Friday, July 31, 2009

Still too much

Still too much... Today I found out that PJ is going on a trip out of the country with his father and guess what... his passport expired less than a month ago. Yes, that is weird. I thought he was going to Seattle and my ex thought he had all options open. No one checked that "little" detail and the money is nonrefundable and the ex pays for all this trouble. So, we have spent the rest of today arranging the details for approval of PJs first adult passport and bon voyage I hope.

Sometimes the only thing you can do is pray.

Talk tomorrow.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Too much in two days.

Okay, I'm back. Many things to tell you. First, RG took a tumble down the stairs after Tom Dooley and is having SURGERY on his knee on Monday. Can you believe it?

Secondly, I attended a session for Project GetReady at MCNC in RTP. They liked my idea about the charging stations at museums. They have to go somewhere beyond home and work, so...apparently, McDonald's in Cary has one installed already. They tore it down and rebuilt it in a hurry. They did this in Elkin last year too. I wonder if they have a charging station there? I wouldn't think so, but I will check.

Also, I have an assignment to gather a database of all your Revolutionary War sites. I started this blog hoping more local folks would write comments to me about their sites. I have had comments, but not too many.

However, I do believe many of you have let the park service know about your counties and your sites. I do not yet have access to that summary. We are supposed to receive a newsletter about the result of the survey due July 1 sometime soon. But, in the meantime would you please comment here on the blog with the website or your site email. Or I will track you down and call you up!

Lastly, we went to Abingdon late last night. We were in a documentary film! playing guitar! me too! early this morning and it rained and rained.

It's about the National Trails. This crew has been all over the US. They looked like about anybody with a fancy camera, but they are real filmmakers. They kinda of look like geologists in the field...We will see what comes of it.

Like anything creative, build it and they will come. I guess this filming is about making trailers and finding investors. If it is massive enough I guess they will film more in October. But anyway, as I sat with RG, four odd looking cameras and a big spongy looking thing hovered and floated all around us. I hope I played the guitar correctly.

I met a fellow whose whole job is reenacting kinda like Eustace Conway. Here he is. Steve at He made all kinds of art for a movie staring Dean Jones and filmed in NC, Mandie and the Secret Tunnel which comes out in the fall. I hope he will come to Elkin in October to protray the way of life in the frontier during the revolution. Note his music on the website? Yes, I believe that is that wonderful theme from The Last of the Mohicans again. Mandie and the Secret Tunnel concerns a little girl reconnecting with her Cherokee past.

Tomorrow I have a morning errand with NCESC. RG has Pre-op. PJ is in Suessical in Elkin which opens tomorrow night. He has green paint for his face as he is the Grinch!!!

So, I'm not writing about the Revolution or electric cars or surgery until tomorrow. Too much in two days.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sounds from where I live now.

It kinda sounds like this around Surry, Wilkes, Yadkin too. These are the sounds of the overmountain men, English, Irish, Scots, Welsh, German, and French calmed down into one brogue.

more sounds

The accents in NC cities.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Cherokee Language

I'm here to tell you the news.

Yesterday, I complained about not seeing or reading much about the Iranian protests around the world. This morning I found a clip on WXII12 from the Associated press. I am encouraged by the gentleman's opinion that the muslim world may follow Iran's lead (toward democracy). I'm glad the news is getting out.

Our experience in the Southern Campaign will be an example. Our experience in the aftermath of wars should be an encouragement. We love Britain now. We love German and Japan. I have visited all these places and I am welcomed each time. I hope the day will come when I can visit Iran, Iraq, and the Holy lands with equal ease. The history of the world is there. The culture of such enduring civilizations has much to show us.

It is a powerful thing, freedom. It does not come easy or cheap. And since the desire of freedom is so powerful, it will grow from the energetic minority to the major majority. It appears to be on its way in Iran. I hope so.

I hope it can come soon without too much sacrifice. I remember what I heard the last WWI vet in England say on the news last night - we must remember heroes who fell on both sides. It is not necessary to die for your opinions when democracy is established.

But, Democracy depends upon news and free communication.

And, it's important to understand the language to understand the news. (PS. If you click this link to hear the dialects here, on the very last page about general dialects in NC, the narrator mispronounces Watauga. He's obviously not from 'round here, but everybody else is.)

Here is an excerpt of the last remaining sounds of Elizabethan English on the shores of North Carolina. These people are natives of the Outer Banks. Pay attention to the way they say "I" or "time" or "out".

All my relatives sound like Virginians or like those of the coastal plain.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A show of spirit will grow into real spirit

I became interested in Thomas Paine yesterday. He was an interesting journalist. He wrote Common Sense.

In the United States, Paine wrote “Common Sense” and “The American Crisis,” rallying citizens to support independence, and then literally rallying the troops for battle. When Paine went back to England to promote his own design for a bridge, history had a bigger design for him. He had become acquainted with Edmund Burke, who argued in the British Parliament that lenience would preserve the loyalty of the colonists, and who finally added his qualified support to the American Revolution. In a famous speech Burke gave in the House of Commons on March 22, 1775, he said, “In this character of the Americans a love of freedom is the predominating feature. … This fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English colonies, probably, than in any other people of the earth.”

He wrote of the opportunity to create a new world. He wrote against slavery, against the idea of rule by monarchy and for the consideration of women. The link from his name above is an easy read and has fascinating quotes from him.

Paine joined the army in July (1776) and traveled with Washington ’s troops as General Nathanael Greene’s aide-de-camp. In late December, when the American cause was all but dead, Paine authored what would become the most quoted of all his works. Washington ordered it read to his soldiers on Christmas Day before crossing the Delaware for the Battle of Trenton. It provided a shot of inspiration the men, and the country, desperately needed:
These are the times that try men’s souls . . . . Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.

Paine stayed with the army in various capacities throughout the war, then sailed to England in 1787, intending to return to the United States the following year. But he authored more radical tracts, getting in trouble with the English ministry for Rights of Man and Christians everywhere for Age of Reason, got swept up in the French Revolution, was imprisoned by Robespierre, and didn’t set foot in America again until 1802.

Was he in North Carolina with General Greene during the Race to the Dan? I'm looking. But apparently, he helped stir up the Hornet's Nest. After the war he returned to Europe and tried to stir up issues there. He wound up in jail for some time.

In 1802, at the invitation of Thomas Jefferson, Paine returned to the United States. As the political struggle between the Jeffersonian and the Federalist factions had sharpened, Paine contributed most often to the Jeffersonian press and cause. Jefferson was among the very few people who still honored Paine.
Paine received a modest financial grant for his services to the republic, and the state of New York gave him a small farm in the town of New Rochelle. After he died in 1809 in Greenwich Village, his body was taken to be buried on his farm in New Rochelle. Paine had requested burial in the cemetery of the local Quaker meeting, but the elders had refused.

Madame Bonneville, who had been the wife of one of Paine’s comrades in France and who became Paine’s housekeeper, made his final funeral arrangements. By some accounts, only five or six people attended his burial, including Bonneville and her son, two African men who had walked many miles in gratitude for Paine’s work against slavery, and one man in Quaker garb who refused to disown the free thinker.

Madame Bonneville later gave an account of “an obscure grave on an open and disregarded bit of land,” writing:

“Looking round me, and beholding the small group of spectators, I exclaimed, as the earth tumbled into the grave, ‘Oh! Mr. Paine! My son stands here as testimony of the gratitude of America, and I, for France!’ This was the funeral ceremony of this great politician and philosopher!”

So journalists... I do not know what to say. Your efforts may go unnoticed in your lifetime. But this I know, Freedom of speech is one of the most important issues of a free state. Sometimes, I do not know if we hear everything there is to be said and are thus led around by the nose even today. Still, our experiment in these United States is for the most part the best example of having life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Press on journalists. I'm praying for Iran tonight. There are journalists trying to speak and they are detained. Now, I've read somewhere about the election and how votes are counted, that was pro-government and you do remember the power of an energetic minority to cause "trouble" right? So, I can't say the election was not the will of the people. I really do not know.

But, I do know this. Hundreds of people can not just disappear or be detained or prevented from mourning a family death. That is NOT a free state. This leads me to believe the government there has something to hide. Hopefully, someone will be a Thomas Paine in Iran. They are a lovely people. I knew several Iranian college students when I was at NCSU in the late 1970s. Democracy would work well there. They have an amazing history too. Be brave journalists.

I also want to just say I was surprised the national TV news in the US did not cover the protests all over the world on my birthday to find these missing Iranian citizens. Did nothing happen anywhere? I found a small story on page two of my Sunday paper. So, what is happening???...

Nope, Thomas Paine was in Pennsylvania writing about taxes in 1780 and recovering Charleston, SC and by 1781 was going to Europe to get money from France with Henry Laurens of SC. How to support an army until then? It was up to the volunteers. There was no money.

Well, he worked with Nathanael Greene, our NC rescuer. He was interesting.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The birthday of a new world

Native American people are responsible for discovering and establishing 50% of the crops cultivated in the world today. Probably 90% of them were wiped out by disease after contact with Europeans and Africans. Amazing.

