Golden Virginia

October 18, 2017 4:06pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 25 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I took myself off to Virginia to see how our first colony of the new world was getting on after all these years. Nice.

Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten what “Royal” means and there are no prisoners with the countrymen of VA.

I spent my time hauling tree limbs, driving trucks full of wood for bonfires, brushing a horse, feeding a mare, leading a horse (not to water) and working in the wood-shop.

Cowgirl status upped another peg and I didn’t even chip my nail varnish.

A Jurassic Paddle

I had great fun kayaking in the Rappahannock River and paddling through little off-shoot creeks. I decided I’d quite like to spend my days on a kayak exploring the waterways with a pack up of sarnies, cold beers, a notebook and a camera. I thought that right up until I was told that bull sharks have been found in said river and that many people have died by getting stuck in the mud swamps. This I learned AFTER the event. Still, I made a good oarsman and apart from getting myself soaked due to my enthusiasm, I reckon I’ve got the boat life nailed.

All’s Fair

I went to the State Fair and overcame my fear of cows. People here take their cattle very seriously and a moo cow salon seemed to have been set up with heifers everywhere having a shampoo and blow dry. Bonkers.

A note to Virginians: Being such a close relative to the Great Englishman I would have expected your beer tents to open way before 3 pm. In the UK this would cause an almighty ruckus and the fair would probably be torched by the villagers for insensitive behaviour.

I ate a great big sausagey thing here and a pretzel with butter. I saw someone else eating what I thought was an enormous fried flower head but turned out to be a ‘blooming fried onion’ – Your onions are very big. Very big indeed. And having seen the size of your turkey legs I’m now on the lookout for overfed, 6-foot gobbling poultry flocks. Scary.

Jules in Jamestown

Ah, where the British Empire began!

I have a question. The folks of this settlement suffered from starvation and illness. There are reports at the museum of cannibalism and even people eating the leather soles of their shoes they were so hungry. My question to the volunteers was this: This settlement is right on the river- a river full of fish. In fact, I read of them boasting about catching 65 plus Sturgeon a day, so why did they starve?

Injuns?

Virginia is very beautiful in the Autumn and I’m glad I had the opportunity to witness its glorious countryside at this time of year. I even ticked off another one of my “Weird Merrican things I wanna do” which was sitting on a pick-up truck tailgate, swinging my cowboy bewwwt donned legs, beer in hand and watching the sun set over the countryside. Bloody fabulous.

Thank you to all the people there who made my visit so lovely.

And here is my video evidence:

George’s Story

October 15, 2017 5:53pm Published by Jules Smith in Off Piste Posting (Any day thoughts) 24 Comments

Lone star flag

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Stories On A Sunday!

I met George last year in Texas at a cowboy wedding. We spoke for a while and he told me that he loved watching all those English shows like ‘Doc Martin’ for example. A few days later I visited him and his wife Carleen at their ranch where I went shooting. Afterwards, we sat in the kitchen drinking ice tea and George told me he could sit and listen to me talking all day long. Not likely because I had anything of worth to say but because he liked the English accent. When I got home I received a lovely handwritten letter from George and I sent him one back with a postcard of Sherwood Forest as his ancestors were from there. He wasn’t too impressed by the picture as he expected it to be much wilder!

Just before my visit back here George fell ill. Unfortunately, before I had a chance to go and say hello to him again he passed away. Carleen told me that he wanted to visit England so badly that they put a map and directions on how to get there in his casket.

Yesterday I attended his wake and came across his story laying on the table. I found this tale so moving and interesting that I asked his son’s permission to post it on here. Even if you didn’t know George it’s a beautiful insight to a boy growing up in old America and I post it here, in his words, in memory of a wonderful man.

George Griffith Harris Sr. (1936 – 2017)

It was cool that morning when Dr R.M Burgess came to the house where my being started on a Monday morning at 7:05 am on August 17, 1936. I was born in the southeast part of Fort Worth, just east of the Masonic home. My father was John Amos Harris born at Cottondale in Parker County, Texas and my mother was Margueritte Marie (Lindsey) Harris born in Decatur in Wise County, Texas. Mother’s aunt Jewell and Uncle Clarence Ferguson (Better known as uncle Frog) lived across the street from us.

