Saturday, June 28, 2008

some where in time

Mother, Brook, Florrie and I took a short driving tour around Cheraw late Thursday afternoon. At one point we pulled into a vacant lot between a bank and a filling station where Burruss & Jennie Wait Finlayson's home once stood. It was just a grassy clearing. I wanted to step back into time for a moment. Make my way up the steps and through the front door - perchance to hear the sounds from that family past. Pictures I've run across of the Cheraw Finlayson's just wet the appetite to want to know more about what their life was really like back then. But as we sat in the car for that moment, there was nothing there to anchor all those old images to this empty quiet place.

All we have are stones and stories from that day. Their bodies laid to rest leaving only their names etched above them. But we all know that there was more to each of their lives than that.

We all know that this isn't the end to man's story. Thank you Jesus.

The above picture was taken in and from that time. Here is a little Murdoch dancing with his little sister Jennie Llew. It's a very sweet picture - and the only way we each can find our way through that door. You can almost hear them from here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mayor of Five Points

A tribute to the
"Mayor of Five Points"
Murdoch Finlayson
contributed by: John Wrisley
from the Columbia Star

Columbia, South Carolina
June 27, 2008
He was the courtly white- haired gentleman who ambled through Five Points several times a week dressed always in jacket and necktie. His gait slowed when he reached his 90s, and he carried an umbrella which he used as a cane. J. Murdoch Finlayson was laid to rest at the old St. David Cemetery in his native Cheraw just before noon on June 19, 2008. He would have been 97 in November.

Murdoch was informally known as the "Mayor of Five Points," and he had a sharp eye for the loose change people tend to scatter in their wake. He was by no means in need of this "found money," but his early career in the days of the Great Depression taught him the knack of frugality. He graduated from USC's School of Commerce in 1935 and paid his way through school with several jobs, among them- an amending clerk in the S.C. Senate.

Prior to World War II Finlayson worked for the new Tennessee Valley Authority. Then he got into the thick of things in the Navy in the war, from the North African shores in 1943 to the D- Day landings at Normandy in June, 1944.

He returned to his life as a man of business after the war and eventually retired to his house on Duncan street upon retirement. His saunters were longer than most people knew, for he usually walked from his home and back again. He never owned a driver's license and relied on buses or family when he wished to go further a- field.

On his 93rd birthday a friend gave him a 1911 dime. (The year of his birth.) "Murdoch," said the friend, "I found this today on the street at Five Points. I was walking in your territory, so I really think it belongs to you!" Finlayson did not question the report but happily accepted the coin to add to his collection of "found money."

His many area friends will appreciate the thoughtfulness of his family who buried him with coins in his pocket and his trusty cane/ umbrella at his side. Rest in peace Mr. Finlayson! You'll be missed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the golden hydrant

The men at the scene of the accident said that the price of repair shouldn't be too much. The hydrant Gina struck didn't have to be replaced but did need new bolts and a sealing ring in order to reattach. There was labor involved but couldn't have taken too long. By the time I got down to the car (an hour later) the hydrant was back up on the corner with shiny new bolts showing. Gina got a call a few minutes ago from someone with the city water works. Those are some expensive bolts!

Cost of reconnecting a fire hydrant in downtown Gadsden? $1,297.61.
The look on my face when told what the repair cost?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

a murdoch story

As Brook, Mom, Florrie & I were driving around Cheraw last Thursday, an old Murdoch story surfaced. Murdoch used to have property in Myrtle Beach, SC, in an area called Cherry Grove. Once, while returning to his little beach cottage he found a arsenal of small arms under his bed. There were machine guns, hand guns, carbines, etc. Someone had apparently broken into his home and used his bed as a weapon's stash. Murdoch got on the phone and called the police immediately. When the officers arrived, they looked under the bed and discovered that the weapons were plastic - of the toy gun variety. Everyone got a laugh out of it and it still draws a chuckle thinking back on it. I remember as as kid, hearing that story told, and asked Murdoch why he didn't think to save that weapons stash for his nephew.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

younger murdoch

Last Friday afternoon while visiting in Columbia, my cousin Beverly Triber (Wofford & Edith Finlayson's daughter) gave me this photo of Murdoch. I have no idea as to how old he was in this picture but probably taken before the war. He appears to be in his later twenties or very early thirties. If any knowledgeable kin knows - let me know. Thank you Beverly, it's the first time I've ever seen this image.

