Tag Archives: Life

Two Curmudgeon Boomers at Babyland General – Impressive

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

Babyland General

The Cabbage Patch Kids, Babyland General Hospital looks like a plantation house out of Gone with the Wind.

Two Curmudgeons Boomers at Babyland General – Impressive

Jim Byous

 

“Have you ever been to Babyland?” Roger asks as we drive along highway 11 near Cleveland, Georgia.  The question seems a bit odd coming from a seventy-something, white-haired, former special forces, Green-Beret warrior.  He is a relative and a friend.  A man’s-man.  He and John Wayne would get along fine.  He is the kind of guy that Evil Knievel would hang out with…  and did.

Roger and the "Kids."

Roger and the “Kids.”

“No,” I reply, a puzzled look on my face.  My mind quizzes myself, “Do I look like the kind of guy that would find appeal in a doll factory?”  I leave the question to my mental ethersphere.  I don’t want to hear the answer.   I remember that my two daughters had Cabbage Patch dolls when they were small.  Now that they are grown with kids of their own, they still have them tucked away in a drawer or on a closet shelf.

A Kid in a cabbage.

A Kid in a cabbage.

“You want to go?  It’s right up ahead.”  He says.

“Do you want to go?” I come back.

“Why not?”  he says.

“Why not?’ I say.

Roger turns the huge, white, Chevy Silverado onto Hulsey Road.  A brief time later the sign directs us to N.O.K. Drive where we drop over a hill and there it is, the faux-kinder-delivery site.

Racks of accessories for Cabbage Patch Kids.

Racks of accessories for Cabbage Patch Kids.

A large signs hawks, “Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland General Hospital, Cleveland GA.”  Around it are acres of green, manicured lawn boardered by forest growth.

It looks like the plantation house of Tara from Gone with the Wind.  It literally shines on the hillside.  I don’t see Scarlet and I don’t see the Tarleton boys, but this is impressive.

An entryway case displays vintage Cabbage Patch dolls while display cases reflect in the glass.

An entryway case displays vintage Cabbage Patch dolls while display cases reflect in the glass.

My curiosity peaks.  This may be worth the visit… even for an old guy.  Out front of the columned porch and colonnade a gaggle of Canadian Geese feed on the front lawn.  “Why do they call it a ‘gaggle’?” I ask myself.  “Do they gag?”  Why not just a ‘flock’… I digress…  The geese scurry uphill as we stop for photos.  Roger continues then turns in to the drive.  The geese migrate back down after we pass.

Canadian Geese on the lawn of Babyland General.

Canadian Geese on the lawn of Babyland General.

In front of the building are large, white, plaster casts of garden vegetables with baby head insets.  They stare blankly into the sky with their machine-washer-like eyes.  It’s cute, but eerie at the same time. The sky is dark, it is starting to sprinkle.  The smell of moist, freshly-cut grass and asphalt greets us when we open the pickup doors and fast-walk to the cover of the building’s long, wrap-around porch.  A few people sit on the park-bench-style seats and countryesque rocking chairs along the walls.

A plaster cabbage and kid in front of Babyland.

A plaster cabbage and kid in front of Babyland.

Inside the door dozens of eight by ten photographs cover the walls telling of celebrities who have visited the facility; Burt Reynolds, George Lucas, Tom Selleck, Michael Jackson, Luciano Pavarotti… Wait… Luciano Pavarotti?  How cool is that?… (However, Michael Jackson oddly fits into the theme of this venue.)  Just beyond the gallery is a large, building-wide reception area with couches and chairs.

Celebs at Babyland
Celebrity portraits line the entryway.

Glassed shelves display vintage and special Cabbage Patch Kids from the past.  American flags accent the floral arrangements on pedestals along the wall leading down to photo-opportunity spots on the end wall.  I need to get a picture.  This place is looking interesting.

Nurse Debbie is attending to a new Kid while a mom and dad follow their daughter from bassinet to crib, searching for a potential addition to the family.  It’s not busy.  Today is Monday and a holiday.  I estimate there are around fifty people here.

Kids waiting for kids to decide which will go home with them.
Kids waiting for kids to decide which will go home with them.

