Wednesday, January 30, 2008

red guitar

This photo of Kelsey was taken last Sunday after church. I had been on Bruce Cornutt's worship team that day. Kelsey enjoyed it so much that she came right home and started strumming on the little red guitar she got for Christmas. I noticed Kelsey several times at the foot of the stage during warm-up, looking up at me smiling and dancing.
Worship has been increasingly good at the Gadsden Vineyard as of late. Scott Parker's team played the Sunday before last. My mother told me that the week before went well as well. All kinds of ministry has been taking place as of late. I can't describe it other than saying God has been showing up. Maybe we are experiencing a new work in 2008. I may be wrong but here's what's been running through my head the past few weeks: Maybe God's freeing us up of our personal baggage so that we can better serve Him and pour attention onto other's needs. We don't need to be so self consumed with our own wounds. I can sense stuff popping and breaking during these past two services. God is on the move. Like the song says - we need to STAND BACK.
Usually, being on worship teams, we show up around 9:00 am and plug in. Bruce had a stack of songs to sift through. During this time, there are songs that go to the floor and songs that stay on the music stand. The songs that stay on the stand are the ones that usually seem to just come together - when all the sounds roll into a unified synch.

Everything was hot during warm up and simply poured into the morning service. Worship teams used to have practice but we quit that a long time ago. It's not practice or rehearsal to me - there's no going over songs to in order to get them sounding right. The song line-up is solidified during this time and it's all worship. I love being on worship teams with my friends because it's all worship to me, we just get started worshipping a little earlier.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

looney toon kelsey

Five years ago - Gina gave birth to a Warner Brother's cartoon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

the line up

Children of Mr. Burruss & Mrs. Jennie Wait Foster Finlayson
Cheraw, South Carolina (Chesterfield County)
from youngest to oldest:

Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson (Pat)
Henry Westbrook Finlaysosn (Westbrook)
Jennie Llewellyn Finlayson Guyton (Jennie Llew)
James Murdoch Finlayson (Murdoch)
Burruss Wofford Finlayson (Wofford)
Florence Foster Finlayson (Florence)
Rutha Wait Finlayson Dyal (Rutha)

Monday, January 21, 2008

a quick glimpse back to Cheraw

I've heard a great deal down through the years - about where the Finlaysons spent most of their childhood in Cheraw. It's hard to picture my father as a young boy. Most of the images that I have are not very clear. One of these pictures is of the baseball field where all the Cheraw kids would meet and play...truly a field of dreams if there ever was one. My dad and his siblings looked back upon that particular spot with wonderful memories - which seemed to be where most of their childhood played out. Surely, this is a photo that could have inspired Norman Rockwell to capture in light and color - or Frank Capra to bring to life with sound and motion.

Their faces are not clear, but it's easy to pick out dad. He's the energetic ump on crutches. Even though my dad, aka: Westbrook, had polio since he was ten months old, he was never to my understanding on the outside looking in. He became Robin Hood and the neighborhood kids became his Merry Men. They'd pull him around in a little wagon...there was not a place in Cheraw that a child could venture- that he could not go. Young Westbrook became the organizer of many games and childhood adventures.

The picture above was a treat first to see...the actual lot I had heard tell so much of. This might be the very spot that Dad found ways to work and play far beyond his affliction. Here might be where he realized that his future wasn't handicapped because of his limbs and those little wooden crutches. He always had a crew of friends that would run the ball when it was his time to hit. He later grew in life beyond the struggle of that little field of dreams - and yes - he always had trusty comrades till the end. He was always in the game.

Even though it was that very lot where my father nearly died - it was from that lot which yielded a fine crop of memories. There was that bad day. My Uncle Murdoch tells a story that Westbrook was sitting on the sidewalk by the field playing with fireworks (I had heard once that dad was sitting in a wagon). I believe they were called Sidewalk Devils (or Devil on the Sidewalk). Anyway - this particular firework did not have a fuse to light but rather like a stick that one would strike like a match. It was one of these firecrackers that was lit and caught young Westbrook on fire. Murdoch became the hero that day...what can I say but no greater love. He heard my father's screams and ran over to him - tried to put him out with his bare hands. I believe it was an uncle who grabbed a bucket of water from behind the store (from half a block away) and put the fire out. It is my understanding that some of my dad's other siblings were there that day. A terrible thing for a child to go through - a terrible thing for children to witness.

