Sunday, December 11, 2011

wofford's painting

My Uncle Wofford Finlayson was an artist.  He earned his living making signs in Columbia, South Carolina.  I sure wish he were around today, I would love to learn from him.  He once told me that as a freelance artist, he took on every job that came his way.  Uncle Wofford would paint the front of theaters  for movies like Gone With The Wind.  He designed company logos, banners for grocery store windows and he'd even paint flag poles.  If it had to do with paint, he said he'd take on the job.  To be a commercial artist in those days meant you did anything and everything.

The above watercolor is of the old Saint David Episcopal Church. Wofford wasn't hired to do this job.  He created various paintings of his old Pee Dee River hometown,
Cheraw, South Carolina.  His paintings resurrect Cheraw from a century ago.   This particular painting once hung on the wall of our house on Scenic Hwy here in Gadsden, AL.  I am very familiar with it.  This is hanging on a wall at my sister's house in Rock Hill, SC.

I snapped a photo of it while visiting Don and Jennie last May.  It's a beautiful piece of work.  The paintings I've seen of Uncle Wofford's are not realistic - they were not meant to be.  His work is unrealistic like Thomas Kinkade's are not realistic.   Both Wofford and Thomas capture something in the heart.

Wofford's colors are ancient, and always ventured back to capture the old South.  Though the people seem a little on the cartoonish/caricature side in his paintings, the atmosphere is always alluring to me.  Wofford had the ability to resurrect the essence and atmosphere of a time lost.  This is a painting that I would love to step into - take a stroll down that old dirt road beneath the shade of the mossy trees.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

great grandmother

Martha Lucinda Pate was Murdoch Uriah Finlayson's wife.  I know nothing about her.  There is no story to tell about her but who you see in this photo and what can be found by looking at dates.  I looked at the birth dates of their children and noticed when Murdoch had enlisted into the Confederate Army.  She was left to raise five young children during her husband's absence.  I can't imagine what it was like to be raising children during a war that was being fought on southern soil.  There's something I have learned about warfare.  When men march off to defend their country, their families sacrifice as well.   Martha must've been a strong woman to have handled such hardships at home while her young husband was off fighting.  She had her own daily battles to fight - keeping her family safe in perilous times.  I know nothing about my great grandmother.  Just by looking at her face and the dates I have - I know that she must've been an incredibly strong woman, a good wife, a good mother.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

my great grandfather

My sister Jennie called Friday afternoon and said that she was in town and had a box of photos for me from Columbia, SC.  I drove over to mothers to see my great father's face for the very first time.

Murdoch Uriah Finlayson married Martha Lucinda Pate on January 10, 1854.  Murdoch had left his wife and children to fight in the War of Northern Aggression.  He enlisted on May 7th of 1862, at the age of 27.   He marched among the men of Company G, 55th Infantry Regiment of North Carolina (pg.18-20 of URL link).  He fought in numerous campaigns including Gettysburg.  At the time, he was a resident of Wayne County.  I ran across some information regarding the 55th Infantry Regiment online that you can read about here
Murdoch Uriah Finlayson enlistment information states that he was a merchant before the war.  I have posted advertisements in the past of his store in Wilmington.  He eventually moved to Cheraw, South Carolina when my grandfather was very young and set up shop.  My grandfather Burruss and his older brother Henry Wright Finlayson eventually became merchants and had stores of their own.  My father and his siblings were born in Cheraw.

Both Murdoch & Martha Lucinda are buried in the old St. David's cemetery in Cheraw, SC.  Their graves are not in the Finlayson section, but only a short stroll from that area.  I am very glad to have a picture of my great-grandfather - to now be able to put a face with the name.  I hope my siblings take time to visit the links I've provided here and find out a little more about the their ancestor.

Friday, November 11, 2011

securities for liberty

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
-Benjamin Franklin

Last night I attended a Veteran's Day presentation at my daughter's high school.  Many times the word 'freedom' was mentioned and I couldn't help but feel saddened each time the word was spoken.  I wonder if folks truly understand the freedom that we have and the freedom that we are loosing and have lost as a nation.  I wonder if twenty years from now, if people will still be singing about America's freedom, but not noticing that they have been stripped of it all together.

I am deeply concerned for my country.  I am not an old man, but this isn't the place I once knew.  What will America be a decade from now?  I want my children to truly know freedom - to have what we had.  I don't want them to grow up wards of the state.

True our freedom is from God.  It is true a multitude of troops have sacrificed to pay a terrible price to preserve our freedoms.  It is true that freedom isn't why do we trade it so easily?

