Thursday, February 15, 2018

wedding snapshots

I have not seen the official pictures yet, but there are many unofficial pictures popping up on social media, and I will use some of them, thanks all!

The preparation - Madison helping the guys with strange buttons and pocket squares, Sarah helping Allison with makeup, Melissa running around decorating tables, Madison decorating the arbor, a true family affair.

I thought I would cry, had tissues in my pocket, but it was so much fun, the bride was laughing, the groom was laughing, and only got serious once during the ceremony.

The raindrops fell mixing with the tears, tears of joy and remembrance, as the story was told of the ring on her finger, the history of Allison's grandmothers ring that was now encircling her finger. But mostly tears of joy and laughter, so much laughter

The giggles and the nerves, the grooms ring almost going on the wrong hand, when "pssst Kyle" and he turns away from his bride and looks back to the crowd and several people lift their left hands and whisper LEFT HAND.

Allison held out hope for her outside ceremony even with threat of rain, and the sprinkles did not dampen her mood or spirit, she said it was "perfect".

The only time I did choke up a little, caught me by surprise, when the couple was introduced at the reception - Mr. & Mrs…. Okay it is real!

The party afterwards, the good food, good times, the little ones running around, dancing.

The sparkler finale sendoff was the perfect ending to a perfect day. 

Congratulations! Kyle and Allison 02/11/2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

keeping in touch

Wow 22 years, has it been that long since we have seen your smiling face? You were always smiling it seems, at least that's how I remember you. You won't believe all that has been happening here on Burnt Mountain. Of course you know that Heidi is taking good care of the homeplace that you built on Turkey Creek way back in the 50s. Lots of work and love has gone into that house the last few years, and we all love gathering there on Christmas Eve, carrying on the tradition you and Inez started many years ago before there was a house on the creek.

But wait, there's more! Jenny is a grandma, Heidi is a grandma, Sue is a great-grandma, so you know what that makes you - great-great grandpa, and to 3 little ones! Zachary and Jace and Lilianna, such sweet babies that will be playing in the creek and sliding down the waterfalls, just like all the other kids over the years.

We are reminded of your passing every year when the local newspaper or Facebook posts (I know you are saying - what is Facebook?) about the loss of local Deputy Brett Dickey who was killed on the same day that you left us. Those public reminders every year sometimes make me want to say - he's not the only one to be remembered on that day! He was a great guy by all accounts, maybe you met him - you were both at the same funeral home, folks were lined up out the door all to see the fallen deputy. We had to make our way through the crowds just to see you. And the poor florist shop was swamped - the day before Valentine's (the biggest flower day of the year) and the funerals too. Funny the things we remember. Mostly we remember you and how you were always there for all of us and we appreciate it so much, I hope you know that.

More news for you! We all attended a wedding this weekend for your great-grandson Kyle. The place was full of friends and family - Sue's family of 16, along with our 14 (soon to be 15), it was a great celebration. I hope you and Inez had good seats to watch - the rainy ceremony, the kids all dancing, the babies being passed around, it was great fun. Your legacy carries on - did you happen to see Kyle working in the woodshop on the wedding arbor? Now that would make you smile!

Well, I just wanted to check in and let you know we are thinking of you on this day and missing you lots. I hope you have a workshop there to keep you busy. Say HI to Inez for us, til next time…

Papaw Tidwell 07/21/1916 - 02/13/1996

on the way

on the way from there to here - Kentucky to home and back, travel snapshots

Thursday, February 8, 2018

wedding planning

We have not been around much for all the wedding planning for grandson Kyle and fiancé Allison. They are sweet to send pictures of what is going on like getting the wedding license, making flower arrangements, making table centerpieces, making an arbor in the family workshop.

I know Buddy wishes he was there for the arbor building, but then he would have probably just built it while everyone watched. This way we get to see Kyle working in the woodshop via text!

The last time I was home I was listening to all the plans, like the one where they will display grandparents' photos on a table. I said, "I don't want my picture on display!" "No, granma Susan, you are not dead yet, it is just for those grandparents who are deceased!"  OH, whew…

Not long now, just 3 days til the big event!

Monday, February 5, 2018

following the quil trail

School House quilt block, Hanson, KY

Mosaic Star block, State Route 70, Central City, KY

Star of Bethlehem, Muhlenberg County Extension Office, KY

Following the Pennyrile Quilt Trail through Western Kentucky.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

stones and symbols

 The cemetery in the ghost town of Paradise, Kentucky looks abandoned, the tall grasses hiding the smaller stones. These tall ones really stood out. The one above 1816-1839. At first we couldn't tell what the carving at the top was, but on the next one (below) we decided it was a tree, most likely a weeping willow.

wife of
Aaron Smith
Notice the intricate carving from over 150 years ago. 

The weeping willow was a popular headstone carving in the 1800s. 

Most assume the weeping willow is a symbol of grief based upon the name and down turned branches, and they are not wrong. But something I think fewer people may know is that the weeping willow is also a symbol of immortality. In Christianity specifically, the gospel teaches the tree "will flourish and remain whole, no matter how many branches are cut off."  ~Southern Graves

The cemetery is on a hill, and at one time possibly overlooking the Green River in the valley below, but now the view is the TVA Paradise plant across the road.

We enjoy discovering the history of the areas where we travel. Sometimes the cemeteries are our favorite places to visit. I asked Buddy if maybe we should change our final resting plans to burial instead of cremation. He said why so our stones would be overgrown and forgotten like these? 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

we're going to need a bigger shovel

Coal is a natural resource in Kentucky. In eastern Kentucky it is found deep underground in mines. Here in western Kentucky it is found nearer to the surface, hence the coal fields. Muhlenberg County Kentucky in the 1960s and 1970s was the biggest coal producing area in the state and at times in the country.

The best way to get the coal out of the coal fields is to strip the dirt off down to the seam of coal underneath - strip mining. Regular sized dirt movers would do the job, but there was something bigger and better on the way.

1962 saw the arrival of Peabody Coal Company's Bucyrus Erie 3850-B Power Shovel, dubbed "Big Hog,” and it was so big it had to be built on site, piece by piece. It was shipped by rail to the mining area. New roads had to be built and a special rail spur was made, along with special rail cars, to haul in some of the parts. 300 rail cars would bring in 5,000 parts and a 250-foot boom. The assembly took 11 months. Fully constructed, the machine stood 20 stories tall, weighed in at 20 million pounds, and cost some $7 million. Big Hog’s bucket could scoop up 115 cubic yards, more than a football field’s worth, or about 173 tons, uncovering coal seams in a strip mine pit where an army of other smaller shovels and trucks would load and haul the coal to TVA’s nearby Paradise plant.

The Peabody Coal Company proceeded to strip over 50,000 acres of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, leaving in their wake useless land full of pits and swamps. The land exists today in that same state, but has been turned into a wildlife refuge - 70,000 acres make up the Peabody WMA. 

1820 First commercial mine opened in Kentucky near Paradise in Muhlenberg County
1950 Coal companies buy up farms for strip mining in Muhlenberg County
1959 TVA (New Deal to help area) started construction on the Paradise fossil fuel plant and contracted with local coal companies for strip-mined coal to supply power plants
1962 Peabody Coal Company's Big shovel
1963 TVA Paradise Coal plant began making electricity out of coal
1965 TVA black soot covers the town of Paradise and residents start moving out
1967 TVA bought out the last of the buildings in Paradise and bulldozed them down
1994 Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources purchased and/or signed long term lease agreements on approximately 70,000 acres of reclaimed Peabody Coal Company ground to form a wildlife management area called Peabody WMA.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Paradise, KY

When we first crossed the Muhlenberg County line to our new Kentucky home away from home, I thought - Muhlenberg County, that sounds familiar, isn't that in a song lyric?  The line would pop into my head from time to time and I finally had to look it up, yes of course I had heard it before, sung by my favorite John Denver, in the song titled Paradise written by John Prine. 

Listen to John Prine sing Paradise on this YouTube video, where you can see what happened to Paradise. 

When I was a child my family would travel
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there's a backwards old town that's often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn.

And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

Well, sometimes we'd travel right down the Green River
To the abandoned old prison down by Adrie Hill
Where the air smelled like snakes and we'd shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.

Repeat Chorus

Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.

Repeat Chorus

When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam
I'll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin'
Just five miles away from wherever I am.

Repeat Chorus

The song chronicles the history of Paradise, Kentucky and the impact of strip mining for coal in the area. The song became an anthem in the early 70s for environmental control, being recorded by many other artists of the time, including the Everly Brothers (who are also from Muhlenberg County), John Denver, Dwight Yoakam, John Fogerty, and many more.

On a trip back home to Georgia, I dug through our old LPs and found the one I was looking for, with John Denver singing Paradise.

I often refer to our job towns as Paradise, as in 'another day in Paradise'…Paradise, LA, Paradise, OK… but this time there really is a Paradise, Kentucky. Well there was. It is gone now. Nothing left but the graves, and the giant power plant, but that is another story.