Murdoch @ Pat's House

Monday, June 23, 2008

South Carolina

I took the family to Cheraw last week. It was a long haul and Gina and I were amazed at how well our daughters Katie and Kelsey handled the trip. The grave-side service was Thursday morning at 11:00am. We stayed at a hotel in the old town section (Inn Cheraw)and St. Davids was only a few blocks away. Brook, Florrie, and mother had arrived at the hotel earlier. Thursday, we dressed and drove over to meet up with Jennie Llew and Pat. It was nice to see Don, Jennie and Foster were there too. I enjoyed being around family - even though time was short.

We drove over to a buffet style restaurant and spent a few hours talking. Still not enough time to meet but it was nice being together and being family. My cousin Beverly Triber (Wofford's daughter) had driven Jennie Llew and Pat to and from Columbia. We were invited to all drive down to West Columbia and spend a little more time on Friday. We got to see where they live as well as enjoy some incredible barbecue at Maurice's Gourmet Barbecue. I highly recommend it. They serve a yellow barbecue (mustard based) sauce that is outstanding! So next time you're in the area, you'll find a Maurice's peppered throughout the Columbia area. Don't forget to order the onion rings.

We all parted ways in the parking lot of Maurices. Gina wanted to spend a few extra days somewhere, to make it a mini vacation, simply because we can't get away that often. We spent the extra time doing nothing particularly special. I had a difficult time sleeping every night that I was away and so every day got progressively difficult to make it through the day. Maybe I am not the vacation sort. We arrived back Sunday afternoon and I found my rest and relaxation back at home. I guess I am a terrible vacationer - I told Gina that she needed to travel with someone else next time she wants to venture forth. It seems as if we in modern days like to spend our vacations driving long distances, shopping at franchised establishments, and going to over-populated events for fun. For the young ones in the back, every thing was a great adventure. For me - I am just glad to be back home.
I got to stay home Monday and sleep a little late. I did have to go downtown to have the Caravan towed. Gina, during lunch, hit a curb and ran over a fire hydrant. Her story is still a little fuzzy but her account is that she was having a bad day. When she has a bad day - she knows how to have them. Damage so far is unknown. I don't know if the frame is bent but there is a good bit of exterior damage on the front passenger side. The door won't open and loud yellow fire hydrant paint runs along the side panel. I just bought four new tires and four used wheels from Baker Tire Company. I just found out that the tie-rod is going to have to be replaced. Still - how is the frame? I know that the van is totalled out and here I am putting new wheels on it. Such is life. Last Thursday, Don was telling me how he had to spend over $900.00 to fix his Jeep A/C and then a few weeks later a deer totaled out his car. I can only hope the deer died. So right now I am going through the motions...hoping that I am not throwing good money after bad. Gina had told me over the phone that the damage didn't look too bad and that repairs shouldn't cost that much. Haven't we been to the body shop enough times to know that even the little dents and scratches can carry a HUGE price tag?
Deep down inside I am crying.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

an email from Pat

The drive to Cheraw was long but pleasant. The afternoon was warm at the grave-side service and it was good to see those familiar faces. Words were given, kind and well spoken. God was glorified and a good man remembered. Family gathered at a local restaurant afterwards and we all sat there and talked for a few hours. We were invited down to Columbia, SC to continue our time with Jennie Llew and Pat. Pat told me that and email should be waiting for me. I will share it with you. Do keep my aunt and uncle in your prayers.

