Monthly Archives: August 2019

The Oak Ridge Boys…And Zombies

Did that blog post title get y0ur attention? And “zombies”: there’s a word I never thought would be included in any of my blog posts.  More about that later.

Several months ago, my long-time friend, Bev, learned that The Oak Ridge Boys would be in concert in Hopewell, a city a little over an hour from us.  Back in the day, she and I LOVED listening to their music. And we saw them in concert back in the early 1980’s at Scope, a huge arena in Norfolk.  Our seats were so far from the stage, the group looked like ants. But we enjoyed hearing (and “kinda” seeing) them perform live.

So, we got tickets to the show in Hopewell, which was Sunday night, August 10.  We met Bev and her husband, Bill, at a nearby restaurant for dinner before the concert.  Right outside our window were the most beautiful hanging baskets of petunias. The hummingbirds put on quite a show for us. I think the slight glare from the windowpane gives this picture a nice watercolor effect.

Then, on to the concert. This venue is much smaller than Scope, and we had seats on the 11th row from the stage.  Thanks, Bev, for the picture.

Now…. on to the zombie part of today’s post:

This is a slideshow of what we saw on the side streets just a couple of blocks from the concert venue.

It seems that they were filming a spin-off of “The Walking Dead”, which I understand has something to do with zombies.

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During the concert,  Joe Bonsall, spokesman for the group, would occasionally chat with the audience between songs. During one of those breaks, he asked if  we’d all seen the movie set. Then added that, of course, there weren’t any zombies there right now.  And a woman in the audience yelled out: “We’re all HERE!”.

The entire audience erupted in laughter, as did the guys on stage.

The show went on, and, thankfully, we made it out of Hopewell and back home without spotting the first zombie.

~These Days Of Mine~






Poetic Thursday: Kristen

Today, I’m finally participating in Poetic Thursday. My dear friend, Pam, is author of the blog, Two Spoiled Cats. (Well, she actually helps her current kitty, Teddy, and former kitty, Angel Sammy {from Rainbow Bridge} with the blog posts.)

Each Thursday, they provide a photo as inspiration and invite their readers to write a poem, based on the photo, and share it in comments on the blog post the following Thursday. I’ve often thought about writing a poem and participating, but never have.

Until this week.

This is the photo that Pam (and her boys) provided last week:

My first thought when I saw this picture was that it reminded me of my friend, Kristen.  Kristen and my son, Marshall were born THE SAME DAY.  But we didn’t know her until she and her family began attending our church when she was just a child. Then she also began attending Marshall’s school, and the two of them became good friends.

I must admit that I was honored a few years ago when she sent me a Facebook friend request. (I’m always flattereed when a young person friends me.)

Here are just a few things I’ve learned about Kristen, both from her friendship with Marshall and the friendship she and I share: Kristen has a very tender heart, she’s a wonderful mother, she loves nature, is very knowledgeable about gardening, and stands up for what she believes.

So, in honor of her, here’s my poem for this week’s Poetic Thursday.


Butterflies flutter, fairies descend;

Their world is happier when Kristen stops in.

Lovely herself, she sees beauty in all,

A friend to God’s creatures that fly, walk or crawl.

Her voice is so gentle, she needs but few words,

And soon, she’s surrounded by deer, bunnies and birds.

Time quickly passes until day is done,

The friends part company with the setting sun.

But Kristen softly whispers, as their garden visit ends,

“See you in the morning and good night, my sweet friends”.

Please visit Pam’s blog, Two Spoiled Cats, today to read the poem that “Angel Sammy” wrote for the photo this week, as well as those submitted by Pam’s readers.

~These Days Of Mine~



6 Years, Gypsy

Well, sweet Gypsy girl, when we woke on the morning of August 19, 2013, we had no idea that, at the end of the day, we’d have a new fur baby in our world. But, there you were, at the back door of our shop….tiny, scared, shivering, hungry.  But, also very loving.

We tried to find your owners, but were unsuccessful, so you became ours. Or did we become yours?

You’ve made us smile so many times during these six years.

And you’ve made us laugh more than a few times, too.

You definitely entertain us every day.

You’ve greeted dozens of our customers/racing associates/friends when they’ve visited our shop. Other than a couple, you’ve quickly won them over with your charm.

You give Motor Man advice.

And help me with my office work.

You’ve definitely grown A LOT in these six years.