Another person dressed in scrubs tells me that on the previous two days, there was standing room only.  She tells me that the place was a mass of newly adopted mothers and grandparents. Today, however, it appears most folks are driving home, just as on most holiday weekends.

Several rooms packed with dolls await a new owner… or… parent… that is.  Boy dolls, girl dolls, black-skinned dolls, light-skinned dolls, and those with tones between.

Through a nursery window, a nurse attends a newly cultivated cabbage kid.

Through a nursery window, a Nurse Debbie attends a newly cultivated cabbage kid.

They sit in boxes, cabinets, cases and cribs.  Accessories for the new foster-child-parents hang on racks and include shoes, socks shirts, skirts and about anything else needed for a new addition to a family.

A quick portrait

A quick selfie in front of the sign. I am sitting in a plush, cabbage leafed sofa. Perhaps I am ready for harvest.

I am impressed.  I can tell that Roger, a competent businessman, is too.  We are both calculating prices of products and the customer flow that is swirling through the faux-hospital and its inventory.  On one wall is a large plastic tree.  Below it are rows of cabbages that have doll-head centers.

Fathers and Grandfathers waiting area

The fathers’ and grandfathers’ waiting area. At scheduled times it is also the delivery area for the entertainment of eager onlookers.

I am told this is the delivery area where a forceps-wielding nurse attends an expecting cabbage and delivers a doll, delighting a crowd of admiring onlookers, kids and supporting adults.

Two men sit silently, working the buttons on their cell phones.  No doubt their wives, girlfriends or significant others are wandering the floor with a child or grandchild in search of the perfect adoptee.

Prospective parents and Kids.

Prospective parents and Kids.

“Is this the father’s waiting room?” I ask.  One smiles and nods, then continues to click the virtual keys on the phone.  The other does not break his concentration to respond.

“This is kind of cool,” I say to the first man.

He looks up, smiles again, and gives a one-word response, “Quite!”  His eyes drop back to the phone.  His look mimics the expression of a trapped animal, yearning for freedom.

Roger walks up.  We both know it is time to go, enough time has passed here… for two old curmudgeons.  “This is some operation,” Roger says as we walk toward the door.  “Impressive.”

One of the many cribs-full of Kids awaiting adoption.

One of the many cribs-full of Kids awaiting adoption.

He’s right.  It was a lot more than I expected.  This will be a venue for my youngest granddaughter.  Impressive? Quite!

As we drive away from the Babyland General I glance back over my shoulder.

Kids and more Kids.  These are smaller-than-normal Kids at a lower price.

Kids and more Kids. These are smaller-than-normal Kids at a lower price.

The geese waddle up the hill from away the road as we pass.  What’s that?  I swear I hear a medley combining the themes from Gone with the Wind and Babes in Toyland.

Impressive.

– – The Cabbage Patch Kids’ Babyland General Hospital is located at 300 N.O.K. Drive • Cleveland, Georgia 30528 in Cleveland, Georgia.


Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

 

© J.D. Byous 2018, All rights reserved.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under travel, Travel Photography, Uncategorized

Flowers are to enjoy.  So do it!

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

Wild blackberry

Wild blackberry

by Jim Byous

Wildflowers as well as garden flowers have always been an interest to me, looking for them and at them and studying them, intellectually.  In my younger years I spent endless hours checking floral features off as i poured over a book on plant taxonomy.  Wind poppies that grow around Mount Diablo near San Francisco are among my favorite that I have photographed…  Icelandic poppies from a home garden too.   They create a mood that you don’t have to analyze or evaluate.

You can go on about the environmental benefits or agricultural problems or taxonomic history or medicinal value… The thing about flowers is that you don’t have to say much.  Flowers are to enjoy; to simply look at.  Sometimes we need to slow down and enjoy life… just stop and smell the rhododendron.  So, do it!

Jacobina

This is called Jacobina or Brazilian Plum, justica carnia. Thanks to Sharon Harrison for the help finding the name.

My son in law, Greg McCormick, loves to garden.  Some of these images are from his yard as well as a field nearby.  The others are from the garden of our cousin, Larry Harley.  When we retired we packed everything in to storage and moved into a small garden apartment on his property.  Fortunately he too loves to garden, a talent and ability which neither The Beckster nor I have been able to cultivated.

Here are a few images to enjoy.