Nevertheless - in spite of that tragic accident - growing up in that small Pee Dee River town were cherished days of wonder for my father. Isn't that something? It's been a long time since I've touch the scars that engulf my fathers legs...seen what it did to his torso. I'd sit at the foot of his bed and massage those small legs that had been strapped to those steel braces throughout a long day. He just plowed from one end of life to the other - loving his wife, his kids, going to work, and preaching holiness every chance he got.

Now most of us have tendencies to put those loved ones who have gone before upon perfect pedestals. All men have flaws and weaknesses and my dad had his share -like I have mine - like we all do. But I see a boy here in these pictures that I clearly recognize - not because of afflictions, hardships, and crutches - but a smile that lasted through out a lifetime.

good bye old van

she was a good helper
i never knew her in the day
when she was new
without a scratch
i bought her used
but in good shape
and kept her up the best i could
years of hauling
all over
in town and out
we went everywhere
we went far
can't help feeling the loss
she drove me
family and friends
up the mountain to the drive-in
she could pack many a folding chair
her bumper was nailed from behind
just last Summer on Katie's graduation day
i had to bungee and tape it
to keep in on
to keep her poor plastic bottom from dragging the road
there's dents and scratches all over her
i can't count
paint flaking
rust exposed
and yet
she kept going
but it was a short death
she didn't not go quietly
she screamed
and clanked
and finally
her last haul
bringing me and my little ones
safely home

so here i am
empty pockets
not knowing how i'm going to get along
without you
without my old van
goodbye old friend

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

crackerjack outfit - 1900 team

Here's the image of Pembroke Finlayson (referred to as Pem) when his family was still living in Cheraw, South Carolina - before his dad made the move to Brooklyn. You can read about Pembroke if you flip back a blog page. This is the photo that used to hang over my bed growing up. My grandfather Burruss Finlayson is in this old Charlotte Observer (Sunday, June 26,1955)

-CRACKERJACK OUTFIT - This 1900 team was one of Cheraw's finest baseball clubs. Seated left to right are Fish Saunders, Bob Hudgens, Bob Tomlinson, Pem Finlayson, Wilson Malloy, Walter Duvall and John Evans. Standing left to right are Goat Powell, Edward McIver, Harry Finlayson, W.P. Pollack, Burruss Finlayson, and Edwin Malloy -

So this paper dates Pembroke in Cheraw at age of 10. He's the youngster in center front of the above photo. My grandfather Burruss Finlayson was (if my math is correct...and it usually isn't) about 32 years old at the time this picture was taken. Burruss was born in 1868. Harry I can only guess is what folks called Henry Wright Finlayson (Pem's PaPa).

Burruss Finlayson's 2nd Street Store in Cheraw, SC (circa 1904-1909)
My dad and his family grew up in Cheraw where my grandfather had a dry goods store। My great-great grandparents are Murdoch Uriah Finlayson (b.1835-d.1932) and Martha Lucinda Pate. It was Murdoch who moved to Cheraw, SC (Chesterfield County) when Burruss was jest a pup. M.U. Finlayson was the Finlayson that moved to Chesterfield County from Wilmington, NC. You can refer to previous posts.

Family Bible records say that Murdoch's parents were Daniel Finlayson and Charity Westbrook। It was Daniel that made the big trip to America but I know nothing of him. There's a small crop Finlayson's scattered in North Carolina and I know that most are somehow but how? I sure wish I knew more about Daniel. Family records indicate that he died in Princeton, NC (formerly Bucks Swamp). Here's something else, you can't just look in one county when you're digging through census records because county lines back then shifted. You can find the same families in Robeson, Cumberland, Wayne, and Johnston Counties. It can get pretty confusing.

Maybe a fellow time traveler...a distant cousin will Google the name Finlayson North Carolina or Finlayson South Carolina and find this blog. Maybe we can compare notes or I'll get lucky enough to have someone introduce me to that man I've been hunting down through the years, the right Daniel...find out a little more about my grandparents than the names scrawled in an old Bible. Daniel...Charity....where are you?

this friday night

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, every time I play at The Coffee Vine Cafe', something unique happens. Basically what happens is that the music usually turns to worship and God shows up (Psalms 22:3). I have not been attempting to turn this coffeehouse venue into a church service or to lead patrons into worship but merely worship with the band on stage. I can't describe it exactly, but His presence is there and people are drawn to it like an aroma.