When I was two years old my father and mother bought a house in the Poly area of Fort Worth. It was the old farmhouse of a dairy and farm where the Poly addition was constructed. When I was about six, daddy remodelled the house making it into a duplex and adding a second storey with three bedrooms and a bathroom. Daddy was a teacher for the Fort Worth public schools and at that time he had the summers off. Daddy, grandpa Harris and daddy’s brother Emmett worked on the remodelling. I can remember pulling my wagon around with the scrap lumber.

I started school on September 8, 1942, at D. McRay Elementary school only a block and a half away from the house. At this same intersection was Cullep’s grocery catty-cornered across from the school. On the other was Chambers drugstore that had a soda fountain and I stopped in when I had a nickel and got a double-dip strawberry ice-cream cone, that wasn’t very often.

 

Mother would send me to the store to get groceries for that day. Most of the time that was the way we bought groceries – in those days we didn’t have supermarkets. After WW11 started they began to ration everything, meat, sugar, and many other things and we were issued stamps and tokens to purchase items at the store. Meat was hard to get and if you weren’t at the store when it came in you probably wouldn’t get any until the next time it was delivered. We had a charge account at the store and daddy would pay it once a month when he got paid.

We also had an ice box on the back porch and the iceman would deliver 100 pound block of ice at a time to keep things cool. The milkman would deliver milk in one-quart glass bottles and place them on the ice to keep it cold, and then he would pick up the empty bottles.

Also during the war daddy got some chickens and rabbits to keep our family in meat, he also sold to our renters and other people on the block. He had about ninety rabbits in rabbit hutches with about twenty-four chickens running under the hutches. We had eggs and rabbit with almost every meal and chicken on a Sundays.

After the war daddy and I went to the courthouse to get a permit to build a three-car garage with an apartment above. They wouldn’t let us have the permit but the man in line behind us wanted a permit to build a servant quarters and they issued the permit. Daddy and I went into the hall and waited until that clerk went to lunch. We went back in and asked for a permit to build a servant quarters and this clerk issued us the permit.
That summer daddy and uncle M, daddy’s uncle, started laying out the foundation. We had a neighbor that was a contractor and daddy and he had to do everything over that uncle M had done. Uncle M wasn’t a good carpenter. I got to help the contractor by carrying concrete blocks in a wheelbarrow about three at a time, boy that was fun at the time.

 

When we moved to Ave. M. there was a family that lived across the street by the name of Russell. They had a boy that was a year older than me by the name of William Joy Crosby Russell. We became good friends and played and went places together on our bicycles. There were quite a few children in the neighborhood and we played a baseball game called ‘scrub’ and played in the street. We had to watch for cars in during the rush hour, all two of them, daddy and Mr. Cherry. All the other people took the bus to and from work. We played football on church grounds around the corner on Little Street. There was a vacant lot across the street from us where we played basketball until the Cottons had a house built. Then we had to go up the alley and play on a vacant lot on Ave. N. There was no little league sports when I was growing up – just make-up games to entertain ourselves when we weren’t getting homework or in the summertime.

I can remember someone gave me an old pair of skates that I made a scooter from 2X4’s and old wooden apple crates. I took one skate apart and mounted it on 2X4 put it on for the wheels. We could ride it only on the sidewalk or in the street. We decorated them with pop bottles caps and other things. William also made a scooter and we went up and down the block.

At that time we listened to the radio, every night and I would sit by the radio and listen to the Lone Ranger at 6:30 pm. There were a lot of radio shows, The Green Hornet, Amos and Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly and more. You had to have a lot of imagination to understand these shows.

By the way, there was no TV on our block until we got one when I was in ninth grade. That was my last year at junior high school. The stations did not come on the air until 6 pm in the evening when the news came on and went off the air at 12 midnight at night. Sometimes we would sit and stare at a test pattern before the TV shows came on. The only thing on Saturday was wrestling and all the kids in the neighborhood would come to our house to watch. Mother would pop popcorn and make kool-aid for us kids and most of the time would keep popping popcorn until about 10.pm. This was a lot of fun – at times we tried to help the wrestlers.