I am thinking of the story about Jacob and Esau, how Esau was so willing to swap his birthright for a bowl of lintel soup.  I feel like that's what the American people are allowing our government to do - swap liberties for securities.  Esau was foolish to give away something so precious as his birthright just to sate his belly for a few hours.  The more we let a government is allowed to do for the people, the less people are allowed to do for themselves.  Eventually we will be left without any choice but what a bureaucracy deems best for us.  Government wants the people to think the idea of entitlement as a good thing, but it's just a link in a chain to bondage.  We do not need to feel entitled, we should need to be FREE!

A powerful and overreaching government leads to totalitarianism, and that is where we are quickly heading. We must demand LIMITED GOVERNMENT for our nation to survive.  No way did our founding father's intend for government to turn into what it has become today.  Our founding documents were made not to restrain the people, but rather to restrain government!

"A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity."
-Thomas Jefferson

I have been deeply troubled these days about the state of our nation and her people.  I turn on the television and see a president trying to seduce the people with a bowl of soup.  I see too many of us clamoring for it.  All we have to do is give up a little liberty here and there and we'll be safe, warm, and fed.  I see America's young people angry in the streets protesting - demanding that they are entitled to something.  I hear the term freedom spoken so freely, but do we all know of that of which we speak?  I think of all the blood that has been spilled down through the years to preserve that freedom.  And I see too many American's too willing to trade away what was paid for so dearly.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."
-Ronald Reagan

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

of yards and toilet paper

I never really understood the rolling yards thing.  We had A LOT of trees in our front yard on 2624 Scenic Hwy.  Back then toilet paper cost a dollar for five gazillion rolls. A kid could do some real yard decorating back then.

I remember my yard got rolled back when Gina and I were youth directors of Fountain Square Free Methodist Church in Bowling Green, KY.  We don't know who did it, but we were pretty sure is was a collaborative effort of the youth department.  The church didn't have many youth, and any one of them could have easily have been a culprit.  When it came to toilet paper, we decided to turn the other cheek.

Gina and I didn't say anything about our yard being rolled.  It was a blessing in disguise.  We simply went outside with a couple of large Hefty bags and retrieved as much as we could from the trees.  We had harvested so much toilet paper that day that we didn't have to buy toilet paper for three months.  That's saying a lot because Gina really uses a surprising amount of bathroom tissue.

I don't see as many yards rolled these days.  I can only guess that it's because we are living in difficult financial times.  Kids today really have to count the cost of committing such an expensive prank.

I have only a few trees in my front yard.  I'm waiting for someone to come along and roll what little yard I have so I don't have to buy toilet paper for a while.  If you're up for the task, but feeling a little lazy, just leave the paper in the package at my front door.  I'll take it from there.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cain in Talledega

I heard it through the grape vine that Herman Cain was in Alabama and that one of his stops was Talladega, AL this past Friday - October 29.  My brother in-law Robby Elrod joined me for the trip.

We headed out early to make sure we'd find a park.  We located The Ritz theater and then soon found a place to park the car behind the old train station.  Robby and I walked around town.  It didn't take that long because downtown Talladega is a small place.  We ended up at an Arby's to stay warm until the event.  Herman Cain was supposed to speak outdoors in front of The Ritz, but the sky was already looking overcast.  Robby and I made our way over to the theater about 30 minutes early and the place was already filling up.

When Cain came out, he didn't disappoint me one iota.  I'm not completely sold on his 9-9-9 plan.  I'd rather he push a flat tax.  He's 100% right about doing away with our current tax system.  Other than 9-9-9, Cain is the candidate that is moving in the right direction.  LIMITED GOVERNMENT!

Herman Cain sounds a lot like Ronald Reagan.  I believe it he becomes president, that people will be referencing Cain decades from now as they do Reagan today.

He just doesn't sound like a politician.  I find that down right refreshing.  I'm sick and tired of politicians.  Herman Cain sounded more like the old camp meeting preachers that I knew and heard growing up.  Unlike Obama who wants us to believe on him, and in big government - Cain pushes the message of believing in God and in ourselves (the individual) and in our country (in that order).

I like it that he didn't sound like another politician.  Herman Cain is a business man who has a history of being able to turn failing businesses into profitable ones.  This is something we lack today, men in leadership who have actually run businesses.  We have so called representatives who are career politicians who don't the first thing about business.  Our economy is on the skids, and we don't need anymore freaking politicians telling us that we have to spend our way out of our debt.  Idiocy! 
The folks in Washington are going to have to live within a budget.  I like it that Cain is a business man.  He's not the kind of guy that's going to kick the can down the road.

