Saturday, January 31, 2009

brother & sister

Cheraw, South Carolina
The back of this photo is labeled Rutha and Westbrook. Rutha Wait Finlayson Dyal passed away in June of 1996. She was the older sibling of Burruss & Jennie Wait Finlayson. Rutha had married Ernest Cooke Dyle of McRae, GA. Earnest was murdered back in 1927. Rutha never remarried after the tragedy. It's another story I'll share in a future post. Aunt Rutha Dyal, like most of her siblings (whose mother was a music/piano teacher) was a singer too. I have some more information about aunt Rutha that I'll share later down the road. I've got to dig it up first.

Both of these photos show Westbrook in braces. The only time Dad wasn't in braces was when he was in bed. Can you imagine going through your entire life with cold steel strapped on was when he was bathing or in bed.  I remember the first time I realized Dad's braces as being a handicap was when our vacationing family were swerving high in the curvy roads of the Smoky Mountains. I don't know how old I was (I was little - mid sixties?), but I remember looking out the window and peering down into infinity - then looking over the seat to watch dad have to manually adjust his braces every time he switched foot from accelerator to brake. I remember looking out the window and looking back as he would adjust for the curves - and I screamed like a little girl.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Burruss Finlayson

I've been posting a good bit recently about my grandfather Burruss Finlayson. I thought I'd post a picture of him for you. This is the picture I saw of him the most growing up. It was framed and hanging in the old household at 2624 Scenic Hwy. I need to scan the other picture that hung on the wall - the Burruss and Jennie Wait's portrait.

My favorite piece of furniture in the house is my grandfather's chifferobe. I brought it back from Columbia, SC. It was in terrible shape. Termites took a nice bite out of it and the clawed legs had to be removed because of rot. The chifferobe had been stored in a shed for many years. I remember wondering if I should even accept it when offered. To bring it home meant a lot of work. It is a huge piece and took up a lot of garage space until I could get to it. I had Mr. Rakestraw (my oldest sister's father in-law) cut the legs off for me and give it a new base. He is an excellent crafts man and repaired the termite damage. I picked up the piece and stripped and stained it. After all was said and done, I was glad that I accepted the gift - and brought it into my home.

Funny thing about the chifferobe. I saw and image within the wood grain of the left front door of the furniture. I pointed the latent image out to Gina. She had to look for a bit and then her mouth dropped open, "It's you!" It's weird, but I can see the image of my face within it's grain. To me it's a God winking at me moment.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Cheraw, South Carolina
Dad, Henry Westbrook Finlayson, I believe never took a bad picture. Me on the other hand, I get lucky every now and then and get a semi-okay picture. Here Westbrook is with his younger brother Pat. All of Westbrook's kids grew up calling him Uncle Pat, but all the Carolina folk called him Ainsworth. His full name is Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson. During a recent conversation with Pat - he said that only Westbrook's kids called him Pat - he was Ainsworth to the rest of the world. It's as if he has a double life. I don't think I could ever get used to calling him Ainsworth - he's Uncle Pat.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

finlayson furnisher

I found this Burruss Bargain / Finlayson Furinisher coupon in my grandmother's trunk that I brought back from Columbia,SC last month. This card is a little bigger (2.5" x 4.25) than today's size business card. This card is brittle, not printed on card stock but rather on a very thin piece of wood - almost like balsa.

The Finlayson's New Store card is another trunk find. This too is the same size of the thin wood coupon - only this is printed on a heavy card stock. Below is a picture of Burruss Finlayson's new store on Second Street that was located in the old downtown Cheraw, S.C..

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

then there were two

Here's an interesting old photo that was very small. I enlarged it and tweaked it a little in PhotoShop. This is my uncle Patillo (Pat) Ainsworth Finlayson and my aunt Jennie Llew Finlayson Guyton. These two are now the only siblings left of my father. Burruss and Jennie Wait Finlayson had seven children. They both now reside in Columbia, S.C.. Pat moved to Columbia a few years after selling his long time home in Macon, GA. They now live in the same retirement community - a short walk and three floors a apart from each other. This brother and sister photo was taken in front of Jennie Llew's apartment at Singley Apartments on Picken's Street in Columbia, SC. Both Guytie and Jennie Llew lived in there for about ten years - prior to building the house on 322 Wateree.