When I went to Technical High School I took wood shop and we had three hour classes. This High School was designed for boys and girls that couldn’t afford to go to college but would have a trade after graduation. After school we would go to one of the high schools and repair the typewriters in the classrooms that were not working or broken by the students, where they didn’t have to learn to type. At times it would be 10:30 pm before we would get home and eat and for me to get my school homework. In the summer we would clean and make repairs to one half of the Fort Worth ISD, classroom and the administration typewriters, mimeographs and business machines.

In 1952 we bought 252 acres of land at Burleson and started a cattle ranch. It had an old house and barn. The house was one long large long room with an additional lean-to room used for a kitchen. We had coal oil lamps for us to use at night for light; we had no electricity. There was no electricity for a year. Daddy kept going to the electric Coop to get them to put a line to our house. When we finally got electricity, so did all the neighbors.

There was an old wood stove in the lean-to that we tore down and we moved it outside and we used it to cook on. I had to get the firewood and get the stove going for mother ; those were the best meals. There was also a porch all across the front of the house that we ate on when it was warm.

We had to run an electric line to the well for the pump, before that we had to draw water by hand from the water well. This was the only water on the place for us and the cattle. Keeping water drawn for the cattle was a chore. Later that summer of 1953 we put in nine hundred feet of water line so we could have water at the house. Daddy had the water tested and we couldn’t drink it, but we could use it for washing dishes and in the bathroom. We had to haul water from Burleson to drink.

In the winter daddy would send mother and I to feed the cattle on the weekends. I put out hay for the week and moved the hay where mother could get to it when she would go out on Wednesdays to check on the cattle and put more out if needed.

Mr. Wilkinson told daddy that if he could get an old Farmall tractor started we could use it. This was a real old tractor, it had a hand crank to get it started and had lug type wheels. Daddy got it started and got it to the house along with 5’ cycle mower and a disk plow. It was my job to cut part of the pasture and to plow about 25 acres where we could plant a hayfield. It took me about five days to plow this field.

I graduated from High School in June 1954, which was a good year. I went to Arlington to register for college and standing in line I thought to myself, ‘I have had all the schooling that I wanted ‘ and turned around and walked out. Later on in life I found out this was a mistake.

Lowell Morris a neighbor boy that lived up the road asked me to go with him to a Saturday get together at the Methodist church for the youth of the area, so I went. This was the best day of my life; I met a young lady named Carleen. On the way home I asked Lowell if he would see if she would go on a date with me. Lowell asked later that week if she would go that coming weekend and she said that she would if it was a double date with him and Betty Sue. We went out that weekend and after this date I knew that she was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with; it was love at first sight.

We dated the rest of the year and January 15, 1955 we were married. I was 18 and she was 19, we were married in Weatherford, Texas. It was one week before we told our parents. We moved into a furnished apartment in south Fort Worth. I worked for Kyle Machine Shop making $1.00 an hour.

The next great day was when Griff was born in 1956. Daddy asked us if we would move to the farm and take care of the cattle and mow the pastures, he would not charge rent and would pay the utilities. In 1960 daddy gave me 25 acres and we bought a small house that took three years to build. In those days I was paid once a week and on the way home I would stop at Hurne Wrecking and buy lumber for that week, sometimes several weeks.

Another good day was when the adoption agency called us to come and pick up our daughter, Tina in Houston. She was only 4 days old.

In the fall of 1966 we bought a Ford station wagon and the next summer we took a vacation. This was the first vacation I had ever taken. Daddy didn’t believe in vacations, this was the way I was raised so I didn’t either. But after our first we took a vacation every year after. We went to Ruidoso, New Mexico and camped in the mountains just outside of the town. We had a piece of foam rubber that we put down after letting the back seat down. We also had a tent that fit over the back of the station wagon and we slept in the car. Carleen, Tina and I slept on the foam rubber and Griff slept in the front seat. While there we had to carry water to wash dishes and to take a bath. Taking a bath was something, I made a shelter from tree limbs and then wrapped a tarp around so we could take a bath. Carleen, Griff and Tina got their baths but when I took mine the makeshift bath fell on top of me. Had to hold the thing up and try to get the soap rinsed off was quite a task.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Response to an offended American

October 12, 2017 10:42pm Published by Harrison Smith in Guest Posts 9 Comments

This is a guest post by  Harrison Smith – an avid supporter of his Mother and all of her fanciful endeavours.