There's been a demand for more nights like this and I personally can't do it every weekend. What A.J. and I are going to do is present Aroma Fridays every third Friday night of the month. We are going to use Vineyard teams to start...until we get a handle on things. In the future we will invite different worship bands from area churchs to come and worship on stage. This Friday (18th) Brook Finlayson will be taking the stage with Liz Wood and West Finlayson. Do keep this in your prayers and plan on attending if you can.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Isabel Finlayson Bridgers

Genealogy is like falling down the family tree, you never know what branch you are going to hit during your quest. I haven't had much luck at finding someone that I've specifically look for but rather discover kin in my perifrial vision. It's like Forrest Gumps box of chocolates...

Isabel is the daughter of Daniel and Charity Finlayson, my great-great grandparents - so that makes Isabel my great-grand aunt (Murdoch Uriah's youngest sister among a family of six children). Not too long ago I met a fellow time traveler on-line who is a distant cousin. His name is Lewis Caroll. He is a descendant of John Crawford Bridgers and Isabel Finlayson Bridgers. Pretty neat huh? Lewis emailed me some interesting photos back during the Summer. Here goes:


Well, I have some great news! I have finally found my family's stash of old photographs! I am on my way out the door, but I wanted to get these to you!
Liza Bridgers McCullen and family. She is the one holding the baby. Her husband George is next to her. My great-grandmother Dora is standing behind/between them. The baby and three boys are Dora's siblings. The older woman is George's mother.

Tintypes of Liza and her husband...1880's.

Liza is the daughter of Isabella Finlayson Bridgers. You are an actual Finlayson...does she have any Finlayson looks?

More to come...I am interested in your response!

USN losses in WWII

Link to list of United States Naval losses during WWII

James Murdoch Finlayson's story

I would really like to sit down and ask Murdoch some questions. He's still kicking, living with his sister Jennie Llew Guyton and brother Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson in Columbia, South Carolina. My sister Jennie told me this past Christmas that Murdoch is 96 years old. I really wish I could drive over to Columbia for a weekend and ask some questions and record some history. They all have had such interesting and wonderful lives. My last visit to Columbia, SC was seven years ago. I don't get out much. At that time I was with my wife and then four year old daughter Katie. I wasn't prepared then with a recorder and wish now that I had more advantage of the opportunity.

I ran across a letter today that uncle Murdoch sent me four or five years back. It's a brief account of his WWII experience. I also have some photos of him that perchance some of my siblings haven't seen. The following is my uncle J.M. Finlayson's WWII service account.

"...I was working for Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), headquarters as a Chief Associate. It was my first U.S. government job after graduating from University of South Carolina. As the war progressed, a man came in the office and said “You fellows have no worries – you are frozen to your jobs – but the next day we were told to select the branch of service we wanted!!! I didn’t have time to even apply for a commission! I found myself in the Navy as a Storekeeper 2C. – then on up through the ranks SK 1C, Chief SK, Warrant Officer, then Commissioned Warrant Officer, I am glad I served in all those; some of it good, some bad.

I went overseas on an LST (248), via Bermuda, Gibraltar, Algiers and Tunisia (North Africa) – Sicily - Bizerte. I had my first experience in an air raid in Algiers – May 1st, injury in a fall. Then when we moved to Bizerta, 2nd fall in air raid in Bizerte. I experienced one to four air raids for seven straight weeks – then to England for D-Day maneuvers.

I was one of the Navy men England appreciated by granting “special return” on the Queen Mary and a march down 5th Avenue in New York! I was not the fortunate one seen kissing that girl. You see that on old TV films.

I remained in the Naval Reserve for nine years thereafter – duty in New York City, Air Force Penn, and New Orleans.

In closing I want you and Brooky to have my war medals and related material at a later date. Well, you have a brief account now. – Love Murdoch"

Murdoch- Not only do your nieces and nephews love and miss you...we are proud of you! -David

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Someone at an LST blog site emailed me this jpeg of Pat's ship. As I mentioned earlier, you can read 312 on the ship on the bottom right. Pretty cool huh?