Mother told me that Guytie and Jennie Llew came to Gadsden and stayed with mom and dad for a week. Guytie liked the house on 117 Arcade Street (East Gadsden) so much that he modeled their future home based on the floor plan. Mom and dad moved from Camelot during the time I was born. The little house on Camelot just wasn't big enough for Westbrook and Esther's growing family.

Monday, January 26, 2009

aunt lucy cain

This is a picture of four of Burruss & Jennie Wait Finlayson's children with Aunt Lucy Cain. Mrs. Finlayson taught piano while Mr. Finlayson was minding the store. Lucy Cain was hired to help with the house and all those Finlayson kids. Mother and I can only guess as to which Finlayson is which - but mother had the better guess. From oldest to the youngest we have (I believe) Florrence Foster Finlayson, Burruss Wofford Finlayson, James Murdock Finlayson and Jennie Llew Finlayson. I have made the names they were known by in bold.
This is another photo of Aunt Lucy with Westbrook. There is a story about Aunt Lucy and Westbrook that my siblings and I heard many times growing up. Mrs. Jennie Wait Finlayson came home one day to find her infant son Westbrook chewing on something. She asked Lucy what Westbrook had in his mouth. Aunt Lucy said, "Westbrook is eating peanuts." Mrs. Finlayson exclaimed, " Westbrook is just a baby - he can't eat peanuts!" Aunt Lucy smiled and said, "Lawd Mrs. Finlayson, I be chewin'em 'fores I feeds it to him." Now my Dad loved peanuts - but I don't think they ever were as good as the ones he ate on the front porch with sweet Aunt Lucy Cain.
Special thanks to John Wrisley for finding the picture at the top of this post. He found it among Jennie Llew's photos back in 2001, cleaned it up and enlarged it. John Wrisley by the way was a long time neighbor of Jennie Llew Guyton on Wateree Street.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

good times

My Christmas present from Gina finally got here. Gina bought me a new Stetson fedora. I'll post a picture of it soon. I've worn my old Stetson out.

I woke up this morning and started cleaning house. Our home has been a category five disaster. Aside from my health issues, being at the office, and still cleaning up after Christmas, our house was a total mess. I had invited Jose and Denise over for some homemade chili today and needed to do some cleaning prior to their arrival. Gina, being a woman, wasn't about to just have me tidy up a bit. WE CLEANED HOUSE! It was non-stop from the time we woke up but I am very happy to have evicted that dastardly dust bunny family.

Jose' came over earlier in the morning and helped me pick up my Volkswagen. I appreciated Jose' helping me. We talked politics on the way out and I got to introduce him to Eddie Floyd (Floyd's VW Glencoe, AL). We hung around and talked a little bit and then Jose' and I parted ways until later. Eddie complimented my bug and said that he was glad to see it go (with a smile). He said nobody wants to buy his old VW's while my VW was parked on his lot. He says he's gotten a lot of people stopping by to try to buy it. It's a no-sale folks!

Eddie did a great job on my bug. I know the Volkswagen is going to need more work around the corner - I'm doing a little bit to improve the bug as I can afford it. Eddie hooked me up with an original German muffler (not an after market muffler). He did oodles of stuff to my bug:

  • Cleaned and reconditioned my intake manifold
  • Fixed the heater in my car
  • Replaced my horn
  • Replaced the dome light fixture
  • A new tail light lens
  • New points - set timing and adjusted the carburetor
  • He also checked my fuel line to make sure everything was okay - replace a length of hose.
The car ran quieter all the way home. It was nice to have the heater working for a change. I am really glad I found Eddie. It's always great to find a mechanic that you can really trust. Bill Noah in Southside is another great mechanic and good guy. I use Bill on my domestic vehicles.

I've got other tasks I'd like to have worked on my bug - but they'll have to wait. Sooner or later I will have to put a heliocol in that car and that means pulling the engine to do it. That will cost a pretty penny - but Eddie says "drive it till the plug shoots out and then bring it in".

