The Prince and “Big Red”

Truth be told, I never thought I would own a truck but we live in strange times.  Circumstances presented me a way to buy a truck at a very good price and our trusty Explorer has been suffering from terminal rust due to the salted roads of New England and from launching boats in the salt water when we owned a sail boat.

The truck did need a new engine but almost everything is less expensive here then in other parts of the country so I decided to go for it.

It is a Nissan Titan Chrome V-8 with a crew cab and short bed but for one’s first truck it is  mighty nice.  I have splurged for the dogs sake and gotten an all weather pad for the truck bed so they don’t slip and slide around while we are out cruising. I also was able to finally use a prize from a golf event to pay for the pad.

This picture also features a friend of ours from NH who now lives in SC who had been finishing up a long distance road trip where he picked up a cowboy hat along the way which complements mine as it is only fitting that I had my cattle farmer garb on for the picture with my truck.



The Golf Coach and the First Football Game of the Season

As the golf coach I have come to realize that I have certain ‘obligations’ at Benton Academy.  The biggest is that the coaches for all sports go to the first football game of the season to support the student athletes who almost all are multi sported. As the first game was last night, August 18th, I put on my Raider red golf team shirt and went to the game.

As coach I don’t have to pay for admission and the ladies at the entrance all smiled and welcomed “Coach” Clay (which you may remember makes my wife smile as she never expected anyone, let alone a whole school of people to call the word coach and my name together).

It was a hot, muggy night with thankfully a gentle breeze to cool things off that had a rain storm of nearly a ½ inch of rain that afternoon, resulting with the ground which was already saturated with recent rains a soggy mess.  We arrived with the game having just started and already most of the players were covered with dirty brown water and mud.  One mother suggested to her daughter whose son was in the game to take him to the car wash after the game before letting him in their house.

We sat up in the stands next to our lawyer, who is 70+ and his friend of the same age.  So with him and his friend both well-known and my red shirt and finally my wife who seemingly knows even more people than even our lawyer, there was scarcely a man, woman or child we didn’t know.

But, back to the game! I love muddy fields as that is how the game should really be played, plus it reduces the chance of injury. However, it does make fumbles and turnovers a much bigger possibility and that was true last night.  Fortunately for Benton, they were the better team and the score was 34 to 0 by half time.  With my obligation fulfilled, and after a full day of running errands down in the city of Jackson, the “coach” called it a night.

The Globe Trotting Prince

In checking my ‘stats’ the other week I was pleasantly surprised to see that so far in 2017 I have people in eight different countries outside the US finding things to look at on my blog.

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The two that I can determine pull them in are “The Cotton Bolls are in Bloom” and “Wasp Feng Shui”

Maybe I’ll become a handyman!

I have always been willing to try home projects but with a new home there are lots of touches that need to be done now that we have been here for over two years.  With a front porch and a patio a ceiling fan seemed to be in order for at least one of the spots.  Finally a decision was made with the setting sun being the final input. Our patio faces west so in the evening it gets the sun as the front porch has a southeast exposure.

The instructions looked straight forward enough so I thought I would give it a go. My success rate with electrical projects has gone up over the years as it used to be 50% at which point I would call in an electrician.  It is now up to about 80% unlike my plumbing project success that still hovers in the 50% range.

Things went okay in the beginning until it was time to start putting the fixture up. It turns out the patio ceiling is actually the vinyl siding panels attached to a 2 by 4 wood frame.  They cut a very small hole in the siding to put up the existing light fixture but I knew the ceiling boxes were wired for ceiling fans.  That meant I had to widen the hole to attach the fan to the electrical box.  I used pruning shears to cut through the vinyl siding but hit a snag when I ran into two pieces of siding that were overlapped.  After two hours and the noon time sun starting to come around towards the patio I gave up for the day.