Two thoughts. Thank goodness for native people. Isn't it incredible that global populations survive inspite of such a loss. I had to share that because I didn't know that fact. Incredible.

It's my birthday. I think I've already had all the fun things. Unfortunately, I couldn't go to Asheville because of the fall down the stairs RG had last Saturday, but last night when I picked him up from work, we took a chance that Sunny Italy was open and turned off Hwy 268 half way to Elkin for the adventure. PJ was at his Dad's so we decided on the spur of the moment to have a date for my birthday.

Sunny Italy opened in a chicken coop in 1966. It was run by Mr. and Mrs. Roselli. Mr. Roselli was from Italy and brought all his true Italian recipes with him. Imagine a time when pizza was almost unknown in North Carolina, much less real Italian tomato sauce, and cremepuffs. Hard to believe. But, Sunny Italy became famous and people drove from miles around to eat there.

Today, Daisy Roselli is still at work even though she is over 100 years old now. She greets people and welcomes them. Her children and grandchildren run the restaurant. She could not be there Friday, because she took a fall on holiday a couple of weeks ago and is recovering, but she'll be there when you get out there. It's only open on Fridays and Saturdays. I met one of grandchildren Friday night who lives in Durham and drives back to Roaring River every weekend to help out.

Another of Mrs. Roselli's children, T., was the activities directory where my mom lives. Coincidentally, Mom found out that she was from Wilkesboro and so T. found RGs band and invited them to perform at the independent living center on two occasions. The band members were completely impressed by the reception they received at the Octoberfest event by all those 70-100+ year old folks. They got up and danced and they (some!, not mom) drank beer. I guess it was the first time for the band to play bluegrass/celtic/umpahpah music for senior citizens free to mingle.

A note about the birthday of a new world.

Next year I should have a BirthNight Ball to celebrate my birthday, or perhaps we should do it the weekend following July 4th to recognise the birth of a new nation or as Thomas Paine predicted, the birth of a new world.

North Carolina is in here somewhere. Well, I have to go pick up RG. I was released from the gig by carpooling, but they are on their way back. I took my presents to the mall and had a blast at Belk's 40% off the 50%-off-markdowns sale.

And this means that Goodwill will be blessed by me on Monday. I think I have a new closet full of summer clothes. And you know - one new one in = two old one's out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More music postscript....

Well, I am somewhat attracted to write this blog about all day long. I have to get out and about to have something to write about however, so I hope I can slow it down a bit. In the meantime, all of you, including the readers from, can listen to a continuous stream of music from the annual Merlefest.

Just click on the link at the top of the page - "mymvy - click here". By the way, in any of the writing if you see words in purple instead of black, they are a link and if you click on the words you will go to documentation for the words in italics or you will go to another link for information or a YouTube presentation or whatever. Anyway, I like the purple link words. They are like little surprises and they tell whatever story better than I can.

Back to to My MVY... When your link comes up, it will be tuned to a Merlefest stream. All of the Merlefest artists will be listed on the left. Their music will play, randomly I guess, UNLESS you click them off. Unfortunately, the artists I most wanted you to hear were the Carolina Chocolate Drops and I clicked on them before I read the instructions. (Well, confess, you have all pushed a button before reading instructions, right?) Anyway, will you please release the click on the Carolina Chocolate Drops so you can hear them. They are one of the best examples of Americana Music. I have tried and tried to click them back on and repost and for some reason it won't do it. Of course, if by a miracle, your lists are clear, let it rip!

Ben Taylor

PS. don't you think James Taylor and Ben Taylor should perform together at Merlefest?I'm telling somebody.

Carolina named for Charles IX of France!

Jean Ribault, the Huguenot named the Carolinas after the French King, Charles IX. I did not know that.

The French very well gave the idea to the English it appears. In fact, a group from the failed French colony at Charlesfort in early SC set sail to go back home to Europe from SC, successfully landed on English shores, and were interviewed by Queen Elizabeth I herself.

And the Spanish were already there in the area of Florida. Well, I did know that. But we forget all about that Spanish exploration I guess because the common people who finally rebelled were under the governance of England by that time. And the French connection is totally lost in the history we were taught in school or perhaps retain from school.

But, it explains Lafayette's good fortune. The French settled and lived in the area of Charleston nearly 100 years before the Revolution, maybe 200 years if you count Charlesfort. Oh la la!

These people were enticed to go to Carolina to wait out the problems for protestants in Catholic France by pamphlets and maps extolling the virtues of Carolina. They felt a Carolina fever, had "Carolina on his mind" and talked of "parti a la Caroline" (gone to Carolina) well before James Taylor sang about "going to Carolina in my mind"..

The Huguenot Society of South Carolina is large and dedicated to recognizing families who appeared in SC before 1787. They probably know all there is to know about the Revolutionary period.

The Chapel Hill Museum features an interesting review of James Taylor's time growing up in Chapel Hill. I still have his Sweet Baby James album from when I was a kid. I can't play it on anything because I don't have a turn table anymore, but I like the picture on the album cover and a "dangerous" boy gave it to me as a present.

By the way, boys, girls do not get the message with presents before you talk to them. Might as well learn to be friends and talk a lot, do homework together and hang out before you spend money. The exception to that is a formal date of course, but just to help you out...get to a know a girl before you give her presents. In the end you are more important than the gift. In fact, true love is spending time and caring about the spirit of a girl. Gifts are meaningful after there is commitment, so bring them on after you have been married a dozen years, and for no reason of course, --then and only then, they count double.

Wonder if James Taylor knows he was not the first to be homesick for Carolina?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Posterity will huzza ' for us

Tom Dooley is fini! and it was great. I learned a lot. I wish I had done this in my twenties when I had more energy to stay up 'til the wee hours. I like acting quite a lot.

I had to think fast on my feet during the last performance, my que was distracted by a molassy boilin' and wasn't able to feed me the line. I was making all kinds of things up about Ann Melton's floosy dress and how dare she appear like that at a dance and finally, I yelled for Martha, "Ann's mama is in the barn back there right now..." and so was finally back on script. I don't think anyone in the audience noticed, but now that the save has had to be made by me, I will call myself a professional actor. haha! Tom Hanks bring it on!

Which reminds me... since Tom Dooley is NC outdoor drama, many cast members have some experience at the next level of the industry with script writers and directors from Wilmington as well as actors in New York on Broadway. I now know a person who knows THE person who cast the actors for "John Adams". Really!!

So, now a script must be written for the Revolution, for the southern campaign in NC. It may have to focus on the eastern half of the story since the western half of the story is apparently being expanded upon as we speak. That's okay. All of the eastern part happens in NC until they crossed the SC line and includes some parts played by eastern folks like Richard Caswell.

I wonder what happened to all those costumes from "John Adams"? Many of them would be useful I think.

Well, speaking of the wee hours. We had to break down the set after the last performance. That lasted until about 1:30 am and we were home by 2:30 am Sunday Morning. RG had to unload more things as I went to get ready to sleep. He slipped on the stairs and tore an ACL in his knee! PJ heard him fall and by the time I discovered it he was up and walking but he couldn't bend his knee. No more stairs for him. We moved downstairs to the guest room and now I am thankful I have a guest room even though we don't have too many guests in the 21st century.

So, I'm looking for details about having guests during the revolution. As I recall in the 1600s and early 1700s, the people of Virginia used to stand outside their doors to encourage visitors on the roads to come and stay with them. The origin of Southern Hospitality I guess. But, by the revolutionary times, guests could literally "eat you out of house and home" if there were too many too often.

I found this incidence in an old book I googled:

General Charles Lee, while at White Plains, in 1776, had his quarters in a small house near the road by which Gen. Washington had to pass when reconnoitring. Returning with his suite, they called in and took a dinner. They were no sooner gone, than Lee told his aids, " You must look me out another place, for I shall have Washington and his pupp'es continually calling on me, and they will eat me up." The next day Lee. seeing Washington out on the like business. and expecting that he should have another visit, ordered his servant to write with chalk upon the door, " No victuals dressed here to-day." When the company approached and saw the writing, they pushed off with much good humor for their own table, without being offended at the habitual eccentricity of the man.

Here were some other interesting stories from that old book. I'm trying to find only the NC or SC ones of interest to me, but some are just too classic to pass up giving to you...


Washington was never known to injure intentionally the feelings of any person, no matter whether his friend or his most hostile enemy. In illustration of this trait, an incident may be related, referring to the surrender at Yorktown. While the continental troops were preparing to receive the British, who were to march forth from the garrison, and deliver up their arms, Washington was heard to remark to the troops—" My brave fellows, let no sensation' of satisfaction for the triumphs you have gained, induce you to insult your fallen enemy—let no shouting, no clamorous huzzaing increase their mortification. It is sufficient satisfaction to us, that we witness their humiliation. Posterity will huzza ' for us."

Baron de Glaubeck having signalized himself in many engagements after the battle of Guilford, General Greene recommended him to the governor of North Carolina, and advised him to put the cavalry of that state under his command. The governor took the general's advice, and accordingly placed the baron at the head of the cavalry; but to his great astonishment, not a man among them had a sword; however, in order to supply the deficiency, he ordered every man to supply himself with a substantial hickory club, one end of which he caused to be mounted with a. heavy piece of iron ; then, to show an example to his men, he threw aside his sword, armed himself with one of these bludgeons, and mounted his horse.

