Genesis 1:31
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (New International Version-NIV)

Truly Gods vast creation, landscape, wildlife and man is beautiful beyond description.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, May 15, 2015

Yesterday ( May 14 ) I drove  to Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas,  from Wickes Arkansas and arrived about 5 PM. I drove around the campus for a while then found a motel for the night. I stayed in a Marriott Residence Inn which was very nice and reasonable compared to some motels I have stayed in along the interstate. On the morning of the 15th I met up with the graduate Sara Watkins, her mother and father, Jamie Diven Watkins and Her husband Steve Watkins and her brother Will Watkins and his bride to be Kelsey Schmitz and we went for breakfast. After breakfast we went back to Sara's dorm room to dress for the Hooding Ceremony for the candidates who will be receiving Masters Degrees in Educational Management tonight in the commencement program. The following is the program for this ceremony which was held at 10 A M. The Memorial Student Center ( MSC ), Bethancourt Ballroom. The following two items are the program for this ceremony.
Hooding Ceremony Program

Spirit Of Aggieland And War Hymn

There were eight candidates presented for hooding. The ceremony was held in The Memorial Student Center ( MSC ), Bethancourt Ballroom. with perhaps 100 people in attendance including family members of the candidates, the first year students in this program and friends of the candidates. It was an intimate setting and very impressive for the occasion.
Hooding Ceremony Room
Hooding Ceremony Stage
Sara Reading Program
 Sara Shaking Hand 
Sara Receiving a hug from Dr. Krista Bailey 
Sara and her cohorts following hooding ceremony
Sara following Hooding ceremony
Mike Connor, Sara and Diana Connor. The Connors arre family friends who previously lived in Tulsa 
and whose home we spent one night in while at College Station..( Names Corrected ).
 Sara and her brother Will
Kelsey ( Will's Bride to be ), Sara and Will
 Jamie, Sara And Steve ( Proud Mom & Dad )

 Will, Jamie, Sara and Steve
Kelsey, Will, Jamie, Sara, Steve 
Kelsey, Will, Jamie, Sara, Steve and Grandpa
 Sara and Grandpa

 Jamie and Sara
 Steve and Sara
 Katherine Johnson ( name corrected ) and Sara
Kelsey, Will and Sara acting cute.

Following the hooding ceremony we visited several location around campus where Sara wanted to have pictures taken. These are traditional places. Tradition plays such a critical role in life here at Texas A an M. During all the ceremonies the speaker's first words are "HOWDY" to which the audience replies " HOWDY ". For example look closely at the following photograph at the entrance into the Memorial Student Center.
 I asked what happens if people don't remove their caps/hats and I was told attendants at information desks will approach the people and ask them to remove their hats.
 Sara standing in front of a T A M wall poster. Notice her hand fingers closed and thumb up stand for " Gig um "

 Sara's Texas A & M Ring. 
 Sara standing by two large Texas A & M Rings
 People waiting in line to take photographs at the large Texas A & M ring
 Sara standing in front of  the large Texas A & M ring
 Beautiful Sara
 Sara standing beside the large Texas A & M ring

 Sara standing beside the large Texas A & M ring
 Following photographs on campus we ordered food at one of Sara's favorite Mexican restaurant Fuego.

Printing on side of Fuego cup.

 Kelsey received a new car from her parents this spring when she graduated from Oklahoma
State University.

We took our food back to Sara's dorm and ate in a rec room by her room/office. Then we relaxed, napped and watched TV until time to go to the Commencement at 7 P. M. which will be covered in another posting. Thus far this has been a wonderful day and I am so proud of Sara and her accomplishments.

I will provide an update posting to fill in some names that have been omitted.

Until then remember what I always say. God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Travel Update, Wickes, Arkansas, May 13, 2015

