"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas



I’m sitting here on Christmas Eve, watching television images of tornado damage on two small towns just east of where we live.  Four people, all probably looking forward to fun times with family and friends in the coming days, are dead.  Millions of dollars in damages to property.   Makes it easy to forget that it’s Christmas time.  Thankfully, we, along with everyone we know, are fine.

That being said, Wanda and I would like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas.  May you holidays be filled with joy and fellowship with family and friends.  May 2015 bring you happiness that is beyond measure. 

And, please stop and remember the real  “Reason for the Season”.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bowling Green


Our small part of the World is filled with historic sites of the past four hundred years, or so.  You don’t have to travel very far to find some link to the past.  A few days ago, I found myself West of Woodville, MS.  Woodville is a  town with a rich history in itself, but I drove right through without stopping.  Found myself at Fort Adams.  A fort constructed on the Mississippi River around 1800 to serve as the port of entry for the United States before we acquired New Orleans.  A town sprang up around the fort, but not much there now except the little Catholic church.  The flood or 2011 wasn’t kind to the area, and repairs are still to be made.

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The locations history goes back even farther.  Remember the French explorer, LaSalle?

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My real reason for the trip was to locate an old cemetery that I had stumbled across years ago.  I remembered a narrow gravel road, but that was about all.  Luckily the roads all have names now, thanks to 911, and Bowling Green road rang a bell in the old noggin’ as I drove past.

The cemetery is all that remains of Bowling Green plantation.  The home was destroyed by Union soldiers during the Civil War, even though the owner was a strong supporter of the Union. 

All that remains of the magnificent home which was across from the cemetery.

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Let’s take a stroll.

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“A man of strong mental grasp, wholly cultivated, wholly redeemed. A servant of Christ, a son of God. A light in his household, a treasure of sympathy to his friends. With the wisdom of age, enjoying the sensibility of youth. And, glorifying God by displaying in his daily life the triple nobility of Nature, Culture, and Faith.  THUS LIVED THE MAN.”

What a testament.  Too bad the leaders of today can’t live to that high standard.

I spent nearly an hour here, just sitting, walking, and listening to the sounds of this small cemetery.  Yes, it was speaking…….jc

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Walk in the Woods.


It has been a beautiful week here in Southwest Mississippi.  Too beautiful to just hang around the house, though there was plenty of leaves and pine straw to clean up.

I hadn’t been out on a hike of any kind for a month, or more.

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Some seventy five miles West, one will find Clark Creek Natural Area.  700+ acres of mixed hardwood and pine forest, interspersed with over fifty waterfalls.  I haven’t been there in years, and thought it would be a good outing for a day.  A part of the loess bluffs which border the Mississippi River from Vicksburg, MS to near Angola, LA.  The area has  eroded into huge hills and ravines. The difference between the level of the creek beds, and the top of a hill just a few feet away can be over a hundred feet.  Not unusual for mountainous areas, but remember this is Southwest Mississippi.  I mentioned the trip to my neighbor and he was on board, also.

The majority of the waterfalls are located on what is called the “primitive trail”.  We decided we would stick to the main trail as the elevation changes on it were enough to get your heart rate up pretty good.

Trail going in.

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A look down the hill.

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First peek of Clark Creek.

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Waterfall!! There’s usually more water flowing, but it has been the driest Fall in years.

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What looks like rock boulders are actually huge chunks of what we call soapstone.  Don’t know its real name, but it’s slick as soap when wet.

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Another one.

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Ferns and vines.

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Resting along the way.

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Though all these pictures make the area appear to be only small trees and undergrowth, that’s not true.  The area is also home to lots of gigantic oaks, pines, and other hardwoods.  Many species usually found only in places such as the Appalachians.

An oak by the trail.

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A beautiful day outside.  Sunny, short sleeve weather, in DecemberWinking smile…jc

Monday, December 8, 2014

Live to Leave!


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We met some friends for breakfast a few days ago.  Good friends that we have traveled with in the past, and hope to again in the future.  We talked about numerous subjects such as the Thanksgiving just past, kids, football, etc.  Soon the conversation moved to travel and where we all might go together.  As I outlined our plans for the next three months, our friend just smiled and said she had a story for me.

She said that she was reading a very good book, titled “Life is a Trip”.  Authored by the travel writer, Judith Fein.  She went on to say that in the foreword of the book, Judith writes that she “lived to leave”.  She  said that when she read those three words, she immediately thought of me.