David: I just finished writing a lengthy reply to this email from you, when I accidentally hit some wrong keys or failed to heed some pop-up. In to lost forever went my message - something that happens to me quite frequently. I won't and can't attempt to remember and re-write all I said in it. I want to get to Murdoch's funeral graveside service tomorrow on time. I did, however, enjoy your blog with that beautiful rendition of Softly and Tenderly Jesus is calling ... by a beautiful voice giving it just the right treatment. My eyes welled-up with tears, as they, no doubt, will tomorrow morning . Funerals of family members and other loved ones are just so hard for me to take. Murdoch and I were so inseparable over our time in life together. Even World War 2 and the Navy didn't keep us apart. And one never gets too old to mourn and cry. I have loved both my parents, Evelyn Bland, and all 6 of my siblings for e verything that I knew and saw in each of them - too much to make comparisons. I feel greatly blessed by God for each of them, and especially the brothers who have helped in adding new generations or giving us a family-at-large. I love and appreciate the in-laws who have been so loyal and faithful to their marriage vows in each generation. When we think of all this, we are a wonderfully God-blessed family-at-large. Do you agree?

I love you all - and let's pray for our safety, going and returning to our respective homes after we have paid our loving respects to good ol' Murdoch and have a happy reunion together in our old SC home town, knowing Mother, Papa, Evelyn, Wofford, Westbrook, Florence, Rutha, and Murdoch will all be with us in spirit, as well.

Murdoch, Jennie Llew, and Pat
July of 2007

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The State obit for Murdoch

James Murdoch Finlayson
WEST COLUMBIA — A graveside service for James Murdoch Finlayson, 96, of Still Hopes Retirement Community, will be held Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in Old St. David’s Cemetery, Cheraw, S.C., conducted by Rev. Edward Laney Davidson. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family.
Mr. Finlayson died Tuesday, June 17, 2008, in Providence Hospital. Born in Cheraw, November 4, 1911, he was a son of the late Burruss and Jennie Wait Foster Finlayson. After graduation from Cheraw High School, he entered the University of South Carolina, graduating in 1935 from the School of Commerce. During the depth of the Depression, he held several jobs throughout the Columbia area. Among these was one as an amending clerk in the Senate. All of these aided in his school expenses. Between his USC graduation and the start of WW II, Finlayson worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority. He served as a warrant officer with the U.S. Navy during the war and was a member of its amphibious forces and their headquarters operations along the North African shores in 1943. Later, these headquarters and operations moved to England’s shores for the D-Day landings at Normandy, June 6, 1944. Mr. Finlayson was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church, Cheraw.
Mr. Finlayson is survived by a sister, Jennie Llew (Mrs. Clarence Lee Guyton); a brother, Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson; niece, Beverly Finlayson Triber of Columbia; great-nephews, Philip Triber of Columbia and Charles Wofford Triber of Ashville, N.C.; sister-in-law, Mrs. H. Westbrook Finlayson, Sr.; and many nieces and nephews in Gadsden, Ala. He was predeceased by two sisters, Rutha Wait (Mrs. Ernest Dyal) and Florence Foster Finlayson; two brothers, B. Wofford Finlayson and Henry Westbrook Finlayson.

South Carolina's Newspaper
The State
June 18, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Keith Moon

I've listened to The Who most of my life. Brook was the one that brought all their LP's into the house and played them on a cheap stereo we had hidden behind the livingroom sofe. I listened to The Who because that's what Brook listened to all the time. I became a fan because I had been saturated time after time, lost in that vast sound that four piece band made...and the songs!

Each member of this band brought their own genius into the mix. The Who lost their drummer Keith Moon to drugs. I have listened to THE WHO for well over thirty years but the more I watch them play - I am blown away by their stage presence and the way in which each handled their instrument. Keith is down right fun to watch play. The guy was phenominal and so into each moment. If you've got time, call up some Who performances and watch them as they play. It a pleasure just watching them play. I found this YouTube clip of Pete, John @ Roger talking about their old friend Keith. If you happen to be a fan of The Who - you might enjoy the next couple of minutes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

goodbye murdoch

Last week we got a call that uncle Murdoch had been taken to the hospital. Then a call that he had be diagnosed with cancer. This morning we got the call that Murdoch went home.