Cain spoke on all the issues that concerned me, abortion, illegal immigration, Obamacare, entitlement spending, foreign policy and the economy.  Cain spoke about all the crisis's, but at the top of this list, he said we are experiencing a moral crisis.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

my B - I -B - L - E

Years ago Mom and Dad said they were limited on funds for Christmas. They asked us if it was alright if they gave each of the six of us kids $35.00 for Christmas. It might've been 30, but for some reason 35 is the number that surfaces.

At that time Irene was dating a young man who was trying to work his way to seminary. It seemed appropriate that he was working his way to becoming a preacher by selling Bibles. Knowing Emory, I know that he'd rather had given them away, but he was on a mission from God.

I took great interest in his product, seeing how the only Bible I had been given was a standard Lord's army issue Bible that was given to me by the church as a very young boy.  I figured if I wanted to be a serious Christian, I needed a serious Bible.

I knew what my Christmas was going to be before mom and dad had clipped the envelopes of money to the tree that Christmas Eve. I was going to spend every dime on a sharp looking sword. I told Emory that I wanted to buy one of those Bibles from him.  He pulled out his sales material and showed me some pamphlets and a few samples he carried with him.   I was very impressed with his large selection.  At the time I felt it was the most important decision I was making in my entire life.

I chose a leather bound oxblood Thompson Chain Reference Bible.  I opted to have my name imprinted (in Helvetica) on the front cover in gold.  I also ordered my Bible pages in gold leaf. It was a red letter edition, meaning every thing Jesus said popped right off the pages.  I also ordered my Bible with each chapter tabbed.  I didn't want to find myself in spiritual combat fumbling around with my sidearm.  I wanted to be quick to draw from the Word of God!

I was very proud of my Bible.  I didn't know what a concordance was at that time, but mine had one of those too.  I figured if the warfare got too intense, I could probably  bash my way out of any close combat situation with such a big volume.  I was good to go.

My favorite chapter is what has been called 'the love chapter' - 1 Corinthians 13.  I ALWAYS had a bookmark there.  I would read it over and over again and never tired of it.  I still don't.  Did I say I was proud of my Bible?  It bears repeating.  I had colored pencils and colored pens and studied my Bible religiously.  I would mark up the text that I thought were the most important parts.  I soon realized that my Bible was soon becoming a coloring book because every line in it was important.

About six months later the Finlayson family all drove down to camp in Florida.  It was a holiness camp that lasted 10 days of each Summer.  Of course I took my Bible with me.  It was a fine looking book and I thought it brought a lot of attention to my faith.  For some reason I thought it qualified me a Christian and somewhat of a theological scholar.  I was just a kid and my passion for God was very real, but I hadn't lived enough as a Christian to understand that humility is an essential part of the walk.  Still almost 40 years later, I still find myself stumbling over the essential stuff.  I look back and appreciate God's grace throughout my journey here on Earth.

While at camp, I stayed in the boys dorm.  At camp you had to bring your own fan if you wanted to have a chance at a cool breeze during the night.  You also had to bring your own bug repellant too.  Everyone had to prop the fan in a window by their bunk and take the good (breeze) with the bad (bugs).  Camp Bethlehem offered no comforts - just God stuff.

Every night we all gathered upstairs before lights out for a devotional.  It was usually hot and stuffy in the dorm.  We sat around in a big tight circle and sang songs, heard a word, prayed over each other, and would go around and share stuff.

I was going to share from the book of I Corinthians that particular night.  I had my beautiful deluxe Bible opened and ready to dispense very deep wisdom and enlightenment about love.  One boy would share and then the next boy would share, and then the next boy would share.  A lot of God stuff went on at camp and everyone had something to share at the end of each day.  I wasn't listening  to them though.  I was absorbed in more important things, what I had to share.   I was reading over my favorite passages and thinking about what I was going to say.   I couldn't wait for MY TURN.  I held my beautiful deluxe Bible steady & ready, locked & loaded for my turn.

But just as the attention neared my position, the kid next to me looked over to me with the queerest expression.  Momentarily I pondered the strange hue of blue that colored his face.  Before I knew it, I was experiencing incoming projectile vomiting on my lap.  Well, I wished that he had vomited in my actual lap.  My beautiful deluxe Bible caught the most of it.  The kid didn't just hurl once.  He hurled three or four consecutive times before I could get out of the way.  Like a horror movie, it seemed as if he were spewing in slow motion.  And I was in a dreamlike state balked in horror, moving in slow motion as well.  I don't know what he had eaten during the course of the day, but it didn't mix well with the long hot day and back to back holiness preaching.