After giving his men the necessary instructions in wielding their clubs, he marched with his whole body, consisting of three hundred, towards Cornwallis's army, in order to reconnoitre his lines, where he arrived the same day, about one o'clock. Cornwallis was then retreating towards Wilmington, and his men being fatigued, had halted to take some refreshment. The baron having seized this favorable opportunity, charged two Hessian piquets, whom he made prisoners ; and routed three British regiments, to whose heads he applied the clubs so effectually, that a considerable number were killed on the spot; and finally he retreated with upwards of sixty prisoners.

ewuuu....powerful clubs even if they were makeshift

Well, use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without, that's what they say. North Carolinians are innovative in all cases.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shadows in the Dark

You will never believe what RG is up to at this moment. Shadows in the Dark paranormal radio show is having an interview with him on the phone.

I put a link in here to follow them because they are taking this all seriously. I see a recent guest discussed the Hubble telescope. So, this radio show has some serious following. And, from previous posts you know RG wrote a book and we have had ghost experiences. Now we are experts and he gives Ghost tours several times a year around Wilkesboro.

But, who knows. When the paranormal investigators came to the Robert Cleveland house and the Old Wilkes Jail to record EVPS, we stayed with them. I listened to the EVPs they collected and I thought I heard a female/girl's voice saying "what you goin' to do now?" Check it out.

News Report from yesterday.


The Purple Heart

Words cannot express the sadness we feel at a loss of such a wonderful young man. And our loss cannot possibly be of the depth of loss by his wife, and his mom and dad. It is just too much.

Mark might have known this would be too great for us to bear alone. Mark and Nickayla had discussed the possibility of this happening and he wrote his own order of service for the funeral. The service included two ministers, one of whom was his next door neighbor and our former choir director, and the other the one who married the pair; and two officers, one of whom was a Colonel, his cousin by marriage and a "home town" "boy" and the other, a Brigadier General, his commander who flew in from Germany.

There were two songs, one solo by a young high school grad about to study voice at Westminster in New Jersey and one duet by our Russian-borne voice teacher and the man who sang in my wedding. The music was in foreign languages in tribute to Mark's love of travel and the people in other cultures. They were "Bist Du Bei Mir" (If you are with me..) in German and the other in Latin, "Pie Jesu". I was so thankful they were not in English, because the voice and melodies were so soothing and I was brimming with tears the whole service sitting in the choir loft. There was Nickayla seated in front of me in the congregation so I was trying so hard to maintain some composure. These are songs without words for me. Now that I have looked them up and read the words, agggghhh...

There were some moments to smile with the memories of Mark. I think this touches me SO much I think because the love that Mark had for Nickayla and the love she has for him are so rare. They adored each other the pastor pointed out and it is so evident. I think about all the relationships around us and how many do not have this intensity and trust. The loss of this marriage is what affects me the most.

But, the comforting hand of God was on us all. So for the postlude, our organist played my favorite piece from Widor, Toccata (from the 5th symphony) the same one I used in my wedding and I knew God was with us. It was a gift from Mark.

Here are additional facts about him I did not know until yesterday. I guess he was so young I thought of him as a youth, the son of parents I had met, another of the young people from this town. But. He was an Army Ranger, a member of the 82nd Airborne, and importantly, a company commander connected with NATO.

Posthumously, along with previous honors he received while in active service, he received yesterday the Bronze Star Medal, The Purple Heart, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the NATO Medal with International Security and Assistance Force clasp.

The Purple Heart was instigated by George Washington in the period following the Revolutionary War. Mark was a volunteer and a true patriot in the original sense.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Well done, son.

We are preparing to attend the funeral for Capt. Mark Garner. We are sitting in the choir loft in robes, but the choir is not singing. Mark, as a soldier in danger, prepared a service in case of the worse. Its hard to imagine needing such a thing, but here it is.

Anyway, he wanted music in various languages because of his love of traveling the world. There will be solos and duets in foreign languages. I imagine at least one will be given by a choir member who has immigrated from Russia and teaches voice here now. I'm not at all sure what else will be included. But, we know we will see a military funeral and the church will be absolutely packed with townspeople.

I can not say enough how much you would have liked this young man. You would have loved him. I did not know him personally. I know his in-laws and his parents. They are wonderful people. This is such a loss for them, for us, for America and I dare say for you too.

Honoring fallen heroes and past heroes is what OVTA is about, so we don't forget the price of freedom. I read again recently this statement: "Freedom is not free, somebody pays for it." If someone else paid the price for your freedom, you must not ever forget that sacrifice and you need to remember why it costs so much and under what conditions it became necessary to stand up, voice the truth and if required, to fight for what is right. If you find yourself in the position to stand up and voice the truth and if required, to fight for freedom for you and your children, may God bless you and keep you and give you strength. Read our the statement where we declared in 1776 that we are free to conduct ourselves as a separate nation: "When it the course of human events, it becomes necessary...

So, RIP Mark, and I'm sure by now that 1200 overmountain men have met you on the other side. Well done, son.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tell Them Why You Love Them - MyFox8 Community Blog post

Tell Them Why You Love Them - MyFox8 Community Blog post
Notes for Capt. Mark Garner

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There was a Jewish population in NC even before the Revolution. These Jewish people were primarily Shepharic from Spain and Portugal. Our State magazine had an article a couple of years ago. A new organization has produced a film concerning the whole history of Jewish settlers in NC. You can see it in October.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

TED Blog: Go behind the scenes of a TEDTalk

TED Blog: Go behind the scenes of a TEDTalk

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A "RP" (Repost) from NC Travel and Tourism...

The National Park Service hopes people who have firsthand accounts of living in the Smokies or attending the national park dedication will share those memories. The Park Service said the memories of hundreds of Civilian Conservation Corps workers who built the park are also being sought. Park officials hope those with tales to tell will call them by July 24 at (
865) 436-7318, ext. 349. Officials would also like to hear from those who witnessed Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicate the national park on Sept. 2, 1940. To find out more, visit

Send this around! The CCC was instrumental in saving the state park lands of SC. Musgrove Mills State Park is the site of one of the few battles outnumbered militia won before the Battle of Kings Mountain and it was built during the Great Depression by the CCC. What a great idea!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The map of 1775

An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina With Their Indian Frontiers, Shewing in a distinct manner all the Mountains, Rivers, Swamps, Marshes, Bays, Creeks, Harbours, Sandbanks and Soundings on the Coasts, with The Roads and Indian Paths; as well as The Boundary or Provincial Lines, The Several Townships and other divisions of the Land in Both the Provinces; the whole from Actual Surveys by Henry Mouzon and Others shows Elkin River in 1775. So the Overmountain men would have known Elkin and possibly written about it in their journals. I wonder if papers of Joseph Winston are still not yet transcribed they may yield everyday clues about the area of Elkin. I wonder if the Revolutionary veterans referred to Elkin in their pension statements. We do know, in some papers somewhere, the gathering of the militia in 1780 was on Big Elkin Creek near the iron works because the National Park Service says so. So, who has those papers? I guess it is easy enough to look up. I'd like to see the document myself.

I see that Elkin River has been demoted to Big Elkin Creek by the time of the Civil War. The industrial revolution tended to reduce our fear of currents of rushing water I suppose. The library sits on the Creek now and somewhere around is also a Little Elkin Creek. The library sits on the spot that was originally the textile mill powered by the Big Elkin Creek. And Thus a town was born that still nurtures good citizens today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Post

I'm missing my foreign readers. So, let me just say that you can find me on That plug should bring them back.

Tom Dooley continues on tonight with week two. The filming on the movie trailer for Sins of Ashe County went very well yesterday. I wished he'd change the name. But, still good results. Suessical is gearing up for the end of July in Elkin.

I've got to find out what the parks service/committee is doing and what else I need to do. But I also have to get away from this computer and go to the pool before the summer's over.

And, of course get/create a job.

I think I'll start rounding up NC assets for the list of Revolutionary things to do. Is someone already doing that?

Disruptive Innovation

I'm getting off the dance kick, but... one last note. Creativity comes in many forms I think. I am somewhere in the middle of skills (with the exception of technical jacquard design) and it bothers me when I express myself in my other endeavors to hear that it is not at the edge of creativity. I think creativity must emerge from each one of us, but rather like the radiation from each star. It grows through a life cycle. What is creative at one point of expertise is dull at another.

So, for people, it is critical to encourage that radiant creativity when it emerges and not squash it in someone else because you happen to be "more creative".

Secondly, there are some techniques to practice to help creativity or bravery emerge. You know, "know the rules to break the rules", even though sometimes there are no rules or even though the most creative people in one industry have come there from an entirely different industry. Disruptive Innovation leads most change.

I mean, as a creative individual grows they follow a path for a while and then blaze a new one. It is important, if it is necessary for them to follow the path, not to push them off before they decide to blaze a new one so they can grow. And on the other hand if they refuse to grow, it helps to lead them through some disruptive innovation to teach them to be brave, so if you are the disruptor, go for it...

