The Mysteries of the Trustees’ Garden, part 2

      Here’s the remainder of my article that ran in the past issue of Georgia Backroads Magazine.  Again, if you like history take a look at your local book store in the South.  I found copies at Barnes and Noble, but you can order back issues or subscribe at http://georgiabackroads.com. Here’s the first section of the article.  Over the next few weeks you can read it here in its entirety. ————

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The Kehoe Iron Foundry building at Trustees Garden before the start of renovation. Owner William Kehoe was a classic Horatio Alger character who came with nothing and made well in America.

The Mysteries of Trustees’ Garden, Part 2.

by James Byous

     The Savannah Manufactured Gas Works was built on the bluff in 1849 in part to supply gas lighting to Savannah’s wharves a stone’s throw away at the bluff’s base.  Light was needed to discourage kidnapping on the docks, where the shanghaiing of sailors was rampant.  Five years later, the mayor reported that of 100 policemen working for the city, 60 were assigned to the wharves to combat the problem. Lighting helped, but kidnapping continued to be a problem for decades.

The Lamar wharf was situated about 600 yards northeast of Trustee Garden.  In 1859, Charles Augustus Lafayette Lamar earned the distinction of being the last person in the United States tried for illegally importing slaves.  The neighboring Gordon wharf was owned by the family of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America.  Just to the west, Willink’s wharf is where the ironclad C.S.S. Georgia was built and launched in 1862.

At the gas works on the bluff, coal was converted into gas for lighting.  This process created coal tar residue, a byproduct of heating coal in ovens.  This tar seeped into the sandy bluff.  Over the course of a century, the black, gooey, toxic solution found its way through the sand and eventually into the Savannah River.  In 2001, the soil inside the wall, remnant dirt from Fort Wayne, was excavated and hauled away for cleaning.

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The Gas Works Wall at Trustees’ Garden was built in 1853 and replaced the earthen structures of Fort Wayne and Fort Prevost. The arch area is the powder magazine section and is the only segment of the wall that dates back to the American Revoluntion.

That project provided an opportunity for a fast-paced archaeological study.  The work revealed the long-forgotten arrangement of interlacing brick walls that supported the old gas-holding tank.  When the team excavated several pits a few feet from the wall along the road bed, benzene and ammonia belched from the holes.  Later, these contaminants were removed so that only traces remain.  Correcting these missteps of the industrial age took years of hard work.

The Kehoe Iron Works complex once occupied the south end of the Garden property. In 1842 the Irish-immigrant family of ten-year-old William Kehoe moved into a tenement house at the south edge of Trustees Garden.  The boy had no idea that 40 years later he would own a successful iron foundry across the street.

William Kehoe is a success story that merits the label “Made in America.”  Four of the main buildings he built have stood empty for decades. The oldest structures were built in the 1880s and are scheduled for renovation in the next few months.  Work on the one known as the Metal Building is nearing completion.  Erected about 1900 the iron-framed utilitarian-style structure was at the point of collapse.  The crew that excavated the foundation uncovered a window into the past.  The brickwork revealed that several structures were successively built on an original foundry footing.  At least four previous foundations make up the final wall that stands on a spot that once served as a pre-1870s community dump and an earthen War-of-1812 fortification wall.

Engineers and architects also discovered an interesting Metal Building characteristic linking it directly to one of America’s captains of industry.  The columns and beams feature raised “Carnegie Steel” lettering.  This dates the building since J.P. Morgan purchased Andrew Carnegie’s steel company in 1901 for $480 million, making Carnegie the richest man in the world at the time.  Thereafter, the columns and beams manufactured by the company would bear Morgan’s “U.S. Steel” trademark.  Since the building does not appear on insurance maps printed in 1898, it had to be built between that year and the year of Morgan’s purchase of the steel company.  This discovery makes the Metal Building one of the last Carnegie structures built… another peel of the historic onion.