"In the early morning hours of the 10th of June, 1944, a low flying German twin engine bomber was spotted. The 40-mm gun crew on the PC-619 commenced firing and the Heinkel HE-177 was shot down. The crew picked up the only survivor, a waist-turret gunner, who had parachuted to safety before the Heinkel hit the water. The prisoner, Hermann Goldenbaum, a Luftwaffe airman, was the only survivor of a crew of six. Eventually, Airman Goldenbaum was transfered to the LST-312, taken to Calshot, England and later to prison camps in Illinois and Idaho until the wars end." - Navsource Online

Saturday, 8th of June, 1944, "July Tank landing ships LST-312 and LST-384 are damaged by V-1 rocket-bomb while moored at Naval Advance Amphibious Base, Deptford, England."
-The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy during WWII

"Rear Admiral Alan G. Kirk, USN (right center, with hand on bulwark edge), Commander Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet with Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox (using binoculars) and British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden (right) during an inspection of his command, 25 March 1943. They observing the unloading of tank landing ships (LSTs). Also present are (from left center to center): Captain L.S. Perry, USN (Aide to Secretary Knox); Commander W.D. Wright, USN; and an unidentified British Naval officer. Boat on davits behind them is an LCP(R). Markings on the boat indicates that they are on board USS LST-312. Official U.S. Navy" -Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Monday, January 7, 2008

more about uncle Pat

War time photograph of my uncle Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson. Westbrook's kids here in Gadsden call him uncle Pat but to his brother's and sister's he's called Ainsworth. It fun to here aunt Jennie Llew Guytonget on to him and call out "AIIIIINSWORTH!" in mild disgust. It makes his name sound kind of dirty for some reason. I was thinking about this photo when posting yesterday and went searching for it late Monday evening.
I found an image online about a year ago of Pat's LST amid a dozen other LST's on Omaha Beach. They had the file protected so that I couldn't copy it. The numbers 312 can easily be seen and I was able to put my finger on the screen and say, "there's my uncle Pat!" One had to realize at the time what an monumental day that be a part of that enormous invasion...scary as hell...never the less...monumental.

The above image isn't Pat's ship, so if you want to see here>Pat's LST<'ll then need to click on the small image on that page in order to read the numbers on the hull. You'll then be able to see the 312 markings clearly seen on the far right. I'm going to try to purchase a copy from the National Archives.

a V1 and a certain LST

USS LST-312 Landing Ship Salerno, July 8, 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb
One of eleven LSTs damaged by enemy action during the Normandy Campaign

My uncle Pat (Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson) served in the Navy during WWII. I mentioned this in an earlier blog. Here is the USS LST-312 that was hit by a V2 gliderbomb while docked. Pat was off the ship when his LST was hit. I found this photo of the damage. Pat called me last Friday and we talked for about an hour. I told him about the photo and he said his quarters were beneath the deck, right where the bomb hit. A fellow officer which was his friend and bunk mate was on board when the V2 hit and died. Unlce Pat said it took them a month to get the ship back to the States for repairs. They were constantly working on the ships engines.
Laid down - September 7, 1942
Launched - December 30, 1942
Commissioned - USS LST 312 January 9, 1942
Lt. Charles L. Haslup, USNR, in command.

During World War II the USS LST-312 was assigned to the European Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

Sicilian occupation - July 1943
Salerno landings - September 1943
Invasion of Normandy (Gold Beach) June 1943

Awards, Citations and Campain Ribbons
American Campain Medal, Europe
Africa-Middle East Campain Medal (3)
World War II Victory Medal.

Decommisioned - July 12, 1946
Struck from the Naval Register - August 15, 1946
Final Disposition - Sold December 13, 1947 to James A. Hughes New York for scrapping.
More images of the USS LST-312 can can be found by clicking here.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Step Up Fred by David Limbaugh

The following is a very good article by Rush's brother David Limbaugh. I thought I'd share it with you all. - David

Step Up Fred - Conservatives Need You
Wednesday, January 2, 2008 7:44 AMBy: David Limbaugh

It's time to step up, Fred. Conservatives need a leader about whom we have no major reservations. The only one looming out there about you is your failure, so far, to persuade voters you want the job. All of the GOP candidates are vastly superior to all of the Democrat candidates, but here's the way I see the field now.