New things sometimes come just by combining knowledge from one subject with the knowledge of another rather than a complete revolution. That is just as creative in my mind as an idea that comes from no where. In fact, I think the most original thinkers must practice putting two unlikely ideas together and see what happens next, for a while before those bizarre and exciting totally impossibly NEW thoughts happen spontaneously.

An assignment in school for me to draw fashions inspired by the National Ballet and the punk scene emerging in the streets at the time. It was weird when it was assigned and beautiful/cool when it was done.

I also have yet to complete a musical arrangement of The Doxology and Alleluia reved up to a Latino beat and sung in a round. It has been in my head for probably 30 years. It would be a hit on the youth circuit I know, especially since they all love praise music so much. I need to review my list of things left undone and tie them up.

So, you have to see what the Upstate Carolina Dance Center has done with the traditional mountain dance and Austin Powers ...since we talked about clogging and shagging yesterday.

Given this unusual talent, could those South Carolina kids create something about the Southern Campaign and that contemporary clogging we saw yesterday?

They live in the heartland of the Battle of Kings Mountain so lets hear the rebel yelling/Indian play, and thunder on the mountain from their feet. Neat.. can we stretch that a bit... clogging to tell the story of the Revolution in the Carolinas and entertain the coming revolution in green energy. Yeah, let's see you do that!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Travel is so important. Its a gift.

In lieu of flowers for the upcoming funeral service for CPT Mark A. Garner, the family has requested that donations be made to the newly established CPT Mark A. Garner Scholarship Fund.

It was Mark’s wish that the scholarship provide financial assistance for local students to pursue a bachelor degree and enrich their lives with education and travel.

Mark and his wife visited 52 countries in their 5 and a half year marriage. They were an inspiring couple - young, kind and smart.

Here's the latest from the Elkin Tribune.

What's clogging? shaggin? contradance and all

Well, dancing... since the 1700s, clogging has been the dance of the mountains of NC. Maggie Valley is the capital of all this, but you can find clogging about anywhere here. I particularly like Sims Country Barbeque near Granite Falls where you can dance and learn how too. Here is a sample from Sims of what clogging looks like. Here it is at Mast General Store. You can find it like this at Reddings Country Kitchen on the service road along 421 on the way to Wilkesboro here on Friday nights- real folks just dancing.

Here is more contemporary clogging. Here it is a little more sedate but great detail- don't miss the last minute or two. Everyone can clog and it is exercise believe me...

Contra Dance also has a great following in NC. Here's one from New Bern. They evolved from English Country Dances. Now, this you can learn on the fly. The caller explains the moves and you practice one time. Then everyone dances the routine in a line and then changes partners and does it all again. So the dance can last a very long time and you dance with every partner in the room. EXERCISE!!! In Boone there are always Appalachian State University students in the group. Guys in kilts on occasion. That's pretty cool. Winston-Salem and Charlotte also have great groups.

Lastly, on the coast and where I grew up near Raleigh, there was shagging to beach music. The shag is the state dance of South Carolina. It rose in the 1940s, was hot in the 50s and 60s and is still danced everywhere to the same kind of music. When I was in college, of course we were in the discos by then BUT Carolina girls and guys all learn to shag as a right of passage. Here is the classic "Carolina girls" by General Johnson and the Chairman of the Board. This is a whole collection of music to shag to...

And to all you Brits listening in...its not what you're thinking!!!

That last post made no sense.

That last post made no sense. I copied over my comments about the Voice of America by mistake.

Anyway, here is the idea. The website has some interesting comments about words we use about horses that are analogies for something else entirely. I found it on Voice of America, special English, which is a broadcast for folks who are learning the English language. But, I thought it would also be great for children learning to read and it was just plain interesting. Here it is.

And about Y'all Come...our picnic at the park the other day turned into a scene like this. Rain forced the bulk of the volleyball players under the shelter with the musicians. RG, OF COURSE, and two others had pulled out the banjo, guitar, and dog-house bass to jam and were tearing up "Pig in a Pen". Another local guy, probably Scots-Irish/English descent, wearing a baseball cap backwards the way they do, pulled out a real African drum to add to the music mix. He was sitting on the the picnic table and beside him ( at least on the seats) was a young very white guy in a black tee shirt with jet black hair cut in a Mohawk style. On the other side of him (again at least sitting on the seats) was a fine gentleman of a certain age, likely a veteran, tapping and clapping along. And in front of all this a Mexican/Navajo ranger and another decidedly Scots-Irish woman flat-footed or clogged, dancing up and down the area between the tables. The little granddaughter of the ranger, African/Mexican/Navajo descent, whirled and twirled under the watchful eye of her African-American father. The rest of us all enjoyed ice cold watermelon slices for desert. It was a real scene. It was so visual. It was so NC.

PJ got pulled up to dance and, bless him, he was twice the size of the ranger and the little girl came up to about his knee.

It was a sight to see, and it was fun.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Voice of America has a piece about horses

Oh! Translation to Y'all come. It's so true.

When you live in the country everybody is your neighbor
On this one thing you can rely
They'll all come to see you and they'll never ever leave you
Y'all come to see us bye and bye

Y'all come (y'all come), y'all come (y'all come)
Oh, you all come to see us when you can
Y'all come (y'all come), y'all come (y'all come)
Oh, you all come to see us now and then

Now Grandma's a-wishing you'd come out the kitchen
And help do the dishes right away
Then they all start a-leaving, and though she's a-grieving
You can still hear grandma say

Y'all come (y'all come), y'all come (y'all come)
Oh, you all come to see us when you can
Y'all come (y'all come), y'all come (y'all come)
Oh, you all come to see us now and then

Y'all come (y'all come), y'all come (y'all come)
Oh, you all come to see us when you can
Y'all come (y'all come), y'all come (y'all come)
Oh, you all come to see us now and then

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Girl I Left Behind Me

Music just defines a time and then again can be just as relevant today especially piano music. It seems the piano came of age during the Classical Period.

Right now, 30 pianos are installed along the streets in London available for any and all players in a kind of performance art of the people.

Look at this You-Tube of a small boy playing one of them! And this cannot be beat by the Katzenjammer Duo playing American Scott Joplin's Mapleleaf Rag on 24 of them in 8 hours.

But I bring this up because the piano came to the US with a German immigrant in 1770 and so the first flood of songs produced here were about the American Revolution. The tunes were primarily British, but they came with immigrants from wherever they originated. One I love is The Girl I Left Behind Me. RG and I created an arrangement, well, I just found a bass line on my guitar and he did all the ruffles and flourishes. He did however get Richard Beard to play my lines and they put it on a CD, Celtic Cottage.

It seems appropriate today to play. It is cheerful and encouraging in tone and difficult in the words. Appropriate for soldiers. Click on link to hear a midi version from of the tune, (thanks to

The Girl I Left Behind Me.

The hours sad I left a maid
A lingering farewell taking
Whose sighs and tears my steps delayed
I thought her heart was breaking

In hurried words her name I blest
I breathed the vows that bind me
And to my heart in anguish pressed
The girl I left behind me

Then to the east we bore away
To win a name in story
And there where dawns the sun of day
There dawned our sun of glory

The place in my sight
When in the host assigned me
I shared the glory of that fight
Sweet girl I left behind me

Though many a name our banner bore
Of former deeds of daring
But they were of the day of yore
In which we had no sharing

But now our laurels freshly won
With the old one shall entwine me
Singing worthy of our size each son
Sweet girl I left behind me

The hope of final victory
Within my bosom burning
Is mingling with sweet thoughts of thee
And of my fond returning

But should I n'eer return again
Still with thy love i'll bind me
Dishonors breath shall never stain
The name I leave behind me

He really loved you... and us too... and them. Sigh.

No. 491-09 July 08, 2009
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Capt. Mark A. Garner, 30, of North Carolina, died July 6 in Argandab District, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany.

I'm just so tired of the MJ threads. I am posting this in honor and memory of a Fallen Soldier from my hometown. His mother was my biology teacher in high school. I just thought this board (no one in particular) could use some perspective. This is not about the wrongs and rights of war. This is about taking a minute to read about a real role model. Again, I'm not stirring the pot. I just want people to think beyond the loss of celebrities for a moment. RIP Capt Garner. Thank you for reading....

Statement from the family of U.S. Army Capt. Mark Garner, 30, native of State Road, North Carolina and graduate of Elkin High School and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Please feel free to forward this along as needed.

Mark was traveling as a passenger in an M-1151 Humvee with a convoy of U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialists when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device killing him and another passenger. Other occupants of the vehicle traveling in southeast Afghanistan were injured.

We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the families of Mark’s fallen comrades and the families of the sailors who were injured in the attack. Know that we will pray for their speedy recovery. Please be praying for the safety of the nearly 200 soldiers in Mark’s company currently fighting this difficult fight as well as dealing with the loss of their company commander. We pray that they will all return safely to Hohenfels, Germany to be with their families.

As difficult as this is to accept, it is made easier by the thought that Mark was happy and content as a Soldier. Mark died doing the job he loved, and we will cherish fond memories of him forever. He was a dedicated Soldier, and we are very proud of him.

