National California Day

It has come to my attention that today is National California Day, so I thought I would share that information with my readers.

Also, to celebrate, I’m sharing a blog post from 2012. We had just returned from a trip to California with our friends, Bev and Bill.

The beaches of California are so very different from ours here in Virginia and on the nearby Outer Banks of North Carolina. California beaches have high cliffs and rocks. Big rocks. Although January isn’t exactly beach weather, we visited several California beaches during our trip.

We turned off Coast Highway onto a street in Laguna Beach and found this amazing view.

And this is one of my favorite pictures from our trip: Bev and Bill, sharing a playful moment ON the beach at Laguna.

One day we drove to Venice Beach, where another of my favorite photos was taken. I told Bev I’d take a picture of her with a wave crashing against the rocks in the background. Oops, that was just a little too close for comfort.

Later in the week, we drove further north to Ventura Beach.

And Bev took one of my favorite pictures of Motor Man and me.

This sunset photo was taken in Newport Beach.

And another favorite picture of Motor Man and me just outside a cave there by the ocean.

This next photo is yet another favorite. It was taken of Bev at sunset at Crystal Cove on our last evening in California.  Wonder what she was thinking…

We had a great time visiting California, but our home state, of course, is Virginia. So I researched and learned that National Virginia Day is September 14.

We will definitely celebrate.

~These Days Of Mine~

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Wild Horses On Wednesday

You may recall that, a couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post or two on Wednesdays and titled them “Wild Horse Wednesday”. Then I received a rather terse “cease and desist” email from The Wild Horse Freedom Federation informing me that those three words are a registered trademark. Imagine that, they somehow found my tiny little blog and were worried that it threatened their trademark. So, of course, I ceased and desisted. But, first I had a little fun with this post.

I wonder if anyone has registered the phrase “Wild Horses On Wednesday”. If so, I’m guessing I’ll hear about that, too.

So, ’til then: here goes. Pics from our last few trips to the Outer Banks.

I used to refer to horses with this coloring as having “blonde manes”. Then one of my horse friends politely pointed out to me that they’re actually called “flaxen” manes.

Blonde or flaxen, it’s a beautiful mane on a beautiful horse.

This time of year, the horses are easily hidden in the tall grasses.

Flaxen seems to be a popular hair color of the beach horses. Although it wasn’t an option for brunettes such as I,  I couldn’t help but be reminded of the hair lightener from yesteryear: “Sun In”.

And this poor fella is looking a little scruffy.

Perhaps he’s like the rest of us: looking forward to and waiting patiently for warmer days and the end of winter.

~These Days Of Mine~

Daytona Brings To Mind

The first Nascar race of the 2019 season, the Daytona 500, took place yesterday. Motor Man and I went to that race a couple of times several years ago.

I shared this post in 2013, and since yesterday’s race, once again, brought to mind that fateful week in 2001, I thought I’d share it again (with just a few changes) today.

Motor Man and I were in Daytona for the entire week leading up to the 2001 Daytona 500.  A friend of ours with “connections” had given us passes to several media events being held that week.

One of those was the IROC (International Race Of Champions) luncheon on Wednesday. A brief background: the IROC race featured identical (except for the color) Chevy Camaros. Drivers from several racing divisions were selected to drive in the IROC race, and a luncheon was held to determine the color car each would drive, as well as his starting position. These were determined by the spin of a wheel.

Motor Man and I were seated at the table with Nascar driver, Jeff Burton, which was fitting, since he’s also a native Virginian.  The IROC race that year was sponsored by True Value, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation was also involved.  After lunch and all the wheel-spinning was complete, the emcee announced that there was a young man there (through Make-A-Wish) whose wish was to meet Dale Earnhardt, Sr.  He then asked Earnhardt to please come forward to meet and have his photo taken with this little boy; I think his name was Travis, although I can’t remember for sure.  But I’ll refer to him in this post as Travis.

Instead of just posing by himself with Travis for those from the media to take photos, Earnhardt asked all the drivers at the luncheon to come forward. He wanted Travis to meet and have his picture taken with all of them. Motor Man and I were impressed that Dale didn’t “hog” that spotlight for himself. I was blinking back tears to the point that Jeff Burton leaned over to us and asked if Travis were our child.

I wasn’t sure if we’d be allowed to take photos at the luncheon, so I only had a little disposable cameras in my purse. This isn’t a good picture, but I wanted to share it because it reminds me of the compassion “The Intimidator” showed when meeting that little boy. (That’s Dale in the yellow shirt.)

earnhardt-and-make-a-wish-bmp

I’ve blurred out Travis’s face, since, obviously, I don’t have permission to post his picture.  But I’ve always remembered what he said while the photos were being taken: “I’ve always wanted to meet Dale Earnardt, and now I have.”

Motor Man and I were in the stands that next Sunday for the Daytona 500. Since our seats weren’t very good, we left early. We decided that we could enjoy the race more by listening to it on the car radio as we started our trip back to Virginia.

We were in Savannah when Dale Earnhardt’s death was announced: 18 years ago today.

One of our first thoughts was of Travis and how his wish had come true.

~These Days Of Mine~

Old News

A couple of years ago, I became aware of the fact that old (1928-2013) issues of our local weekly newspaper, The Smithfield Times, are now available on the Library of Virginia’s ‘Virginia Chronicle’ digital newspaper site.

It is easy to become so caught up in that site that you lose track of time.  Last week, I was preparing my upcoming “talk” for the Valentine event at Bacon’s Castle, so many of my thoughts were about my Mom and her family. I decided that it would be fun to search for articles about them, so I typed in her maiden name, “Ellis”.

There is an option to define the dates for your search, so I selected the 1920’s through the 1940’s.

