High Summer

It is high summer here in the south. Most days hit 90 degrees plus, even in the shade. If you want to do anything and you don’t want to get wet, you know to do it before 4 pm. Otherwise, those “chance of afternoon thunderstorms” from the weather forecast are going to pop up right where you happen to be. Those storms can be gully washers, and occasionally will spawn hailstorms, tornadoes, and lightning so close you can smell the sulfur and feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. If it hits very close, you may be rendered momentarily deaf from the explosion. If it hits even closer, you may find yourself ordering a new big screen TV, computer, and any other electrical appliances you happen to have in your home. God forbid, if it hits any closer than that, grab your babies and cell phone and run for your life as you call 911 because your house is most likely on fire, even if you can’t see it. 



Another common high summer inconvenience can be any number of things that can happen because you’re going barefoot. Ah – for all the pleasures of John Greenleaf Whittier’s The Barefoot Boy,  there exist just as many dangers. These dangers can be as mild as a splinter or a thorn in the tender flesh of the sole of your bare foot. Or, they can escalate exponentially into the just gross category or the truly deadly category. In the gross category, if you have never stepped barefoot on a garden slug, you just don’t know what “icky” is. Even worse, if you’ve had the misfortune to step smack in the middle of a pile of fresh warm dog poop hidden in the grass, you really can’t grasp the true meaning of gross.  Somewhere in between gross and deadly are the painful, but only potentially dangerous events. Step on a broken piece of glass, make the mistake of trying to cross a street that’s been baking in the sun all day, or step on an upturned rusty nail in a scrap of board and it is a feeling you will remember forever. Ask me – I know. What I don’t know from personal experience, praise the Lord, are truly deadly barefoot emergencies. Oh, say, like stepping on a copperhead, a yellow jacket nest, a fire ant mound, or any other number of creepy crawlies. Worth the risk of that cool, luscious feel of thick grass on a hot day? You will have to decide that for yourself.

A final high summer experience not usually fraught with too much danger and discomfort (even though that possibility exists), is some form of water entertainment. Everything from running through sprinklers to “playing in the hose” to public swimming pools, to summer vacations at the beach come to mind. Mostly, as a very small child, it was the hose or a creek. The dirt yard did not require a sprinkler, and pools and vacations cost money. I barely remember we would drive a few miles, cross a rickety old bridge and park off the road near a half mud/half sand beach. There, Sweetwater Creek’s mysterious dark water harbored rocks, fish, and who knows what all kinds of trash and deadly drop-offs. Amazing we managed to survive. As I got older, I could scrounge enough money to go to the public pools, and the family would sometimes go on outings to Lake Spivey, Rock Hill, and High Falls. Eventually, summer vacations to Florida became the norm. Now, I have a luxury I only dreamed of as a kid, my own backyard pool. And I truly do love it.



What are your favorite high summer activities? Do they involve storms, going barefoot, or water? Whatever they are, enjoy them while you can. Summer is only a brief interlude to be savored or endured, depending on your perspective. As for me – I intend to indulge every degree of heat, every drop of water (no matter its source), and maybe, if I can find a patch of it, I will venture to tread barefoot on verdant, cool, luxurious grass.




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LaGrange, Georgia

Come see me, as well as some other fabulous local authors, in Lagrange this Saturday!

Emerging Writers Showcase: Build It with Words

July 15 @ 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Build It with Words: Emerging Writers Showcase spotlights up-and-coming local writers who have submitted and been chosen to represent a wide range of genres from poetry to historical fiction to humor. Each writer will give a short presentation, answer questions from the audience, and sell and sign books. Admission is free and light refreshments serveD.

Date: July 15
Time: 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm
LaGrange Memorial Library
115 Alford St
LaGrange, GA 30240 United States + Google Map
Website: www.thrl.org.


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My American Patriots

My American Patriots

Most colonists came from England, some for religious freedom, some to escape prison sentences, some to discover hoped-for riches in a new world, and some to work for bosses eager to exploit untapped resources in the heretofore pristine land. The Native peoples who lived in the new land were decimated by disease, oppression, and war.


They could not win against the mighty British Empire, but after almost 200 years, the colonists did just that. Those colonists, themselves barely surviving at times, persevered and eventually flourished. Leaders and men of wisdom emerged and birthed a new world power, The United States of America.

I DO NOT wish to condone the evils of colonization and the horrendous results it had on the Native American peoples. I DO wish to honor the patriots who founded what I consider the greatest nation on earth, The United States of America.

Far from perfect, but still pretty damn good. So good in fact, that that we must control immigration so as not to dilute the values we hold dear. Tolerance, compassion, and freedom, yes. Hatred, prejudice, and totalitarianism, no. Even with our faults, no country on earth compares or even comes close to what I desire in a homeland.

In celebration of the birth of the greatest nation on earth I am honoring my own ancestors who served in the American Revolution.   Some were mere boys, others were old for that period of time. Some were lowly foot soldiers, some were officers. Those who survived were granted bounty lands and spread out from the original colonies to settle and spread the American dream, even if, at that time, that dream consisted of only a few acres of land, a log cabin, and a garden plot.

I think perhaps they were more happy in their own way, even though life was hard, than many of us today.  I can’t begin to imagine the fears, deprivations, and horrors they experienced, but I am thankful they pursued life, liberty, and happiness.


*There are more than those named here, especially in extended family, but those listed are documented direct ancestors.

James Hogan, 1752-1811. 4th great grandfather

James Daniel Park(s), 1756-1824. 

4th great grandfather 

Joseph Howell Jr, 1745-1844. 5th great grandfather


Enoch Smith, 1759-1845. 

4th great grandfather

Samuel Knox, 1747-1837.  

5th great grandfather



Dempsey Winborne, 1748-1809. 4th great grandfather

Raphael Wheeler, 1760-1816. 3rd great grandfather


John Craton, 1752-1826. 4th great grandfather

John Watts, 1722-1796. 5th great grandfather

William Brookshire, 1730-1739. 5th great grandfather

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