Posts Tagged ‘Family’

The Starvation Orders: The Greatest Generation?

(Editors Note: I first published this at the beginning of 2012. For March, I thought it was a good story to bring back up and republish. Enjoy!)

The Irish and the British will always have issues because the British never remember, and the Irish never forget.

It’s a hot button issue in Ireland.

At the time, and now to an extent, many feel that the over 5,000 Irishmen who left Ireland to fight against Nazi Germany in World War II were  and are criminals, or deserters.

They left the Irish Army, leaving Ireland who was neutral, to fight to stop the Nazi’s in World War II.

Today, there is a possibility they may be pardoned.

The Starvation Orders were the orders to blacklist those 5,000 troops upon their return. They could not get jobs, welfare, pensions or any assistance what so ever, some of them made a go at it. Others left the country yet again. Whats more the orders extended beyond just the individuals, but their families as well. It’s how my own family ended up in America.

Five thousand Irish soldiers who swapped uniforms to fight for the British against Hitler went on to suffer years of persecution. They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.
One of them, 92-year-old Phil Farrington, took part in the D-Day landings and helped liberate the German death camp at Bergen-Belsen – but he wears his medals in secret. Even to this day, he has nightmares that he will be arrested by the authorities and imprisoned for his wartime service.

“They would come and get me, yes they would,” he said in a frail voice at his home in the docks area of Dublin.
And his 25-year-old grandson, Patrick, confirmed: “I see the fear in him even today, even after 65 years.”

Mr Farrington’s fears are not groundless.


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New age lessons

We play video games with our kid.

We don’t play MMO games, but we do play video games. Largely they are Co-op and of a RPG nature. We three sit down and make it a point to have fun together but just as important to me is that in playing those games we try to listen to each other, work together, and communicate.

So this from Penny Arcade really struck a chord for me, because it has happened with us. Its the digital equivalent of staying the night in jail or cleaning up your room, and whats more is its happened making it all the more funny.

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The new guys

I feel a bit sanctimonious posting about new dogs immediately after the loss of Huck.

The problem, unfortunately is more one of a lack of blogging on my part rather than one of poor intent. I’m trying to make it a point of posting more, but where as before I felt inspired, angry at the world in some cases, and otherwise driven to add my voice to deluge of people shouting against the whiles of the world, these days I find myself more often shaking my head in disgust and walking away.

At any rate a more pleasurable topic.

As of yesterday, Sherlock, Watson and Mary arrived at An Dun. It’s hard to say whom was more excited us or the pups. Training has begun, but not in earnest. I need to acquire three cages as the ones we initially procured are not going to be sufficient in anyway. That said we are all extremely excited to have the rug rats

I need to start with a couple of hat tips. First a big shout out got to the Baxter County Arkansas Animal control whose adoption process was not only painless but enthusiastic.  The only downside to their operation is it is a “kill shelter” but I also understand why they don’t feel they have a choice starting with the funding just inst there. They rely on folks like me who want a pet and who aren’t looking for something with a pedigree 90 miles long.

We want a family member, not a paper trail and the staff there was more than excited to assist us. I cant say enough about these folks who I spoke to via phone and E-mail almost on a every other day basis.

Next All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Mountain Home, Arkansas.  They not only spayed and neutered the new additions to our home, they treated them for worms, distemper, rabies and fleas. They didn’t break the bank doing it either. For someone who wants to adopt an animal the process that Baxter and All Creatures has set up is not just reasonable its a medical god send frankly as your pet has damn near everything you need before you walk out the door without costing you a fortune.

You folks are awesome.

Lastly Dr Sherman at Oak View Animal Clinic.  Dr. Sherman has had the misfortune of being with us through loss. She will now get to be work with us through the good fortune of life. We like her and her staff, the fact they have different payment options in a medical area that’s cost can quickly become exorbitant is beyond helpful and the fact that she is beyond competent is frankly an added bonus.

It’s nice to have An Dun filled with the sounds of canines again.



I have written before about strings. We see them yet we don’t. They intersect each of us to others, crisscrossing the land.

I am sitting at MSP. Minneapolis Airport in Minnesota. Another day, another state and another city for the op log book.

But my heart is heavy. In Georgia my first cousin lies in ICU. Fighting the odds and the numbers. The doctors tell us its only a matter of time. More hours than days I’m told.

If it happens as they say this will be four people close to me that have gone to Fiddlers Green in a single month. The ties that bind are heartwrenching, and my soul is weary of this.