After I got back home - I cleaned the kitchen and started the chili. I made a HUGE pot of it and then let it simmer while I helped the rest of the family clean house. Jose' and Denise got in about 2:00pm. We had chili and a great conversation. We all went downstairs and pulled out the guitars for a short while. Denise wanted to go through my worship songs and I hope she found all that she was looking for. She's learning to play guitar and trying to step out a little. God bless her!

I started a fire while they were visiting. We sat around and had a nice conversation. After they left, we all stayed downstairs in the dimly lit room by the fireplace. Gina put her feet up and faced the fire while Katie, Kelsey and I watched the new Journey To The Center Of The Earth. You're right Jose', it is a pretty darn good movie.

Katie is now by the fireplace reading. Gina and Kelsey are asleep in their beds. Katie will be going to bed soon and I'll take my place by the fireplace. It was a busy but very pleasant day. I haven't checked the weather for tomorrow yet - but I'd like to take my bug out for a spin.

Friday, January 23, 2009

reaching back

I am not a genealogy expert and neither was my father. I remember dad, in his last years, sitting at the dining room table with papers of names, dates and places. He had made posters of charts of time-lines and trees. He was trying to reach back, put the giant puzzle together, only with genealogy you don't have all the pieces. Pieces are always missing. Sometimes you can find the part - sometimes it's lost to the ages. Dad's been gone since 1990 and I've got the puzzle at my house. I've added a few more pieces, some that I've fit into the place in time, but most of the finds only represent more questions.

We have family Bible information from Columbia. The strange thing is that it tells us so little. We can reach back to my great grand father's day - but it's all a cloud beyond that. Pretty much all I had was that my great great grandfather was named Daniel Finlayson (b. 1796) and his wife was Charity Westbrook. It was believed for a time that Daniel was the first of us to sail over from Scotland - but there is no manifest proving it. Dad did secure information that there was a John Finlayson that arrived in Philadelphia, 3rd qtr aboard the ship GEORGE in 1774. His estate was settled in Cumberland Co., NC on November 7, 1807.

Our ancestors starting point in the U.S. was Cumberland County and census records Finlaysons in that area. County lines seemed to shift often in those days and researches have to keep an eye on multiple county census records. I've had to go through records of Cumberland, Robeson, Wayne, and Sampson counties. Ancestors can be a moving target even if they aren't necessarily moving.

Another challenge is distinguishing a Finalyson from a Finlayson. You wouldn't believe how many Johns and Angus' there were. There's actually two Daniels that lived within the same time. It's like trying to find a particular Waldo among a crowd of Waldos. So how does one reach back through the ages and find my John and my Daniel?

Well, yesterday, after all these years I've found a little hope. I caught Glimpse of my great-great-great-great-grandfather stepping off the boat. I believe is John Finlayson that my father saw. Yesterday I ran across and old Genforum post (2002 by Nancy Grogan) that I don't recall ever seeing. Sometimes I overlook material because I get lost amid all the pieces. Sometimes I quit for a long period of time so that I can perhaps look at the past a little clearer. Well, there it was - John Finlayson came over in 1774. Departure from Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. He was 23 years of age and his occupation was listed as a Wright (this makes sense because Finlayson's always think they are wright).

Through this post I think the connection was made. JOHN Finlayson had only one child, Angus who was born about 1780. ANGUS had four sons - John (b. abt. 1809), Angus (b.1810), DANIEL and Alexander. The poster had no birth year for this Daniel - but my great-great-grandfather, my Daniel was born in 1796. I am sure these Daniels are one and the same. I know that there is a fourteen year difference between birth years, but the template fits. This is a precious find for me - and it had been waiting for me to find it since Nancy Grogan's post back in 2002. This question that started me on my quest years ago was the connection between John and Daniel. We felt sure that they were related, but never could connect the dots.

I'd like for all my siblings to have this information: That John Finlayson is more than likely their great-great-great-great grandfather. Dad's records stated that our clan came from the Inverness (Scotland) area. I found mention that John's family came from the Isle of Skye which is 124 miles from Inverness.

