Hiking Down Memory Lane

As teenagers, my brother and I spent a lot of time playing in the woods.  We went hiking, fishing, and swimming in the creek.

We also built a makeshift fort and took some of my mom’s old lawn furniture down there.  Mom never did figure out what happened to her chairs.

We spray-painted graffiti under the bridge.  We wrote our names, the names of our dogs, and noted each year we were there.

Basically, the two of us ran wild through those woods and we were having a blast.

That was 26 years ago.  Aaron passed away three years ago and his birthday is on Monday.  I decided to take his daughter (Gwen) out there.  She heard various stories over the years, but never got a chance to see the area.  It seemed like a good way to honor Aaron’s memory.

I was surprised to see a lot of our graffiti is still there.  Each step I took, felt like I was going back in time.  Even though the terrain has changed some over the years, I could still recognize different sections and areas.  I still remembered my way around those woods.

Memories of those days flooded my mind.  It was a surreal feeling.  I could almost see us and our dogs running wild.  I was excited to see it all again.  However, I felt the grief of my brother’s death.

I was hiking down memory lane and my heart was overflowing with mixed emotions.

 

The Cars Trilogy

The whole family went to see Cars 3 at the movie theater last week.  We all enjoyed the film and had a great time.  The Cars movies are fun to watch, but they also teach valuable lessons.

Cars 1

Lightening McQueen starts out rude and arrogant.  As a result, he had no friends, his pit crew abandoned him, and he lost the most important race of his life.

During the movie, he learned humility.  He learned to treat others with respect.  He also learned actions have consequences.

Cars 2

Mater is a rusty tow-truck.  He loves being silly and he is a loyal friend.  Unfortunately, other cars tend to make fun of Mater.  They call him an idiot and a fool.

However, Mater knows more about car engines than anybody else.  That knowledge allowed him to solve the case and find the mastermind criminal that was trying to destroy the race cars.

Lighting McQueen and Mater learned everyone is different, with different personalities, and different skills.  It’s important to accept our differences and be kind to everyone.

They also learned fights happen among friends.  However, friendship is valuable and we should make amends after a fight.

Cars 3

Lighting McQueen is getting older and struggling to keep up with the rookies.  He learns a lot about motivation and asking for help when it is needed.

At the end of the movie, Lighting McQueen learns another valuable lesson.  Helping someone else achieve their dreams is extremely rewarding.  Teaching others the skills you have learned throughout your life is a great way for your legacy continue, even when you are no longer able to compete.

 

Cemetery Strolling

Have you ever strolled through a cemetery?  I do it occasionally.

Sometimes I walk around old cemeteries and think about the people buried there.  I wonder about their lives, their ambitions, and their fears.

Sometimes I walk through cemeteries to admire the headstones.  Over the years, I have seen some headstones that are truly amazing.

Yesterday, I was wondering around the Athens City Cemetery and took a few pictures.

Lily Flagg – The Famous Cow

Lily Flagg was a Jersey cow and the world’s top producer of milk in the 1890’s.  She was owned by W. E. Mathews and General Samuel Moore of Huntsville, Alabama.

Lily Flagg won numerous state fairs and was invited to compete at the Chicago World Fair, which was an extreme honor.  While in Chicago, an inexperienced farm hand was given the job of caring for Lily Flagg.  He thought by not milking her for a couple of days, she would produce even more milk during the competition.

However, failing to milk a cow on a daily basis results in swelling of the udders and can lead to infection.  As a result, Lily Flagg did not perform well and lost the competition.

Lily Flagg went on to win other awards and was later used for breading.  Cows with Lily Flagg in their pedigree sold for top dollar.

Lily Flagg was the most famous cow in Alabama.  In Huntsville, there is a road named after her.  Her name continues to live on, even thorough she died over a hundred years ago.

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Thinking at the Cemetery

The oldest graveyard in Athens, Alabama, is a block from the courthouse and is known as Old City Cemetery.  Most of the graves are unreadable and many of them have been damaged over the years.  However, the grave of John Craig received a new marker recently.  He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, so his grave has been maintained over the years.

I was sitting in the cemetery looking at his grave and wondering about his life.  His world was filled with uncertainty.  The American Colonies were going to war with England (a world super-power at the time).

If the war was lost, he could be executed for treasonous acts.  If the war was won, his world would still be filled with upheaval and unknown circumstances.  He would be living in a brand new country that was trying to establish a government.

I wonder what he must have thought about his future possibilities.  Did he think about future generations and how much his actions would effect them?  Was he afraid of the unknown future?  Was he filled with feelings of invincibility and the optimism of youth?

John Craig was fighting a war for a country that was only a dream at the time.  He was willing to die, for the idea of a free land and an independent nation.

His willingness to fight and give his life, if necessary, is still honored today.  His grave marker is maintained and replaced when needed.

Did he ever wonder if he would be remembered by generations that would be born hundreds of years in future?  Could he even imagine the idea of someone sitting at his grave thinking about his life in the year 2016?