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Kehoe’s newer complex built in 1916 before demolition. William Kehoe died in 1930 before the depression economy drove the business into bankruptcy. This facility, which was located near the Savannah River, was a fixture in Savannah’s industrial history. Photo: Library of Congress

The name Trustees Garden has continued from generation to generation.  For many years, Savannahians deemed the garden to be “outside” town even though it was only a quarter mile from the original city gate and eventually came to be included within the city limits.  Throughout the city’s 280-year history, the garden area was a location for the underclasses.  In the beginning it was a neighborhood of slaves and freedmen and later included the Irish.

The Trustees Garden is unique in that it was an integrated community for a dozen decades prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Blacks and white Irish workers shared employment in the foundry and labored together at the gas works.  The need for iron-hardened workers provided employment for men who endured the hellish conditions in both facilities.  In the summer months, workers inside the brick buildings experienced temperatures of 130 to 140 degrees while hand-stoking coal or pouring liquid iron.

Blacks and whites of the Garden community worked together, ate together, drank together – sometimes heavily – and shared housing.  Savannah society tolerated this lifestyle with an out-of-town, out-of-mind viewpoint.  It was unlawful for blacks to frequent white stores, bars and restaurants, but they did so in the Garden.  It is suggested that no beat-cop wanted the job of ousting the black friends and co-workers of burley, rough, just-off-the-boat Irish dock and iron workers, so tolerance was the better part of valor.

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The retort building at Trustees’ Garden where coal was heated and gassified for burning in Savannah’s street lights. The pre-Civil War building now serves a the Charles H. Morris Center and is used for meetings and events.

Mary Hillyer, the wife of Savannah Gas President Hansell Hillyer, took on the project of restoring the Garden and its buildings in the late 1940s.  She recruited local realtor Dot Courington to help.  Together, they oversaw the project that would transform the Garden’s greasy, smut-and-oil coated buildings into a residential apartment complex with at positive cash flow.

Savannah resident Patrik Ruddy recalls living in an apartment in the Three Gables Building in 1996.  “It was a cool place to live,” he says.  “The energy bills were low because of the eight, twelve-foot-high windows,” that ventilated his two-bedroom, one-bath apartment that overlooked the Savannah River.  He remembers sitting on his decorative iron balcony to watch the fireworks during the 1996 Olympics yachting ceremony.  There was one drawback:  a door that refused to stay locked and continually opened by itself.  Ruddy recalls, “The neighbors would walk by and ask, ‘Why is your door open?’  I had it locked. But it would open by itself.”

History buffs often comment that they “feel” history.  As I stand looking at the gray-brick wall in the Trustees’ Garden, history is talking to me.  All of the earthen fortifications are gone, but the powder magazines of two of the strongholds, Fort Prevost and Fort Wayne, were in line with the wall to my front.  The shallow arch hadn’t made sense to me during past visits, but a map overlay shows that this was a partially-covered doorway, the original entrance to this once-buried bunker.  Apparently when the earth was moved to fill the terrace, the brick-constructed magazine presented extra work and cost.  It was the perfect place to put an oven for burning oyster shells into the lime used in the filtration of gas.

Like Kehoe’s foundry foundations, it was easier to build on the past than to destroy it.  Preservation came down to dollars and cents.  I suppose that’s proper and normal.  As Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

     A retired journalist in Savannah, James Byous holds a master’s degree in historical archaeology and is a history consultant in southeast Georgia.  He is currently writing a history of Trustees’ Garden and Savannah.

© J.D. Byous 2015 All Rights Reserved.

 

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It is a petite, striped rectangle of fabric

It is a petite, striped rectangle of fabric with a field of white stars on blue, six and one-quarter inches by four.  As the grandkids play in the pool, while fireworks flash and crackle above I stare at the small emblem that represents so much to so many.  I can feel a lump grow in the back of my throat as I study the thirteen alternating stripes, red, white, red, white and so on, ending at last with red.  I count the stars of alternating rows, six, five, six and so on to combine in a uniformed rank and filed constellation of fifty.  It is our flag… We the people of the United States.  It is my flag.  The flag of my family.  We have been here since before the creation of this symbol.  Over the years it has been an inspiration across the world for over two-hundred-forty years.  Grandfathers, uncles and cousins fought for, died for, and cherished this symbol of freedom long before I came upon the scene; before, “we” in “our” family.