Gina and I have had a long time dream of going to Scotland one day. It would be nice to go there and pick up some more puzzle pieces.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cheraw, SC

This is one of my all time favorite photos. My dad Henry Westbrook Finlayson was named after his uncle Henry Wright Finlayson. This was his store. It is my understanding that my grandfather had a dry good store in Cheraw that was just down the street. My grandfather, Burruss Finlayson, is standing to the left of the front door.

In this photo, the men are standing in front of the store holding yard sticks. Years ago I had asked my aunt Jennie Llew Finlayson Guyton is she could identify any of them. She remembered every one of them and sent back a labeled copy. They are as follows, from left to right:

1) Dan Pate, 2) J.B. Elixon, 3) T.S. Wells, 4) Burruss Finlayson, 5) Edwin Wells, 6) E.S. Wells, 7) James C. Whitley, 8) *Mr. Ruffiace, 9) Rev. W.M. Duncan, 10) Elias Vance Finlayson
*I am not sure about #8 - the last two letters of his name, it might be Ruffiace, Ruffiall, or Ruffiae. The rest of the names are legible.

A while back while doing genealogy research online, I ran across descendants (von Rosen) of Elias Vance Finlayson. A very rewarding part of this kind of work is that you run across cousins. We've sent emails back every now and then. They never knew what happened to Vance, nor did they know what he even looked like. I was happy to scan and email photos of him to them.

I am told that Elias Vance was a traveling salesman. When he took ill, he stayed at the Burruss home in the care of my grandmother until his death. It is the Elias Vance Finlayson, who married a Suzanne (Suzie Gumm). It's from that branch of the tree that Judy Gumm (aka: Judy Garland, aka: Dorothy from Kansas) is distantly akin to our family.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

five cent cheroot

Late last month after Christmas, Brook and I took a brief trip to see relatives in Columbia, SC. While there we were asked to bring back a few items. One of these items was an old trunk that was my grandmother Jennie Wait Foster Finlayson. It was a trunk filled with various items, items that Brook and I didn't have time to rummage through while there. I was asked if I wanted the trunk and I accepted. I like old trunks.

There were a few items of interest, but most of it was junk. I found some cool old tools - one being a manual drill. You may have seen one - it works kind of like an old fashioned egg beater - only with a drill bit at the end. Then again, you might not know what an old fashioned egg beater looks like. I also found an old woodworking plane.

Yesterday I brought a small tin cigar box inside to clean up. I figured I could keep things in it. The cigar box isn't in great shape and the original printed tin was painted over by a relative a long time ago. It also has some rust The image below was found online and not the cigar tin next to me. The box I have did have some hard to read text on the inside - but I was able to do a little Googling to discover what the box looked like in it's former day.
The text on the inside reads PERFECTO and a slogan "It's Ripe Tobacco.!" The bottom of the tin isn't rusted and I can clearly read BAYUK PHILLIES.
I learned through this little box that my grandfather Burruss Finlayson smoked Bayuk Philladelphia Hand Made Cigars. I knew my grandfather smoked cigars but interesting to discover a favored brand. The Phillies Perfecto cigar was introduced in 1910 and became one of history's biggest selling cigar. The public shortened the name of the Philladelphia Cigar to "PHILLIES" which can still be purchased today. I think I'll have to pay more than five cents for one. The tin shown above doesn't read PHILLIES so it's apparent that it's an older box than the one I have.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

that's the ticket

I thought of doing a quick graphic toward a possibility for the next election. I thought the Nugent idea as VP kind of funny at first and then thought about all that he's voiced in the past. The Nuge would actually be a lot better choice than all the other Republican bozos that were on parade this past go around. Nuge would never fly but Sarah Palin I am serious about. I think if the Republicans were savvy and smart (which they aren't) would put this true conservative up for President next time. Sure McCain's crew tried to blame the 2008 loss on her, but it was McCain's middle of the road why-can't-we-all-just-get-along belly wash that sank his boat.

To be frank - the perfect ticket would be Palin / Keyes in 2012. Seeing how I am no longer a (insert preferred expletive here) Republican anymore (since Republicans have left conservatism ideals & values behind), I know they won't go that route. They're going to give us another milk-toast McCain and announce him as another Reagan (insert preferred expletives here). Simply put, Democrats mean business - and Republicans don't. Sarah Palin didn't drag McCain down - it was quite the contrary. During the presidential run, Palin had to fall in line with the McCain talking points and not contradict or cross over the lack-luster John McCain. John McCain should be a real maverick and be a conservative for once.