The aftermath wasn't pretty.  It was everything anyone could imagine it to be - sloppy, smelly, chunky, etc.  Immediately The Holy Spirit told me right then and there to forgive that kid for doing it.  How could I lose my temper in the middle of a devotion?  How could I get mad because someone threw up on the love chapter?  I had to forgive him.  It was after all the very funky stained pages that instructed me to not be easily angered and to keep no record of wrongs.  There was nothing to do but forgive him.  He was innocent and had known not not what he had done.  I put the best face on I and told him that it was okay.  I laughed about it but inside I felt sick.  My Bible was never the same after that. 

From that day on I never had any interest in fancy Bibles.  I read from a  New American Standard Bible that looks more like a text book - hard cover - no frills.  I don't like tissue thin pages with gold leaf.  I want a Bible that can weather whatever the world hurls at it.  Better yet, the best place to keep His Word is safe is inside one's heart and soul.

"My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart."
-Proverbs 7:1-3

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

remnants of memory

11-03-1880 to 10-04-1869
Click image to read obituary.
Mrs. Burruss Finlayson was my dad's mother.  Her maiden name was Jennie Wait Foster.  I don't have a clear memory of her because I was a kid when she died.  I remember coming home from a friends house and walking through the kitchen door.  Mom was in the kitchen with other family members.  It was a very somber mood.  I was standing by the fridge when mom told me the news about grandmother.

We lived in Gadsden, AL and grandmother was living with my Aunt Jennie Llew Guyton in Columbia, SC at the time.  We would see our South Carolina kin about once or twice a year.  I really don't remember her that well - only a few mental glimpses.  The last time I talked to grandmother was when she came to town for a visit with Pat, Jennie Llew, Rutha, and Florence.  The house was always full when the Columbia Finlayson's came for a visit.  Dad had told me that grandmother's left shoulder was hurting her and asked if I would massage it for her.  Grandmother and I then went into my  bedroom where she loosened her dress enough for me to access the portion of her back and shoulder that was in need of attention.   She sat down on the edge of my bed and let me work on her shoulder.   I was even a massage therapist as a kid!  Dad recommended me for the job because he often asked to massage his atrophied legs.  I remember feeling very useful and important as a kid to get to massage my dad's mommy.  I remember Mrs. Finlayson being very appreciate for the therapy.  That was the last time I talked to grandmother.  It's the clearest memory I have of her.  All I recall about her is her gentle spirit and her sweet smile.

I'm glad my children have plenty of contact with both of their grandmothers.  Gina and I left our life in Bowling Green, KY when we found out that she was expecting our first.  We wanted our children to be around their grandmothers.  Though we missed Bowling Green, we know we made the right choice.  Both Katie and Kelsey have a very strong bond with their grandmothers.  I know they will each have many-many memories to cherish of them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A letter to Lohbeck,

Uncle Pat, ENS Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson writes Clarence A. Lohbeck  S1/c to see how he was doing since separated.  A lot of the original crew were separated after the V1 bomb his LST-312 in Deptford, England.  Some were reassigned to other ships, other duties while the 312 was being repaired.  After a short while many of the original shipmates found themselves back aboard the 312, others didn't.  These young men went through a great deal together - and missed each other when separated.
I've been reading a lot of the letters that Pat and his shipmates wrote to each other - mainly between 1980 and 2002.  They had a lot of reunions.  It was said when they all got together, they were among brothers.  They had all aged, but time never diminished their love for one another.  They had become family during that war.

It's been a bittersweet experience going through these old letters.  As they aged, as time went by, more of the shipmates passed away.  God bless them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Naval Barracks, Group 'A' LST-312

Amphibious Training Base, Norfolk
Naval Barracks, Group 'A'
Norfolk Navy Yard
Portsmouth, VA