Greg’s Garden

Larry’s Garden

If you like travel, history… and images like these, we will feature flowers from our travel locations as we go.  Hope you enjoy them. – Jim and Becky.

Begonia

Begonia

Here is what we use capture images for our site.

Camera: Panasonic Gh4 and G7.  Nikon D7000.

Lens: Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH as well as 14-140mm I.O.S. kit lens, both hand-held. Nikon 18-105mm DX VR lens.

Light: Open shade or cloud diffused natural light

Processing: Adobe Photoshop CC 2018

—————————————–

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

© All content copyright J Byous Company 2018 all rights reserved

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Flowers, nature, photography, Uncategorized

Doc Holliday Trail and Annie’s Tree – a story of darkness and light

Doc Holliday’s Trail and Annie’s Tree – a story of darkness and light.

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

By Jim Byous

At 6,000 feet above sea level I am gasping for air.  I am also, as my father used to say, “getting old and soft.”  Now I’m only two-hundred feet up in my relatively easy three-hundred-foot climb on the Doc Holliday Trail to Glenwood Springs’ historic Pioneer Cemetery.  It sits on a lower ridge-bump of 8,095-foot-high Lookout Mountain that stands above and the Colorado city of around ten-thousand people.  My flatlander-endurance is poor in the thin air as I trudge onward.  The view is refreshing as I pause to take in the scope of the city below… okay… I stop to get my breath.  But, I gotta keep going, The Beckster is getting ahead of me on our upward trek to see the West’s version of outlaw/lawman, John Henry “Doc” Holliday’s grave site.  He was born in 1851 in Griffin, Georgia but died in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  But where is he now?

Looking across the city of Glenwood Springs from the Doc Holliday Trail.

Looking across the city of Glenwood Springs from the Doc Holliday Trail.

What awaits us at the end of short journey is a controversy, but I want to see it.  Even though I am huffing and puffing I continue, The Beckster is tough, so must I be.  The view to the right is beautiful as I stop again to choke down a bit of thin air.  Clouds hang below the surrounding peaks as the occasional drop of rain pops onto my face.  The smell of sage and pine and moist air waft past at intervals as we walk the hard-packed, red-dirt and narrow rocky road.  A couple of walkers pass on the trail.  I assume they are local… don’t know.  Maybe they’re tourists too.  Locals often walk here.  Ahead is the evidence.  On a gnarled pinon pine hugging the upper bank of the cut, hundreds of colorful streamers twist and bob on the light breeze.

On the way down the hill, a walker passes Annie's Wishing Tree, a prominent landmark in Glenwood Springs that is becoming famous around the world.

On the way down the hill, a walker passes Annie’s Wishing Tree, a prominent landmark in Glenwood Springs that is becoming famous around the world.

They are striking as they dance on a background of cloudy-grey sky and remind me of the prayer ribbons and flags you see in photos of Nepal along the route up Mount Everest.   These are wish ribbons.  Most were placed there by Annie Zancanella who lives just down the slope. In her two battles with cancer she found solace in tying ribbons to the tree on which she played as a child.  “I spent my childhood playing on the mountain and walking with my father on his evening stroll up there,” she told me.  “Now that my family has all passed I still like to walk that trail daily and think of them and my happy childhood.”

She started putting ribbons on the tree, using them to represent her own wishes, dreams and prayers in her fight against cancer.  After participating in a successful, non-traditional treatment program at Northwestern University in Chicago, she traveled to cancer centers in the USA to share her success story with university hospital students.  Collecting ribbons from young patients at those hospitals she brought them home and tied them to the tree.

“It was just pretty much my ribbons from my heart being put on it,” she says, “And then I realized that I needed to spread this happiness…”  She started taking bags of ribbons to the children’s hospital where she volunteered each month.  The kids would write their own wishes, dreams and prayers for her to take back to the tree and tie for them. She would then take photos and show them to the kids.  Their words were on display for the world to see.  The project grew.

Annie's Wishing Tree is a landmark along the trail to the Pioneer Cemetery.

Annie’s Wishing Tree is a landmark along the trail to the Pioneer Cemetery.

Now others follow her lead by leaving wish ribbons, prayer streamers and mementos for others who are challenged by health issues.  Since that time she has continued to fight.  “I have had some more recent struggles with cancer but I’ve been able to keep a smile on my face and motivation in my heart.”