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Cats in the Cradle

This isn’t really a Fathers day post. But in many ways it is. I wrote it originally in October of 2010. The more I go over it and see the relationship between my own father, and his father to me I am forced to think that despite the undertone…maybe it is about Fathers Day after all.

When your coming home Dad, I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then yea
You know we’ll have a good time then…

My Dad and I hold this song between us. Its a bit of a testament to when he was in the Navy and gone for months at a time. Before Facebook. Before Skype. Before E-mail. Before cellphones. Deployments on a Aircraft Carrier could keep him gone most of a year with little to no communication save letters via the ever so slow US postal service.

I got a lot of E-mails and Facebook comments with my rendition of Glory to Georgia. Couple of folks didn’t know I played.

I don’t…play well that is. I have a bad habit of repeating rifts over and over especially if I am singing.

My Dad, the man who taught me? He plays and does so semi professionally. If you like bluegrass you can see him on youtube as well.

But music has always been our bond.
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Promises to Keep

One thing I am big on with my daughter is leading by example.

I understand that at some point in her life she will get her hands on enough booze to turn me green. I acknowledge the fact that there will be things she will attempt that I will not approve of. So what I attempt to do is show her that life can be accomplished without these things and the ones I do partake in I always do to moderation in front of her.

One the items I stress are promises. I give them sparingly and make a point of explaining to her to not make promises that she can not keep. This weekend I am fulfilling one of my promises.

A family vacation.

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Perfect Weekend

This will be short as I need to get out the door but I have told myself I would get better at this

Was a great weekend.

Storm Chasing.

Celtic Woman show. (You haven’t lived until your 7 year old is leaning against you in your seat  awe struck and whispers “Daddy….they are AMAZING!”)

Took Critter to Sea Life

Oriental Massages for everyone but the Critter who was very disturbed by our enthusiasm.

Was a truly Great time.

Now I need time off from my vacation, no?

Back to the grind. However I am hoping I’m not coming down with my coworkers flu.Its either just the amount of driving we have done since Friday or my head is becoming mucus breeding grounds. I’m hoping its the former not the latter



Easter Memories

I had a dream this morning.

Not a Martin Luther style, but one that comes of being relaxed in warm blankets on a spring Easter morning.

I was dreaming of being a kid again in my grand parents yard.

My grandparents and whatever aunts and uncles as well as my own parents (if any of the aforementioned were home from deployment) would all be on the porch following service and playing old bluegrass gospel tunes. We kids would be scattered throughout the front yard chasing easter eggs and what not. My grandfather would tie fishing line to June bugs and Japanese beetles for us to fly around the yard. The smell of friend chicken and collard greens coming from my grandparents home. Fresh cut grass drying for hay and a morning dew so thick you could wash in it.

My grandpa had a Wurlitzer player. He’d put Jimmy Rogers on in the evenings most days, but for Easter it was always home grown. Except for Sunday service. No music was allowed during service, just voices which always struck me as odd for no sooner than we would get home then the instruments come out, the porch chairs be occupied and the music start.



It was so real, and I was so young I could feel the dew soaking my shoes and my socks making my feet squish when I would wiggle my toes. I could hear the hum of the beetles and the far off cigar tinged voice of my grandfather singing Silver Haired Daddy of Mine.

I am not a very religious person. I should be,  given my luck and the guilty conscious I was born with tells me I had best be and that I need to improve vastly.  But I find the dedication hard, given some things that I have witnessed and seen through the years here and in other countries. It all seems so futile sometimes. But I digress.

I won’t spoil my daughter with my terrors. For her, Easter is a day of service, eggs, chocolates, chicken and buttermilk biscuits for breakfast, and play time with her immediately family. It’s a time of home cooked meals, beautiful days with flowers in bloom.

My uncle, Charles Marshall, his trademark grin, his beloeved Ovation guitar, and a quick wit for those around him.

Religious or not I can’t help but feel a bit home sick, and a closeness to my relatives whom have been called home. My Aunt Betty who had a crooning voice so suited to Hobo Bill’s Last Ride it would give you chills when she sang it.  My grandfather, whose favorite song was most likely Little Log Cabin in the Lane. My Uncle Charlie who specialized in old cowboy songs and who, if I must admit, I modeled myself after in so many ways. He’s jovialness, always a smile, his ability to take everything in stride. I never had a chance to tell him before he was taken away. It always seemed so unmasculine, and immature. Now to feel that foolishness for just even a moment.  He would sing the yodeling cowboy songs with a brash grin spread across his face, like All Around the Water Tank.