We love you Murdoch - we will miss you.

I've written about Murdock recently. You can revisit these post at and at

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

happy birthday Katie

Weeks of cleaning up the yard for a Narnia party kind of fizzled because of the rain. No biggy - the yard was in dire need of attention. The odd thing is that the rest of the county got nailed with heavy rain except for our immediate neighborhood. I looked out the window as the party rolled on inside, we got a steady light shower and I thought about how much God must love Katie. Katie and her friends were still able to cook their hot dogs over the open fire. They still got to jump on the trampoline and run around outside a little. It's 10:20 now. All the grown-ups are gone and the girls have the basement to themselves. They've got a movie going, pretending to be Narnian girl-warriors, dubbing each other or whacking each other with Nerf swords. No, the party theme wasn't played out to the hilt - but I only had so much time and so much energy. That's okay, because the kid's imagination makes up the rest.

The party kicked off a little over five hours ago. We invited everyone for the kick-off cookout. Beef hot dogs and ground chuck burgers. We had lots of fixings and Mary Hale made a fantastic cake for the event. Our house was full of conversations and laughter. Gina and I were worn to the bone but being with family gave us an extra lift. Gina's leg is still bothering her. She's got a terrible rash that keeps spreading. It's either from the poison ivy she was exposed to earlier in the week or from that bite she got while cleaning around the wood pile. Last Sunday I took her to Doctor's Medcare on Rainbow Drive and she got some shots. I am wondering if maybe she's having an alergic reaction to the shots she received from the antibiotics.

She went to bed a little while ago. She is feeling itchy and miserable. She worked very hard today to make the party all that it was. My mother and Irene stayed a little longer and helped clean the kitchen. It was really sweet of them. You don't really expect party guest to pitch in like that - but they usually do at such events. Robby, Irene and I sat at the kitchen table for a while and talked for a nice long while. I don't get to talk with them that much and it was pleasant.

Brook and Jennifer came by for a few hours. Brook brought his new Taylor guitar. It's probably one the prettiest instruments I've seen in a very long time. It had a wonderful-full sound and it is a nice extension for his talents. I don't get to see family that much, so it's always nice to just be in the same room and hear Jennifer talk about this and that. Strick sat on the couch, waiting to take off with Betty Hale (Gina's mom) to the dance. Strick was the first guest to show. He sat on the deck as I cooked the meat. I am always a little intimidated by James Strickland because he's the man when it comes to cook outs. Strick used to own Little Giant Meats in Rainbow City. He had a fantastic fish fry last weekend. This man can cook.

It was a hard week and a hard day, but the party was a lot of fun. The party is still going downstairs - it will probably burn late into the night. I don't know what's in store. I don't count on sleep. I've never had that many twelve year old's in the house after dark.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

trampoline from hell

Gina took off work today to help me clean the house a little as well as erect Katie's birthday present - a trampoline. It was a terrible project. I hope it stays together.

Gina had asked her mother to mind the office today, primarily mind the phones. About thirty minutes ago, while Gina was climbing down from helping me put up the net, she decided to call her mother to see how she was doing. She also decided to put on her shoes while talking to her mother, while balancing on the edge of the trampoline. Bad idea.

I was on the other side, outside of the trampoline balancing on a ladder and my attention was on wrapping some bungee cords around some cheap looking straps supplied by the manufacturer. Any how, I heard a bad noise, Gina had fallen while multitasking on the edge of the trampoline. For a minute there I thought I was going to have to have an ambulance come for her. She lay there all dirty and still - making terrible dying noises. She asked me to see if there was any blood and all I saw was dirt and tears. If I touched her or prodded a little - she would whale in pain. I should have used a stick instead.

Katie and Kelsey stood around looking down helplessly. I stood there helplessly as well. I asked her if she wanted an ambulance and she said no. She just made awful noises for about fifteen to twenty minutes. After about five minutes the girls asked if they could jump on the trampoline. I guess if their mother had died there, they would have found some solace in the trampoline. After about five more minutes Gina quit making the awful dying noises and then sat up. The girls asked mommy if she would like to jump on the trampoline. Mommy declined. I came in to cool off and get away from the trampoline from hell. I am still a little unnerved by the incident.

