Land of Cotton?

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‘This Wishing You’re in the Land of Cotton is for the Birds!’

‘O I wish I was in the Land of Cotton…’ No matter how good Elvis sang ‘Dixieland’ or how hard you try to convince folks how wonderful Alabama is…it’s hot out there! Alabama has had record high temperatures this year…And yes, the cotton is high and your momma’s good looking but…I think my cute grand cat, Oliver has it right until the weather cools down a bit! Have a great weekend- I hope your team wins unless they’re playin’ mine!

 

Love y’all, Camellia

9/11 Bells of Remembrance…

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September 9, 2009 We were up near the Paul Revere Statue behind Old North Church in Boston. A huge bell had been pulled up on a trailer that had four plaques with the names of Firefighters who had died at the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001. A man with a long but trim white beard had set the bell in place. Another man, who kept calling me a Southern Belle, told us that Brother David Schlatter had been bringing the huge bell to Boston from Delaware for seven years at that time-to commemorate 9/11. There are 7 bells ranging in weight up to 5000 pounds, the one we saw in Boston weighed 3500 pounds- they are called ‘The Bells of Remembrance’. We were invited to come back that evening for a ceremony. Of course we went. Across the street was St. Stephens- Rose Kennedy had been baptized and eulogized there. Only a week before we came, Senator Ted Kennedy’s hearse had driven past St. Stephens in honor of his mother.st-stephens-boston-2

It was not very dark when the small crowd began to gather up. The priest from St. Stephens had a very sweet opening prayer. Standing nearby two ruddy Irish and one shining dark with great smiles- three of Boston’s finest Police Officers and also big open faced Boston Firefighter. Each took a turn talking about ‘that day’…as a big boom box was playing everything from Springsteen to Classical  and Religious music intermittently. Brother David, now attired in his rustic brown Friar’s Robe with rope belt stood to one side…He looked good-said a wonderful prayer and also told about the Bells of Remembrance– originally cast to remember his dear friend, Friar Mychal Judge, a Franciscan who loved the firefighters he served from St. Francis of Assisi in New York City.  Friar Mychal Judge was the first recorded fatality on 9/11. father-mychal-judge-911-150x150

In Boston that day- a gray haired woman kept taking photographs with a big flash, she wore a full red plaid skirt, red patent wedges and a red shirt. Another lady decked out in sparkling patriotic attire was sitting with the book and a basket of small American flags. We signed the book but were told the flags were for later. The service was casually done and went on for a while- a moment of remembrance was called for- I thought it would be a moment of silence but instead the boombox began playing ‘Imagine’  by Paul McCartney. The wonderful Master of Ceremonies, who kept calling me a Southern Belle- was one of those types with no chin and looked as if he would cry any moment. Next to me was standing a little scrawny woman with thin honey colored hair, in pincurls with bobby pins, house slippers, tiny capri pants and a cotton tshirt. On the other side of my husband stood two men in suits and ties.

  • A man from the North End of Boston broke down as told us about his nephew, a ;young man who loved computers and a motorcycle that he liked to tear down and re-build’ had died on 9/11. His family gathered around and hugged him.
  • There was a darling lady who worked for American Airlines. She would have been on Flight 11 but had been re-assigned on 9/11- who told what a wonderful crew she had known and loved, but who were hijacked that fateful day.
  • A very tall older man from Old North Church was called forth to recite a blessing on a Firehouse Dog- a magnificent Dalmatian; he graciously extended it to us humans as well.
  • We sang ‘God Bless America’ along with the cd player as the tiny flags and candles were handed around.
  • Each person was lighting their candle by the person next to them. A very large woman with black hair was really enjoying that part.
  • One lady was trying to hold her flag and candle in the same hand- her tiny flag caught fire but just on the tip end.

We were told to turn and face the statue of Paul Revere, then look up at the steeple of the North Church which was now lighted.paul-revere-old-north-church

My candle was dripping on my tennis shoe. The cd player crackled very loud- strains of guitar music began playing ‘America the Beautiful’. We all sang all. three. verses. with Willie Nelson. The woman flashed her camera right at me- I had stars in my eyes…and tears.

As traffic whizzed by we were each encouraged to go over to the big brass Bell of Remembrance. I took my turn and pulled that big rope- the bell rang loud and clear, right in front of whizzing cars, a few dozen people, Paul Revere and God. I recall thinking – ‘Let Freedom Ring’. We thanked Boston’s Finest, Brother David, the priests and the Master of Ceremony who couldn’t resist calling me a Southern Belle one last time…Americans of all shapes and sizes- came together to recall a tragic event; now as I recall and retell it seems more magical as time goes by, I know this Southern Belle will never forget it. What an experience…what a town Boston is…what a great country we live in. Makes me want to sing along with Willie and his friends one more time. You won’t want to miss this- several who sing with him have fallen since it was recorded and will be greatly missed. God Bless America.