Ribbons were added by unknown hikers after Annie created the Wishing Tree.

Ribbons were added by unknown hikers after Annie created the Wishing Tree.

I came to the hill looking for the story of death, of disease and of legend.  Now I’ve arrived to unexpectedly find a story of life, of adversity and of hope.  In my mind I am attempting to blend the two narratives into one.  Annie is my daughter’s age.  Her story strikes a father’s heart.

The record of the tree is strikingly symbolic to the history and name of the route, The Doc Holliday Trail.  It’s antithetical to Annie’s story.  Holliday is said to have traveled to Glenwood Springs for the purported healing benefits in the springs of the area.  His sickness was then called consumption, now we know it as tuberculosis.  It was the reason he left his home and dental practice  in Atlanta to start wandering the west in hope of a climate that would help or cure him.  His travels between Georgia and Colorado would be captured in legend; card games, gun fights, the OK Corral with Wyatt Earp, his death in a hotel room in Glenwood Springs.

The current marker replaced an earlier stone placed in the 1950s that had incorrect information.  Cards, whisky and tokens are often found at the site, left by admirers.

The current marker replaced an earlier stone placed in the 1950s that had incorrect information. Cards, whisky and tokens are often found at the site, left by admirers.

After a life of hell raising, gambling and fighting he would not “die with his boots on.” They say his last words, while looking at his bare feet, would describe the irony in dying in bed at the age of 36 years, “Now, that’s funny.”  He was destined to die a more gentlemanly death, shoeless, and in bed in 1887.  His burial in the Pioneer Cemetery on top of the ridge is a matter of opinion.  Others say he was interred in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Griffin, Georgia after his father had him shipped home to a family plot.  In any event he left plenty of legend for both.

The marker in Glenwood Springs is referred to as a memorial since Doc’s exact location in the cemetery has been lost to history.  He may or may not be here, but still the site and its view across the Colorado skyline is worth the hike as is a stroll through the rest of the burial

Holliday's memorial stands at the point of the cemetery.
Holliday’s memorial stands at the overlook point of the cemetery.

 ground.  The area is a carpet of rocky, iron-red dirt, highlighted with short pinyon pines, cedars, sage brush and white marker stones.  A smattering of lawn covers a central square of memorials and graves suggesting families still visit and care for those interred here.  If the cemetery were a ship, Doc’s grave would be the wheelhouse at the point of the ridge with the balance of the site stepping up the slope toward the top of Lookout Mountain.

Harvey Logan cThere, up the hill from Doc’s spot, stands another marker for a well-known character of western lore, also the adverse of the symbolic tree.   Harvey A. Logan, 1867-1904, is known to most folks know as Kid Curry, an associate of Robert L. Parker, aka Butch Cassidy, and his partner in crime, Harry A. Longabaugh, the Sundance Kid.  Logan rode with Cassidy’s Wild Bunch at the turn of the 20th century.  One account of Logan’s death says he shot himself in the head after being trapped by a posse in Parachute, a town forty miles to the west,

Up the hill from Holliday's marker is the pauper's section of the cemetery where Kid Curry's stone is found.

Up the hill from Holliday’s marker is the pauper’s section of the cemetery where Kid Curry’s stone is found.  If he is really there is disputed.

and was buried there.  Others say he was traveling through Glenwood Springs, became ill and died.  Either way, he died… somewhere in Colorado.  And, now there’s a marker for him in the paupers’ section of Pioneer Cemetery.

Time passes quickly as we survey the grounds.  The sky is looking more threatening.  I am tired and still slightly out of breath, it’s starting to rain.  The view is exemplary and the rain isn’t hard, but it’s time to go.  We need to say goodbye to Doc.  Local ghost stories tell how folks leaving whiskey or cards or tokens for Doc receive a “Thank you,” as they stand and listen quietly.  I have no whiskey, nor do I have a deck of cards nor trinkets.  Perhaps a compliment will work.

Harvey "Kid Curry" Logan, part of Butch Cassidy's gang, has a marker in the paupers section of the cemetery.

Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan, part of Butch Cassidy’s gang, has a marker in the paupers section of the cemetery.

“He Doc!  You have a great moustache!”

