.... whilst sipping on a Scotch two nights ago, the Father-in-Law broke out an antique copy of "Archie and Mehitabel" and read a few poems aloud..... and since the writings of Don Marquis were fairly foriegn to me, I listened intently as he read.....

... here's one of my favorites from the evening....

the robin and the worm
by don marquis

a robin said to an
angleworm as he ate him
i am sorry but a bird
has to live somehow the
worm being slow witted could
not gather his
dissent into a wise crack
and retort he was
effectually swallowed
before he could turn
a phrase
by the time he had
reflected long enough
to say but why must a
bird live
he felt the beginnings
of a gradual change
invading him
some new and disintegrating
was stealing along him
from his positive
to his negative pole
and he did not have
the mental stamina
of a jonah to resist the
process of assimilation
which comes like a thief
in the night
demons and fishhooks
he exclaimed
i am losing my personal
identity as a worm
my individuality
is melting away from me
odds craw i am becoming
part and parcel of
this bloody robin
so help me i am thinking
like a robin and not
like a worm any
longer yes yes i even
find myself agreeing
that a robin must live
i still do not
understand with my mentality
why a robin must live
and yet i swoon into a
condition of belief
yes yes by heck that is
my dogma and i shout it a
robin must live
amen said a beetle who had
preceded him into the
interior that is the way i
feel myself is it not
wonderful when one arrives
at the place
where he can give up his
ambitions and resignedly
nay even with gladness
recognize that it is a far
far better thing to be
merged harmoniously
in the cosmic all
and this confortable situation
in his midst
so affected the marauding
robin that he perched
upon a blooming twig
and sang until the
blossoms shook with ecstacy
he sang
i have a good digestion
and there is a god after all
which i was wicked
enough to doubt
yesterday when it rained
breakfast breakfast
i am full of breakfast
and they are at breakfast
in heaven
they breakfast in heaven
all s well with the world
so intent was this pious and
murderous robin
on his own sweet song
that he did not notice
mehitabel the cat
sneaking toward him
she pounced just as he
had extended his larynx
in a melodious burst of
thanksgiving and
he went the way of all
flesh fish and good red herring
a ha purred mehitabel
licking the last
feather from her whiskers
was not that a beautiful
song he was singing
just before i took him to
my bosom
they breakfast in heaven
all s well with the world
how true that is
and even yet his song
echoes in the haunted
woodland of my midriff
peace and joy in the world
and over all the
provident skies
how beautiful is the universe
when something digestible meets
with an eager digestion
how sweet the embrace
when atom rushes to the arms
of waiting atom
and they dance together
skimming with fairy feet
along a tide of gastric juices
oh feline cosmos you were
made for cats
and in the spring
old cosmic thing
i dine and dance with you
i shall creep through
yonder tall grass
to see if peradventure
some silly fledgling thrushes
newly from the nest
be not floundering therein
i have a gusto this
morning i have a hunger
i have a yearning to hear
from my stomach
further music in accord with
the mystic chanting
of the spheres of the stars that
sang together in the dawn of
creation prophesying food
for me i have a faith
that providence has hidden for me
in yonder tall grass
still more
ornithological delicatessen
oh gayly let me strangle
what is gayly given
well well boss there is
something to be said
for the lyric and imperial
believe that everything is for
you until you discover
that you are for it
sing your faith in what you
get to eat right up to the
minute you are eaten
for you are going
to be eaten
will the orchestra please
strike up that old
tutankhamen jazz while i dance
a few steps i learnt from an
egyptian scarab and some day i
will narrate to you the most
merry light headed wheeze
that the skull of yorick put
across in answer to the
melancholy of the dane and also
what the ghost of
hamlet s father replied to the skull
not forgetting the worm that
wriggled across one of the picks
the grave diggers had left behind
for the worm listened and winked
at horatio while the skull and the
ghost and prince talked
saying there are more things
twixt the vermiform appendix
and nirvana than are dreamt of
in thy philosophy horatio
fol de riddle fol de rol
must every parrot be a poll

... pretty interesting stuff from a cockroach, eh?..... perhaps there is some writing left in my old bones yet!...

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.... the main priorities of visiting Montrose, Scotland....

1. Smoked sausage supper from The Grove
2. Deep fried spicy beef with fried rice from The Peking Palace
3. Cajun chicken sandwich from Candies (with mayo, onions, and cheddar cheese)
4. Sunday Carvery from The Links Hotel
5. King prawn korma & garlic naan from The Indian Cottage
6. Nachos and cheese burger from Roo's Leap

... check, check, check, and double-check....... my goodness..... is it time to come home yet??.....