ATB30.4.3/F16-4/MN           January 4, 1943

Crew No. 4058 LST 312

DIRKS, Derrel L.             Bkr 1/c
ALLENDORF, Francis R.        PHM 1/c
WILSON, Malcolm F.           SK 1/c
ROWE, Merna C.               EM2/c
HUDSON, Richard B.           SM3/c
HOWARD, James P.             SV3/c
DANN, Timothy J.             MoMM3/c
BURKE, Bernard T.            RM3/c
JOHNSON, John S.             MM1/c
STEVENSON, Willis            SM3/c
McGOWAN, E. Jr.              MA1/c
McDONALD, K.W.               SK3/c
HART,                        OS1/c
WRIGHT, Nickolas W. Jr.      MA1/c
SMITH, J.                    MA1/c
LEDDY, Andrew J.             EM1/c
ROUBA, Benjamin C.           MM1/c
LARSON, Elton Wilson         MM2/c
CJPRNA. Frank               
BISHOP, Gordon Miles         S1/c
McCARTHY, Francis (Glem)     F1/c
SKODA, Lloyd Joseph Cox
MOORE, Lawerence Wendell     MoMM1/c
HARTLEY, Paul K. Cox        
McGINNIS, Charles W.         SC3/c
YORK, William Wiltcher       S2/c
TAYLOR, Arnold Deane         RM3/c
WALDEN, Ralph Warren         S1/c
JOHNSON, John Edwin          MoMM2/c
PURDY, Herb W.               QM2/c
TURNER, Jack Freeman         EM2/c
McCUMISKEY, William Russell  MoMM2/c
JONES, Grant Leonard         MoMM1/c
McENOY, James Elmer          S2/c
KEMNER, Elmer Herman                        MoMM1/c
REES, John Emerson           F3/c
NOREEN, Roger Leslie Cox    
HINSON, Otis Newton Cox
LOHBECK, Clarence A.         S1/c
BACKUS, Pete                 SK1/c
SPAULDING, John Francis      SC2/c
DARBY, Boyd Eugene           F2/c
WANTUCK, Edw. A.            
BARTLEY, Lawrence Ulysses    MOMM1/c
BRYAN, Rahpael Leo (Zeke)    F1/c
GAGLIARDI, Vincent Alexander F2/c
MATTILA, Uno Vernor          F2/c
FAMIGLIETTI, Eugene         
DAVIS, Charles Jefferson     S1/c
MURPHY, James R.             S2/c

The crew came aboard 1000 hrs 7 January, 1943.
The ship was commissioned and the following officers came aboard 8 January, 1943.


LT. HALSUP, Chas. L.         CO
LT. GRINELL, Robert W,       XO
ENS FINLAYSON, Pat A.        Comm O
ENS BRAMAN, Richard A.       Gun Off
LT (jg) McRAE, William L.    1st LT
LT (jg) WELLS, William W.    Sup Off
LT (jg) DIGNANILL, William   ENG Off

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Cheraw Chronicle

 Article from The Cheraw Chronicle, Cheraw South Carolina
Thursday, May 28, 1958

History of Cheraw High Alma Mater Given By Composer W. Finlayson

No school ever loved its Alma Mater fervently than does Cheraw High.  Faye Matheson, editor of the Spokesman, recently wrote to the man who, twenty years ago, wrote the words and music.  Here is his answer:

Dear Faye,
I have your letter of May 6 asking about the Cheraw High School Alma Mater and other information concerning myself.  I shall try to recall all the facts but, as you know, it's been a long time.  At any rate, here goes:

The words and music were composed by myself.  However, at the time I was not advanced enough musically to transcribe the music and Mother put it on paper for me.

The Alma Mater was written in response to a contest, but I can't recall who sponsored it.  If I'm not mistaken it was the only entry with both original words and music.  I attribute the success of the song to that fact.

The song was written, I believe, my Junior year in high school.  that would make it about 1933.  (Whew!) Twenty years ago!

You ask how I went about getting it "accepted" as the official Alma Mater.  Actually, I did very little.  They evidently were serious when they said they were holding the contest to get an Alma Mater, for when they selected my entry.  I guess it was then, as you say, accepted.  I am very grateful that the song is still going -- and more grateful that it gives me perpetual link with a school I love very much.

You asked about the orchestra.  that, in itself, would fill a volume.  Suffice it to say that after i went to Carolina we began an orchestra in an effort to make extra money for the school.  (That was during the depression and money was hard to get.)  We nio;t ot i[ frp, am eight piece band in 1937 to nineteen musicians in 1941.  We played professionally the entire time.  We disbanded for the war years, and after the surrender of japan, we re-organized as a twenty-piece orchestra and continued until 1949.  In the meantime, in 1947, I continued my education in law at the University of South Carolina, but upon the realization that I would have to take certain courses out of the state if i were specialize in a corporate law practice.  I gave up the band work and transferred to Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia in 1949.  I graduated after one year's work in corporate law and received my LL.B degree in 1950.

