking of the stupidity of the American people and praising the intellect and maturity of Europeans, while showing that he has no more understanding of what he is speaking about than does George Galloway...

This is what happens when a true investigative media gets replaced with the infotainment we are having to deal with. Made only worse by the neo-intellects that begin to spew about how much better BBC is at reporting the news...

The only person that can speak on Maher's show in an intelligent manner, and knows how to deal with Bill's automated audience, appears to be Mr. Hitchens...

October 03, 2009

Up in Smoke... 2009

Today we did our second Coweta Up in Smoke BBQ cook off. It was a pretty good day, we were tired, but had a great time. The crowd of shoppers was constant and they gave us very good feedback. We sold several items and stayed busy, so I didn't have the opportunity to take as many pictures as I would have liked. So here are a few of the highlights....

Honor guard from the fire department getting ready walk to the stage for the opening ceremony.

We arrived very early again and were ready long before the gates opened.

Julie had a brisk business all day.

The singing of the national anthem.

It was ungodly early to have been so busy.

She saw the club & had to have it..

Several old friends stopped by to say hello, it was a good time.

My brother was on stage singing as his son watched on with Grandpa.

There was good bbq to be had every few feet. The food was amazing.

I even got to touch base with an old friend from school... haven't seen him in twenty four years, it's amazing how time flies. (what is going on with the two guys in the background comparing muscles?)

She picked a walking stick that is one of my personal favorites.

He was my first customer. He was part of a cook team and stopped by as we were setting up. A very nice guy who's team was serving up some great food, Stumpy's barbecue.. look for them soon, it's good stuff.

The kids played hard all day and were worn out by the time it was winding down.

The National guard was on the scene giving helicopter rides.

My brother played two sets during the day to entertain the crowd.

It was a sunny day and we all ended up tired and sunburned, but it was a good day, as all days should be.

October 01, 2009

Crickhollow at the BBQ cook off

This Saturday, October 3rd, we will be selling some of our work at the 5th annual Coweta up in Smoke BBQ cook off. The event will be held at the Coweta County fairgrounds, gates open at 10:00 A.M.

We will have jewelry, walking sticks, and various bits and pieces of things that we have created over the past few months. So please come out and enjoy some good food and buy a few things from us!