Rudy is a strong leader and very good on national security and the war. But he is a social-issues liberal, whose pledge to appoint originalist judges is encouraging, but not completely convincing.
John McCain is a war hero and a patriot. He has been strong on Iraq but disappointing on Guantanamo, tough interrogation techniques, and other war-related issues. He is not a supply-sider and is abysmally, obviously, on campaign finance reform and thus free speech.
Also profoundly troubling is his history of sycophancy toward the liberal media elite and, in turn, their sporadic love affair with him.
Mike Huckabee, I believe, is a strong and sincere Christian. That means a lot to me. It doesn't bother me that he wears it on his sleeve, assuming he's not being exploitive of his religion, and there, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Every candidate's worldview guides his beliefs and agenda, and it would be far worse for Huckabee to deny the strong influence of his worldview in forming his identity and contributing to his ideology. It's one thing to be upset with Huckabee if you believe he has used his Christian credentials subtly to highlight and demean Mitt Romney's Mormonism, but I don't believe that's what he's done. Christians shouldn't be accused of attacking other faiths when they are simply promoting their own. My problems with Huckabee concern his political agenda. Huckabee is probably the strongest social-issues conservative, and since his views are driven by his strong faith, I don't fear he'll change for expediency or other reasons. But it does bother me that he appears to believe, erroneously, in my opinion, that his faith requires him to endorse an unacceptably expansive role for government. Extremely problematic are his views on foreign policy, applying Golden Rule principles to implacable, deadly terrorists and dictators and sometimes even convicted murderers; his nanny-state, big-government tendencies, including advocating a federal smoking ban, greater government involvement in healthcare, and opposing school choice; his ambiguous record on taxes; and his pandering to liberals on global warming and class warfare, especially in borrowing from their lexicon to pile on George Bush concerning his approach to Democrats and to foreign policy, Mitt Romney is a man I've warmed to as the campaign has unfolded. I began with great skepticism because of his major, far-too-recent flips on major issues. Certain aspects of his record, even after his conversion, cast doubt on his commitment to the unborn and traditional marriage. He also strikes me as a bit too coiffed, too robotic and too much of a politician. But I do see Romney as a very likeable man who is saying almost all of the right things, pun intended, and who, if he is the man he holds himself to be, will make a great president.
That leaves us with Fred Thompson.
I must confess that Fred is the only one I don't have major reservations about apart from his electability. Yes, I worry that he supported McCain-Feingold and that he might not be a strong supply-sider. But on most issues, he seems reliably conservative and appears to have a solid and strong character. I do believe that with Fred, we know what we are getting. I find his lack of "fire in the belly" refreshing. He strikes me as one of the few presidential candidates since Ronald Reagan whose primary motivation is not personal aggrandizement but rather serving and leading the nation in very troubled and dangerous times. I see him as almost being drafted into this project, and his refusal to drool publicly over the prospect of becoming the most powerful man in the world is positively delightful. That said, he needs to make a more convincing case to the voters, which will require a greater display of enthusiasm that he views these as both perilous and promising times and that he is the best man, overall, to navigate the ship of state through these times.
So, Fred, please, as distasteful as it may be to you, it's time to step up and prove you want it. Time is short.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author, and attorney. His book "Bankrupt: The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of Today's Democratic Party" (Regnery) was recently released in paperback. To find out more about David Limbaugh, please visit his Web site at © 2008 Creator's Syndicate Inc.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

one more down - eternity to go

i sat on a folding chair in my driveway this morning
a cold night
drawn out by the sounds of the new year's fireworks
children laughing outside somewhere in this dark
beyond the trees
beyond their bedtimes
fireworks scream
pops and crackles in the cold newborn year
i sit and listen
can't see the colorful flairing lights
only the noise and neighborhood excitement
enjoyment at someone else's expense
my wife and children are in bed
just another day tomorrow
i draw on my occasional black and mild
look into heavens clear night
the patterns my Father once made with light
another year down into the history books
people lived and died
young and old
yet i have survived
by the grace of God
my family well and warm inside asleep
a wind rustles through the trees
i know it's coming for me
it rushes
i can hear countless dead leaves
rushing like waves in the woods
from it's blast
i brace myself for her wintery touch
i never saw the fireworks this year
never saw anything impressive that man set off
all man's glory is but a brief flash and pop
i do see God's handiwork out here
i do see those ancient stars
how could anyone not believe
as the seasons change around us
life death and life again
now we are celebrating the new year
amid a dark and cold night
get back to work
go back to the day in and day out
until we bid another year farewell
one more down tonight
i will look into the mirror
and alway see an older man
tired eyes gazing back
less youth
but inside
i still feel the man i once had been
inside i think
i should not look this way
look the way i feel
the mirror here on earth
will continue to age me
but one day
i will awake to a new world
rather than a new year
i will look into heaven's mirror
see a man i finally recognize
the man i knew i always should've been
a passage of time and life
through the valleys of life i have come
just on the other side of that shadow of death
i'll see that new day and truly rejoice
it will not be a night like today
dark and with a bitter chill
behold He makes all things new