I am now practicing law in Gadsden, Alabama, as an associate with James D. Lancaster.  We practice in the tax and corporate law fields almost entirely.  I am married to the former Esther Davidson of Gadsden and we have one son, a junior, which we call "Brooky".  I am a member of the Gadsden Area Development Committee, the East Gadsden Methodist Church, where I am a member of the Official Board, chairman of the music committee and teacher of the Adult Sunday School class.  I belong to the Exchange Club and am a past member of the Board of Directors of Southern Newspapers, Inc. and associate counsel for General Newspaper, Inc., The Gadsden Times, Inc, Southern Newspapers, Inc., and other independent newspaper corporations.  I am a contributing editor for the Gadsden Times, a newspaper with a circulation of some 23,000.  I do this professionally in addition to my law practice and write about one-half of the paper's editorial column.  My columns are usually those of Thursday, Friday, and Sunday.

I hope I have given you all the material you'll need.  I might add that while in Law School I was a member of KEK, and the Honor Council (at U.S.C) and Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity and Delta Theta Phi Lou Fraternity (at Mercer).

In addition, I did overlook the fact that I serve as a member of the Publicity Committee and the Speakers' Bureau of the Gadsden and Etowah County Chamber of Commerce.

Let me take the chance to thank you very much for your interest in me and the Alma Mater.  I hope your graduation issue of the SPOKESMAN is a big success, and that the students of Cheraw High will continue to sing the Alma Mater proudly for years to come.  What I said in the words of that song twenty years ago are just as meaningful to me now as they were when written.

Good luck to you and to all the staff of the SPOKESMAN.

Cordially yours,
Westbrook Finlayson

Sunday, September 18, 2011

love and marriage

No.  There is no such thing as falling in love.  On the contrary, we each willfully have a choice whom we will to love.  I've heard the term, "falling in love" and "falling out of love" all my life - but what a shallow way to live.  Though our emotions have a lot to do with love, love is so much more than feelings.  I'm glad that love doesn't have to be dictated or measured by our fickle-ever-changing emotions.  I know there are plenty of people out there who measure love by whatever state their mood is at - at any given moment.  Love is more than something so temporal and volatile.  Love is more commitment than anything.

We are given the choice of what kind of mate we each desire in life.  When I was dating, I wasn't expecting a euphoric 'falling in love' moment.  One can have a euphoric moment with just about anyone.  I was looking for my mate for life.  I was looking for one of those virtuous women that had been profiled in the Bible.  I wasn't expecting perfection mind you, but I was looking for someone pursuing God and His will.  As a young man looking for a mate, I wasn't looking for feelings, I was looking for a mate that understood that kind of life-long commitment. When it came to a mate - I could be as picky as I pleased.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.”
-John 13:34

In scripture, God tells his people to 'love one another'.  I don't 'fall in love' with everyone I meet. I don't 'fall in love' with whom I am commanded to love.  If emotion had anything to do with it - I'd love very few people.  I love people because I choose to be obedient to Jesus.  Choosing to love isn't about feelings.  Choosing to love is about commitment and obeying the will of God.  Loving my neighbor more than often goes against the grain of my own personal feelings.  If we make our plan, choose to love, God establishes that love.

I remember dating Gina, and saying to myself, this is the kind of woman I'd marry.   God gave me a choice to love Gina.  I'm glad Gina chose me to love.  And because we chose to commit to that love - God established our love.  God made us one.  Sure we experienced wonderful feelings - but feelings are just icing on the cake. 

Gina and I believe that God is love - and that love is more than a verb - but a holy noun.  God is in our love for each other.  We've had hard times, a lot of differences, but we chose to love one another and commit to that love - a love that no man can put asunder. We are able to keep our vows to one another because God dwells in our love.  God is love.
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
-1 John 4:8

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"
-2 Corinthians 6:14

I see a lot of single people today who are not being picky.  I don't understand why so many people are 'settling' for less.  A Christian single should be shopping for the right kind of person.  It's a big mistake to choose someone who has a substance abuse problem, controlling, manipulative, godless, etc-etc.   There are countless problems and marital pitfalls.  A young woman shouldn't be looking for a husband that's a project.  Rather she should be looking for the kind of man to be the head of her future household.   To the young woman, what kind of man are you choosing to submit?