There are no words to express how much Mark will be missed by his family and friends and the others who had the privilege to know him. His memory will forever remain in our hearts as people share fond stories of Mark, many of which include comments about his larger-than-life smile and depth of character.

Mark loved his family beyond words, especially his parents, Beth and Don, and his sisters, Jo and Rachel, and often spoke very fondly of his time growing up in the Elkin area. He loved his family, loved his country, loved the Army lifestyle and loved exploring new and exciting places. He enjoyed running and spending time with his fellow Soldiers, but the two main things he was wild about were his wife and traveling.

When questioned he would say he loved traveling and his wife, and nothing could be better than traveling with his wife, Nickayla.He visited 52 countries in the last 12 years, places where most people never go, such as Indonesia, China, Bulgaria, Transdiniestria and Albania.

Mark loved to drive and explore, so most of his travels were by car. He had his free-time travel planned out for three years in advance, but there just was never enough time for all of his ambitious and exciting travel plans.

Although we don’t know anything about his last few minutes, he was probably talking to the sailors in his convoy about his travels.

In Elkin and at all his military assignments, including ranger training, Mark was remembered for his positive attitude and friendly smile. Everyone enjoyed being around Mark, because he was always happy and was the ultimate optimist.

Although full of confidence, he blushed easily, especially from Nickayla’s antics, which he loved.

Mark was the commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, stationed in Hohenfels, Germany. His unit’s mission in Afghanistan was to support the United Nations International Security Assistance Force as part of Task Force Zabul under the operational control of the Romanian Army.The Soldiers in Mark’s company not only patrolled their area of operations for enemy activity, but also did development work. This included training and mentoring Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, establishing schools and health clinics, distributing food and farm equipment and helping health care providers treat diseases in adults and children.

Thank-you, UK.

Digtriad with a video

The incident also claimed the life of Petty Officer Second Class Tony Michael Randolph, a 22-year-old from Henryetta, Oklahoma.

"It would be hard for someone to say something bad about Mark," Ballard said. "He never sought attention or recognition. He was very unassuming and friendly. He was just a nice guy."

Local comments at

Well said in the Winston-Salem Journal "No Better Soldier" editorial and its reply:
Abraham Lincoln wrote a Mrs. Bixby the following letter.

"I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom. "

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln

Mark comes home..

Army Captain’s Death Hits Small Town Hard

notes about our hero, Mark, I don't want to forget

Mt. Airy News .... Capt. Mark Garner, the man, his service to his country, his dedication to his family, friends, and community can only be told through the words of those who loved, befriended, and respected him.

ELKIN — The body of fallen soldier Capt. Mark Garner returned to the country Wednesday during a tear-drenched ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Garner, an Elkin native and alumnus of Elkin High School, was one of seven slain soldiers brought home.The official notice of death from the Public Affairs Department of the United States read: Garner, 30, was the commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment (1-4 Inf.) of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) based in Hohenfels, Germany, and died of injuries sustained Monday, when an improvised explosive device detonated near a military convoy, striking his vehicle during combat operations in Afghanistan.Garner was on his third deployment and served two tours in Baghdad, prior to his most recent deployment to Afghanistan.

“There is a sense of loss today. We’ve lost a friend, comrade, and brother-in-arms,” said Col. Michael S. Higginbottom, chief of staff and acting commander of the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany. “We are saddened by the loss, but also proud and humbled by the demonstration of this soldier’s commitment to peace, cooperation, and camaraderie as displayed by his selfless service.”The 1-4 Inf. has supported the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since 2004. The unit deploys a company-size element, during each ISAF rotation to Afghanistan. While in the country, the soldiers are attached to the Romanian Land Forces.

Garner initially entered the Army in 2002, after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering.The JMRC plans to host a service for the community, family and friends later this month.Garner is survived by his wife, Nickayla; father, Donnie Ray; mother, Elizabeth; sisters, Rachel and Jo; two nephews, Luke and Ethan; one niece, Liz; and brother-in-law, Matt Slawter.

Local funeral services have not been finalized as of yet.

A soldier called Smiley-Garner was the type of man parents wish for their son to be. Honorable, loving, giving, and happy are but just a few of the words spoken by numerous people who commented on his loss.

“People who knew Mark know what type of person he was,” Beth Garner, Mark’s mother, said. “He was genuine, and he had a big smile. He was always happy and smiling. I remember when he was in boot camp, a picture was taken of the group while they were in their camouflage uniforms that were covered in mud, and it was hard to discern each individual. Each one with the exception of Mark, because right in the middle of the crowd was a big, white smile.”

“Students and coaches during high school called him ‘Smiley,’” Matt Slawter, Garner’s brother-in-law, said.A profound grief was evident in the Garner home in State Road on Thursday evening, after their return from Dover Air Force Base, Del.

But pride about the son and brother was also very evident. Each family member had stories to tell of memories with Garner, and each story told brought a sense of pride and a little laughter to a somber day.“He was kind to everyone regardless of popularity status or socioeconomic levels,” Susan Hayes Lane said in a card she sent to the family.

“He was always honest and sincere, and he had a generous soul.”Garner’s sisters, Rachel and Jo, felt that Lane’s comments were on point with who their brother was.“Mark was the type of brother that didn’t mind if I tagged along when he was with his friends,” Rachel Slawter, Garner’s younger sister, said. “Some brothers don’t want their sisters, especially younger ones, following them around, but Mark welcomed me and Jo.”“I was always kidding him,” older sister Jo said. “I always told him I was the one who made him tough by picking on him.”

“Jo was always tall as a child,” Don Garner, Mark’s father, said. “When Mark was little, all the way through the ninth grade, he would walk around measuring, waiting to be taller than Jo. It was the ninth grade when he achieved it.”

A wonderful brother-“He was a wonderful brother,” Jo said. “I called him ‘little brother’ all our lives. Even when I wrote to him and sent care packages every two weeks, I started my letters out ‘Hey little brother.’ I don’t have hardly any childhood memories that he wasn’t a part of. I grew up with him and his buddies. He was always a part of Rachel and my lives.”Both sisters faces glowed with pride and love as they spoke of their childhood with their brother.“Mark always mediated fights between us sisters,” Rachel said. “He was the peacemaker, but he never fought with us.”

“Mark loved team sports,” Don Garner said. “He loved playing with other team members and doing the best job he knew how. He played soccer when he was little and really wanted to play football, but his mom would say no because she thought he would get hurt. Instead of playing football, she had him take piano lessons. In the fourth grade, he completed his piano lessons with a recital where he was one of three boys with 12 girls. He concentrated so hard on his song that it sounded like ‘Row, Row, Row your Boat’ instead of the selection chosen. After he completed the recital, Beth said I’ll have to let him go to football now, and away he went.”

Garner played football, baseball, basketball and soccer all through high school.“In the ninth grade, Mark was on the junior varsity team and all set to play the first game when coach Harry came to find me at school,” Beth Garner said. “He wanted me to give him permission to move Mark to the varsity team. Mark played varsity through all four years of high school.”

“Mark was all-conference his junior and senior year, was Blue Ridge Conference his senior year and named permanent captain of the team in his senior year,” Don Garner said.Garner’s high school class chose him as DAR good citizen and the Elkin school board named him as the good sportsman citizen.

“Football was his favorite sport,” Don Garner said. “Grissom (Garner’s coach) would say, ‘We’re gonna practice ‘til Garner wipes that smile off his face.’”

“There will be a memorial fund set up at Elkin High School for a scholarship,” Beth Garner said. “It was important to Mark to do something for students who may not have had the opportunities he had. This is just the kind of person Mark was.”

Garner seemed to know from an early age that he wanted to serve his country in the military. His mom told of visiting the United States Military Academy at West Point while he was deciding whether or not to make application there.“We visited the campus and on our way back to the car he said, ‘Mom, I really want to come here,’ and until Monday he was so proud to serve his country and help the Afghany people.”

Friday, July 10, 2009

The information Age cometh

The information Age - change comes. It's another Do You Know again with the Last of the Mohicans music for educators and economic planners.

Stagville in Durham

Stagville Plantation in Durham was quite large by the civil war. But before that, a family lived there during the Revolutionary War. Buildings still stand from the late 18th century including a pre-Revolutionary War yeoman farmer's house. So there. Durham has Revolutionary war assets.

Why couldn't I find this earlier? Nonetheless, neat website. I want to go see it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Digging in the dirt

Time Team America searches for the Lost Colony tonight on PBS at 8! I'm recording.

Join their fan club on Facebook right now and tell them I sent you. I want a tee-shirt. THANKS!

Salute to Mark

It is incredibly hard to Blog about a war when one of your own is lost in battle.

Day before yesterday, we lost Mark Garner, a young man who grew up here in Elkin, was a leader in everyway, married to a wonderful girl whose mother is my friend, who graduated from West Point, who as a local is probably related to the men of 1780 who fought at Kings Mountain. I don't know that about Mark, but I know many people here still trace their ancestry back to those men. He has many cousins, uncles, aunts, as well as his immediate family still here.

There was some talk of burying him at Arlington National Cemetary, but the news says we will have a service for him here at my church and bury him here. We will have to brace ourselves.