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.... heard this song after touring Castle Howard today and couldn't get it out of my head all day.....

.... strange how things hit ya, eh?.....

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..... if any of you ever get the chance to drive slowly south from Carfraemill to Coldstream, I highly suggest that you take the opportunity...... the Borders - between Scotland and England - are absolutely amazing...... and when the sunlight is hitting them just right - in late September or early October - and if it isn't raining in the evening?.... then the sun will be hitting the hillsides just about perfect.....

... I swear, a landscape artist could make a fortune for just painting half of the scenes that I drove through yesterday....... and as much as I have always loved the stark beauty of the Highlands, the Borders offer something just as beautiful, and much, much softer.......

.... who knows, perhaps I am leaning towards the softer things this trip?.....

.... anyway, I'm just back at the hotel from a day out in the City of York..... good grief, I have eaten more in the past four days than I have in the entirety of the preceding month... curries, Chinese, Mexican, monstrous burgers, Fish & Chips. Steak & Ale pies, chocolate cakes..... good god, at this rate I am going to arrive back in Tennessee needing a vacation from my vacation......

.... after this afternoon's boat tour down the River Ouse, I'm off for a nap..... after all, the dinner bell will be ringing again in about 45 minutes.....

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... off to York.... home of the river Ouse.... leaving a cloudy & misty Scottish seaside behind, and heading inland for a bit..... south by southwest, as it were.....

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.... had lunch here, and enjoyed it to the max..... and yes, the restaurant in St. Andrews really IS perched on the edge of the cliff...... the beach below is where they filmed the final "beach running" scene in Chariots of Fire.....

.... the eatery is actually only about one hundred yards from the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse - for all you golf fans out there.....

... anyway, I had the smoked salmon appetizer, the rock bass entree, and the poached pear dessert.... all chased down with lashings of coffee and Nimbus Blonde pale ale.....

.... quite a civilized lunch, if you ask me.... more later - with photos once I get back home....... I swear. it's hard to have fun in a place like this, but I do so try......

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..... well, Boys & Girls, the time has come to wander off towards The Olde Country once again..... if anyone needs me, I'll be in the lounge of Lady Anne Middleton's Hotel in York.....

... y'all play nice now....

.... I'm off....

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... I was suddenly reminded today just how many times I've mentioned Vincent Price whist blogging...... it's actually quite scary.....

... so, in reverse order, here are a few examples.......

... remember the Western that a bunch of us crazies wrote many years ago?.....

.... and a story of my youthful jaunts......

.... and mentions of Mr. Price's sex appeal have been mentioned, here and here...

.... and a post about his ability to inspire?....

...and one with a mention of The Tingler AND Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine in the same post...... good grief...

.... and lastly, well, one about birthdays......

..... I'm a Vincent Price fan... yes, oh yes, I am.....

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..... on this day - waaaay back in 2003 - this little blog was hatched over on blogspot..... two months later she moved over to her own domain..... and only a mere month from her birth, I found myself atop Blood Mountain, Georgia at my very first blogmeet ..... good god, rubberneckers..... SEVEN years.... 7 years... s.e.v.e.n y.e.a.r.s..... it still seems unreal no matter how you type it......

.... and now with many, many blogmeets under my belt, I'll be hosting the fourth fifth annual Hysterics at Eric's in November..... I swear, I must be insane...... (thank you, Bou, for the correction...)

.... thank you all for swinging by every so often to steal a peek at my little slice of Tennessee.... meeting many of you has changed my life in ways that I never imagined back in September of 2003....

.... mercy, boys and girls..... 7 years...... to quote Augustus on his deathbed, "By God, Woodrow, it's been quite a party, ain't it?"....

.... and yes, it certainly has been quite a party.... this blogging thing is pretty damn cool sometimes........

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.... as you tend to do when autumn arrives after a long, hot summer, I broke into song yesterday evening while manning the grill...... being rather secluded on three sides, my garage does offer me the occasional chance to indulge my sillier side.... and so, as the meat sizzled I broke into an old Elvis song.....

.... The Missus wandered out to retrieve the steaks that I'd been cooking and was quite aghast..... but, hey, that is understandable..... I get it, honestly...... BUT what was totally unacceptable was that she had no idea WHAT I was singing......

... good god, folks...... this song brings back memories of dusty roads, 8-track tapes, and having the window down in my Father's old Ford pick-up truck because air conditioning wasn't standard on anything back then.....