I was not disappointed in my findings. The earliest result referenced an injury to my Mom’s youngest brother, Stanley. I don’t ever recall hearing of this accident, which occurred while the family was living at Bacon’s Castle.

The date on this news item was March 30, 1933. Family records show that he would have been ten years old. Sadly, there are now no family members to ask for the “rest of the story”.

It was fun to find this mention of my Uncle Andrew and Aunt Virginia’s wedding. Andrew was the eldest of my mom’s brothers. The date on this was January 1, 1935. Remember when the wedding announcement always included what the bride wore?  I’ll have to research what a “swagger suit” is.

This next entry made me smile. The date was September 5, 1935, and this was my granddad, Ben. Again, this occurred at Bacon’s Castle farm.

This next article also made me smile.  The date on this one is September 12, 1935. Bennie was also my mom’s brother, Sarah was her youngest sister, and Allie was my dad’s brother. The church they became members of is in my hometown and the one I attended for many years.

Mom’s brother, Bob, had a bit of bad luck in 1936 with his “Lizzie”.

This article almost brought me to tears, although I knew that he had been a prisoner of war. The date was December 13, 1944.

When I discovered that article, I immediately remembered this old family photo of my grandmother with Bennie (on the right) and Stanley.  I was always told that this was taken the day before Bennie reported for duty for World War II. The worry and sadness that she must have been feeling is so evident on her face.

But, imagine the family’s joy at getting THIS news. The date of the article is January 17, 1945.

I, for one, am thankful that so many newspaper articles are available for searching at no charge. Click here to visit the Virginia Chronicle site.  If you’re a Virginian, perhaps old issues of your local paper are available online. But, beware: searching old news is very habit-forming.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romance At The Castle 2019

You may recall that, a couple of years ago, I was asked to participate in a Valentine event at Bacon’s Castle. It was, appropriately enough, called Romance At The Castle. I shared a video here on the blog that Motor Man made that day of the little “talk” I gave regarding my family’s connection to the house.

The event wasn’t held in 2018, but returned this year (last Sunday), and once again, I was asked to share my story.

Although I had done this two years ago (and had given tours at the Castle many years ago), I had a bit of stage fright leading up to Sunday’s event. My friend, Donna, was aware of this and, earlier that afternoon, sent this sweet, encouraging text:

“Thinking about you.  Know you are going to be beautiful (always are), well spoken (check), interesting (well, you pretty much know it forward and backwards and have the inside story!) and have the perfect wing man for support. Sounds like a fun day in one of your favorite places on earth! Have a great day sharing the joy that is Bacon’s Castle.”

Whenever Motor Man my wing man and I are at Bacon’s Castle, we always have our photo taken in front of the fireplace where we said our vows in 2002.

Yes, I suppose we’ve changed just a little through the years….

Once again this year, Motor Man filmed my part of Romance At The Castle.  Afterwards, guests enjoyed a wine/food pairing and a tour of the house. There were three tours for the event, and many of those who attended had never before visited the “Castle”.

For those of you who saw my Romance At The Castle video two years ago, you have my permission to skip this one: it’s nearly identical to the first one. (After all: same person, same location, and the material doesn’t really change.) You should be able to enlarge the video to see it better should you decide to watch.

 

As I said in the video, it was an honor to add this Romance At The Castle event to my list of Bacon’s Castle experiences. Oh, and the stage fright was, thankfully, short-lived.

~These Days Of Mine~

Random Five Friday

How about five randoms to close out this first week of February?

1.) I captured this picture of a recent sunset….through Motor Man’s car window, at probably 55 miles per hour. It’s surprising that I was able to get a photo with no utility poles.

2.) Marshall sent me this picture yesterday of his sweet little Sibs, eyeing a cardinal through the window.

3.) And our Sundae, perched on the steps. I don’t recall what had her attention at the moment.

4.) A few weeks ago, I visited my cousin, Betty, who lives within a couple of miles of us.  As I was leaving, her beautiful horses were enjoying a run in the pasture.  I love how the afternoon sun lit up their manes and tails.

 

5.)  I’ve been asked to take part in an event this weekend at my beloved Bacon’s Castle.  Perhaps I’ll have a post about it next week. I always look forward to visiting that old house.

What are your random thoughts today?

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

Our Destination

Motor Man and I celebrated our anniversary in…… Snowshoe, West Virginia.  Most folks go there to ski or snowboard; we went there for a sleigh ride. That’s the way we’ve celebrated our anniversary several times in the past.

When we arrived at the stables, this was one of the first sights to greet us. Just look at that snowy muzzle.

You just know I was enjoying this scenery.

You may remember that I’m a fan of April, the giraffe. One of her little quirks is throwing hay over her back. We call it “April showers” or “hay showers”. Some of that hay usually ends up on her head.  I was immediately reminded of that when I spotted this sweetie.

And this is Flash, the gorgeous guy who pulled our vintage (1878) sleigh.

Flash is a 12-year old Friesian/Morgan mix.

And our driver was Skip, who, along with his wife, Peggy, owns Autumn Breeze Stables at Snowshoe.

The weather was probably the nicest we’ve had for any of our sleigh rides so far: 30 degrees and beautiful sunshine.

Such a fun experience. It’s obvious that Flash loves his job.

If you are on Facebook and would like to see Flash “kicking up his heels”, visit the Autumn Breeze Stables at Snowshoe’s page and check their video. It’s really fun to watch.

Oh, and here’s a short video from our sleigh ride. (There is sound. Skip is referring to a man-made lake on the left, the water from which is used to make snow for one of the ski areas.)

 

Thanks, Motor Man (and Autumn Breeze Stables) for a fun anniversary celebration.

~These Days Of Mine~