My Grandfather, Arvil Stanley, how he remains in my mind: ball cap, cigar, and playing on his porch

In my head this morning we were all rejoined, and we kids played on in awe. Now I wish I could go back, for just a moment and play, and learn from them. To cover those old songs that my peers have never heard and have no memory of. The music can’t die with us, and it can’t go with them either. We must let it play on, for as I awake I realize that every time I try to play it, they are playing with me.

As the morning sun creeps in to my room, I try in vain to return to sleep, return to those days and that moment in time.

But we can’t go back. Home is never really home once you leave, trust me on this. But it is the place your always called back to by those who know you least while knowing you most.

Perhaps one day. But for now I have my memories, which I have chosen to share with you.


It’s easy being Green (in March)

At least when your Irish. You’ll note we just finished our theme transition here at ®Evil. So we’re a day early. Sue us. We look forward to this time of year.

After the spiritual powers, there is no thing in the world more unconquerable than the spirit of nationality. The spirit of nationality in Ireland will persist even though the mightiest of material powers be its neighbor.

George William Russell

It’s been a tradition for us. To change our theme to match certain special times, such as football games.

March is different. For an entire month we salute our family, friends, and fellow Irish Brothers and Sisters. It also marks the beginning of spring, as winter slowly subsides, a change in the year.

St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time — a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.

Adrienne Cook

But March isn’t all St Patrick’s Day, and green beer, as we have made good effort to demonstrate every year. It’s a salute to the blood of the Irish who fought for Independence, who died for a crown that wasn’t theirs, and who protest even still today. Because no matter the side one chooses they are still Irish, and despite my own feelings, I try to show both groups stories as best I can.

Everything that we inherit, the rain, the skies, the speech, and anybody who works in the English language in Ireland knows that there’s the dead ghost of Gaelic in the language we use and listen to and that those things will reflect our Irish identity.

John McGahern

So whats our plans? Much as we do every year we’ll be posting stories from our previous March years, as well as writing some new ones. We’ll be focusing on Irish music for our TGIF Friday’s, and Irish quotes every day of the week as well as some Irish poetry, as noted in our new header up top.

We’ll also have our traditional yearly blogmeet at Celtic Grill in Bentonville, AR on St Patrick’s Day. Our seal for this year I hope to have made by the end of the week to sponsor that event.

The immigrant’s heart marches to the beat of two quite different drums, one from the old homeland and the other from the new. The immigrant has to bridge these two worlds, living comfortably in the new and bringing the best of his or her ancient identity and heritage to bear on life in an adopted homeland.

Irish President Mary McAleese

So come close as we share stories of Ireland, of its famous people and it’s history. Gather round as we share some of our own stories, and family history. The story of an Irish Immigrant who came to America not in the 1800’s but in the 1940’s, passing on to their children and grandchildren a love of Gaelic, music and loyalty with honor.

But come as friends, for as the saying goes we Irish – Be we kings, or poets, or farmers, are a people of great worth.

We keep company with the angels, And bring a bit of heaven here to earth.

Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter.Lullabies, dreams and love ever after. Poems and songs with pipes and drums. A thousand welcomes when anyone comes… That’s the Irish for you!

Irish saying

A Lil Something for my Daughter

Because she’s never heard Ray Stevens….and it is after all Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas songs

No More Christmas (Ghosts of Christmas Past)

(I wrote a similar story at Techography a number of years ago. Unfortunately the database back up does not have it so we presume it must have been lost when our then hosts Database crashed back in 2003. I have done my best to recreate the story here. Sadly memories fade over time, even a memory as strong as I feel mine is. I hope I did the original story justice as it was well received at the time.- BS)

Lloyd C. Bain. My Great grandfather. Taken around 1976

When I was a boy, my great grandfather took me to get a Christmas tree.

My mothers grandfather was a big man, even by todays standards. Standing over 6ft 8 inches tall, the former bulldozer driver was a product of the North Georgia Mountains and the Depression. He once frightened one of my mothers suiters so badly by merely shaking his hand the boy would not speak to her until after they graduated and she had moved out. That was almost 4 years later. I recall his hands being the size of a dinner plate nearly, and though I was very small at the time, compared to even most adults, including my own father he was a mountain of a man.

He lived in Blue Ridge Georgia, until that faithful day in 1988 when he left this world, at the age of 97. It took 8 men to carry his coffin. He was a lean, strong, sturdy rock of a man. I miss him dearly. He was my mothers hero, and mine as well at a young age.