He was just home sitting in the Sunday service when our pastor asked for his safe keeping in a list of several young people who are serving in the armed forces around the world. So when the pastor looked up and saw him out there, he brought the fact to our attention that he was home from Iraq with a big smile.

Mark was sent out again to Afghanistan where there is apparently a massive on-going offensive against the opium growers right now. The drug crop, the news says, supplied $70 million dollars to the Taliban. These are the people who harbor Osama Bin Laden and by association are the people who planned and attacked and will probably attack again.

Going to Afghanistan is like the overmountain men leaving home to seek out the British in 1780. You can not attack.

It's ironic that for the past year or so in this very tiny town, and participated in by my pastor's wife, protests against the war in Iraq have occurred once a week. People stand with signs on the corner calling out to cars that pass to encourage the US to stop the war in Iraq and bring the soldiers home. This protest only recently stopped. We felt that President Obama was on the right track to withdraw and let the Iraqis manage there own country's rebirth.

It will not be easy. As you know, in NC, the revolutionary war raged between the local tories and patriots for a least another year after Yorktown in 1781. It took another two years to reach an official peace. It will be similar in Iraq as the factions work it out.

It is all sad. I watched the service for Michael Jackson yesterday after I learned of Mark's death. It was heart-felt and tragic. Mark's death is also tragic. Death of the British and Canadian and other Americans the other day are tragic. Deaths of the Afghan and Iraqi people are tragic.

Wouldn't it be so great to see the treasures of Iraq, the birthplace of human civilization? It should be a tourism capital equal to any. And the Afghan people, we have pictures of them from over the years, they are also a handsome, strong people living in such a rough terrain. Surely, there can be found something besides opium to grow and surely the Taliban can realize that God did not make men more special than women or one people better than another people. We are not infidels. We are cousins in one family.

But, we can not be attacked. And as long as that is a possibility, men will leave to protect their homes and families.

And as Christians, we believe that those who accept the gift of salvation find themselves immediately in the present of God after death. Mark is with God and God is with us.

The Ship
Bishop Brent

A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon
and someone at my side says She is gone.

Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all.

She is just as large now as when I last saw her.
Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her.

And just at that moment, when someone at my side says she is gone,
there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon
and other voices take up a glad shout - There she comes!

That is what dying is.
An horizon and just the limit of our sight.

Lift us up O Lord, that we may see further.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lafayette lands!

I have a visitor from Paris, but only for a second, so I want to encourage them to come back. I revisited my research on Lafayette and discovered his papers found in 1956 in France by his relatives were microfilmed at the suggestion of the Library of Congress in 1996, made available on the web and also housed at Cleveland State University.

In a letter to his wife, Adrienne upon his arrival at South Carolina, Lafayette says...

June 15, at Major Huger’s, translated...

I have arrived my Dear Heart, and in very good health, at the house of an American officer and, by sheer good luck, a French vessel is setting sails. Imagine my joy! I am going tonight to Charles town. I will write you from there. There is yet no interesting news to report. The countryside is open and there is no fighting, at least not much. Manners in this world (SC) are simple, honest and, in all things, worthy of the country where the beautiful word liberty resonates. I meant to write to Mr. d’Ayen, but it is not possible. Farewell, farewell, my Dear Heart. From Charles town I will go to Philadelphia by land and then join the army.

Isn’t it so my Heart that you still love me.


That's nice to hear. SC manners, especially at the beaches of the Atlantic, are worthy of the country where liberty resonates, but you knew that.

And what about the American officer...

In June, 1777, Major Benjamin Huger, an officer in the South Carolina regiment, was entertaining two visitors to America in his home. The Marquis de Lafayette and Baron Johann de Kalb had just arrived off the coast of South Carolina, about 50 miles south of Charleston, which was under British blockade. Upon setting foot in America, Lafayette took an oath, aloud, to live or die by the ideals of the rebellion. Major Huger was of French Huguenot descent and spoke French. At the table the Major noticed that Lafayette used a beautiful wood handled folding knife to cut some fruit. He admired it and thought of a similar knife that had accompanied his (grand?) father when he crossed the Atlantic to settle this new land. When Major Huger's (grand?) father passed on, the Nontron folding knife became a treasured part of his inheritance. It was a connection to his family's past. These two men, Lafayette and Kalb, left several days later to meet John Hancock in Philadelphia. Both men would bravely distinguish themselves in the American Revolution

Lafayette was lost, according to some accounts, with his ship blown off course away from Charlestown, away from a British blockade, to be finally landed near Georgetown, SC coincidentally (?) into the immediate sight of slaves who escorted him to their master's home, that of an American officer, the Congressman's son and French descended, French speaking patriot, Ben Huger II. Oh la la. What could be more perfect than that?

Not all of Lafayette's paper are translated. The papers are owned by the Fondation Jos‚e et Ren‚ de Chambrun established by the Count and Countess de Chambrun to administer the Chateau La Grange and other material documenting their family's distinguished heritage.

It is apparent the task was left unfinished. There are notes throughout, that certain folders are "Not Filmed." Anyone needing access to material beyond what is contained in the microfilm, must apply to the Josée and René de Chambrun Foundation, which owns the papers at Chateau La Grange.

Was lost and now was found. Some graduate student needs a year in France to translate the letters to Adrienne.

Would he have written anything before he arrived in Philadelphia? Maybe not, but maybe immediately when he arrived there at the port. Did he say anything else about his journey over land and though presumably North Carolina?

If not, then at least somebody can just a imagine what could have been, and write a movie, n'est pas?

Birthday Day!

In case anyone asks, this is what I want for my birthday...

A Special Evening with Founder, Ben Long, in His Studio

July 2009

On Monday, July 20, please join us for a evening to benefit the Fine Arts League at Ben Long's studio in downtown Asheville, NC. Fine art and fine food will be served, with hors d'oeuvres provided by Fiore's Ristorante Toscana.

A select exhibition of work will be on display and available for purchase,. To deepen your understanding of the work created at FALC, guests will have the unique opportunity to observe students and faculty drawing from a live model.

All are welcome to join Ben and extend this entertaining evening with reservations at Fiore’s Restaurante Toscana. Following the event at Ben’s studio, Anthony will serve a special three course dinner which includes a glass of wine at Fiore’s for $30. Advance reservations requested but not required. For reservations call Fiore’s at 828-281-0701 and tell them that you are a part of the FALC party.

Ben Long's Private Studio
122 College Street,
Asheville, NC
Monday, July 20, 2009 6:00pm - 8:00pm
$45 per person
R.S.V.P. Space is limited and reservations are required.
Please call: 828-252-5050


Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations is another great blog I like. Bill Leslie is always starting a conversation with the NC masses and they respond. I've written twice. Importantly, recently he asked us to name our favorite NC product. That is so hard to do, but having recently made the potato salad for the 4th I remember how important pickles are to my cooking abilities. I always get Mount Olive Pickles, unless my mother-in-law has supplied me with her own creations. That is a treat, but a delicacy and rare treat.

I mean, I need pickles all year long for potato salad, or tuna salad, or chicken salad, or hot dog relish, or to dress up my table if company comes.

Believe me, if you are invited to a party where you have to bring a dish and you can get six or eight kinds of wonderful Mt. Olive pickles, relishes and what not from the grocery store, you can set out a platter full of color and uniqueness that likely no one else has thought of and be the hit of the party. It way above potato chips and equally as easy.

Mt. Olive Pickle Company is located in Mt. Olive, NC in Wayne county. The town is not much bigger than Elkin. The company was started by Shickrey Baddour, a Lebanese immigrant from nearby Goldsboro.

I remember my grandfather growing cucumbers to send to them and delivering them to the sorting place in Nash county. It was very cool to watch them roll along under the shed in the warm, summer sun. Almost better than Krispy Kreme donuts rolling under the icing machine. Watching cucumbers we were outside and the aroma of the fresh picked cukes was sweet as heaven.

Then, the pickles! Oh, just great and a must have. The website for Mt. Olive is interactive and fun for kids, but I discovered Revolutionary history as well. Read this from their site:

George Washington was a pickle enthusiast.

So were John Adams and Dolly Madison (from Greensboro).

Pickles inspired Thomas Jefferson to write the following: "On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally's cellar."

We're still trying to track down Aunt Sally's recipe.

Do you suppose that would be Sally Hemmings? You know they say the way to a man's heart is though his stomach.

In colonial America, the pickle patch was an important adjunct to good living. Pickles were highly regarded by all of America's pioneering generations because, under frontier conditions, pickles were the only zesty, juicy, green, succulent food available for many months of the year.

In colonial times, and, much later, on farms and in villages, homemakers expected to "put down" some pickles in stone crocks, and to "put up" some pickles and pickle relishes in glass jars.

I'm going to find some revolutionary references to Christmas trees, history of Sparta or Alleghany county, etc. before I write about that. Go to their sites anyway and also visit Bill Leslie at WRAL.

Bill is a wonderful musician as well. At Christmas, we turned on the TV to add some music to the afternoon while cooking and preparing the Christmas meal and there was Bill singing a spiritual we had just sung in the Elkin Community Chorus. Lovely. I was just thrilled. It's not every single day, you see people you know on TV...well, except Bill if you live in Raleigh.