William Byars, my fifth great-grandfather, died during the American Revolution.  Of what, we do not know.  He may have been killed in battle, he may have died of measles or mumps or another war-related illness, he may have fallen from a horse while trotting home after a night at the local tavern.  We do not know… but… he died after protecting this symbol that I hold in my hands.  His brother, Nathan, who served next to him, lived beyond the war.  Moving from Virginia to South Carolina after the Revolution he bought and farmed a tract of land that had been the site of one of the most important battles of the conflict… a hilly, terraced plot of cleared woodland called Cowpens.  He is buried there in a small family plot a few hundred yards from the location where American forces defeated Lt. Col. Banestre Tarleton of the British Army.

Though “Uncle” Nathan did not fight there, other members of our family did.  Hugh Baskin, a fifth great-grandfather and his brothers were there.  Colonel Andrew Pickens, the husband of their cousin, Rebecca Calhoun Pickens lead their militia unit in an action that was imprecisely but proudly depicted in the movie, The Patriot.  Another first cousin from another line, General Daniel Morgan lead the determined, rag-tag group of farmers, huntsmen and Continental regulars to victory.  For my grandkids, through my wife Rebecca Harrison, the ancestral line of McCall’s was represented as was Cone lineages and the “Fighting Parson” that was also shown in the Mel Gibson film.

Each war afterward was represented by our families… ours and a great percentage of the current population of our nation.  Our combined families built our nation.  They fought for it, they worked for it, they voted for it and in many cases died for it.  But, most importantly they shared it with the peoples of the world.  Their beliefs in freedom created a system where those who did not have freedom in the beginning could, through the words of the constitution, gain liberty that was attainable in no other nation on earth before the Stars and Stripes existed.  This is my country.  This is our country.  My family, your family and many others throughout the past centuries.  They gave it to us.  Most importantly, they gave it to all here today; newcomers and those of original descent.  This is OUR country now.  It was purchased at a tremendous price… a price that dictates, implores and requires that we not squander it.  Those who sacrificed would agree… if we remain true to the principles in which they believed.  That’s what I believe.

So, happy Fourth of July.  Happy Independence Day.

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A Rewrite for Progeny

This is for my children and grandchildren.  My old friend, A.T. Dowd, has written the following.  It is a rewrite of a guest blog from 2015.  It includes a few more thoughts while re-emphasizing the main points.  So, youngsters, as well as others who may be reading, please study and use as applicable.  I will do the same.

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The Beckster, me and the second-generation progeny.  From left” Papa, Kate, D.P. Debra, Morgan, Eli, Daniel, Tara Rose, Becky (aka; Mammaw, Crammaw, Prammaw, and Hammaw depending upon the child).

 

Never Look Back: A Reflection on What “They” Say

They – whoever they may be – say to never look back.  That statement is unwise and illogical.  “They” say it’s better to regret something that you do than something that you didn’t do.  That’s complete and utter bull crap.

Always check behind you — that is your vulnerable and blind spot — but, don’t do it continually, you’ll run into something that you aren’t expecting.  Analyze what you have done, the good points and the bad.  Build on the past rather live in it.  Learn from it.  Always look back and analyze what you’ve done.  If the experience is bad, throw it out and refuse to repeat it.

Always regret the things that you did wrong, but only to a point.  Deal with it and move on.  The correct term is, “Don’t dwell on the past.”  If you didn’t do something, it’s done… as in, “it’s gone.”  If it was good, there will be another opportunity.  If it wasn’t then there is no loss.  “They” also like to say, “don’t live in the past.”  This is partially true…  partially.  However, learn to live ON the past, not IN the past.  You, your character and your view on life is joined to comprise what and who you are.  And, what you are is made up of what you have experienced, what you have gleaned from that experience and how you apply it to your life.