First things first…

I might as well preface this article by letting you know a few things about myself:

  • I’m not good at this writing malarkey.
  • There are few (if any) things in life that I adore and respect more than my marvellous Mother, who has sacrificed a great deal for me (which she doesn’t ever shut up about, as you can imagine…)
  • I’m 22 years of age.
  • I work in the tech industry, specifically Website and App Development (hit me up  if you’d like any paid 😉 assistance in that regard #shamelessplug)
  • I am an amateur boxer and hold the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire heavyweight champion belt.

I think that about covers things. Let’s get into it.

I was recently made aware of a private message my Mother received in response to her last post: Playing With The Big Guns

Within this message, a concerned reader informed Jules that the post in question was – in her own words – “Not appropriate under the circumstances”. Had this been a kind and well thought through message offering advice on writing blogs to her primarily American audience, there would be no problem and no need for my post today.

This was however not the case. To give readers some context, whilst affording myself the ability to refute specific arguments made within the message, and to accurately portray the point of view of the messenger, I will be posting it below – omitting the personal details:

Anon writes:


We “mericans” just witnessed the most horrific mass-shooting in our history less than 2 weeks ago. Google Las Vegas, in case somehow you missed it. 58 people died, 500 wounded. Many remain in critical condition. Imagine if  Harrison, your Mom, or any one of your friends were “taken down” by an assault rifle at a Country Concert. Wouldn’t be so glamorous then, would it? 

Bags of spent ammo, shoulder black and blue bruises and comments about high powered guns are not something to find amusing at the moment. Think about it from a different perspective, then do something about it. Take it all down and find another subject matter far less offending would be my suggestion…


I shall be addressing the author of the above message as Anon throughout the rest of this post, using they instead of a more sufficient pronoun – not out of disrespect, but out of concern for their privacy which is only right.

Before we begin

I’m going to address Anon’s specific arguments in due course, but allow me some time to give my feelings as to the message as a whole.

I am sure I also speak for my Mother when I say that the recent events in Las Vegas – no matter your political leanings, nationality, stance on gun control, and so on – were tragic and sick.

Without a doubt, those responsible for the hideous assault on human life that occurred October 1st, are despicable, repugnant and evil to the core.

I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to all of my American Brothers and Sisters. I carry a huge deal of respect and love for your great country, and hearing of such a tragic incident filled me with remorse and sorrow. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

I shouldn’t have needed to make the above statement – it is self-evident that any human being with respect for life (not to mention a Briton of whose nation shares a deep history with yours) would think this way.

Unfortunately the demeaning message Anon sent to Jules seems to imply that there is some doubt about her feelings towards this recent tragedy. I want to state firmly and clearly that I believe said implication to be an immensely disrespectful and slanderous insult that has no place coming from a self-proclaimed “dear friend”. Completely and utterly out of order.

Onto specifics

Let’s move through this piece by piece, shall we?


“I feel compelled to point out the obvious this morning. You are far smarter than this and apparently not thinking clearly, so I send this note privately.”


Whilst not an argument to refute, I’d just like to thank Anon for being so kind as to send this note privately to avoid (apparently) embarrassing Jules.

It’s always nice to wake up to unsolicited advice on ways you could live up to standards set by others, especially when you’re obviously not thinking clearly.

“Not appropriate under the circumstances, discussing how much fun you’re having playing with guns (big ones).”

Perhaps Anon does not understand the idea behind this website. As the developer who created the lovely (if I may say so) website you’re currently viewing – please accept my sincere apologies if this was not branded clearly enough as the personal blog of an author with the sole purpose of writing (for free) content related to her own life and experiences.

I must admit I am finding it difficult to understand how you seemingly came across the notion that this website was in any way created as a place to discuss politics or world news. It seems to me that, considering there has yet to be one political statement or commentary on world events, you’d have caught on by now.

To state this more concisely: If the content within this website – pertaining to the events of a single person – offends you in any way, then please feel free to visit the plethora of alternative websites on the internet.