I think Sarah ought to run next time around as SARAH PALIN - and pick a running mate that's equally as strong of a conservative. This is a war of ideas and the good guys better open fire at some point.

Damn the torpedos - full speed ahead!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

weak end

I started a fire Friday and kept it burning - it's dead now. I enjoyed it so much these past few nights. Jose' thanks for the wood. I pretty much finished with that huge pile. It took me a while. I had some trees cut down this past Summer and have some more wood to split and burn. I am cutting it old school - wedge and hammer. It's good exercise. I have to pace myself because I am kind of light-headed and can't over-do it.

Gina hasn't been with us much this weekend. She left the house yesterday around 9:00 AM and returned home about 11:00PM. She said that she got terribly behind in work since I started going to school. She has to tend to the kid's needs which was something I was doing until I entered the program. Gina said that she got a lot of work done Saturday - got all Java'd up caffeine and went at it. She went down today but not getting as much work done. After church, me and the little ones hooked up with Gina at Subway and then took a stroll downtown together. I know that she could have been working but we needed the family time and the much needed exercise.

Gina isn't going to be caught up this weekend but glad that she got to catch up a little. I am only taking some online courses this time around so I can get my vitals down. I am not right physically and can't handle campus classes and clinics right now. While on the road to wellness I'll be able to be at the office and help her a little more. That's a good thing.

Pray for Gina - she's in great spirits but she's buried in work - work that must be completed before we can get paid. Paperwork-paperwork-paperwork.

One good thing about not having to take campus courses is that I will have the time (make the time) to work out at the campus gym. Being a student I have access to their weight training equipment. I am looking forward to it. I remember feeling so much better when I was working out at Fitness Plus. Pray for me as I try to get my levels back to a normal range.

Friday, January 16, 2009

telling on myself

This photo was taken about four years ago while at a kid event at Southside Elementary. Gina was sitting next to me as we waited for the teacher to start gabbing - eventually leading to kids singing and awards given for something or another. I was sick as a dog. I didn't know at the time that I had walking pneumonia. The only thing that came out of the pneumonia episode is this silly picture. It was funny enough before I warped it a little in PhotoShop. It is not a very pretty picture. Like Steve Martin once said, "comedy isn't pretty".

But that's not why I'm blogging. I wanted a silly photograph of me to illustrate a silly thing I did - a sadly - typically me thing. I had some ceiling lights out downstairs. As some of you know, I've been dealing with some health stuff. My numbers are all crazy - mainly because of my type 2 diabetes. I haven't been minding it like I should while I was at school and during the holidays. Anyway, my triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, you name it have been spiking. I went and got some meds and have put myself on a strict diet to put the brakes on my racing innards. Last week I felt like crap. This week I don't feel as bad, but have been light headed and kind of faint. My vision is worse and I don't have much in the energy category. I've got to turn things around.

Anyway- today I went out in the garage to bring in the ladder. I dug out the 60 watt light-bulbs and commenced to climb up the ladder to change out the light-bulbs. I carefully unscrewed the globe, took care to not drop the nut and washer while changing out the bulbs. Each fixture takes two bulbs. After screwing in the light-bulbs, I carefully replaced the globe and washer and nut. Keep in mind that I am light headed and dizzy while doing so. I slowly climbed down the ladder and flicked the ON switch...nothing. I went over and replaced the other globe on the ceiling across the room feeling annoyed that one of the fixtures was apparently burned out. The fixture is only a few years old. It's one of those fancy ones that I wasn't sure Lowes would still have in stock. After replacing the other light-bulbs I looked at the dead fixture. I then started trying to remember if and where I had thrown away the burn out bulbs.

Like an idiot - I had replaced the burn out light bulbs with the same burned out light bulbs. One last slow light-headed trip up the ladder and it's working fine now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

tiny westbrook

This is another picture I found of Dad, Henry Westbrook Finlayson, from his childhood in Cheraw, SC. I don't have much to write about because of what I've written in earlier posts. I just thought this was a neat pic of Dad. Mother has a pair of Westbrook's old wooden crutches from childhood - I believe they are the same that are pictured here.