You were born at the perfect and correct time.  There is a purpose and a reason for your existence.  Don’t squander what you have been given.  And remember, if you are lucky you will live to an old age.  “Old age” is a gift that many will not and do not experience.  Cherish getting older.  It is interesting that that time in life where you start figuring out what it’s about, it’s time to leave… like a movie or a book.  You can’t quite get the entirety until the last page is finished or the last credit rolls into the black.  Wisdom and understanding come with age.  Respect it.

So, live for today with an eye on the future; the next fork in the road, the next hill or mountain, the next opportunity.  However, occasionally look back to see what has and can hurt you down the road.  And, don’t whine and complain about the path that you are on.  If you get discouraged, sit down and have a private moment of complaint and examination… quickly get out of your system.  It has been my practice to limit those episodes to about five to ten minutes.  My wife has experienced may occasions where I say, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.  I’m going to have a quick pity party and start over.”  An old friend, Walter Grubb, the president of Harrison Chilhowee and The King’s Academy in Tennessee once told me on the slopes of Mount Whitney, “You can climb the mountain, you can kick the mountain, you can cuss the mountain.  The mountain doesn’t care.”  So, deal with it and get on with it.

As far as teamwork.  An adage that is loosely attributed to General George Patton says, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.”  I’ve always said, “Cut your own path; to hell with the parade.”  Cooperate with “leaders,” respect authority and strive in a co-equal goal.  But, remember that people are flawed.  Work together but follow no individual.  Follow God alone.  If you don’t know how to do that, talk to me.  I’ll tell you my experience.

Here are a few more adages to consider:

  1. If you think your opponent is stupid, but your opponent has consistently beaten you, it is time reassess your position in the equation. (See next)
  2. On sizing up opposition: If you pay attention, President Donald Trump has been constantly underestimated.  For good or bad, that is a mistake by his opposition.  Here’s a quote from his book, The Art of the Deal.  It says, “I fight when I feel I’m getting screwed, even if it’s costly and difficult and highly risky.”  I re-emphasize the topic… His resolve is constantly underestimated.  Never under or over-estimate the opposition.  (See above)
  3. Study the opposition.  To understand Donald Trump I read his book.  A famous line from the biographical movie Patton he is shown at the end of his tank-battle victory over Germany’s great General Rommel.  Patton says, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!”  If your opposition has written a book… read the book.
  4. Another saying that I have experienced is this – “Sometimes it takes courage to just show up.”  So,… SHOW UP.

You get but one ride on the carousel called life.  Make it a good ride. – A.T. Dowd

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Rusty Balls must go boom

Did I tell you that dogs seem to flock to me?  No, I’m not talking about my dating life in high school and college, but then again, we could cover that aspect some time.  I ran across the problem in this proposed, potential and posted vlog about rusty, unstable cannon balls.  We recently found them at Trustees’ Garden and were forced to detonate two since the U.S. Army EOD bomb crew decided that they couldn’t transport them through downtown Savannah, Georgia.

We also need an electrolysis tank for cleaning  archeological artifacts so in this episode I briefly talk about how to make one and do… more or less… for the camera.

Here’s where to find it on YouTube: Rusty Balls episode for Southeastern Bound

Tell me what you think… Make more?  Or……

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Lee Maddeford, Alaskan-Suisse music? Lederhosen laden lumberjack? No, wait… that’s cool!

Lee Maddeford

  Lee Maddeford

 

Lee Maddeford who are you and where have you been?  You do what you do and it’s interesting stuff… your music that is.

Recently I discovered Lee Maddeford while, of all things, looking for a royalty-free Black Gospel track.  There in the middle of a long list of great spirituals was a tune called “Woman just like you.”   I clicked it (below) and it was immediate and certain, love at first listen.

It’s a melancholy melody that contain verses that any man could sing, wished he could sing or secretly aspired to sing.  It’s reminiscent of a guy’s first love, current love or maybe even a future love.  It summons memories of the first time he met his one-and-only, when he sees his dream-girl passing on the street or when she sits across the bus or the office or a dimly lit bar through a smoky, dream-like fog.

