Monthly Archives: October 2019

The Tates And The Wright Brothers

One of the Facebook pages I follow features vintage photos of the Outer Banks.  It’s amazing to see just how much that area has changed over the years. But I suppose that’s the case in just about any location.

This past week, the following pictures were shared on that page.  Since the photos are public, I was assured that it would be okay for me to include them in today’s blog post.

The photos were shared by Kaylynn Curling, who currently lives about an hour from the Outer Banks. It seems that her ancestors were of great help to the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.

Here’s a quick explanation from Kaylynn that was included with the Facebook post:

“My 5x great uncle was William James Tate, who was the old postmaster of Kitty Hawk. The Wright brothers originally wrote to the weather station asking about weather and wind conditions, and one of the men that worked there ended up giving my uncle the message. Uncle Tate was the one that would correspond back and forth with Wilbur Wright.

In 1900 Wilbur showed up and had no where to stay, so my uncle let him stay with them. Orville showed up two weeks later and then they stayed in a tent outside of my uncle’s property. My uncle was married to Addie Sibbern, and she loaned her sewing machine to the brothers so they could work on the wings for their glider.

James Tate was the Currituck lighthouse keeper. His brother Daniel Tate, which is my 4x great-grandfather, would stop by to help occasionally. Daniel Tate was Tommy Tate’s dad and that is the picture you guys had up of the little boy who caught fish for the Wright brothers.”

And here are some of the photos:

Bill Tate and family (including wife, Addie, seated) at the Kitty Hawk post office. For those of you not familiar with the area, Kitty Hawk is a town located within the Outer Banks.


The caption for this next photo is:  “In October, 1900, the Wright Brothers sent 10-year-old Tom Tate up on their glider as they flew it like a kite. Later, just before returning home, Wilbur made about a dozen free flights.” Tom was Kaylynn Curling’s third great grandfather.

Young Tom near a shed at the Wright Brothers camp:

And this picture shows the Tates many years later with the treadle sewing machine used by the Wright Brothers to sew the canvas for their glider.

Motor Man and I have visited the Wright Brothers Memorial in the Outer Banks a few times, including during the First Flight Centennial Celebration in 2003. As the saying goes: “if you’re ever in the area…”.

I found these photos to be so very interesting. How gracious of the family to share them.

~These Days Of Mine~



Birthday Balloon

You may recall that Motor Man and I have a friend, Mark, who is a hot air balloonist. We’ve taken a few rides with him, and have helped with many launches and landings.

I enjoy taking pictures and sharing them later with the passengers.

Saturday, our friend, Donna, had the opportunity to ride. She had been on a short balloon flight several years ago, but this one was probably about an hour long. And the timing was just about perfect: her birthday is next weekend.

As the crew was preparing the balloon for the launch, Donna was ‘hands on’, helping hold the envelope open as it was being filled with cold air.

And, of course, we had to take time for a quick selfie.

The balloon flights are usually VERY early in the morning; sunrise shots are worth the early wake-up call.

And I never tire of taking pictures of the “fire in the balloon”.

Soon it was time for take off. Donna shared the ride with a sweet couple celebrating an anniversary.

Bye!  Have fun!

It was a beautiful morning for a flight, and it was fun to “chase” the balloon. Their flight took them over some of our county’s beautiful cotton fields, just waiting to be picked.

After the flight, Motor Man and I joined Donna and the balloon crew for brunch at a local restaurant.

l-r: crew chief Luke, Donna, pilot Mark, myself and Motor Man

Donna shared with us that, during the flight, Mark and the other passengers sang “Happy Birthday” to her.

I’d say she’s getting this birthday celebration “off” to a good start.

~These Days Of Mine~


Furiday: Boss Lady

Today, I have evidence of just how spoiled/lucky/content/loved a kitty can be.

As those of you who have kitties know, their favorite “spot” seems to change from time to time. Our shop kitty, Gypsy’s, current spot is my office chair. Notice the chair to the right….the hard one…with no arm rests…. that’s the one I am using quite a bit now that the boss has claimed mine.

And she’s looking rather smug about the situation.

As you can see, the chair back doubles as her scratching post. And, yes, she does have a REAL one.

But it’s difficult to be upset with something so adorable.

Even though she’s enjoying my her chair these days, sometimes she just can’t resist her long-time favorite spot: Motor Man’s lap. Just how content is she?  Those hind feet tell the story.

Need further proof of her cuteness? (There is sound with this video. And, by the way, don’t we all speak baby-talk to our pets? And does it sound as silly to them as it does to us when we hear it recorded?)

But, as Marshall noted, she does have a plaque.

So, I suppose she does deserve the soft, cushy chair after all.

~These Days Of Mine!


Poetry Thursday: Pocahontas

As I have been for the past few weeks, today, I’m participating in Pam’s Poetic Thursday over at Two Spoiled Cats. This was the photo Pam provided last week as inspiration for this week’s poem:

I struggled with a poem for this photo and finally wrote about the Native Americans we studied in school and my family’s connection to one in particular.  Perhaps you’ve heard of her?


Virginia History class in elementary school,
studying Native Americans when Chief Powhatan ruled.

He was a powerful man, but not quite as famous
as his intriguing daughter, Pocahontas.

Indian Princess, peacemaker, John Rolfe’s wife;
she accomplished much in her very short life.