Patio before fan picture

The next day I made good progress and started to put the fan up.  New problems popped up with missing screws, the hole needing to be further enlarged, etc. Finally I got the fan up only to find I had used something I didn’t need for a flush mounting of the fan. At the end of the 2nd hour I decided to stop for the day after finding out that as close as I was to having it up I was one screw short of completion.

The third day I decided against calling an electrician and gave it one more effort and sort of forced a solution but actually had the fan work. Now all I had to do was put on the light.  The fourth day I got the light fixture on and realized it only took 6 and ½ hours.

Patio after fan put up

On the Road Again – British style

My MG-B has been taking a hiatus for the better part of the year so far due to a small mistake on my part while trying to make an adjustment on the parking brake.  I forgot to turn the ignition off and the fuel pump was working away all night.  It turns out that did the poor girl in and I found out I needed a new fuel pump before I could go anywhere.

Not being the most mechanical of men, I put off the task until I had an offer to help put the new one in from a friend of Hugh Leigh’s, Paul Nolan.  I took advantage off a rainy day when I knew he wouldn’t be out with his bulldozer working in the fields.  The chore went fairly quickly and I got some great stories out of Paul about farm accidents and one about a man who apparently had a heart attack and was declared dead by the EMT’s and put in a body bag but left for the corner to come before being moved from the kitchen floor where he had fallen. As family started to come to console the wife / mother, a grandchild went to his grandmother and said “Poppy wants his dinner”.  When the boy’s father went into the kitchen he simply saw the body bag lying still. He called out, “Dad, are you alive?” The reply from the body bag was ” Get me out of this dang’ed dark place and get me some dinner!”  I said to Paul, “Well, this being Mississippi everyone had brought food over so at least he had a good dinner!”

With the rain storms just coming and coming, I only got out this morning to give it a test drive.  Good to be back on the road!

Onward to Onward!

Recently we did a road trip with Hugh Leigh and Gigi after a fairly long hiatus of them.  The main reason was Hugh Leigh hadn’t been feeling very well and when he finally relented and went to see the doctor they put him in the hospital in Yazoo City due to pneumonia.  Once there, they realized his heart was not pumping blood, which then doesn’t let the lungs work properly and the lungs start to fill up with fluid.  In other words it was time to send him to Jackson for heart work.

To keep it simple, he now has a couple of stents and is feeling a whole lot better!

Our trip’s itinerary was to have lunch at the Onward Store in Rolling Fork / Onward and then go down to Vicksburg to check out the site of a wedding reception site for Tim Nolan’s son.

In the famous words of a Vermonter, “You can’t get there from here” at least quickly to Onward.  It takes a little over an hour to get to Onward.  The Onward Store is known as a great place to eat, especially dinner but has a great lunch menu, too.  It really is an old, old general store that has a historic marker telling the tale of Teddy Roosevelt and a bear hunt that wasn’t much of a hunt as they could only find a bear cub which Teddy refused to shoot. However, the end result after the story hit the newspapers is that the Teddy Bear came into being as a doll maker made one up for Teddy’s daughter Alice. And, as they say, that is the rest of the story.

Pat and Teddy's Bear.jpg

Gigi ordered the fried catfish and when she tasted it said that it was the best catfish she has eaten. I asked, “Even better that Hugh Leigh’s?” To which she said, “Yes”.  It is because HL uses Simmons meal vs flour and she is a fan of flour vs meal.  I tried it and it reminded me of tempura which means that the oil used is very hot and also very good oil.

Then as we started back home a different way than we came, Gigi announced that there was her horse BMW in the field we were passing. She said that she had sold BMW and her favorite horse Pretty Woman so as to buy a Tennessee walking horse as the two horses were getting old but the person buying them wanted them for children who were beginning to ride.

As we drove we were also checking out flooding damage caused by the heavy rains we are experiencing this Spring. The rain, which has been good for corn and soy bean crops, has stunted the growth of the cotton which likes hot dry weather.  We had to loop down to Vicksburg which is where we saw the most flooded fields.

All in all, a very good days ride.