Those who know me will tell you, I am not a “music” kind of guy.  I enjoy lots of styles, but am far from a connoisseur.  But, one can hear several influences in this guy’s music; Billy Joel, French Cabaret, a little Johnny Mercer.  He often sounds like one of my favorites, Eddie Wilson, here in Savannah, GA.  There’s a bit of the blues, jazz and, below, I definitely hear the Beatles at the start of “Be what you wanna be.”   And,… oddly… what sounds a like the strains of Disney animation tunes in a few of his pieces – Dick Van Dyke could do a bit of light kicking and tapping to a couple.   I like all of these styles but can’t be called a super fan of any of them…. except maybe blues and the Beatles of my youth.  I’ve heard enough Disney from grandkids to last a few years, though I know I will miss them terribly as my progeny grows.

Most of Maddeford’s songs are bellowed through soft washes of gravel that ripple downstream to create a handsomely mellow and warm voice.  It’s a great style and is reminiscent of the legendary Russ Taff.  The cut, “Berceuse du temps qui passe,” (Lullaby of passing time?) with its French title starts with a clunk that sound like a dropped studio mic then resonates suspiciously into an Irish drinking song… performed and accompanied by a crowd of inebriated Irish patrons.

I know the sound well.  Being Irish I have participated in said sing-along sessions and recognize the archetypal slapping and thumping that emanates from beer covered, pretzel-crusted pub tables.  But, don’t give up, listen on.  Darned if it doesn’t work… no, really.  It’s an enjoyable, insightful and interesting song that was undoubtedly written for a Suisse stage play.  It’s becoming one of my favorites.

There seems to be little written about him… Lee Maddeford, unless you happen to read French… which I do not.  Other than the French version of Wikipedia about all that I can find is that he was born in Alaska and studied music in Seattle, Washington and worked as a lumberjack at one time, high in the northern woods of Alaska.  He apparently went on a backpacking trip to Europe and stayed.

As of 1981 he resides in Gourze near Lausanne, Switzerland.  Some of that info came from one of his emails that mysteriously popped up online.  And, I read that he writes for choirs, theater and big bands. More interesting is his web site, www.leemaddeford.ch, which contains at least 150 mp3’s that he has made.  He allows anyone to download them for free, non-commercial usage.  And it’s pretty darn good music – free or not.  Oh, there are a couple of the songs that are, in my aged opinion, pure crap… but I’m sure he would disagree.  You may too.

However, all in all, and a few more clichés… would someone bring this guy to the forefront as he should be?  Maybe bring him to Savannah for a while.  I’d like to hear a duet with Eddie Wilson.

– JB

 

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Courage: Profundity on a half shell.

Courage: Profundity on a half shell.

By J.D. Byous

What is courage?  Recently I’ve been reading and studying courage… almost to my chagrin.   I know that courage is a virtue I admire.  It’s noble.  It’s a great ideal for one to aspire.  But, man, it is hard to describe and dissect.  I hadn’t really attempted to diagnose the real meaning and meanings.  Now that I do it’s hard for me to wrap my mind completely around it.  It’s an enormous wrap.

I find that there are variations on the heart of the meaning.  For instance, to be courageous in battle or in times of physical conflict or disaster defines the most common form of courage we think of.  They give medals for it.  The recipient is a called “hero”.

But, courage is more than the charging-in-despite-the-odds actions of an individual or group.  Though those can be great and admirable actions.  The idea of courage, the totality of courage, the essence of courage, is distinct and much deeper.

Sometimes courage is physical.  Sometimes it is mental.  Sometimes it is spiritual; the keeping-on, keeping-on that many around us silently face each day.  Not taking a drink, not shooting up, not eating just-one-more helping can require courage.  It is also a man comforting a friend in trouble or a mother holding the hand of a child wrapped in bandages, surrounded by monitors, invaded with feeding tubes and probes and needles in tiny veins.  Or sometimes it is the act of taking a chance in business or in life or in love knowing the odds say that you will fail, but you continuing on because you know it is the honest and correct thing to do.