And although you’ve nearly outgrown our laps,

Our hearts will always have more than enough room for you.

Happy Gotcha Day!

(Programing note: my next post will be Thursday of this week, rather than Wednesday.)

~These Days Of Mine~

Animal Adventure Park

Less than 36 hours after our family reunion ended, Motor Man and I were motoring north to upstate New York.  We were, once again, attending a gathering of Animal Adventure Park fans at the home of the famous April, the giraffe.

In case you aren’t April-obsessed (like some of us), here’s the scoop: April had another calf (Azizi) in March, and she and “Az” are now sharing barn and yard space with her 2 year old son, Taj. Meanwhile Dad Oliver has a new mate, Johari.

We arrived at the hotel late Monday afternoon and attended the Meet and Greet that evening. Funny story:  through a Facebook page devoted to the animal park, I “met” a fellow April lover, Carol, who lives in Virginia Beach. That’s about 45 minutes from where we live. Carol and I message on Facebook nearly every day, and have been planning to meet for lunch.  But that just hadn’t worked out.

So, we each drove 8 1/2 hours (her with her niece, and me with my Motor Man) to meet in person in Binghamton, New York. She’s just as much fun as I thought she’d be.

The following day, everyone headed to the park to see “our” giraffe family, as well as the other animals there.

April may be my favorite of the giraffes.

Hi, sweet April

And not-so-little Taj. I was one of the millions who watched his birth live via the web cam.

Baby Azizi was in the distance, so we didn’t get a good picture of him.

But, we did see Dad Oliver, tongue out and just waiting for that carrot.

And this is Johari, fairly new to the park.  She arrived in February, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

That evening, we attended the dinner for the group.  There were upwards of 250 of us, and nearly everyone was dressed in something giraffe-related.

Motor Man took a picture of Jordan, the park owner, with two of the “Virginia” girls.

When Motor Man and I asked Jordan for a picture of us, he commented that he has the same giraffe shirt that Motor Man is wearing.

It was another wonderful time celebrating the animals (especially the giraffes!) at Animal Adventure Park.  Everyone comes away from the park with the same thought: that it is a very special place. The animals are healthy and well cared for, the property is clean as can be, and much thought is given to the comfort and enjoyment of the guests.

If you ever have the chance to visit, you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity. You, too, could would become a giraffe fan.

~These Days Of Mine~






“It’s The Roots”

In my last post before the blogging break, I mentioned that Motor Man and I were, once again, hosting my family reunion this year.  My mom’s family started the tradition of a reunion many years before I was born.  And at one point, the first Saturday in August was pegged as “THE” day, so everyone could plan their summer around the reunion. That’s how important it was to everyone in the family.

My mom was one of twelve, and during the reunion’s “heyday”, there were upwards of 70 folks attending. But, as the twelve children and their spouses passed away, the size of the reunions dwindled. There were a few years when there was no reunion.

But, my generation, the first cousins, seems to have rekindled an interest in seeing each other at least once a year.  So, at this year’s reunion, we had a total of 19 to attend.

Thanks to my cousin, Carol, who lives in Pennsylvania, I had something special to share at the reunion. Carol is the daughter of my  mom’s youngest brother, Stanley and his wife, Betty.  Aunt Betty was very involved in the family, researching genealogy and recording attendance at the reunions for many years.

Aunt Betty passed away two years ago, and in going through her belongings, Carol found the reunion “books”. And she contacted me to ask if I’d like to have them.


Although, as I mentioned, the tradition of the reunions began many years ago, apparently the idea to record attendance didn’t come about until 1979. These are the only books Carol found, and that’s the earliest date. Several years are recorded in each book.

Perhaps one of the more meaningful entries for me was this one from 1980. It was Marshall’s first reunion; he was 6 weeks old. How proud I was to write his name in the book.

My cousins enjoyed looking through the books, although it was bittersweet  seeing the signatures of so many of our loved ones who have since passed on. It was amazing that, for each of us, our mother’s signature was the first thing we saw on a page.

Carol and I were messaging each other recently, and she mentioned how much work is involved in hosting the reunion.  And I responded that that was true. As hosts, we provide hot dogs, condiments, beverages and paper products. And in addition to that, we of course, want the house, the garage and the yard all as tidy as can be.

I loved her  reply:

“And honestly deep down, we all know it’s not the house we are there for …
it’s the roots.”

~These Days Of Mine~