Love y’all, Camellia

Images from AOL- go to http://www.stfrancisnyc.org for more information on Friar Mychal Judge

 

 

Champions…

barbaro statue at nightWe all love champions. The Olympics brings out our love for champions. We love to see how honed skill, willpower and flesh meld together into a champion. And there is one quality that I particularly thrill to see in a champion- joy. No, not the joy of winning, the joy in the doing- the sheer joy of running the race. The- ‘I would do this if no one was watching’ kind of joy; now to me that is a real champion. I’ve been watching for that joy in the 2016 Olympics, some have won and others have lost but to me? When I’ve seen it- I’ve seen a champion. It’s a rare quality. Several years ago, we were in Louisville Kentucky, I remember it well- it was the week after the Kentucky Derby…Louisville was still decked out- we stayed at the famous Brown’s Hotel, we took a tour out to Churchill Downs…it was very impressive; it was the first time I had ever heard about the champion racehorses who were buried on the grounds- the guide said the head, the heart and the hooves of the horses were buried along with the cremated remains. The head for determination- the will to win; the heart for courage; the hooves for speed to run the race. barbaro wins!Barbaros wins the 2006 Kentucky Derby!

Only one horse is actually buried at the racetrack- Barbaros. His story is one of great promise- after winning  the 2006 Kentucky Derby, he was considered a shew in for the Triple Crown. He did not- at the Preakness, something terrible happened and he had to be pulled out of the race. I know nothing about veterinary medicine, but the bones in one of his hind legs had to be repaired in more than 20 places, then became infected- the condition he had was a death knell.  His surgery is still groundbreaking and provides useful information for those who care for horses. Barbaros lived for 8 months afterwards- his head and his heart- his joy, courage and determination never flagged, until  the last two days of his life. When that light went out, his owners and veterinarian knew he was suffering terribly and could not be saved. His grieving owners gained permission to bury Barbaros at Churchill Downs and commissioned Alexa King of Lexington, Kentucky to create a life-size bronze of Barbaros. Look at the above photograph of Barbaros winning the Kentucky Derby! All four of his hooves are off the ground! The bronze that Alexa King created is a gorgeous engineering marvel! Look at the opening photograph and you will see the 1500 pound lifesize horse has all four feet off the ground! The sculptor also managed to capture Barbaros in action, in spirit and as the guide pointed out- even the determination and joy!

alexa king-artist of barbaro bronze statue‘When I mold clay in my hand I sense the movement of a horse!’ Alexa King

At the base of the statue is a quote-

God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His Pleasure’

Eric Liddell

Eric Liddell was a gold medal winner in the 1924 Paris Olympiad. He was dubbed the ‘Flying Scotsman’. He won the 400 meter, which he had not trained to run; against all odds- he won over the highly favored Americans. Like Barbaros, he could practically fly! Eric Liddel was of Scottish descent but was born in China to missionary parents.

While he was being educated in Great Britain, he developed a love of running. God had indeed made him fast. He also loved education and science- he became a teacher and a devout follower of the teachings of the Church of Scotland, with the intention of returning to China, to join his parents in their missionary work. Eric Liddell ran to honor God…eric liddell the runner


‘Seeing we are encompassed by so a great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us; and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…’ Hebrew 12:1-2

to be continued…

You won’t want to miss Part 2! Love y’all, Camellia

http://www.derbymuseum.org  http://www.equinebronze.com http://www.ericliddell.org

Pot-bellied Pigs…

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This 200 pound pot-bellied pig was found abandoned in Cullman County.

Well, I’ve got a new hero, Cullman County Animal Control Officer, Dwain Floyd. The headline of an article in the Cullman Times was ‘Alabama county faces an ‘epidemic’ of abandoned pot-bellied pigs’…

‘it is an epidemic around here it seems like…’ Floyd explained.