Today when a person speaks of hunting a Christmas tree they go to a farm, where numerous trees are gathered and bound, cut and leaned against a fence.

At home we went walking in the woods, looking for a suitable evergreen, be it pine, cedar or even hemlock.

And so it was on this particular day, the season of the last Christmas I would spend with my great grandfather of whose name I bear as my own middle, he summoned me to his side for us to capture a tree for the family.

More after the jump
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The Hornet’s Nest

The Armorer was kind enough to do a post on my Uncle. Which in turn led me to thinking about stories involving him, which are numerous.

One of the better ones, at my expense, I posted there. Because I’m lacking in creativity currently and still tired quite frankly I figured I’d repost it here.

My Father and uncle spotted a hornets nest on a tree limb that looked abandoned while we were riding on the back of the Stover Mtn.

My Uncle thwapped it solidly with a stick and pronounced it empty. He cut down the hornets nest, and promptly chucked it in to the backseat with me.

I must now deviate and explain a few things. First it’s February, and we are in a 1968 Volkswagen cut down for off-roading. Being the youngest I was assigned to the backseat.

So here I sit, with my feet practically in my pockets, and with a hornets nest in my lap.

Off we go back down the mountain when it starts: The buzzing.

I am convinced the damn thing is full of hornets. The buzzing continues. I casually mention the fact that I have no desire to be eaten alive by a horde of angry hornets. My father tells me he has little doubt in my ability to escape them should their be any inside.

The buzzing continues.

My Uncle Charlie mentions that maybe the heat in the Volkswagen might be stirring them up. I stare at him in what I presume to be horror. He shrugs and nonchalantly says “They hibernate in winter and I may not have thwacked them good enough with the stick. Could be full of them.”

I am near panic.
I stare at the nest on my lap, as the buzzing continues.
Then out of nowhere a single hornet lands on my jacket arm that is outstretched to hold the “oh-shit!” handles in the back.

I screamed like a 12 year old girl and proceeded to climb over my Uncle and practically out the window of the moving car.

If you have ever ridden in the backseat of a 60’s model VW you know what this had to entail

My father screeches it to a halt, by which point I complete my Dukes of Hazard-esque escape and land on the grounding rolling in the late snow and mud while smacking at myself for all I was worth with my hat as if I were on fire when I hear something else.

I look up to see both my father and my Uncle laughing absolutely hysterically.

An expert game caller, Charlie had been making the buzzing sound. And he had picked up the hornet, along with several others, off the ground when he cut down the nest. He threw the batch at me and the one had landed on my arm while I was staring at the nest in rapt attention thinking I was going to be eaten alive.

He’d sprayed the nest with Raid 2 days earlier, which is how they knew where it was and felt certain it was empty.

I had been, most effectively, had.

The Day the Music Died

When I was 12 he walked in to our cabin with an Ovation guitar, and a gallon of Canadian Mist whiskey. He took the bottle cap off and flung it in to the night and with a trademark smile said “Lets play some music, fella’s!”

I have never forgotten that.

He was my Aunt Betty’s husband. A joyful, fun loving man who had a love for life and music I have never seen in another person in my years. Always quick to smile, shake hands, offer help, advice a comfort.

He would play, my Aunt Betty would sing in one of the most haunting voice I can recall.

He almost collapsed when at my Aunt Betty’s funeral. I cried, as much because I had never seen him cry before in my life, as for her loss.

He pulled me aside one day after a playing and told me “Son you have a gift, that none of us have. you can do anything with your hands your music. Keep at it, I have no doubts we’ll see you at the Opry.”

The way I ended up there is not the way he thought, or I thought. My ability was not as good as i or he thought, but I never had the courage to tell him that because I believe it might have broke his heart if I told him I had given up that dream. He always knew, we just never spoke of it.

He had a stroke a few years ago. He was losing himself in his body. He was not the man I or anyone else.

His service will be held at the church my grandfather was honored at, interred in the same graveyard as the others of my family, in a building my family built.

The ties that bond in Northern Georgia are strong, and deep.

He was one of the few people I visited every time I went home, without fail. I loved him.  My fathers compatriot, my inspiration, a man who would give you the shirt off his back and then play you a tune.

Today my world is a little less bright, as one of the brightest souls in my world has went out.

And once again the damn Road keeps me from going home, and my heart cracks a little more.

Mr. Charles B. Marshall age 74 of Stover Mtn View, Ellijay died Tuesday November 30, 2010.

