Everything old is cool again.

There’s been a style trend lately of making new things look old. Giving a patina to a new lamp so it looks like your grandfather owned it, or beating up a perfectly good piece of furniture so that it no longer looks like a perfectly good piece of furniture.

While that does happen here in the South, we also have our share of actual old things, not just re-creations.
Sometimes, however, even those need a little help.

I find the lamp in this picture to be beautiful. From what I understand it was left in a barn for the past thirty-something years. Then a kid in one of my classes gave it to me (we were trying to film at the time and needed some lighting). Because of it’s age and condition we promptly shorted out the socket and left it sitting in my room.

I got a wild notion the other day that this lamp would look really cool hanging over my desk, but I refused to put an Compact Florescent Bulb or a Light Emitting Diode in it. Even a regular light bulb wouldn’t look right. So, I invested in a new ceramic socket, wired it up using the original plug wire, and got it working again. The bulb, though, was the main event. It could make or break this lamp, either create an ugly combination of modern and vintage or truly shine out in all its glory.

An Edison bulb was obviously the only way to go. They have a really bright coil, but don’t put out much light. Basically, looking like the bulbs first invented by Thomas Edison (go figure).

I couldn’t be happier with the hanging lamp. Lots of dents, dings, blemishes, stains and filled with outdated technology. Kind of reminds me of myself.

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Ye Olde Country… or not

Look, I’ve included two pictures today. It’s to make up for those posts with no pictures.

But in all seriousness, I love castles. It may be my Irish/Scottish/Welsh/German heritage, but I have always thought they were simply cool. When I was younger I would read all about King Arthur and his knights. Later I branched out into Tolkien and Lewis, finally hitting Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin. Fantasy has always struck a cord with me. There is just something about the chivalry, the quests, and the fellowship (pun intended).

So, I look at castles. I have books with pictures of them. I look them up on-line. I like Castles.

Now, here is the question. Where are the castles featured in these pictures? Some Scottish Highland, a rolling hill in Ireland, the heart of London, Cardiff, or Berlin? Nope.

The first one, with the air-conditioner in the window, is about 10 miles from my house, in downtown Corinth, Mississippi. (The Castle is in Corinth, not me)  I don’t know much about it, but apparently, a “crazy cat lady” used to live there. Right now it is a bit of disrepair and up for sale. I really wish I had the time, money, and skill to go after it.

The second one, with the curved staircase, you may have seen before. It had a bit of fame in a recent music video by a county starlet, something about Romeo and Juliet. It stands close to 20 miles from my brother’s house.  Just outside of Franklin, Tennessee, this castle and the grounds surrounding it, serve as the backdrop for the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. It’s held every year in May and supports a great gathering of geekdom from all across the South.
That’s just one of the many things I love about living in the South. You really never know what you are going to find.

Picture credit: I took the Corinth, MS one. The other is from the Press Kit at tenrenfest.com

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Actions

We’ve all heard it said, actions speak louder than words. We all understand the fact that the things we do have a greater impact than the words we say. We can tell someone we love them, but when we take them somewhere, maybe fishing or a ballgame, we show them that they are important.

What is funny to me, is that this truth comes to us from such varied sources. This morning I read an article in a health magazine telling how to be a man. The point was that being a man doesn’t stem from some great epiphany, but from continuously doing the things a man should do.

This was from a completely secular source, however we get the same message from religions. The apostle Paul taught that faith, without action, was dead. In order for what you believe to have any real impact on your life, you have to do something about it.

This blog is not meant to be a religious one. However, that is part of life in the South. If you are reading this, and do not subscribe to these beliefs, I thank you for keeping an open mind and staying around long enough to read this final point…

Do something, get up, get out, and help somebody. Play ball with a kid, buy a meal for the hungry, build a bookcase. Unless you’re doing, you’re dying.

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Comfort Food

At some point in our lives we all need comfort. Someone to tell us things will be alright, to put their arms around us and tell us they care. In our community, a good man passed away last week. So we have had the opportunity to love on, and care for his family. Here in the South, we commonly do that with food.

This may happen everywhere, but being as I’m not from everywhere, I really don’t know. You may wonder, why do we bring people casseroles when a family member dies?  Does a bucket of chicken have innate healing abilities? How will potato salad help people deal with loss? Yet, we keep bringing this food to people.

Well, the answer is three fold. First, and most obvious, no one wants to cook in a time of suffering and loss. However, you gotta eat, and homemade food is much more comforting than a fast food hamburger. Second, it shows that the person bringing it cares. We don’t always know what to say when death comes along. We’re afraid of saying the wrong thing and making our friends feel worse. So instead, we bring meat and noodles mixed in a baking dish. Showing that we at least care enough to make something for them.