That is courage.

Winston Churchill was an advocate and evangelist of courage.  His grasp of the power of will, determination and steadfast continuance helped him lead Britain through the perils of his time.  America lead the battle to defeat fascism in the 20th century but Winston Churchill lead the way by doggedly expounding his call for courage.

One quote attributed to him states, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  I don’t know if he really said it, but he should have because it holds to his message.  The perseverance to keep on keeping on.  Sloshing through the trudgery and drudgery, to fight on for a righteous cause without giving in.

That… is… courage.

However, the key word above is “righteous”.  Righteousness can simply be the will – the courage – to not give up hope, to hold a grain of, a faint flicker of faith in that which is correct and true.  Often that is the hardest.  And, often one must have courage in order to hold on to that faith or even to grasp its tiny fringes that persistently whip and twist in your mind’s gripping fingers.

Then again, it seems to me that one must have faith and hope in order to have courage.  I suppose they are the totality and quintessence of the subject; the same frame of mind, of spirit, of determination.  But the real power of those three is in the possession and implementation of all, the letting of one germinate, nurture and grow the others.

Courage – positive courage, the courage that is victorious – is a bundle of all; hope, faith and courage.  See, to have hope without faith is hollow.  To have faith without hope is impossible.  To have courage without hope or faith is needless sacrifice.

Conversely, standing to fight the indomitable beast knowing that you have no possibility of winning but knowing that you may slow the beast and assure the salvation of others… that revelation is the presence of hope and faith, not in one’s self, but for a greater good.

That is awe-inspiring, skin-tingling courage.

Then again, with all aside, would it not take courage to run and fight another day?  Would that be called wisdom?  Because in order to exercise wisdom one must usually have courage.  So now we have another variable.

And finally, love… love is a progenitor of the first three and sometimes all four.  If implemented alone it can create any and all of the others. But to have love without wisdom… that opens another can of twisting mental-thought worms.

The final decision to delve into the ramifications of what we may find and how it affects us and how we will deal with the acquired knowledge and IF we will implement those findings… that takes… courage.

See?  It’s an enormous wrap.

I think I’m going to lie on the couch for a while and vedge.

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Poetry from the past

The following is a true story embedded in verse, a bit of cowboy poetry. It is from my youth when I was in my first year of college.  The names have been changed or avoided to protect the innocent.  I wrote it about 30 year ago, but recently revised and expanded it a bit to better tell the story.  As my friend Dave Marston would say, “It is the truth…… as I remember it.”

 

Oh… for all of my city friends or the Easterners that might read this, the word “brimmer” is a Western-American term for a Brahman bull.  A brimmer is a mean, vicious animal that is best eaten with A-1 sauce, but otherwise should be avoided at all cost.

 

Also to explain – as is so around Ceres and Turlock, California where I grew up – in the West you can drive out across open country with miles of nothing then find empty, seemingly orphaned rodeo arenas.  However, on certain days of the week or month the site becomes a crowded place for the gathering of the testosterone-numbed minds of young men who engage in actions that result in the procurement of broken bones, twisted limbs and dirt-injected orifices, all to the ooohs and awwws of young women of a similar age.  I know.  I’ve been there… on the male side.

 

But, thankfully simple logic dictated, in my way of thinking, that the cause and effect of such actions is to predictively hurt like hell or perhaps die looking like a rag doll being ripped apart by a pit-bull terrier.  I learned to suppress the hormone-induced stupor of my youth and am quite proud of that decision.  As a result, I am still here as of this writing.