Especially note his CD PEACEFUL JOURNEY: A CELEBRATION OF NORTH CAROLINA which has a song about the Overmountain men. He is related to Col. McDowell from Quaker Meadows.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Checking in...

Just back from the mountains at the cabin. PJ is so tall now that his head touches the ceiling when he stands up. Its a very old cabin. Remind me to tell you about the Christmas tree industry, the blueberries, Sparta, and Christmas in July at West Jefferson. Sorry we missed it last week.

Also VisitNC - twitter is informative and quick!

Finally, my blog is slowing down so I think I have to talk to about that. The first week using this blog surfer was probably to lure me in. I had more than 80 people each day reading my blog. Not today. But, here is a mention in my post so maybe links will pick it up.

To all of you, especially all of you from the rest of the globe, welcome, welcome, welcome! I'm delighted you are here. So many of you in the US and even the rest of the world are reading my posts for hours though many pages, I am so surprised! But so excited! And I'm so pleased you are coming directly here even if you are not on now.

I hope you will get to visit NC someday. I hope I will get to visit all of the marvelous places that are reading my blog.

Notice, I have a twitter account you can follow if you would like.
Well, time to try to sleep. It's midnight. Tomorrow is the second night for Tom Dooley, a Wilkes County Legend. "break a leg"

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be....

Remember synergy from a few decades ago? Well, now I have a new term for you emergent . This is the idea that in a complex system, cooperating entities can produce unpredictable, novel benefits that would not have been possible if each part acted alone. That's kind of revolutionary! Who would have thought 13 colonies acting in concert without a single king (leader) could produce such a governmental system as interesting and beneficial for its citizens as the United States is turning out to be.

I'm looking for the bravery to join and allow emergent behavior to just happen in the National Heritage Area for the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. I guess this week, with the holiday over, a meeting will be in order to finally determine the Map of the National Heritage Area for the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. I am not on the committee or employed by the Parks Service so I will not be privy to the details of working this out. But I want them to all have a tee-shirt to wear- "Emergent Behavior Happens". Let's not be afraid to be out of control every now and then.

Here's my concern. I understand, from what I have heard from some folks, that every NC county cannot be in the heritage area. But I disagree.

We have precedent in that Tennessee is its own National Heritage Area for the civil war if I remember. Let me double check that...yes, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

Also, I believe that if it would delay this act of Congress to suggest adding certain other remaining counties of SC to the bill, not to mention some counties of Virginia and Georgia, those counties in those states should not be added.

Given that prospect, I do understand the urge to be "fair" and force NC also to not include all its possible counties at this time. I just disagree. An urge and a thoughtful consideration are on opposite sides of the spectrum of human intellect.

Not including all possible NC counties would be "fair" because all the counties of SC with possible assets are probably not named and the bill did not generalize the possibility like it did for NC. It would not be "fair" to exercise NC rights given the wording of this bill if SC was not given the opportunity by the wording of the bill.

However, Consider this. Did you know that humans have a "fairness" gene unlike some other primates which causes them to act sometimes against their personal best interests? So, Committee, I urge you to consider that the desire to be "fair" may only be a response to a biological urge and maybe not to what is truely fair- that is, to go ahead and include every county in NC that can produce some Revolutionary assets while we have the opportunity given the wording of this bill and which in turn really, really does serves to enhance the importance of the national heritage area itself as a whole.

There is no reason that the remaining counties of SC cannot be reconsidered and perhaps some in Virginia and Georgia with another act of Congress. I think additions would be appropriate. In fact, it is odd to me that the map as it stands right now even shows at least one SC county where there was confirmed revolutionary military activity that was failed to be included - I guess by some human mistake.

But this bill should not be delayed because of wording or the result watered down because of wording in the attempt to be "fair".

Putting all the NC counties in the map today because it is allowed in this bill would leave it up to SC to open a new bill at a later time for the rest of their counties so as not to delay the outcome of this one. I think SC should agree to continue to pursue that idea and possibly ask for some support from Virginia and Georgia while it benefits from her counties already named and all NC counties possible.

Do I see a sticky wicket here?

Funding runs out in 10 years for a NHA . In fact, its purpose is to create revenue producing experiences and to conserve fragile and historic environments and only secondarily, make the NHA self-sustaining if it proves useful. With this current NHA, that process starts with the Congressional Approval of the area as the bill explains it, specifically to certain SC counties and generally to the counties of NC found under the study to be worthy of inclusion.

A new NHA proposal including additional counties will take another period of time to study and establish and by that time, the current NHA will be half way complete with success stories of its own and with self-sustaining organizations and businesses. But a new bill with a new NHA will have the opportunity to extend and build upon the resources established and marketed with by the first NHA. That should be a good thing.

So, I think if all the NC counties with revolutionary assets, developed and yet to be developed, are not included at this time, there just will not be enough momentum to create another opportunity. We will just live with what we have because its "fair" and appeals to our biological "fairness" gene without thinking too much about it.

Secondly, if all the counties with stories to share are not included, that will reduce the mass of the whole NHA and thus reduce the ability to sustain or conserve resources. Smaller really is sometimes less important than bigger. A bigger NHA should help SC as well as NC.

Now- a message to you counties in NC and SC not included thus far...Don't panic completely.

Even if the map does not change from this point at all, the effect of a NHA will be beneficial to you. Without you, it will be a loss to the NHA, but with the NHA, it will still be a benefit to you.

It is comparable to the effect of merchants of similar items all congregating in the same area. This is seen very clearly in the garment district in New York City. If you want buttons, there are button stores side by side... or fabric of course, ... or hat shops with notions for building all kinds of hats. There is a plant district or a flower district. If you go very early in the morning you see scads of flowers at market and from that one area they get distributed by buyers from all over. Buyers prefer to come to areas where there are many choices.

And, tourists, hearing about the NHA will seek out Rev. War sites here in the Carolinas as opposed to say, the Rev. War sites in Florida or New Jersey and then also find you - if we just stay in touch as a state tourism initiative or even a two-state initiative. It just pays to be nearer a big tourism area than to stand alone and that's why the NHA is important to you even if you are not included.

This is the purpose of the High Point Furniture Market twice a year and the market for the public in the Hickory Furniture Mart. This Hickory Mart is a tourism and a commerce spot precisely because of the availability of so many different furniture makers located in one place.

Mass has weight of its own- relatively speaking,a bigger mass always carries bigger weight than a smaller mass.

Therefore, more tourists will come, even to counties not on the map, just because they are visiting the state to see the National Heritage Area.

I'm just saying the whole value of the NHA itself will be greater than the sum of its parts and would be greater still with all of the available parts - which should help SC as much as it helps NC.

So, I will not start my own revolution if you do not include all the counties of NC, but I would be the advocate of that proposal. Be Brave and Have Courage. Just do it. Its only fair. Emergent Behavior Happens. Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.

Opening night

Opening night for Tom Dooley, a Wilkes County Legend was a complete success. Thank goodness. I am a star. I should have gone to California when I was 20.

I"ll have to write tomorrow. Its 12:45 am.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Party

4th of July Party and Fireworks! from Washington, DC. Good July 4th only. Right now, LIVE!!!

We are off to hometown fireworks in an hour.

4th of July Address

President Obama's reflections on the Revolution for today.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Song for the illuminations! written in the War of 1812

about the flag, the star-spangled banner

The first invasion - the War of 1812 and Frances Scott Key- watch all the parts for the entire story.


Asheville Fireworks 2008

Happy 4th! Its holiday time!

"Rabbit and rye lands"— to be ploughed by rabbits tethered to a pocket-knife

That's a funny image. I found it in an old book on Google books describing lands in England in 1776 in the region of Norfolk. More later...

Have a Coke. Coke has granted money to the National Park Foundation and the NPF has granted money to OVTA. We are using the money to further educate the school children along the trail this year and to get them outdoors to walk and run and exercise their bodies along with their rights.

Thank Goodness there is Coke. We feel like that in summer, even though NC is the home of Pepsi, given the heat of the midday - thank goodness for cola of every kind in summer.

This morning I explored one of my favorite blogs, to see what was up and found a side reference to Coke of Norfolk, Earl of Leicester. This is the REAL "thank goodness there 1s Coke". Looking all over Bing to find out about him, I found nothing except the description of his acquisition of the Earldom. So, I referred to Google Books which I often do to find the items published in previous centuries and found a book which I think was published in 1841. Coke of Norfolk turns out to be one of the most important men in the history of the US and he was British.

So, in preparation of July 4th here is a new news story about the situation in Britain in 1782 according to Coke of Norfolk and His Friends By Anna Maria Wilhelmina Stirling, granddaughter of his favorite daughter and it is essentially an oral history written down apparently in 1841 and published in 1912. It is very important.

First of all as a friend of George Washington, there was apparently correspondence between them concerning agriculture. He became famous in his homeland for his knowledge of farming and is said to have saved two countries. (Note, the condition of the lands he acquired as rabbit and rye lands) He must have been opinionated as he did have detractors who said of course he was not the father of all the brillant ideas in spite of his massive success in Norfolk.