"In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external -- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered."
-1 Peter 3:1-7

I believe it's a foolish person to select a mate with issues, that's broken, and expect their fiancé to change along the way.  Christians should be discriminate and look for Godly qualities in their mate to be.  Don't look for someone to save.  Don't marry a project.  This project is going to be bone of your bone - flesh of your flesh - YOUR OTHER HALF.   Choose for God's sake - choose for YOUR OWN SAKE - A BETTER HALF!

Thinking about marriage?  Have you discussed these scriptures with your fiancé yet?  Or, are you planning on discussing these verses about marriage after the wedding?  There are some women out there that find great objection to some of the scriptures quoted in this post.  There's also men who have no intention of living up to the high standards scripturally required of them.

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.   Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.   After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- for we are members of his body.  "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

-Ephesians 5:21-31

Is your mate to be - Biblically on the same page with you?

Sure we each have our own flaws, but Christian singles need to be aiming high - marrying UP.  You as a single man, a single woman,  have a choice. You're making a dreadful mistake if you're relying on feelings and by not choosing wisely.  Falling in love is blindly falling in a hole.  As a human being, you have a free will to choose the kind of person you will have as a mate.  Be careful whom you choose to love.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Derrel Dirks recalls

The following is an excerpt from an article from LST SCUTTLEBUTT newsletter, November/December1990 issue. Chief Dirks served aboard the 312 with Lt. P.A. Finlayson.  I've found several correspondences between Derrel and Pat in the footlocker.  I haven't had the time to read all the letters, just group and bundle them.  As I do, I know that I'll come across more articles, photos, and important bits. I'll be sharing various footlocker finds in the future.

...Another news item that I believe will be of interest is that on 21 April, 1944 the British Admiralty gave a special commendation to Flotilla I Group I of LSTs 311, 312, 313, 344, 250, 337, 338 (that’s all I can remember) for their participation in the landing at Salerno, Italy.  We were attached to the British Eighth Army.

LST 312 was the flagship.  LST 313 was hit and burned on the beach at Gela, Sicily.  I noticed in the March-April issue that LST 338 claimed to be the first ship to hit the beach at Gela.  We hit the beach at the same time she did but we got stuck on a sand bar.  After the 388 retracted 344 came in, then 311 and finally 312 which was hit by a bomb just aft of the elevator.  We had launched our pontoons and the 311 took one of them and put it at the stern of the 313 rescuing most of her crew. Shortly afterwards our stern anchor was hit by a bomb and we broached on the beach with our stern anchor was hit by a bomb and we broached on the beach with our stern less than 100 yards from the 313 with every now and then an army truck load of ammunition exploding showing our stern.  The captain had ordered me to let a line over to a tug, which I did, as our stern anchor winch had been knocked out we had to pull the cable in by hand.  I was using soldiers and every time a truck load of ammunition would explode we would duck for cover. We didn’t get off the beach until about 0230 the following morning.

Before the bomb hit our stern anchor we fired over 40,000 rounds of 20mm, burned out seven barrels, three on one gun, out of our six 20mm plus all the 50 caliber of the Army vehicles.  We were credited with three planes and one possible.  We were at GQ for 69 hours most of that time under fire.  We only lost one man, a soldier who was hit in the stomach by a 50 caliber bullet from a LCVP that accidentally raked our topside.

At Salerno after we launched our planes, we were given orders to land at the city beach, they forgot to tell us that the town was under German control, as we headed in 88s from the mountainside starting at us, we headed south and beached at “Green Beach.”  The Scots Guards we had aboard landed, fell in formation, they started to muster them, and an 88 shell hit amongst them, they reformed, held muster again and then proceeded to the front line in parade formation.  We retracted and got a signal from the beach to come in, it was about 1,000 yards north.  We beached and rescued the first beach battalion who were completely surrounded by German troops.  The captain got a “Legion of Merit” for that.

When we hit England we were first LST into Portsmouth.  Boy what a liberty.  We were put on detached duty and we were the first LST into Cherbourg followed by 338.

On 8 July 1944 while tied to the dock at Deptford, England she was hit by a buzz bomb along with LST 384 at 0319 hours losing eight killed and 10 were wounded, her first casualties.

After being repaired she repaired she returned to the States under her own power and arrived in New York exactly three years to the day when she was commissioned at Brooklyn Navy Yard.

I have written a history of the amphibs, from the beginning and of the LST 312.  Her crew’s history is unique in that her crew came out of Paradise Creek, VA before Little Creek was ever heard of.

Another interesting thing was at Little Creek when we took Secretary of Navy Knox and Anthony Eden of Great Britain plus high-ranking American and British admirals and generals aboard to observe a mock landing on the beach.