I told her that I took that as a compliment, and we joked about it for a minute or so, then moved on to other things.

Since that time, I’ve thought a lot about the phrase, “I live to leave”.  Is that a negative or positive thing?  Am I to be considered impaired in some way, just because I would rather be someplace else?  Someplace else being somewhere I’ve never been before, or even someplace I’m very familiar with and like to return to on occasion.

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What makes me live to leave?   Was it all the books I read as a child, of places near and far, that lit the fire?   Is it the same wanderlust that the pioneers of days past were driven by?   Is it a love of history, and wanting to see and experience just a tiny bit of what might be left there?   I don’t know, but all those and much more must play a part.

I do know that the statement fits me.  If I don’t have plans to leave, I am miserable.  Those plans can be a day, week, or month away, but there must be plans.  Without them, things are chaotic at our house.  Even when we’re on the road, I’m planning to leave, to experience what’s “over there”.

Thankfully, I have a spouse that understands, somewhat.  She has become accustomed to my quest for something.  Something that isn’t wherever I happen to be.  Will I ever find it?   Probably not, at least in this life. 

But, I will keep looking.   As long as I’m able, and Wanda agrees, we’ll have “plans to leave”….jc

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stop, and give Thanks,



for all that you have been given.

Wishing everyone a safe, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ghost towns, ruins, and relics.


Mention the words, ghost town, and most everyone thinks of the old West.  Old mining towns like Rhyolite, NV or Bodie, CA.  Deserted buildings in a windswept landscape, left behind after some disaster, or the loss of fortunes.  But, in reality, ghost towns exist most everywhere in America.

This past Wednesday my neighbor and I did a little “country cruising”. Our primary destination was the ghost town of Rodney, MS.  Located at the end of a twelve mile dirt and gravel road.  Once a thriving river town with the busiest port between St. Louis and New Orleans.  It missed being the Capitol of Mississippi by three votes.  People such as Andrew Jackson, Zachery Taylor,and Jefferson Davis walked its streets.  Home to thousands, with some of the wealthiest people in the South, and possibly the Country. 

Now, the only things that remain from that time are a couple of church buildings, the old Masonic lodge, and a few other, falling down, buildings.

What happened?  Yellow fever, the Civil War, fire, and the most damaging, Nature.  Rodney was a booming port city with folks always coming and going.  Ripe for an epidemic, or two.  After that came the Civil War.  Grant landed his troops just a few miles North of town on his way to Vicksburg.  The war wrecked the economy, and after the war, there was a fire that destroyed much of the town.

All of that could be overcome, but then Nature stepped in.  The Mississippi River began building a large sandbar next to the town.  Within two years the river had moved two miles West, abandoning the town, and taking its livelihood.  About that same time, the railroad picked a route that didn’t include Rodney.

The old Baptist church.

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Ravaged by the flood of 2011.

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Old door in an abandoned warehouse.

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Corner store.

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Upstairs table in the old Masonic Lodge.

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Presbyterian church.

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Can you see the cannon ball above the window?

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The story is that some sailors from a Union gunboat were very bored, and decided to come ashore and attend church services one Sunday.  A Confederate cavalry unit got word of it and interrupted church to capture them.  The gunboat began shelling the town to cause their release.  Cooler heads prevailed to end the hostility before too much damage was done.

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The old cemetery has been overtaken by woods and we weren’t able to locate it.  Would have really liked to explore it.  The area is still home to hunting camps, and a few full time residences.  Click the hyperlink for more information on Rodney.

From Rodney, we carried on up the road a piece to the “Ruins of Windsor”.  All that remains of what was once a huge pre Civil War mansion.  Used by both sides during the Civil War, it survived, but was destroyed in 1890 by an careless smoker.

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All photographs and building plans were destroyed in the fire.  A sketch was found in a Union soldiers diary sometime in the 1990’s. The sketch is the only real clue as to what the home looked like.


Each column is topped by one of these cast iron capitals.

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Click for more on Windsor.

One more stop before heading home.  Grant’s troops marched and fought on this road.

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They arrived at this home around midnight, as the family was loading wagons to get away from the fighting.

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They had waited too long, as the first shots were fired from their front yard as they watched.

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Grant’s first battle after crossing the Mississippi River at Bruinsburg, on his way to conquer Vicksburg two months later.

Lots of American history was created in, and around these old Loess bluffs.

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