However, a profound statement from this book from 1841 explains: Those who suggest theoretical improvements in agriculture are many, and those who have the courage and the patience to risk testing the utility of such theories and of enforcing their adoption by means of practical experiment are rare, and it is they who usually represent the great benefactors and leaders of their fellow creatures.

This is so true even today. There are plenty of new ideas and new methods, but if men do not act to test, discover, refine and implement them, what good are the ideas? So, it is up to you to act and to create and to do whatever it is that has inspired your interest. No one will do it for you. Write that book. Organize that team. Save that historical resource. Just do it.

And secondly, we need science! We need experimentation along with the conceptual notions. We can not abandon the study of pure science in favor of the applied- that is the unknown just because it is unknown in favor of what is known just because it is known. We so need both! Ideas tested, whether success or failure, as well as ideas implemented.

Okay, back to the revolution...

Coke of Norfolk was in the house of commons in 1782. From this Google book: On February 22nd, 1782, General Conway moved that an address should be presented to his Majesty to implore him to listen to the advice of his Commons that the war with America might no longer be pursued.

The debate on this occasion lasted till two in the morning, and the motion was lost by a minority of one (I93-I94).

A second motion, similar in substance, but couched in less definite terms, met with better success. But the crucial question remained indeterminate — whether the King could be forced to acknowledge the independence of the revolted colonies. Unless this were so, unless the independence of the United States were openly ratified by England, it was universally recognised that anything in the nature of a treaty was merely temporising with the question at issue ami that a fresh outbreak of hostilities was ultimately inevitable. As Fox pointed out later, when the preliminaries of peace were discussed, to sign a treaty with the Americans on the footing of independence, and to make no mention of independence — " was a difference .that he thought of the most dangerous nature to the public ; — and what," he urged, " would the other Powers think if they heard that the independence was not finally recognised, but remained dependent on another treaty, the conclusion of which was at best problematical ? "

The whole question, therefore, turned on that one issue — Could the King be forced into giving a decisive assent to the wishes of his people ? and, primarily, could the House be forced into agreeing to an address which made such a reply imperative ? To all previous addresses the King had returned an answer which avoided committing himself to any definite statement. What hope could be derived from his reply to the address on General Conway's second motion : " You may be assured that, in pursuance of your advice, I shall take such measures as shall appear to me to be most conducive to the restoration of harmony," etc. ? *

It was requisite that an address should be framed which boldly stated the point at issue, in terms which left no loophole for evasion or procrastination.

The position of affairs being thus, Mr. T. Keppel relates that it was Coke who at length brought forward the motion in the House that the Independence of America should be recognised. [Energetic minority at work!]

AH realised then that the crucial moment had at length arrived, the moment which was to determine for all time the relation between the Mother-country and her Colonies. All other discussions had been playing round the real dilemma ; and the Tories, aghast at the conclusion which now hung in the balance, refused to divide.

All night long the House sat. Robinson, the Whig whipper-in, and the whipper-in on the Tory side, both stationed themselves at the door of the House and allowed no one to go out. The dawn still found them sitting, weary, determined, anxious : each side hopeful, each side fearful of the crisis upon which hung the peace of Europe and the fate of two great nations.

At 8.30 the end came. The House divided. Amid breathless silence the result was announced—177 Noes against 178 Ayes.

A ringing cheer went up from the ranks of the Whigs ; Conway had been defeated by a minority of one, Coke had succeeded by a majority of one. The result for which Fox had laboured indefatigably during nine long years was at length achieved; the Independence of America was secured.

The Tories were overwhelmed at what they considered the ignominy of such a conclusion, the Whigs triumphant at what they viewed—not only as a long-delayed act of justice—but as the only policy now possible for England to adopt. Yet all—Whigs and Tories, and the country at large—alike experienced an overwhelming relief at the prospect of the peace which was at length assured.

Coke, at the instigation of Fox, at once moved that the address to the King should be taken up by the whole House. By the unanimous voice of his party he was called upon to present it; and to this, supported by General Conway, he consented.

As Knight of the Shire he had not only the right to wear his spurs in the House, but a further right to attend Court " in his boots," i.e. in his country clothes ; which latter privilege, however, was seldom, if ever, exercised. But on this occasion Coke availed himself of it, and appeared unceremoniously before the King wearing his ordinary country garb.

It was an extremely picturesque dress—top-boots with spurs, light leather breeches, a long-tailed coat and a broad- brimmed hat; but it caused the greatest horror at Court, and neither the matter nor the manner of the address was palatable to George III.

One can picture that strange scene—the discomfited King, forced to agree to what meant the failure of all his hopes, of all for which he had so long and so obstinately struggled; the excited Members divided in opinion on the momentous event in which they were assisting; and the man who headed them, that youth of twenty- eight, who alone in that great body of men whom he represented showed himself oblivious to the petty details of Court etiquette— to everything, in fact, save the one thing which he felt that he had come in triumph to claim—a belated act of justice to a long-injured people.

Gainsborough afterwards painted Coke in the dress which he wore on this historical occasion. It is a life-sized picture, said to be the last portrait ever painted by that artist, and which now hangs in the Saloon at Holkham. Coke is represented standing beneath a tree with a dog at his feet, and in the act of loading his gun. The figure is carelessly graceful, its attitude natural, its surroundings rural; yet it suggests something more than the quiet charm of that rural scene. For into the beautiful, disdainful face in the picture Gainsborough has surely put something of the expression which Coke must have borne when he headed the address which announced to George III the failure of injustice and the independence, for all time, of the United States.

Years afterwards, when welcoming an American to the Holkham sheep-shearing in 1821,* Coke referred to that day. " Every one," he said, " knows my respect for the Americans, for their manly and independent assertion of their liberties. I came into Parliament previous to the commencement of the disastrous war which divided the two countries, which, under a mild and wise Government, might have been joined hand in hand, and, thus united, might have bid [sic] defiance to the rest of the world. It may not be known, for I have never mentioned it to my friends in that House, that I was the individual who moved to put an end to that war, and it was carried by a majority of one, the numbers being 177 to 178. I was the only Member out of twelve from this county who voted against the war ; and I thank God for it; I look back with satisfaction to that conduct, and have followed the same principles ever since.

When it was carried, Lord North moved that the debate should stand over till the following day; but Mr. Fox suggested to me to move that the Address be carried up to the Throne. The Debate lasted till seven the next morning, and Lord North, seeing that not a man would stir, at length gave way; and I carried up the Address as an English Country Gentleman, in my leather breeches, boots and spurs. But, would you believe it, the traitor General Arnold, when I presented the Address, stood as near to his Majesty as I am now to the Duke of Sussex—a most lamentable proof of that fatal policy of which we have long seen the evil effects. . . ."

As is well known, General Benedict Arnold was a man of contemptible character, who had first been on the American side during the war, but who, having been brought before a court-martial and found guilty of certain charges which entailed his being condemned to a public reprimand, afterwards in revenge privately espoused the Royalist side, and betrayed to them any secrets of the party to which he still professed to belong. On his treachery being discovered, he joined the British openly, and was appointed Colonel in the British army, receiving payment of upwards of £6000.*

The close proximity to the King of such a man, on such an occasion, was calculated to incense all lovers of straight dealing, irrespective of party feeling; but another fact which specially angered the Whigs was that—owing, it was whispered, to the presentation of the address being singularly unpalatable to the King— public mention of it was subsequently suppressed or minimised in as far as was practicable ;—it will be observed that Coke himself, a few years afterwards, spoke of it as a fact which " may not be known."

On March 6th, 1782, " Sir Joseph Mawbey claimed the attention of the House to what he called an indecent behaviour in Ministers, who always took good care to have inserted in the Gazette every address from every little paltry borough that flattered and cringed to them, but the important Address to His Majesty, to put an end to the accursed American war, and his Majesty's answer to it, had not yet made its appearance ; he therefore desired to know the cause of such neglect."

In consequence, Lord Surrey further pointed out that Ministers had never behaved in such an " indecent manner " as when the Address to which Sir Joseph Mawbey referred was presented to the King, " for when the House went up with the address, who should they see close to His Majesty's right hand, but the most determined foe to America, General Arnold."
In his speech for November 5th, however, when the following Session of Parliament was opened, the King was forced publicly to announce his assent to the decision of his Parliament; and the irony of this act must have been heightened by the knowledge that such a crisis had been forced by the balance of one vote.

On the 25th of January following (1783), the United States were finally acknowledged free, sovereign and independent, and the preliminaries of peace were signed between Great Britain, France and Spain.

Isn't that interesting? By one vote Britain finally agreed to recognise independence and forced the King to act and isn't it interesting that it was not published and the address to the King by the youthful house member was neglected?

Is it of no matter now, because the effect was the same. We gained our independence. Half of Britain was our friend by then, in fact more than half. Despite the strong differences of opinion, the destiny of freedom for America had arrived. There were more struggles as the War of 1812 emerged later, but essentially America was launched and climbing high.

We know this story of one vote because one granddaughter collected her family history. Your turn. Find your rev. war assets and make something out of them.