Mr. Marshall was born on October 7, 1936 in Middlesboro, KY. He is the son of the late Charles Berwin Marshall & Mamie Lucas Marshall. He is preceded in death by his wife Betty Stanley Marshall. He was a warehouse manager and a veteran of the United States Air Force.

Survivors include: Sons and daughters-in-law: Kenny and Joyice Marshall, Waleska, Danny and Beckie Marshall, Ellijay, Ronnie and Anne Marshall, Ellijay; Sister: Jean Ann Cantwell, Johnson City, TX; Brother: Bill Marshall, Wichita Falls, TX; Grandchildren: Lance and Levi Marshall, Tiffany Reichert, Bethany Marrott.

Funeral services will be held Saturday December 4, 2010 at 2pm from the Pisgah Church of Christ. Interment will be held in the Pisgah Church of Christ Cemetery with military rites by the North Georgia Honor Guard. The family will meet with friends Friday Dec.3 from 3 until 8pm at the funeral home.

Flowers are accepted or donations may be made to the Pisgah Church of Christ cemetery fund in memory of Mr. Marshall.

Bernhardt Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Well, I know there’s a lotta big preachers that know a lot more than I do
But it could be that the good Lord likes a little pickin’ too

Veterans Day: A Family Affair

My Family has served this country for over three generations.

Today is our day.

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Game Day Traditions: The Season Begins

The season starts today for my fellow Vols fans. It started yesterday for others, and today for some but today is specifically for people like me, and V00d3w and my close friend OfficerT, a rabid Arkansas fan.

Today is the first day our traditions have seen the light of day since last year. It is a special day. Rivalries are revived. Old arguments are renewed. Old friendships rekindled. As the days grow shorter, the weather cooler, and the wind holds a bit of a scent of winter in the air, these are the days when it all changes not just our programming, or our weather, but our lifestyle; at least one day per week.

Morning Breaks by the Spite Family Wilderness Retreat here in Southwest Missouri

Here at The Spite Family Wilderness Retreat we have many Game Day traditions.

I, and others, were recently asked if we were superstitious. Foolish I admitted I am to a point.

But those superstitions are based in my traditions. Those superstitions can be fun, especially if you have your friends involved.

It becomes fun for friends to ask about Volunteer Sunrise, your personal blend of coffee on Game Day morning while preparations are underway. It becomes fun when your friends want to get involved in creating a tradition, or if they want to perhaps modify your own such as an ingredient suggestion.

It becomes fun, as each Saturday becomes a rhythm with your family, friends, times they arrive, things that are done. Kids anticipate your wife or girlfriends brownies. Guys gather around the beer cooler as open flame is lit. The ladies laugh at their husbands as they set paper plates, and call out scores to each inquiry from the grill.

Its not just about superstition, it’s about traditions. Those traditions that lend a kind of stability to your life when it seems all else is going out of control. A day to look forward too each week, when at least 5 of them you feel you could do without. A small point of happiness, family, friendship, and a kind of explosive peace as the whistle blows and shouts are made at referee’s. Those traditions that can last a lifetime as your kids pass them on, or who ask you when the next football game is.

My day was made when my daughter spotted an orange at the grocery store at age 3 and asked “Daddy, are those from Tennessee?”. Because of the color.

These are the days that make life special, and those traditions, those superstitions only add flavor to its length.

Were everyday like this.

Go Vols

To my wife…

This is for my wife.

Lori, I had a great weekend with you, Gavin was such a good boy.  In case I haven’t told you lately, I appreciate everything you do for our family.  Sometimes I sit in wonder of the things that I have had to sacrifice for our for the good of our little family, and I forget to notice that you, too, have sacrificed a lot.  I’m sorry if I don’t say it enough, but you are the light of my life, and I can’t imagine going on this journey with anyone else.

Thank you for all you do, and I look forward to many, many more years together with you.


Marks on the Wall

“We can’t hold back the hands of time, its just something we got to do.”


Critters first day was Monday. The morning was….interesting. She was all excited until she realized her mother and I would not be staying with her the entire day. Then we piled in to the gym. Here too, a problem arose. Critter is much like me, in not enjoying being amongst crowds. So there she sat in the middle of the gym with her hands over her ears, and head burrowed to block the noise. So of course you can guess what happened when the the Principal fired up the PA system.
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Something for the weekend

A Little music from my great Uncle, for those who recall.

Yes I can play, but I have never been able to play as well as he. Lord knows I’ve tried.

Ya’ll have a good weekend, and I’ll try to drop in but I have a lot planned.

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