Good evening everyone,

It has been a very long day. Good at times and frustrating at other times. As many of you recall I spent a few months in Wiches, Arkansas as a child while my dad came down there to manage his brothers canning factory while his brother recovered from an accident. Wickes is a small town which over the years has lost a lot of people and work places and now has a popilation of not much over a thousand. Based on my meager recollection of where we lived, where the factory was located and where I went to school I drove around for a few minutes just to look the place over. Believe me it only takes a few minutes now to see all there is to see. I did not see anything I recogized so I went to the City Hall and started asking questions.The water department , community meeting room and mayors desk is located in this building. The mayor if Leon McCleasey. Yes I said desk he does not have an office.There was one lady and one  man ( both water department employees ) there and neitheer had been ther more than15 to 20 years and I was there over 50 years ago. As we talked another water department employee came in and he recalled where the canning factory had been located but it was torn down during the 1960 time period. The City Hall building was the high school during the period I lived in Wickes. He told me the grade school that I probably attended had been torn down and a play ground now occupies that space. The more the three of them talked about what all they had heard about Wickes History they said that the house where I probably lived has been vacant for 30 or 40 years and has now just about caved in on itself and that it is back off the road with no drive way and totally grown up with weed and brush and it was not advisable to try to walk up to it.Where it was located I could not get a photograph. The locateion of the house sounds like the house I recall yet it just does not fit my memory. Later the one water department employee led me to the spot where the factory had been located as well as a railroad spur that served the factory. He said he helped remove the railroad ties for the town to use else where. From where the factory had been located he pointed out where the old grade school had been located. I drove to that locateion and took a photograph. I went back to the City Hall and the lady provided me a Face Book site that is suppose to have a lot of old photographs of Wickes. Also, the Mayor,who was not in today has a lot of old photographs and they suggested I write to him and find out exactly what he has. The following photographs aren't much but they fill in some gaps that needed filling.
Wickes Arkansas City Hall which years ago served as the High School
 The Old Diven Canning Plant building was situated in this area.
The spur railroad track that served the canning factory was located along here. You can see the current active rail road tracks at the top of the photograph.
 Looking through these six trees and across the railroad you can see a dirt area which is part of the general 
area of where the old grade school stood.

The fenced area to the left of yellow barrier and the large tree on the left is part of the area where the old grade school was located. As noted it is now a large fenced playground.

This is a posting of mostly negative information that yet for me is positive because I have for years wanted to come back to this area and look around. This area for decades has been the center for the pulp wood industry and long pine poles used by electical companies. When I lived here the strongest single memory has been the smell of pine wood waste product being burned literally around the clock. That is no longer done because of the Clean Air Regulatioin. All the saw dust, wood chips and bark are now use to make all sort of new wood products as opposed to being burned. I missed that smell. Also, much of the harvesting of the pine trees has moved severeal miles from Wickes. This is one of those practices where they clear cut the forest and plant new pines to grow and be harvesgted yeas later.  This after noon while driving down here I drove through a terrible wind and rain storm. For an hour or so all traffic was down to 10 - 15 miles per hour with our flashers on and constantly watching for water running over the road. Anyway, I enjoyed my walk down memory lane and tonight I am in College Station (  Bryan, Texas ) to see my grand daughter Sara receive her mastere's degree from Texas A & M University.

Another busy day awaits tomorrow, if the Lord is willing, and as I always say remember God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Kentucky, May 12, 2015

Good evening from Forrest City, Arkansas where I am checked into a Comfort Suites motel which is west of Memphis, TN. not a great distance.I left home at 7 AM this morning after saying goodbye to my new puppy and getting her all secure in her crate/cage to wait for grand daughter Lisa to come at noon and let her out and then spend the night with her at my house. Since I last posted to this blog I finally got my dog I have wanted for so long. She is a rescue dog from Afganistan and is of the Kuchi breed although her papers say she is a mix Lab Retriever. Now you have to realize when I say puppy she is 17 months old and weigh 55 pounds and is as strong as an OX but gets into rtrouble just like any young puppy would do. It is like having a toddler around the house but I love her.

Annabel Just after I got her.

I had a nice drive down to Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Hodgenville, Kentucky. The weather could not have been better. There were two major traffic delays. One for a serious accident that closed the interstate and the other one for road construction. You just have to be prepaed for construction delays this time of year. The road was just lined with beautiful flowering trees such as follows:
 Trees in bloom along interstate in Kentucky
Trees in bloom along interstate in Kentucky.

The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace is a National Historic Park Kentucky and is administered  by the National Park Service. Almost 100 years after Thomas  Lincoln moved from Sinking Spring Farm, a log cabin originally accepted as the birthplace cabin of Abraham Lincoln was placed in the Memorial Building. While the cabin is old and typlical to the area it is not the original Lincoln cabin The National Park Service considers it a symbolic cabin. I will show just a few photographs in this posting and will update it at a later date.
Entrance Into Park
 Memorial Building which contains log cabin originally accepted as the birthplace cabin of Abraham Lincoln

Memorial Building. There are 53 steps leading to this memorial. one for each year of his life.
 Log cabin originally accepted as the birthplace cabin of Abraham Lincoln
Log cabin originally accepted as the birthplace cabin of Abraham Lincoln
 Sinking Spring as it appeared when the Lincolns lived nearby.
Sinking Spring today.

Well it is time to put this tired old body to bed and get ready for new adventures tomorrow as 
God leads me.

As I always say God loves you and so do I.