.... can you believe that there are grown people wandering the earth who have never heard this song?...

.... yeah, me neither.... but it is true, sadly......

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.... I mentioned a week or so ago that I had been enjoying sifting through old family photos with my Mother to try to find nice gifts for my Aunt who had lost her house in a fire....well, a few of those proverbial chickens have come back home to roost.....

.... in the course of selecting photos, I ran across quite a few where I had no clue as to who the photos were of... so, I bundled them up in a nice manila envelope and sent my Mother off with instructions to find out dustiest surviving ancestor to see if she knew anything about the people in the photos.... and all I can say is, be careful what you wish for..... here's the conversation - as best my Sainted Mother could remember it - as she relayed it to me a few days later over the telephone....

Momma: Lilace, I would like for you to look at these photos, if you don't mind.
Lilace: Certainly, dear, it would be my pleasure.
Momma: (handing the envelope of photos to Lilace)
Lilace: Well! Glory be! Now, would you just look at that!?
Momma: Hmmm? What? Oh, the photos from the graveside? I figured that must have been when Grandma Martha died, right?
Lilace: Oh, no, dear. This is a photo from the burial of my first son in 1937. See? There's Ida and Cheadle, and the rest of my brothers and sisters, and there's Willard. He was Willard and my first, you know. Only lived a couple of days.
Momma: Oh. I'm so sorry.
Lilace: (dumping the contents of the envelope into her lap.)
Momma: Do you mind if I make myself a glass of iced water? Do you want anything?
Lilace: No, honey, I'm fine.

Lilace: Well, will you look at THIS! It's Ollie! Your Father's eldest brother! Just look how handsome he looks in that suit!
Momma: That's Uncle Ollie in a suit? Where on earth did he get a suit from?
Lilace: Oh! He ran your Granddaddy's livestock business once he died. Your Father was just little when his Daddy died. And after his Mother died a few years later, your Father came to live with my Momma and Daddy back in Hiwassee.
Momma: I knew that he lived with Aunt Ida and Uncle Cheadle, but why didn't his big brother take care of him?
Lilace: Oh, honey, he was in jail at the time his Momma died, and as soon as he got out of jail he and his family lit out for Oregon.
Momma: Wow, I knew that he moved out to Oregon in the early 40s. But why Oregon? I've always wondered about that.
Lilace: Well, he was afraid of the ocean.
Momma: Afraid of the ocean? Then why move all the way from Tennessee to the west coast?
Lilace: I guess it was as far away as he could get from Tennessee without braving a boat to take him further.
Momma: Lilace, if you don't mind me asking, *ahem, why did Uncle Ollie want to get as far away from Tennessee as he could?
Lilace: Well, you know how all of your Daddy's kinfolk liked to drink, right? Well, one night the bigger boys were all sitting around drinking and talking - your Father was only about ten or twelve at the time - Ollie's Father-in-Law said something that Ollie took offense to, and Ollie hit him with an axe and killed him.
Momma: Good GOD!
Lilace: Yeah, well, you know how they get when they've been drinking. Anyway, they locked Ollie up for manslaughter for a few years. Evidently he didn't really mean to KILL his Father-in-Law, so everyone figured it was just some sort of accident. And as soon as he got out of jail, he grabbed his wife, his children, his Mother-in-Law, and they all skedaddled for Oregon.
Momma: Wait. He killed his wife's Daddy with an axe while in a drunken rage, and his wife & her Mother moved with him out to Oregon?
Lilace: Yep.
Momma: Wow
Lilace: Evidently the womenfolk figured that the old man had it coming. But Ollie wasn't one for waiting around to see what his Brothers-in-Law thought of the situation.
Momma: I'll bet.
Lilace: (holding the photo up to the light to get a better view) Good old Ollie. He sure does look nice in that suit and tie, doesn't he?
Momma: Yes, ma'am, he sure does. Almost makes it hard to believe that he's an axe-murderer, doesn't it?
Lilace: Awwww, honey, I'm sure it was an accident. Besides, they'd all been drinking.......

..... good God, Almighty..... honestly, you can't make this shit up, folks......

... and hey, the trick to GREAT genealogy is to wait around until your old relatives get just old enough to still remember, and just old enough to not give a shit about the waves they make.... because that is when all the really good family skeletons get unceremoniously unearthed.... heh.... Uncle Ollie the axe-murder...... I swear, my ancestors astound me....

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