I listen quietly as rain drops increase… nothing… not a peep.

“Wait,” I say…  I lean over the iron picketed fence, “That IS you, right Doc?”

Looking at The Beckster I say, “Doc’s not talking.  Didn’t work.  Well, back to the car.  I’ll try the same trick in Griffin, Georgia when we get home.”

She stares at me in mock disgust and turns to the trail to walk back down.  She has a knack for ignoring my jokes.

“But he really did have a great moustache,” I affirm, following her along the path.

She pays no attention to my explanation and continues on.  The lady has class.

 Looking down on the neighborhood rooftops I imagine driving a horse-drawn hearse up this route.  It would be a tight squeeze, but possible.  Was this the main route back in the day?  I don’t know but I do know that another route from Cemetery Creek and our start point is driveable by car, complete with parking spaces… but it’s blocked by a gate.  And, this walk is good, we need the exercise… no… really.

Older marker for cemetery

An carved stone plaque describes the residents of the necropolis including multi-racial immigrants and freed slaves.

We pass Annie’s Wish Tree again.  A long, magenta streamer catches my attention.  It reads, “1 Year Cancer Free * Annie 4/18/14 – 4/18/15.”    The young lady is an inspiration.  Now she is planning a volunteer trip to to impoverished areas in Africa to help children in Tanzania.  When she comes home she will carry more ribbons that will blow in the mountain breezes – waving and asserting hope – 130 feet directly down the slope from Doc’s marker.  Doc Holliday’s Trail and Annie’s Tree are a story of darkness and light.

I hope Annie is doing well.  Her story now lives on with the others who are linked with the trail and the cemetery and the hill.  Her story gleams brightly among them as she illustrates as she says, “It’s an absolute goal of mine to continue to inspire others and for my wishing tree to bring happiness to all who stumble across it!”

I’m glad I did… stumbled here.  For me, I think of my daughters and grandchildren and pray that they will have a measure of Annie’s determination and drive.

Doc Holliday’s story is dark and deadly.

Annie’s story shines with hope.

Annie has grit.


Here are other things to do and study in Glenwood Springs.

Our thanks to Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association for photos and to Annie Zancanella for background in this story.  We were not compensated for coverage of the location and attractions.  – JB

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net

Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

© J Byous Company 2018, All rights reserved

Leave a comment

Filed under travel, Travel Photography, Uncategorized

Oatman:  Threading the Needle’s Eye

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

By Jim Byous

1 1 1 1 1 BYO_8994 sm.jpg

Oatman, Arizona was once the gateway to the promised land – California.  Today it serves travelers and tourists searching for the past.  It fills the bill.

 

It is legend.  This stretch of Route 66 runs like a thread, winding through the hot desert hills, twisting, rising and dropping in the dry, rocky, near-depleted-gold-bearing mountains between Kingman and Oatman, Arizona.  I have not seen it in the six decades of my life.  I’ve always wanted to.  Now I am.

My wife, Becky, aka “The Beckster,” rides shotgun as we leave our motel in Needles, California.  It is just before the morning sun creeps over the horizon.  Across the Colorado River we can see Boundary Cone on the opposite side of the Arizona state line.  It is already getting hot.  Thank God for air-conditioned pickups.  Our time is short, appointments in the Phoenix area dictate a “flyby” view of the town and route without a scheduled stop.  Now that we live in the Southeast – on the other side of the continent – it is compulsory that we see the legend… the road and the town.

1 1 1 Boundary Cone sm BYO_8916.jpg

Boundary Cone peaks above the skyline beside the route from Needles, California to Oatman, Arizona.  It is a sacred place to the Mojave Tribe and has been a landmark for travelers over the years.  Below it are the row crops of the fertile Mojave Valley on the Arizona side of the state line.

I remember the stories told by my parents and grandparents of traveling to California in the years before I was born.  “I don’t like threading the needle’s eye,” my grandfather, Mark Covey, would joke while telling of this road.  “Don’t want to go back.”  He didn’t.

In the 1940s he had crossed the snaking stretch of Route 66 in a cut-down 1931 Hupmobile.  A makeshift “dog house” replaced the back seat and trunk, an alteration designed to carry and cover bored, sleeping kids and grandkids during the long, sun-baked and dangerous trip from Eastern Oklahoma.  Over the previous two decades he and others, who are now called “Steinbeck’s Okies,” journeyed to join my parents who were working in the bean fields of California’s Central Valley. 