Epidemic might be an exaggeration, I think there were four in the last few months but..The article explained that pot-bellied pigs outgrow their homes. People can’t resist buying a cute little 20 lb. pig and aren’t prepared when they gain up to 200 pounds and quickly outgrow their pen. Okay, now this worries me. I’m an animal lover. I have never thought about pot-bellied pigs becoming so popular! I know on the show ‘HeeHaw’ years ago- they seemed affectionate with their pigs and on ‘Green Acres’, one of the ‘pets’ was a pig. Who doesn’t love- Wilbur in ‘Charlotte’s Web’ ?? Inform me here- is owning a potbellied pig fashionable these days? I read up about it- there are micro-pigs, teacup pigs, even mini-pigs. Someone said the breeders do what they can to keep them cute and small. One man responded that there isn’t much ‘wiggle room’ on hog breeding.  Listen to Cullman County Animal Control Director Tim McCoy:

“My experience is that people get what seems to be a fun animal for a little while, and (the pigs) start getting bigger and bigger,” Cullman County Animal Control Director Tim McKoy said. “Then they can’t keep them in a small pen anymore, and (homeowners) don’t know what to do with them.”

Over the last four months or so, Cullman County Animal Control has picked up about four abandoned potbellied pigs.  “It is not as unusual as you would think,” McKoy said.

When they get report of a loose pig, McKoy said officers attempt to find the owner. If a livestock animal isn’t claimed, his office has to go to court to seize the animal.

Cullman County Animal Control has a half-acre lot where they can temporarily house an abandoned or abused livestock animal.


.Okay, this is sad to me- but also bizarre. I may have grown up in the city of Birmingham but I married a man from a rural county. I have been to chicken farms, catfish farms, cattle farms, llama farms, horse farms, goat farms -even to an emu farm. A loose Emu caused a big stir in my hometown several months ago when it escaped and was walking calmly on the double yellow line up Highway 231, people were posting reports on it’s whereabouts minute by minute on Facebook and calling 911, traffic was backed up for a couple of miles- someone took a fantastic picture of the Emu ‘walking the line’- finally, they guided the Emu off to the side of the road and caught it- returned it home safely.

Anyway, I feel that I have observed a good many types of farms, yet my experience with pigs is limited to an elderly farmer who was vehemently opposed to a hog farm being installed on a neighboring farm. He took us outside and said ‘Cain’t you smell it?’ When I said I really couldn’t, he made me get in another wind direction- I still couldn’t smell anything too awful, but he said he wouldn’t be able to eat with that smell. I do think I would still be able to eat bacon, maybe not… I also recall one man told me that a hog was a better ‘guard dog’ than an actual dog! Somehow, I think it would be embarrassing to post a ‘Beware of Guard Hog’ sign.

One lady commented on the Cullman Times article by saying that ‘the good thing (about pigs) is that they always poop in the same place.’ – Well, that’s good to know… Now, let me get on with this incredible article-

Here’s Dwain Floyd again: ‘Last month, Floyd responded to a residence.. after a woman found a 100 pound pig in her garage. He said the homeowner tried to find the pig’s owner before calling animal control.’

(That’s One Brave Woman.. okay, say on Dwain..)

“Pigs are mischievous and curious creatures,’ Floyd said. ‘They like to dig. They get out and forage for themselves. It’s hard to believe a pig like this wanders off and no one misses it.’ But that’s what happened no one came forward to claim the female black and white pot-bellied pig. Despite it’s size, Floyd said this house-trained pig still makes a good pet. ‘It followed you around like a dog. It didn’t even squeal when I picked it up.” Floyd laughed though, admitting that picking up the large pig did hurt his back.’

(Hmm…I can’t believe nobody missed it either- sounds like hogwash to me.)

Apparently no court appearance was necessary – lucky for the animal control and the pig, the article stated- a neighbor decided to keep the pig after it made friends with the family’s pet duck. Take it away Dwain-

‘The family has a duck that has been raised from birth as part of the family.’ Floyd said – ‘It goes everywhere with them and loves to be held.’  (Now where does the duck go?) Anyway, this story has a happy ending because ‘another friendship has been formed’ – with the pot-bellied pig which has a happy start with her new family’. To read the whole story- go to Al.com .

Don’t you just love Dwain Floyd and this story? Well I do- it makes me smile. I have to admit I am laughing thinking about coming home and finding a 100 pound pig in my garage! What in the world?? How did she have the presence of mind to go inside and call around to see if she could find out who that pig belonged to? All before calling Dwain Floyd at Animal Control? And y’all…that pig just lives next door….the next time she comes home to find a pig in her garage- it might weigh 200 pounds and have a duck on it’s back!

 Now I have a confession to make- I have followed ‘pig’ stories since Otis was picked up by the police in my hometown- they responded to a call of a ‘pig wandering a neighborhood’. When the officer arrived at the scene, the pig was coming from around a corner. The officer called him (the pig) petted the pig- and put him in the patrol car. ‘The pig was compliant so the officer just put him in the car’.  Now you have to admit that is one cute pig! It turns out the owner had been posting on Facebook that her pig was missing! So this too had a happy ending….