 

I call the poem:

 

My True Life Experience at Bull Riding

and Why I Was Able to Live To Be So Damned Old

 

By J.D. Byous

 

When I was a boy

And feelin’ quite manly

I went down to Turlock to ride

 

With the other boys

On the backs of bulls

And show off our manly pride

 

As we waited our turns

We sat on the fence

And talked of how good we’d look

 

Then we cocked our hats

To the sides of our heads

And spoke of the guts that it took

 

Well… the first boy out

We called Whirlwind Bill

And he crawled on a mean lookin’ brimmer

 

But, under his backside

Down beneath that bovine hide

You could see the hate start to simmer

 

I spoke –

“Well, it’s my turn next”

I bragged to my friends

Those bulls have this boy to fear

 

I then talked about courage

That I was never discouraged

As my time for ridin’ came near

 

But then…

 

Over in the chute

Bill’s bull started to boil

About the time they opened the gate

 

That bull articulated himself

As anyone could see

‘Cause he was spoutin’ and seethin’ pure hate

 

And then…

 

An obvious hush

came over the crowd

As we viewed the horror and awe

 

The image that day

Is burned in my mind

As I watched with fear-slackened jaw

 

‘Cause that bull squealed like a demon

As he launched like a jet

Then he bounced, and he bucked, and he flipped

 

And threw poor Bill

High up in the air

For a landing he was poorly equipped

 

‘Cause Bill landed flat

As prostrate and spread

As a cheap, second-hand, yoga mat

 

Now Bill’s feelings I know

Were not the bull’s worry

That animal just didn’t care

 

His sensitivities for Bill’s comfort

Were not on his mind

See… he had no emotion to spare

 

‘Cause he reared straight up

Rammed his head back down

And he buried Bill about a foot deep in the mud

 

Then he backed up again

And he took a nose dive

And the whole arena shook with a thud

 

And he pushed poor Bill

clear …across… to the fence

… And I flinched

 

‘Cause back behind him

Wasn’t nothin’ but a bunch of bull tracks

…And Bill’s shape in the form of a trench

 

Grab your gear, cowboy

I heard my friend say

‘Cause now it’s your turn to play

 

But when he turned around

Ol’ Jimbo weren’t there

I was in my truck about five miles away

 

Now I’ve had years to think

Of my retreat from the brink

Of death, or of mind-numbing pain

 

That the flight-fright notion

Is a valued emotion

That God planned and instilled in our brain

 

And to see the condition

Of all my old friends

All bent, all crooked and lame

 

I’m standing right tall

Not ashamed, feelin’ small

For my bovine hoppin’ refrain

 

You see…

It’s bronco bustin’

For some of the guys

And I’ve been known to try that some

 

But when it comes to ridin’

On the back of a bull

This Okie boy

Sure as hell

… Ain’t that dumb

 

©J.D. Byous 2016, all rights reserved

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E-Web, Schmee Web, A Walk in the Park…

…well, at least a walk down the drive.

The walk down the drive with my grandkids is only 200 yards long.  The school bus arrives just before sunrise this time of year for the ride to their North Georgia middle school.  Most times I carry my camera when I visit.  Doing so this morning did not let me down.  The terraced hill above the house is shrouded in a low thin mist that divides the embankment from the forest that grows tall and dense past the farmland along the ridge.  But, this morning’s view contains a bonus.  Hundreds of small one-half inch spiders had dotted the landscape with their delicate and beautiful nets.  Covered in dew, they stand their silent vigil, patiently awaiting their morning meals… that and for the offhand chance that I might grab their portrait on the dawning light.  I comply.  Here are the results.  A good way to remember September 11.  A good way.

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Just prior to dawn the mist rises from farmland between the berm next to the drive and the forest beyond and separates the scene.

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A cast net hangs motionless before the morning breeze begins.

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A slight puff of wind bends this web as its owner waits for the sun to rise.

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Barely visible, and just as does several cousin spiders, this one holds a droplet of dew in his jaws as he awaits breakfast.

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A record shot for my granddaughter, her school project, a pumpkin plant, blooms in the dawning.

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A ray flower greets the morning. A “daddy long-legged” spider pokes three of his appendages from behind the petals…. Look close.

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A less spectacular garden spiderweb stakes out a lower and less showy net.

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A grass spike is outlined by a recent visitor.

The morning sun peeks above the hilltop creating dew-diamonds on the webs and plants.

The morning sun peeks above the hilltop creating dew-diamonds on the webs and plants.

© J Byous Company, 2015 All Rights Reserved.

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