Monday, June 9, 2008

regarding republicans

i wonder when republicans are going to get some kahunas
they seem to get the ball and drop it every time
they want the press to like them
they want to get along
they don't seem to grasp the big picture
they try to play the democrat's game
cross the isle
and end up giving the game away
let the other side set the agenda
trust me lucy says
and charlie falls for it every time
trust me
and we watch over and over again
our supposedly conservative representatives
throw in the towel
we need men
players who don't mind the pain
head to head
in the mud struggle
who know how to stand
how to fight
in the war of ideology
where the hell are they?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

about democrats

democrats are a compassionate people
with other people's money

Saturday, June 7, 2008

weekend interlude

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, June 6, 2008

rambling mind of friday

J Holland called me yesterday (Thursday) and asked if I'd sit in on his program this morning. I woke up early and headed for town. I found him situated on the comfy couch at The Grind Coffeehouse on Court Street. It was a pleasant morning. I didn't contribute much as his temporary co-host temp but enjoyed hanging out with him. The coffee was great and the time flew by. I'd like to do a little more of it and get my air-wave-legs.

J is a very talented fellow. I don't know of anyone who is so knowledgeable when it comes to local - state - and national politics. He's pretty keen when it comes to history. He's a wonderful conversationalist and all around smart guy. We've worked on many campaigns over the past dozen years and he's a pleasure to work along side. Our individual talents have always fit nicely together. I especially enjoy those times when we've had to start the late night pot of coffee and pull ad campaigns together out of thin air. We get serious, we get silly, we get creative, and we get'er done!

After the J's morning show, I went to the office where Gina and I focused on paperwork. It was a very productive day. No running in circles, just did everything in front of us. I came home early with the Katie & Kelsey. My poor feet are killing me.

I am getting up my nerve to go outside in a little bit as the weather cools (a little) and wash the windows out front. I don't care for being on ladders. Ladders make me think of my old friend Jim Thompson. He could climb atop the tallest of ladder sand stand on the very top rung. I once saw him climb up to change the lights in the skylight. I got woozy just watching him stand up there like that...just doing his business without having to have anything to hold on to. I bet he could have balanced upon a flag pole if he had the mind to. I love you Jim.

I'll be heading to the office tomorrow morning to mow the grass. Jose', I believe will be going there to build a ramp for our entrance. It's always nice seeing Jose'.

Have I ever mentioned how I once hated doing yard work? Yep, until recently I did. Yard work really isn't as bad if you've got the right tools. I know it all goes back to when I had to mow the humongous yard on Scenic Highway. Two acres worth of real-estate, most of which consisted of various degrees of slopes. All I had was a little push mower and it would take me five hours to mow that sucker. Dad wouldn't even spring for a chain drive mower. Just a Briggs & Straton on four small wheels. I'd mow half, take a thirty minute break and then finish it off.

I remember before weed-eaters, I'd go out and pull weeds from around the shrubs and twenty something pines that graced our yard. Every other Saturday meant an all day manicure for our yard. If memory serves, I think I got paid about $10.00 to mow our home yard and $6.00 to mow the office yard. I guess that was pretty good money for the mid to late seventies. I am sure that yard work is what kept me from being chubby in those days...a blessing in disguise.

So I don't really mind it today. I can nail our yard and the office yard in a reasonable amount of time and finish it off with a gas powered weed-eater and blower. Yard work isn't as grueling here in the new millennium.
Here's a blast from the past. This is a quick sketch of what my Dad had in the tool closet for weed-eating. It didn't take any instructions to figure how to work it. You'd just roll it along your weeded-way and squeeze the handles. It looked handy but it never worked. The only thing it did well was take up space in the tool closet for three decades. I settled for some hand held garden clippers any day. I once thought that this little device might make for an interesting pair of toenail clippers but never had any real luck with it. I never could get Cindy to sit still long enough for me to prove it's worth.