I encourage family members to double-click on the desired photos (to get the largest size)through out this blog and then save them to your computer. It's a great way to take advantage of my scans to increase your family photo collection. I recommend that you eventually burn them to disk because computers have a tendency to eventually die.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a little wayward

sometimes when i've lost my way
frustrated depressed or angered
a part from myself
the Spirit comes to my side to remind me
i was not made for this
i was built for joy
i was given ointment to heal
pour it all out and then some
make laughter a common occurrence
i often drift from my calling my gift
succumbing to the world's blunt force
i was not made for this
i was built for His glory His work through me
so often i find myself off course
not myself once more
eventually reminded by Your whispering reminder
that i was not made for this
i was born for Your glory
i was built for joy

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

me and liz

I know that all my siblings worried about me around their kids. I was an uncle that would ride my nieces and nephews on my shoulders and horsey-back. I was also known for holding onto their little arms and swinging them. Note to self - make sure you are away from walls and furniture when swinging children. I'd also sing silly songs and watch them all dance like munchkins on speed. Jennifer was always seemed nervous when I was around her children. Jennie and Irene seemed to take the careless care-free accidents in stride.
The above picture is of Liz Finlayson, back when she was five years old. It was January 9, 1987 and I was 28. Gina snapped this photo while Liz and I were playing with some of my hats. Me and Liz got along just fine - and still do - only I can't swing her around the room like I used to. I remember a day when she was too big to ride on my shoulders and she wanted to climb up. My back had gotten older and she was probably around ten. She tried two times and I tried to tell her that I couldn't carry her anymore. On the third try - her daddy leaned over and explained why that wasn't going to happen anymore. She backed away with a disappointed look on her face. Liz - I was disappointed too.

I can't help it. I look at Liz today - married - building their new house - very talented and sharp - and still clearly see that little girl. If you take another look at the photo above - Liz has always been Liz.

Monday, January 12, 2009

circa early 80's

This photo was more than likely taken on a Saturday morning. The back of the photo is imprinted with MAY 83. It was taken at the Shoney's that used to be in Attalla, AL (now a Krystals). We'd get together a lot for birthdays and the like at Shoney's. Shoney's at that time was about the only place you could go to get a hot breakfast. You can usually double-click on the image to get a larger and closer view. Brook and Don are not present - so one of them is manning the camera.

Up front from left to right, Robby is holding Carrie, Irene is next to Dad, Cindy, Florrie holding Liz, and Dan's holding Charity. In the back left to right - a part of Jennie's head, Jennifer, Mom, and me behind Florrie.

We had a lot of family gatherings (Elrods, Finlaysons, Rakestraws, Noojins) in those days. Now about the only time we all get together is for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even though we lost Dad back in 1990 - the family has added quite a few members. We used to fill up a long table - now we fill up a large room. There's been more begotting since this photo was taken.

Does anyone in the family know what event we were celebrating this day?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

mad hatter

I have always loved wearing hats. There are people that can't wear hats. My dear friend Jerry Connel once told me decades ago that he could wear hats - he said he didn't look good in them. I told him to try one on and sure enough - he can't sport a hat. I never understood why some people can't wear them - maybe the shape of their heads or something. Who knows - it's a mystery to me.

I grew up watching all those old movies. Every one wore hats in the old black and white days. I wondered as a kid what happened that men don't don those cool looking fedoras anymore. The truth be known, we can all blame it on Jack Kennedy. Jack didn't take to wearing hats and decided not to wear one at his inaugeration. There are others who will contest that more and men were leaving their hats at home prior - it's just that Kennedy brought attention to the issue.
Kennedy or not - I was going to grow up wearing hats.

I've enjoyed wearing hats since as long as I can remember. My dad used to have a shelf of hats in his closet - all kinds of hats he'd collected through the ages. He had an old top hat from his dance band days. It wasn't the cheesy kind like you get at a tuxedo rental place, but a bona-fide tall collapsible top hat like Fred Astaire or Abe Lincoln used to wear. We Finlayson kids wore that one out a long time ago. Dad had a yachting cap, different kinds of short brimmed fedoras, driving caps of different patterns. When I was little I would use a chair to climb up into his closet and try on all of his hats.