 Otis the Pig
A pot-bellied pig was reunited with his owner Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 after a ride in a police car and 24 hours at the Pell City Animal Control Center. (Pell City Animal Control Facebook Page)
Ok, y’all- you have to go take a look at their Facebook page! And if you want to read the whole story- go to Al.com
 Who knows? I might even end up agreeing with Winston Churchill on this one…


 

Just had to have some sweet fun! I mean with all that’s goin’ on in the world…we all can use a little fun from time to time!

Love y’all, Camellia

Meet our CFO-Chief Feline Overseer..

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Hi, I’m Walter, the chief feline overseer at Camellia’s Cottage. I prefer to remain incognito, though don’t be fooled- I know everything that goes on around here. Camellia got it into her head that she wanted to do a story on me. For the record, I told her that was completely unnecessary, I like my privacy- she kept looking up old photographs that are, frankly embarrassing. There are untold times that she took my photograph when I was trying to take a nap.

 

Recently, I was sick, the prognosis didn’t look so good- but I am happy to report that after subjecting me to yet another round of ridiculous observations by my personal physician, I have gained back some of my weight and am feeling more like myself again. So, I was feeling magnanimous today and told Camellia that she could do a story, without photographs and without bothering me for anymore details or information. I am busy, I am perfecting the art of relaxation and deep contemplation. I have little time for this sort of nonsense. I will tolerate you, I may hide from you, but there are very few who are graced with my presence- much less my attention, or even my affection. I have asked Camellia to protect my reputation and dignity. Unlike Camellia, I  do not love y’all.  Just so you know, the pictures you are about to see are used without my permission and the following subject matter is for immature audiences. You have been warned. Camellia, I will hand it over to you…


Hi, y’all. Isn’t that Walter a hoot? I wanted to introduce him to you because he is such an important part of our lives. He and his precious brother Wilbur were born just one week before the disaster of 9/11, in a small town in Alabama, called Moundville. They are the offspring of Himalayan royalty- King Kilo and Queen Hilo -these little boys were certainly royal babies. When we adopted them, they were just shy of 8 weeks old. Just look at these precious kitty babies!

They were such a pair! They played rough and tumble… Walter even tried to ‘fly’ – we would put them up on the bed and at a running start, like a tiny flying squirrel off Walter would go into the wild blue yonder! Once I had to start putting them in the laundry room at night so they wouldn’t get lost in the house, I would put their food on a paper plate- which they stood on to eat. One morning the empty paper plate had been shoved empty under the door, like the two impish ‘prisoners’ they were! Both were almost mute, I promise they both quietly called me ‘Ma’, and the purring was non-stop especially for Walter.  Every morning, Wilbur would look soulfully at me and whisper- ‘hi’ …he would stand like a show cat when he was being brushed! It was his favorite thing, not to be excluded, Walter would muscle his quiet way in, for a brushing of his own! They were totally non-violent, they might follow one of those big ol’ palmetto bugs but never go in for the kill. Look at these boys with bubbles!

imageBoth of them had favorite spots to sneak in a nap- Walter preferred the black iron pedestal urn.imageWilbur preferred the sink. image

Walter even posed for a Halloween photo in his beloved urn. Pretty scary, huh? Don’t be fooled, he was just indignant at being caught! imageThey were a pair for 11 years- at Christmas, we usually took pictures of them but they were rarely good photos. I had to include this one, when it was edited, look closely! At the bottom of the photo was shy Wilbur, with Walter looking on from his pedestal. imageIt hardly seems possible, but a few years ago, our kind Braveheart, Wilbur, died unexpectedly in my arms. I was devastated, because Walter was also very sick as well. The thought of losing them was unbearable.We never discovered exactly what the cause of death was- but Walter soldiered on…a few months ago- the ever dignified Walter became sick- Even in sickness, he sat valiantly like the prince he is…imageHe had some sort of respiratory infection and his arthritis bothers him some days-he is after all 15 years old. We hope he stays around a long time; but he still loves to pose for the camera…imageIMG_1356imageimageWe are very happy to report that Walter is back at his post, ever vigilant, ever taking good catnaps; our longsuffering Lion King… imageThank you Big Walter for letting me tell your story- I wish you could hear it, he’s had his ‘motor runnin’ -purring since he was a tiny babe! I guess I better let him get on with his deep contemplation and relaxation techniques. I know all y’all have a beloved pet-share your photos with us- most of all- take care of them, love them everyday- they are truly gifts of sweet joy and warm beauty. Love y’all, Camellia imageWell, finally she finished. I will try my best to accept this with all dignity and grace.

Yours sincerely, Walter- CFO- Camellia’s Cottage.