1 1 1 1 1 Arkansas family waiting on repair in OK on way to Calif Lange 1936 8b32349a.jpg

This Arkansas family rides in a truck with a “dog house” on the back.  Mark Covey’s Hupmobile doghouse was much smaller during its trek across Arizona’s southwestern desert.  Library of Congress photo by Dorothea Lang.

But, the gateway to the promised land lay along the twisted, narrow highway through the minaret-shaped rhyolite plugs of the Needles region and the near-abandoned gold town of Oatman, a town that was saved from extinction by supplying the needs of the traffic on Route 66.  As in my grandfather’s time, today the town survives by selling food, drink, and trinkets to travelers and tourists who follow their dreams.  In times before they searched for a new life.  Today they search for the past… just as we are.

Every year in my childhood our summer vacation was in Eastern Oklahoma the place our family called “home.”  We rolled through the Needles area in the warm season, in the pre-auto-air-conditioner days.  On those occasions my brother and I could be seen passing by, holding wet washcloths out of the car window in an attempt to grab a fleeting ration of cool for our faces.  One of our primitive swipes at cooling took place in Needles during an 11 P.M. passing in 1960.  The outside temperature measured 109 degrees Fahrenheit.  Somewhere along the route the cloth slipped from my brother’s hand and swirled off into the desert sticking to a distant, dry tumbleweed.  Mom was not amused.  Neither was I.  I had to share my cloth.

Route 66 had changed by that time, bypassing Oatman and diving straight into the Mojave Desert on the way to Kingman.  Each year, passing the turnoff to the “needle’s eye” my mother would laugh and quote her father’s rebuke of the area.  It was an annual ritual in oral tradition.

1 1 1 1 1 Entering Oatman rt 66 BYO_8955 sm.jpg

Entering Arizona’s Black Mountains a short distance from Oatman on the Old Route 66.

Now, as we approach Oatman the first rays of sunlight touch the surrounding hilltops.  It slowly creeps downward, crawling across the rocks, rooftops, and road as the town fills our windshield.  The hamlet is quiet, the kind of quiet that seeps into your head the way heat soaks into a Mojave rock formation – slowly and intensely.  The sound of our motor reminds us that we have not lost our hearing.

Nothing stirs; not bird nor dog nor human.  It’s eerie, but oddly inviting.  It feels lonely like the loneliness heard in the howl of a wolf on a dark wilderness night.  The smell of dust and sage hangs in the air as the temperature rises.  The occasional scents of burro dung and automobile oil waft upward from the roadway through the truck’s ventilation system.  

1 1 1 1 1 Oatman from the north BYO_8990 sm.jpg

Oatman from the north at sunrise.  The town is quiet, still sleeping.  No-one is stirring.

The Beckster and I grab our cameras and click away, some from the truck, but other shots require stopping to compose and capture.  Time is short.  We must hurry.  I hate it.  I love this place.  I can feel the history soaking up out the ground and from the wooden framed buildings that surround us.  This place is filled with hidden stories, hidden secrets.

This tiny mining town gained its name from a nearby 1860s mine that honored Olive Oatman, a member of a Mormon pioneer family who died in an Indian raid in 1851.  Her story of capture, enslavement and eventual adoption by the Mojave tribe was well known when the town was settled.  Ironically gold fever exploded the population of the town shortly after Oatman’s death in 1903 when new veins were discovered.  The short-lived boost helped the town survive during the early years of the century.

1 1 1 1 1 BYO_8982 oatman sm.jpg

The Olive Oatman Restaurant and Saloon.  The place to get ice cream and booze, in one trip.

Olive_Oatman 1863.jpg

Olive Oatman in 1863.  Her fame was widespread at that time.  The mine bearing her name was recorded around the time of this photograph. Wikipedia

Her likeness, which includes Mojave-face-tattoo highlights, is displayed on the façade of Olive Oatman Restaurant and Saloon on the eastern edge of the main street.  The eatery serves sodas, chili and ice cream to sun-parched tourists during the season.  A long banner above the porch boasts, “Air Conditioned.”  Next to it is another sign that reads, “Open.”  But, the eatery is not ready for the day, the business doors are locked.  They are in fact, closed.