Brook in his late teens donned an Australian bush cap - slangly called a Digger. It was a wide brimmed hat that was clipped up on one side - like Sgt. Sam Troy (Christopher George) on the TV's Rat Patrol. Brook was nicknamed "Digger" because of the hat, and his red Volkswagen was dubbed "Digger's Chigger." When I was a teenager, I adopted my father's navy blue yacht cap. I wore that one out as well, not before being nicknamed "Captain". I didn't really like the moniker because I was named after the cheesy muskrat singing Captain of Captain & Tenniel. Egad!

I have more hats now than my father ever owned. For practical reasons, hats really do keep the head warm during cold months. My favorite hat is a beret that I found at Unclaimed Baggage in Boaz many years ago. It's very warm and tucks away in a pocket easily. I put our family's Farquharson crest on it. One day I will find a nice looking Scottish tam to take it's place.

Gina gave me a very soft and warm Shoreman's Fleece Watch Cap (toboggan) this Christmas. It's just as warm and as convenient as the beret, and I've been wearing it a lot. It's so comfortable that I've used it as a night cap on cold nights. I am still waiting on a Christmas present that Gina special ordered for me for Christmas - a new wide brimmed, camel hair Stetson. My old green Stetson has seen better days and is retired on it's knob in my studio.

The downside of wearing a fedora is that you've got to take care of it. You can't just fold a fedora and stick it in your pocket. I used to own a Panama Straw in the 80's but got tired of the wind sweeping it off my head. I once lost my hat while driving in my sun-roofed Renault LeCar. I had to pull over, run back, and chase it down. It ended up in the middle of a four way stop. There were folks looking on and laughing at the bozo chasing his straw fedora - I don't blame them.

There are more common hats in my collection - baseball caps. These caps don't have team logos on them, but rather band names. I've gone to concerts from time to time with my sister Cindy. She usually buys those pricey souvenir baseball caps for me. I have a Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, and Crosby, Still, Nash & Young cap. I wear them more often in the warmer months and they remind me of those great concerts as well as my sister's love.

I have a short brimmed black fedora that I found for a very reasonable price. I'd been looking for a Jake & Elwood Blues Brothers hat for quite sometime. I can't tell you how many times that I'd looked at Salvation Army stores or Goodwill for a hat like that. It's a felt hat, nothing special, but it looks good.

Once, a dozen plus years ago, Gina and I were in Paduca, Kentucky for a wedding. They've got a walking tour of Antique stores. Amid all the stores, I ran across a store that sold old movie props, clothes, and the like. It was a very unusual place. I found a navy blue yacht cap that reminded me of the one Dad used to wear. Gina didn't like it and didn't understand why I wanted it. I think it was 35.00 at the time. Gina urged me not to spend our money on it. I bought it. Dad's old yacht cap had a patch on it, this cap has a brass anchor on it. I like it better than Dad's old hat.
Here's a list of hat's I've donned the most down through the years.
1960's - Leather Flying Cap (yes, like Snoopy) purchased at a surplus store in Alabama City.
1970's - Dad's Nautical Cap (like Skipper of Giligan's Island)
1980's - Panama Straw & NY Yankee's ball cap, and later the green Stetson fedora found in 1988.
1990's - military issue beret with SAS patch (who dares wins) & same green Stetson
2000 - green Stetson & non-military black beret purchased in Boaz.
Can't wait to get my new addition. This week perhaps?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 1948

I ran across this image of mom. This was taken outside of their home at Campbell Court in East Gadsden. In her handwriting on the back of the photo it reads, "Esther Davidson Finlayson, Easter morning 1948, Showing off a dress I had made the night before."  Her parents were Fred and Irene Davidson.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


My dad and his siblings called their father Papa. His name was Burruss Finlayson. Although all of Burruss' siblings had middle name - no one knows his full name - if he had one. I was once told that Papa didn't like his full name and decided to take it to his grave.