Finally, the sneaky part. If you’ve ever taken food to someones house after a funeral, or met at the church to eat, you know that there is always too much food. More that they could ever eat. More than their family could eat. Being that this is the South, we don’t like to let food go to waste. So the only logical option is to surround ourselves with friends to help us eat it.

Maybe you can see where this is going. When you are surrounded by friends, people that care about you (and that just brought you a Taco Salad), it’s hard to stay upset. That many  people, and that much food quickly turns a sad time of mourning, into a celebration of the life of the person who has passed on. Memories and stories are shared around the table, tears fall and laughter creates smiles.

As Truvy Jones would say, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

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Thinking

I haven’t been posting much over the past few days. It’s close to the end of Summer and I’ve been enjoying the time I have left before School starts back. I’m a school teacher, by the way.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about family and the brevity of things. So I wanted to share an article from a friend of mine. They host a geek blog. In addition to not being a “redneck,” I’m also a bit of a geek myself.

 

JustUS Geeks, editorial on the Colorado Shooting.

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Double Time

Ever feel like things are rushing by, like you’ve got to work twice as hard just to stay where you are?

One of the classic Southern Stereotypes is that things are slower down here. To an extent that is true. It gets too hot and humid to get in much of a rush. However, with the world getting flatter and deadlines not caring about slowing down, we’re starting to pick up the pace around here too.
I thought that maybe you felt this way as well. Maybe you are working (or whatever you do instead) harder and faster, and you don’t feel like your making any headway.

So what I am doing about it? What can I do to help you feel less overwhelmed? Why is there a picture of buses on this post?

Well, to be honest, a single rainbow isn’t always enough to encourage us. So, I though you could use a double.

 

(Yeah, I know I posted this on Saturday night, but that’s close enough for Sunday Inspiration to me)

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They’re not made from Slugs

Have you ever had a Slug burger? Do you know what one is?

I’ve never been able to find these “delicacies” outside of 20 miles from Corinth, MS.

They come from a time when things were a bit rough, financially. So that means most of us could relate. Meat had gotten so expensive that restaurants needed a cheaper entree for their customers. So you take a bit of meat, some spices, and a whole lot of filler (usually soybeans) and you make a patty. From there you do what any good Southern Chef would do, you deep fry it.

Traditionally, you would then put it on a bun with pickle, onion, and mustard. Back in the day one of these burgers could be purchased for a slug, a nickle, 5 cents, however you want to say it. Well the name stuck and the sandwich became a part of our local culture.

Each July, Corinth, MS hosts the Slug Burger Festival. Further celebrating this regional creation.

The picture below was taken as I was driving by (I was stopped at the intersection, I’m not that crazy)

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Out of Place

Have you ever seen something that didn’t look like it belonged, something that just seemed out of place in the situation it was in?

Like an old truck in the middle of the woods or an airplane that has crashed under the water. When we first look at these things, they seem odd, as if they shouldn’t even exist. However, if we look a bit closer, we start to see a beauty in the oddity. Something in the juxtaposition that makes us think.

Our lives are like that sometimes. We end up in places we don’t plan to be or with people we never expected to meet. Yet, this is often exactly where we are needed.

Take a look at where you are (not literally, in your life). Is it what you expected? What you planned? Or is it something so much more wonderful because it is what you needed rather than what you wanted?

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The Park

How often do you go to the park? Why do you go there?

Some people go there to walk or to let the kids play. There are some, especially in larger cities that go to parks so that they can see a bit of nature, and escape from the everyday concrete and asphalt.

In places like that, parks represent a small chunk of green on a field of grey.

However, where I live it’s a bit the other way. The park is a bit of concrete and gravel carved out of a forest. The park pictured lies next to a creek that we used to play in and is near a school. It’s been updated lately and is much more entertaining for my son than it was in my day.

We come here, not for the nature (we get that in the back yard) but for the metal structures and fake animals of the modern world.

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By the way, this isn’t the entire park. It’s actually bigger with slides, a climbing wall, and everything!

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Party Crashers

Sometimes things work out pretty good. We went to the park today (twice for me, but that’s another post). When we arrived, a birthday party was in full swing. Being that we are in a very small town, park attendance consisted of the party and us.

There was no way I could put my four year old back in the car. The park, that many kids… No way was I going to do that to him. So my wife and I explained that it was not our party, and that playing was fine, but not to expect cake and ice cream.

Well, maybe I haven’t told you this yet, but we live in the South. The hospitality stereotype is actually true.

It turned out we knew a few people there. Within twenty minutes my kid had cake, and my wife had politely declined the offer extended to us.

However, you never make just one offer of food around these parts. By the second offer, I was ready. I left the park for the second time today, but this time, a Coke float followed me home.

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