She gave birth to Thomas, and there’d come a time
when he’d sell land to an ancestor of mine.

My roots are deep on this piece of the earth,
but can’t compare to those who were here first.

~These Days Of Mine~

Don’t Stop Playing

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old:
we grow old because we stop playing.”

Isn’t that a fun quote? It’s been a favorite of mine for quite some time, but until I I “Googled” it while writing this post, I didn’t realize that credit for it is given to George Bernard Shaw.

Motor Man and I did a little playing this past weekend. We went on a hayride. Through a sunflower field. To a pumpkin patch.

The wagon was pulled by a 1957 Farmall tractor. Our driver (and owner of the farm market offering the rides) told us that it was his dad’s first tractor.

And that he learned to drive it when he was 10 years old.

Don’t you just love stories like that?

See, I told you Motor Man and I spent some of the weekend playing.

Included in our ride was a free pumpkin for each of us.  This is Motor Man with his.

In order to get that picture of him, I had to lean back on the wagon.  That, in turn, inspired him to take this picture.  (More playing…)

I’m not sure that playing will actually keep us from growing old(er), but we sure are having fun trying out the concept.

~These Days Of Mine~





Raymond: Relocated

Most of you recall my mentioning Raymond, the mule, from Carova Beach, many times here on the blog.

Among the herd of 75-100 wild Spanish Mustangs in Carova, Raymond is the only mule.  It’s estimated that he’s in his twenties.

Raymond has become quite the celebrity, and everyone loves seeing him when they visit the beach.

Last Sunday morning (Sept. 29), Motor Man and I were on our way to Carova, and as we were driving through the village of Corolla (prior to  the 4-wheel-drive beach), we saw a horse trailer. That’s not something you normally see in a beach town.  And then I noticed a sign on the trailer:  Corolla Wild Horse Fund.  So we knew something was going on….

As it turns out, Raymond and his harem have been escaping the 4-wheel drive area and grazing in the village of Corolla.  This is not good for several reasons. The folks driving in Corolla are not expecting horses (or a mule) to be walking in the street.

Plus, the pavement is not ideal for their hooves, Raymond’s especially.

The reason they’ve been leaving the beach is because their area has been flooded since Hurricane Dorian. So they’re looking for food, and the well manicured lawns in Corolla have provided them plenty of options.

Sadly, Raymond’s hooves were in such bad shape that CWHF made the difficult decision last Sunday morning to remove him from the beach.

He’s now a resident of the CWHF rescue farm. And he seems to be adapting nicely.  Their  Facebook page has provided many in-depth updates on Raymond. His fans all greatly appreciate being kept informed about this beloved old mule.

Corolla Wild Horse Fund photo

So, CWHF has had quite the expenditures recently to (quickly) build a fence to contain Raymond (he’s VERY stubborn and and quite the escape artist), as well as reinforcing the walls in his shelter and providing a nice soft, sand floor for his hooves.

The Fund is a 501 C-3 non-profit, and  if you’d like to donate to help out a good-ol’-boy mule named Raymond, here’s the link:

Support the Horses

Corolla Wild Horse Fund photo

And Raymond says: “thank ya”!

~These Days Of Mine~


Who Were They?

I grew up in Bacon’s Castle, a little town map dot in southeast Virginia. It was a busier place in my childhood than it is these days. Within a couple mile radius, in addition to homes and fields, there is a church, a dairy farm, a convenience store and a cemetery.  The association that oversees the cemetery is made up of hometown folks, and I’m honored to serve as its secretary.

And the area also includes the historic house, Bacon’s Castle.

A few miles away is the Dominion Power Surry Nuclear Power Station. As a teenager, I watched that plant being built from the window of my school bus.

Recently, Dominion purchased property in the area to relocate dredge material. One condition of this purchase was that the land first undergo archaeological research. This property was once part of the huge Bacon’s Castle farm. And as the crow flies, is less than ten miles from historic Jamestown.

During the research, performed by the James River Institute for Archaeology, human remains were found. It is believed that a dwelling was located on this property, the time period being 1680-1710, and that the remains (two adults, one teen and one child) were members of the same family.

The bodies were all in coffins, suggesting they were Anglo-Virginians, but the condition of the remains was very poor, with only a few bone fragments and teeth being found.  However, with research, the archaeological firm was able to determine some facts, about which they feel very confident.

The graves were set in a east-west configuration, which suggests that this was a Christian family.

The teeth that were found provided many clues to the researchers. Those of the child indicated a poor diet, which leads to the assumption that this was not a wealthy family. They were, perhaps, indentured servants or tenants.

Also, it is believed the adults were born in Europe, because their teeth showed a diet based on wheat. As for the children, their diet appears to have been corn-based, indicating they were born in Virginia.

Dominion Power followed all required procedures as to the reburial of these remains.  Appropriately enough, our little cemetery was chosen as the location.

A service was held last week and was well attended, mostly by local folks, but also representatives of the archaeology firm and Dominion Power.

And the thought occurred to me: there were probably many more people in attendance for the reburial service than when the bodies of these early Virginians were originally interred.

I just find it sad that we know so very little about them. The finding of their remains leaves us with many questions, first and foremost: “Who were they?”

And there are some things we will never know.

~These Days Of Mine~