My Mother is free to express herself in any way she deems appropriate when writing on her own website, and if you happen to enjoy and value her material, we welcome you with open arms to have a place within the community we’ve managed to build over the years. This is why when she asked me to remove the post I refused.


“We “mericans” just witnessed the most horrific mass-shooting in our history less than 2 weeks ago. Google Las Vegas, in case somehow you missed it. 58 people died, 500 wounded. Many remain in critical condition. Imagine if  Harrison, your Mom, or any one of your friends were “taken down” by an assault rifle at a Country Concert. Wouldn’t be so glamorous then, would it? Now take a fresh look at your FB Profile photo and your latest Blog.”


I’d like to begin with clarifying that the term “mericans” is used in jest. Though I won’t complain about Anon’s concerns with this terminology as I have experienced the differences in British and American humour first hand.

I believe I’ve addressed the point surrounding the Las Vegas shooting sufficiently within my preface. Though if there is any clarification required, anyone reading this is more than welcome to respond within the comments section below.

My first issue with this section of the message is where Anon draws an equivalency between shooting in a controlled environment, for fun and the purposeful murder of over 50 innocent people. How you could possibly connect these separate events is beyond me.

Take a moment to posit the following hypothetical scenario:

A terrorist has made their way into the capital city of the United Kingdom, London. They are intent on killing innocent people to further their sick and deluded ideology. 

This terrorist decides to use a car to mow down innocent people, succeeds in killing 40+, wreaking havoc and causing mass hysteria within the city for the next several days.

Given the (not so) hypothetical scenario above, I wonder if Anon would make sure all of their friends who enjoyed writing about cars knew just how insensitive and offensive their own personal interests were.

I hope that Anon would understand that in this situation, showing an interest in driving or owning cars, wouldn’t mean that the person was insensitive to the totally unrelated mowing down of innocent civilians by a terrorist. But I must admit that I’m not holding out too much hope…

I have another issue with the above segment; Jules is visiting a country that has specific laws legalising the ownership of various weapons – some of which were mentioned within the ‘offending’ post. Now, whether you are a firm proponent of the 2nd amendment, or would like guns to be completely banned, you cannot possibly suggest that a tourist, visiting from a country that banned firearms (for the most part), is insensitive or in the wrong for exploring the differences within cultures.

I’m not going to discuss either Jules’ or my own beliefs surrounding the 2nd amendment and gun ownership within The United States as this isn’t a place intended for political discussion.

I would, however, suggest that Anon reflect upon their intentions when writing this message. Perhaps (this is just an idea) their time would be better spent trying to improve the world around them in such a way that would decrease the probability of events like the one in Las Vegas from occurring again, instead of directing their frustration towards a British author and blogger that just so happens to enjoy shooting guns – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?


“Bags of spent ammo, shoulder black and blue bruises and comments about high powered guns are not something I want to look at, nor find amusing at the moment. Think about it from a different perspective, then do something about it. Take it all down and find another subject matter far less offending would be my suggestion…”


Forgive my language but it’s just more of the same bollocks really. With the extra bonus of a demand to meet Anon’s impeccable moral character by removing the post that took time to write and – hopefully – provided those who aren’t uptight drama queens with some value and enjoyment.

I’ll end this with the following suggestion: if Anon finds a particular post to be “not something I want to look at, nor find amusing”, perhaps the best action to take would be just not to look at it. Seems a bit obvious to me.

I hope anyone who took the time to read this rather lengthy rant found it to be, if not well-written or enjoyable, at least an interesting glimpse into the life and subsequent drama of this particular blogger. And maybe some of you (I’m looking at you Anon) learned a valuable lesson in relaxing and taking a chill pill once in a while.

I for one have had a rather refreshing and cathartic experience writing this – I’m used to fighting with fists but I think I could get a grip on this writing business, so long as it’s as fascinating as todays post has been!

And one last note, my Mother is more than capable of defending herself, as I’m sure you’re all aware, but I wanted to be in her corner with this and she allowed my request to write a rebuttal post.

I’ll check comments periodically if any of you would like to further discuss the above, or just want to say something along the lines of “You rock Harrison!”. 😉

Over and out.

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