P.S. Cats did not like this contraption either.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

home work

Katie is turning 12 this month. She wants to have a party with her friends with a Narnian theme. Gina told me about the idea and that she wanted to do it at the Jim Martin Wildlife Park. After mentioning to Gina that I didn't think the CIty of Gadsden would be too keen on the idea of building a bonfire and having 12 year old girls have an archery contest at the park - I told her we'd try to turn our backyard some how into Cair Paravel.

I wasn't thinking at the time what that would first entail - cleaning our back yard. Now I don't know what to do with the pool area. A storm messed the liner up about three years ago and we haven't had the money to return it to its former glory. It's our hope to do something about it next year. It's what we keep telling each other every year.

I worked on the leaves this past weekend. I worked on the leaves much of today. Gina insisted that I go and buy a good blower. My old hand-held Craftsman froze up last year and we haven't had the money to get a new one. So when Gina insisted, I drove straight to Lowes, because Gina doesn't insist that I buy a tool that often. Especially the expensive kind. Even with my new Troybilt backpack blower (no oil/gas mix required), the job was still formidable. I made such a huge burn pile in the backyard that I was kind of scared to light it. Once I got it going, it didn't burn fast. It's done nothing but smolder through out the day. I will probably go out there tomorrow and try to get it burning some more.

Once all the leaves are gone, I am going to clear the ashes and erect Katie's birthday present. She's knows what she's getting. We told her because we wanted to make sure that it was going to be something she would definitely like...seeing how those things cost a lot. We also wanted her to be able to play with it with her friends on her birthday. Katie was very excited and went down to Academy Friday night to get it. By the way, anyone up for helping a goof assemble a trampoline? Egad, what have I gotten myself into.
I don't recall when the last time we've spent so much money on stuff. I bought a new set of tires for the Mazda MPV this past Saturday. Later in the day Saturday, Gina, Katie and I went to Lowes and bought a bug that could kill flying insects, including mosquitoes, across North East Alabama. As of late, we can't go outside without being attacked like Jap Zeros did at Paul Harvey...probably because of the dead pool water that I can't seemed to keep drained. While at Lowes, Gina wanted to purchase a half dozen yard torches, the Citronella kind. After's just money. We are not rich folk mind you.

Hopefully the backyard will shape up. I haven't been going to the office (off Mon - Wed)because of all the house cleaning and yard work. It's not a big yard but it's been un-kept for a very long time. It still doesn't look too good after all I've done. Maybe things will shape up soon.

Our garage is clean, new set of tires, and a new leaf blower. I've even had some time to enjoy being outside for a change. There's more work tomorrow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

touched by an Anglican

i arose very early while my girls slept
showered and hopped in the van with the a/c

drove the back way toward pell city
then 20 to birmingham
i didn't know where the church was
had left the directions accidentally behind me
knew i'd have to call russell once spider senses started tingling
closer to the church
closer to coventry anglican in alabaster
russell gave me good directions
i just didn't follow them to well
knowing me i had allowed for thirty minutes for getting lost
for such a small church
a little store front church
they had high church
something i have been distant from for very long
every thing was ritual and that's not a bad thing
God was present
and i was moved many times
i took a brand new song with me
didn't really want to play it but knew He wanted it sung
i knew when the time came
that i had heard right
and that the song was for a certain moment
after communion
friar russell seems to be doing well in his new place
God bless him
i told him he seemed to be ministering these day
more than struggling
he's a good and decent man
with a heart to love people
and serve his God
seldom difference
twixt the two

We all shared the Lord's Supper and then broke bread together after the service was over. It was nice seeing Russell & April again. I drove home in the rain. It was a nice morning but I was worn out and past ready to be home when I pulled into my driveway. I came in and announced my arrival and then fell asleep on the couch. I don't have the energy I once did and don't know if I am up to pulling many out of town Sunday's like today. I love to lead worship but I always feel worn out - poured out afterwards...especially when I have leave town to do so. It's 9:30 p.m. and I am still beat.