Across the street is the eight-room, Oatman Hotel.  It was the honeymoon spot for actors Clark Gable and Carol Lombard when, in 1939, they eloped to Kingman 30 miles across the Black Mountains to the northeast.  Stories are told of the couple’s secretive escape out of Hollywood in an effort to avoid the press of the day. 

1 1 1 1 1 BYO_8985 sm.jpg

The Oatman (Durlin) Hotel was established one year before Olive Oatman’s death in 1903.  Film stars, Carol Lombard and Clark Gable, shared their honeymoon here and were reported to have stayed here several times in their short tragic marriage.

Old timers told of card games with Gable into the late hours and his enjoyment of the townspeople that drew the couple back to the inn on numerous other occasions.  Apparently he and Lombard didn’t mind the ghost who is said to haunt the place.  The old establishment that they enjoyed has survived several disasters in the town’s history.  But in 1921 the hotel and many of the surrounding buildings weren’t as lucky and were destroyed by fire.  It was rebuilt in 1924.  Some reports say that the adobe walls remained intact and were reused for the current structure. 

As we pass through, the famous burros of Oatman are nowhere to be seen.  We will find them later trotting between the rocks and clumps of sagebrush a short distance down the road.  These locals were introduced to the region in the 1860s when gold was discovered.  Some are descended from pack animals used by The California Volunteers, troopers who moved from the nearby post, Fort Mohave, to search for gold. 

1 1 1 1 1 1 Burros 2 sm.jpg

Burros are protected by the BLM.  They think… or rather, know, you are on their turf.

Over time other “booms” of gold-hungry immigrants would lose or release animals.  Today there are several hundred wild burros in the area that are protected by the Bureau of Land Management.  Some are offered for adoption each year in the Bureaus’ Wild Horse and Burro Program.

 

1 1 1 1 1 1 Vista along Gold Road, Highway 66 BYO_9013 jpg.jpg

The view from Sitgreaves Pass northwest through the Black Mountains.

Onward we drive, competing with the clock.  The hairpin road seems to spiral as we climb.  To the left, just before the summit, is the Gold Road Mine.  It is currently under study for reopening, giving hope to the owners that they might soon take advantage of the rising price of gold.   A few more turns and switchbacks we are on top of 3,550-foot-high Sitgreaves Pass.  Stopping is a necessity to take in the view toward the northwest.

Three-hundred yards below us is a short, loop road.  We had missed the dirt turnoff to a panorama site with views of the Mojave Valley, the Colorado River and California beyond.  The site is covered with small crosses and monuments to the dead.  The ground is too rocky for graves yet crosses and memorials dot hillside below the overlook.    A local custom is to scatter ashes of loved ones at the site, usually due to a last request by those who passed and had loved the area.  

I would love to study this Sitgreaves site, but we can’t turn around.  Time on this leg of the trip is dominating our plans.  A short photo op and again we are rolling past the sage, rocks, and sand.  Thinking back, I had seen a similar cross-covered site a few weeks earlier above Cripple Creek, Colorado.  There the cross-on-the-hill placement started on the prominent point after cars plunged over.  Families would place memorials to those who died.  Later, as on Sitgreaves, loved ones would scatter ashes because of the beautiful vista from the point.  Both places pique one’s interests and suggest a need for learning more.  Both bring on sadness.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1  Route 66 jpg.jpg

Onward along Old Route 66 to Kingman, Phoenix and home.

On we drive – the clock commands us.  Another visit will be planned and we will return to this place and to the town and the ice cream in Olive’s Oatman’s Restaurant.  The history and the legends demand it of us.  Plus, there are the burros.

 

 

© J Byous Company 2018, All rights reserved

2 Comments

Filed under travel, Travel Photography, Uncategorized

It is a petite, striped rectangle of fabric

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

By Jim Byous

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.

 

 

© J Byous Company 2018, All rights reserved

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Rewrite for Progeny

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

By Jim Byous

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.

1 1 BYO_5954 cp sm

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

To subscribe click the “follow” button a the lower right of your screen.

 

 

© J Byous Company 2018, All rights reserved

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized