Thursday, September 8, 2016

Our Boys and Girls of Late Summer

In case you haven't noticed, it's waning.
Summer, that is.  Our grandkids have been back in 
school since the first week of August, but that hasn't
dampened enthusiasm in our weekly get-togethers.

Bri and Hunter love to play a board game called 
Pound Puppies.  I devised an outdoor version that we
really enjoy now.  One player is the dogcatcher, the
other attempts to rescue the pets.

This game has already evolved in the two weeks
we've been playing it, and next week it will have
a different layout.  Plus, because of annoying ants,
I've placed a tarp underneath the 25 stones.

Hot Wheels racing is a great indoor event for hot 
weather.  All four of the kids have tried their hand
at race track design, daring loops and leaps, and
general mayhem on four wheels.

The longer the track, the better.

At the old house we used this piece of vinyl siding as
a "side-by-side" racetrack.  They really zoom on this
sturdy dragstrip.

It is our accepted practice to leave each car exactly
where it comes to a halt.  More collisions that way.

Grandma makes sure the kids replenish their energy
with a snack that is heavy on fruit and light on other sweets.
You'll hear no complaints from these eager eaters.
Grandma Judy likes to tease that they're going
through growth spurts, but it's a fact!

Hunter is now a reader and wanted to share this book
with me because of my name.

Here is Hunter reading the last couple of pages.
Judy asked him how he figured out the word "odd"
and we got a detailed explanation.

Claire and Bri arrange our mini-pets to be the 
on-lookers for more Hot Wheels races.

Then the girls add to the drama by forming a human
bridge for the cars to race under.

If these cars only had motors!
But Evan demonstrates what pure gravity can do.

I'll be posting one last Hot Wheels video on
 Facebook for you enthusiasts out there. 
 As much as anything, it shows Hunter's 
legendary perseverance, as he follows a track 
 he constructed that traverses three rooms.

Of course, there's always endless variety in our
activities.  Hunter and Grandma try out a new
Bible version of Old Maid.
The "Old Man" is Methuselah, Noah's grandfather.

It's usually Claire and Evan who pull out the horses
and build farms, but this time it was Bri and Hunter
Heigh-o, Silver!

Happily, there's still a little of summer remaining, even
if school has begun.  And even more happily, if there's 
anything we like better than summer fun, it's FALL FUN!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Praying for Moore Schools

I was recently privileged to participate in a prayer event
directed at building up and supporting every school in 
Moore County.  Christians gathered at every campus on
a Sunday afternoon to pray for every aspect of the coming
school year.  The prayer guide below states the mission
of Praying Moore Schools.  Note their website, which I
encourage you to visit.

Did you realize we have this many schools in our
community? They sought to be inclusive of public schools,
Christian schools, and other private schools.  I would like
to add the numerous home schools to our prayer list.

I was impressed with the thoughtful manner
in which prayer needs were suggested, including items
 that adults, teens, and younger children might pray for.

As someone who has been a student, a parent,
and a teacher, I can vouch for the fact that prayer
is needed not only at the beginning of the school
year, but on a daily basis.  It is a myth that God is
not in our schools.  In fact, most teachers I know are
professing Christians.  It is also not widely known 
that our county has a written policy mandating a 
moment of silence in every classroom each morning.
While prayer cannot be dictated as the purpose,
parents should provide guidance to their children
in the use of that time, also bearing in mind that
children are in no way restricted from private prayer
during the school day.

I have no doubt that the efforts to educate, grow, 
and nurture thousands of children will prosper if
we all commit to undergirding them with prayer.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Frere Jacques: The True Story

It's time for my Eclectic Blog to veer off into the
obscure once again.  This time I want to examine
and expose the perils of mis-translation by dissecting
Frere Jacques, the well-known children's song.

This traditional French folksong has been translated
into English for more than 100 years.  The rhyme and
rhythm are pleasing to the ears.

But there is a problem.  The English translation is WRONG!

Pictured below is Brother John (Frere Jacques), sleeping
soundly, while the morning bells are ringing outside.

In English, we are all accustomed to the line
"morning bells are ringing . . . ."
But the French words don't mean that at all!

"Sonnez les matines" actually means
Or more precisely, 
"Ring the bells to signal morning prayer time."
You can see why the translators didn't try to
fit all that into the song.

The French verb "sonner" is a regular verb.
If the songwriter intended to say "Morning bells
are ringing" he would have said

"Les matines sonnent." (3rd person plural).
But the verb sonnez that is used is the second person
form, as in "YOU sound the bells" (a command).
The French, like Americans, often use the verb
without the subject (which is understood) when 
giving a command.  The command is "ring or sound
the bells."
If the writer had said "Vous sonnez les matines"
it would have meant "You ARE RINGING the bells."
But that is not the intent of the song.

So a prosaic way to state the meaning of the song
would be:
"Brother John!  Are you still asleep?!
Get up and ring those morning bells
or no one will know it's time for prayer!"
(This admonition would have to be spoken
by an omniscient unseen character, but not by
 a second monk, priest, or friar as is pictured).

In conclusion, I'm not offering these thoughts
to be critical of the translator (RIP) or the artist, 
who mistakenly shows a second monk, priest, or
friar ringing the bells.

Rather, I want to point out the pitfalls of translation.
In a children's song there's no harm done.
But in weightier matters, such as international 
treaties, speech translations, or Biblical translations,
great care needs to be taken for accuracy.

Now, for old time's sake,
sing "Frere Jacques" from memory
in both French AND English and reward yourself
suitable later today.  And if you really want a challenge,
try to persuade two or more friends to join you in
singing the venerable old song as a round!
Let me know if you take the challenge.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Judy and Ken Discover "Soup and More"

Our friends all know that when we travel we like to sniff out those special local places that have delicious food, welcoming atmosphere, and nothing remotely akin to the big chain fast food places.
Today we weren't traveling.  In fact, we were less than 4 miles from home, right on West Pennsylvania Avenue in Southern Pines, NC. WHAT A WONDERFUL MEAL!

The place is called Soup and More, but as we found it's MUCH more. 
 Their website on YELP will fill you in a little.

It's cozy but not crowded, clean, well-lit, and comfortable.
Some diners ate on the porch.  The wait staff is attentive
and superb, making a point to know each guest's name.
Special kudos to J.P. (as in J.P. Morgan)!

Yep, this sign is 100% accurate.  You'll see the menu
a little further along.

The restaurant is owned by two couples. One of the
owners is Sheldon Mooney (check out the Mooney
Burger on the menu).  I think I'm accurate in saying
that Sheldon returned to this area to head up the
cuisine at Little River Country Club in 2009.
Now, he and his partners are living the dream 
of having their own restaurant.

Judy had the toughest time selecting her favorite,
but settled on the three-salad plate.  It was no big
deal to sub a double portion of the chicken salad
and omit the egg salad. (This plate is huge!)

A saw a bunch of menu items that tempted me,
but the club sandwich won me over. It was as good as
it looks.  Some of my Atlanta readers will understand
when I say it's every bit as good as the famed
Stone Mountain Club at the Blue Ribbon Grill.
That's a high compliment.

This is not the full menu, but some of the most
poplular items.  I could eat here many times without

Here is the full menu.

Judy and I had strolled to our stream this morning
so I had my camera with me.  When I heard J.P. refer
to our "eclectic crowd" today, my light bulb lit up.
Where better to share this find than on my Eclectic Blog.
We give "Soup and More" Five Stars.

 Drop in soon and get acquainted.
Believe me, you'll find something you love.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Family Night Frolics

A monthly Family Night has been a wonderful "new"
tradition for the Loyd/Kirby/Talbert families the past
few years.  Each gathering is sure to create instant memories.

Let's pray.
"Okay, how about me first, you second, then him, then her.
No, how about YOU first, then left to right.  Or maybe
boys first, then girls.  Or . . ."

Eating may come first, but the evening is just as much
about play, and that means ANYTHING GOES!

 "What does it LOOK like we're doing?  We're COOKING!"

There's a fine line between
"Many hands make light work"
"Too many cooks spoil the broth."

Stephen is honored to be the first to try the
Mississippi Mud Pie.  Or whatever it is known as locally.

Matt takes one for the team in giving up his body for

Note:  they had to drag Matt in, kicking and screaming.

This little highlight clip is full of action.  Matt starts
out with the advantage, but is later overwhelmed by
sheer numbers.  Something akin to the strategy of
African Army Ants, I believe.  And did anyone hear
a whistle on that nifty tackle by Hunter?  I didn't think so.

One of the kids suggested we pull out an old box they
had played with a few weeks ago.  Somehow, the box
didn't have a lot of life left in it.  That didn't keep them
from inventing games with it.  But now we have a new box.

Claire, and later all four kids, enjoy trying to walk on cans,
a simple but challenging task.  It requires balance,
coordination, and perseverance.  Which is why I only 
took pictures.

 This may never succeed as a new way to play tag,
but it's very motivating to see how far you can walk
without falling.  And as the girls noted, it's tougher
on rough terrain than on pavement.  Though assuredly
easier on the knees.  

I'm exaggerating about the falls.  In fact, the girls
demonstrate astonishing mastery of this new mode 
of transportation.  I don't think it will replace the
Segway, but it cost zero cents to make.  8 cans from a
 recycling bin and a few feet of handy unused macrame cord.

Maybe your family would enjoy a family night.
If you try it, be sure to let me know how it turns out.
Happy trails!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mockingbird Calls Before Dawn

Disclaimer:  This is a mockingbird, but not one of ours.  It was DARK!

This morning I was up before dawn, and with our
windows open, the clear melodies of our resident
mockingbirds were striking.  It was dark, so I covered
the camera lens and just recorded the songs, one
after another.  The prolific repertoire of some mock-
ingbirds is legendary, and I think this one (plus some
backups) is auditioning for Songbirds Got Talent.
I taped for two minutes, then, smiling, went back to bed.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Return to Hanging Rock

Judy and I got away for a refreshing day of hiking at
Hanging Rock State Park last week.  We had been there
five years ago and did a lot of the same hikes.  I'm happy
to say my new knees held up fine, and so did the rest of
our bodies, for the most part.

We ate lunch at the Dan River Family Restaurant in Danbury, NC,
then took in this scenic view of the Dan River nearby.

This is our obligatory selfie before starting the hike.

Not sure what this view was, but it was looming above us
from the parking area.

Mountain Laurel was everywhere, in various stages of blooming.

Our trail markers to the Hanging Rock.  If we turn up missing,
this is where we were last seen.

Some of the steep inclines offered log stairways.  And after a
while, even lifting your foot to the next step was a challenge.

Just below the iconic Hanging Rock.  Still quite a way to hike.

This is a "Where's Buggy?" picture.  Near the center of the leaf
cluster in the middle of the picture is a black stinkbug with a
yellow head (black dot in center).  I'd never seen a stinkbug like
this one.  He had moved quickly to the center of these leaves,
where his camouflage was most effective.  Remarkable.

Almost at the summit, one of the side views, featuring rhododendrons.

A view from the top.

Another angle.

Looking out into the wild blue yonder.

Every way I turned, a scene begged to be photographed.

Judy claims the best seat in the house.

A closeup of those rhododendrons.

The profile of a large brown skink on a tree.

This tri-trunked tree reminded me of Jack, Will, and Tom,
familiar to my many readers who have hiked our Sandhills
Farm Life Nature Trail.  This was much smalledr.

Liz Taylor, this means YOU!  (and me)

After the trip up and back to Hanging Rock, we did some shorter
trails to favorite destinations.  This is the view as you approach
the Upper Cascade Waterfall.

The view is good from here, but from the bottom
of the gorge it's exceptional!

The Upper Cascade Waterfall.

Judy knows how to enjoy her surroundings.

An area called The Rock Garden.

This shot is from the observation deck at the Museum and
Visitor's Center.  Facilities are excellent.

We drove to a parking area in another area of the park, then hiked
to the Lower Cascade Waterfall.  Here's the approach.

The thing I love about waterfalls is that each is unique.
The rock formation enhances the setting of this one.

Any closer and I'd be IN it.

This brown skink is not the one I showed earlier.  This one had
been pursuing a blue-tailed skink, but paused to pose for me.

This waxy plant is called Ground Pine or Ground Cedar.  I've
loved it since I first saw it at Camp Cherokee in 1972.

There's nothing unusual about maple trees.  Our nature trail has
plenty of Red Maple and Sugar Maple.  But this is Mountain
Maple, which does not grow in our county as far as I know.

This final hike of the day is really off the beaten path, and I'm
certain most park visitors never get here.  Again, you must drive
to a separate parking area.

First you come to a side trail with a view of Tory's Falls.
It's still quite a descent to Tory's Cave, where Tories hid out
during the American Revolution.
It's a cool cave, whether you're inside or out.
But I wouldn't want to live there.

We returned to Winston-Salem by a different route.  Maps available
at the park show local roads that will help you navigate and find
Tory's Den and see views like this one.  This is Moore's Knob,
a distinctive feature of the Sauratown Mountains.

We spent a restful night in excellent accommodations: a Hampton
Inn just off Highway 52 and University Parkway.  All day, we stayed
ahead of the predicted rain, and as a light rain fell, we only had to
drive 30 seconds to get to our dinner destination.  That was Silvia's
Honey Tree Restaurant, and Judy and I both raved about our meals.
She had some of the best chicken and dumplings she'd ever tasted,
topped off with a huge portion of baklava.  I had the other special,
The Big Fat Greek Platter.  I'm serious.  Lamb, meatballs, grilled
chicken, Greek salad and more for under $11.

I'll be giving both of these places top ratings on Trip Advisor.

The next day on our way home we stopped off in Asheboro.
This realistic mural really caught our eye.  Not only is the artwork
sufficient to convince you the locomotive is coming out of a tunnel,
there's an actual working headlamp to add to the illusion.  There
were other great murals all over the downtown area.

This sculpture of a mosquito was just across the street from
the locomotive mural.
By the time we arrived back in Murdocksville, I thought
I could safely put my camera away.  But, in the front
yard of our now-vacant old house was a huge snapping turtle.

I've known for years not to mess with these rascals,
so I took my pictures and left him alone.  

Not only was it a refreshing getaway, we brought
back a ton of memories from our trip.  It never fails.
I love sharing our experiences with you, dear readers,
and perhaps some of you will venture to one or two
of our favorite destinations.  Just on this blog, you
can search words like "hike," "trail," "park," or "waterfall" 
and come up with some great ideas.

We're already working on plans for our next getaway,
even if it's not until next fall.  Happy Trails to y'all!