The photo I scanned is pretty small. As I magnified it, I asked my mom who she thought Burruss Finlayson looked like. She said that this picture he looked a lot like Murdoch - or Murdoch like his Papa. Mother said that grandfather Finlayson died two weeks before Westbrook graduated Mercer Law School. Grandfather died in 1951 - before dad moved to Alabama and met his wife to be.

The house behind Papa is the house where my dad and his siblings grew up. Mom told me that the porch is where my dad and uncle Pat used to toss baseball to one another when they were little. Last Summer while we were in Cheraw for uncle Murdoch's funeral - Brook, Mom, Florrie and I drove around the neighborhood. We didn't have an aunt or uncle tour guide with us because of the occasion - but we found the spot on US 1 where the house used to stand. Mother told me that the trip to Murdoch's funeral was the very first time that my youngest sister Florrie had ever been to Cheraw.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

about this time - some time ago

Gina and I thought it would be a great idea to treat a bunch of our little relatives to that new Tim Allen SANTA CLAUS (1994) movie. Now all those little ones are all grown up - most of them through school - some of them married - no grand children as of yet. It doesn't seem that long ago. Gina and I were living in Kentucky - and I believe it was Gina's idea to get them all together and see them all at once.

Even though time made them bigger and more adult-like - an uncle loves them just the same. Back then I was known by all of them as Silly Uncle David. Now that their brains are more mature and they've experience a bit more life - I am probably more of What's-Wrong-With Uncle David. Like any middle aged dude would do - I look at them today and wonder where time went - those little ones I used to chase and tickle. God bless each and every one of them - and where their lives take them. I am now to slow too chase them and they are too big to tickle.

I see a little Anna Dutton (now engaged) among the lot. She's my sister inlaw Jennifer's niece. Anna is now a classmate (and good friend) in Gadsden State Community College's Therapeutic Massage Program. How cool is that!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

tom hanks day

Did anyone notice that it was Tom Hanks day? It must've been because every channel on the dial was showing a Tom Hanks movie. I kid thee not. Here's the movies that I noticed airing today:

Sleepless In Seattle
You've Got Mail
Turner & Hooch

I know there was another one that aired - I just can't recall. Some of the above movies played twice. I didn't watch any them. Don't get me wrong - I am a fan - I'm just not in the Tom Hanks mood today. Just mark it on next year's calendar that January 4 is Tom Hanks day.

I have a few favorites, Saving Private Ryan, Road To Perdition, Forrest Gump, and The Green Mile.
I ran across an interesting tidbit about Tom's next movie project. He will be playing my brother Brooky in a movie rumored to be released in 2012. Tom is currently trying to gain some weight and is taking some blues guitar lessons for the part. Below is a picture of Tom readying himself for his most challenging roll yet.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

of fish

Last week on our way back home from Columbia, Brook treated me to a smoked tiapia dish at O'Charlies. It was a perfectly cooked piece of tilapia that was smoked and served on a piece of hickory. I love tilapia - love cooking it - and this blows away anything I had ever cooked myself.

Last night Gina and I went to The Fisherman here in Southside, AL. I ordered the blackened salmon. The blackened salmon was out of this world. I recommend it.

Growing up, the only salmon I ever had was breaded and skillet fried in patties.  It was usually served with grits and flat buttered biscuits. That was the only kind of salmon I ever ate until about sixteen years ago. It was the first time Gina and I drove down to Destin, FL.  We were guests of Dave and Diana Hope.  Dave had knocked on our door and asked if we liked salmon.  I said "sure", but didn't tell him that I had never had it smoked before. Later that evening we sat at the table around the HUGE cooked fish.  He served us each a large thick salmon steak and I have been a HUGE fan of smoked salmon ever since.

The meal at The Fisherman last night reminded me of that first experience down in Florida. If you like salmon or tilapia - that's where to go for something incredible.  By the way, I also tried The Fisherman's Shrimp and Grits that was one of their side items.  Shrimp and Grits isn't a favorite, but I wanted to compare it to the item of the same name served at Classic on Noble (Anniston). I believe it was just as good as the Classic on Noble dish - only not as expensive. The dish is mentioned in The 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die. The Shrimp and Grits at Classic on Noble is a main course, but you can try The Fisherman side dish if curiosity gets the best of you.  The grits are good but I'll opt for the smoked salmon any day!