I ran into Richard V. Robinson LST 1035 at the Farragut Naval Training Station reunion, Farragut, ID 8 August 1990 and he gave the Scuttlebutt paper to me.  I was stationed there in 1944-45 in charge of the bakery after I got out of Portsmouth Naval Hospital, VA.

There’s lots more but this is enough.  Smooth sailing and pleasant seas,

-Derrel L. Dirks MSCM (Ret.)

P.S. I was chief commissary steward aboard the USS LST 312

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cheraw Spokesman

In 1934, Henry Westbrook Finlayson, then a bright handsome, popular Cheraw High senior, now a prominent attorney in Gadsden, AL, wrote the CHS Alma Mater, "With Loyal Hearts".
Sports reporter for the CHRONICLE, fabulous singer at dances, assemblies, and impromptu affairs, a good guy with a merry heart, Westbrook could always be found where exciting things are happening.
In spite of the fact that he had polio as an infant and had always had to wear braces and use crutches, no one ever seemed to consider him "handicapped", even Westbrook himself.  He seemed "challenged'.
The year 1934 was in depression days and most people had to walk to get where they were going.
Westbrook was no exception.  Whether the crowd was going to Caston Field for a ball game or meeting at the church for a hayride, Westbrook would set out for the meeting, as one old classmate expressed it, "with that beautiful voice of his."  He always know all the latest popular songs as well as the old sentimental ones.

You might think starting off the college with only $1.65 spending money to be impractical but Westbrook Finlayson disproved this.  After graduation from Cheraw High in 1934, he entered the University of South Carolina.  Once there, the "big band" business was too strong a temptation to resist, and in his sophomore year, Westbrook put together an eleven-piece band.  As the group bettered and became quite famous, he gave up another j ob and went into the music business to pay for his education.  The band became well known, playing "society jobs" as far away as New York.
In 1941, just before WWII, many of the and members were called into the army.  Fortunately, arrangements were made so that army personal at Ft. Jackson could play in the band and continue performances at military installations.
During his college days, Westbrook was featured with Bert Loren and His Orchestra.  He composed both words and music to several songs, among them "All This,"  "Waltz in the Sky," "Goodnight," and "Roll Down the Field".  Westbrook also is the author of  A LIFE OF PLENTY, written around his spiritual experiences and containing original poems.
After the surrender of Japan, Westbrook began setting up a new band.  Having been advised by Jimmy Dorsey, to drop the name Finlayson the band was called, "Henry Westbrook and His Orchestra."
For two years, Westbrook overlooked the rule that no law student could engage in any activity or work other then the study of law.  When the deal of law school discovered that "Henry Westbrook" and "Westbrook Finlayson:" were one and the same, Westbrook was face with the decision of leaving school or quitting the band.  Not wanting to leave school, and deciding that the temptation to be in the same area of the band too great, he transferred his studies to the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
After graduation, he went to a position as associate to the Council of General Newspapers, Inc with offices in Gadsden, Alabama.  There he met and married Esther Davidson.  They are parents of six children, all musical or artistic, ranging in age from eight to eighteen.
The Finlayson family is deeply spiritual.  Westbrook is a certified lay leader in the Methodist Church and occupies as country church pulpit once a month.
Having given up all musical activities since entering the practice of law, he has built up a successful practice of law, dealing largely with corporations, estates, wills, trusts, and management..

For years SPOKESMAN staff members have planned to run a feature on Westbrook Finlayson, author of CHS Alma Mater, when he was a senior at CHS.  Now he has composed a brand new fight song that the staff has turned over to band direction Rayvon Lee.

Cheraw (S.C.) Spokesman
Thursday, December 3, 1970

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

the murder of Ernest Dyal

Letter post stamped August 27, 1961
 I ran across this letter from Grandmother Jennie Wait Finlayson to her son Ainsworth.  Uncle Pat (Ainsworth) was the youngest child.  In this letter, Mrs. Finlayson recounts the story of the cold blooded murder of the death of my Aunt Rutha's husband Ernest Dyal.  It was a story that Westbrook kids had heard about growing up, but didn't mention when around Columbia kin.  When ever Rutha came for a visit, we were instructed not to play with our toy guns, so as to not upset her.  I never heard Rutha talk about it.  It's only been until recent that more details emerged.  I transcribed the letter, but there's an area that I am not clear about as to the moments leading up to the murder.  I found Grandmother's handwriting rather difficult to translate.  I don't quite understand what exactly happened on the narrow passage regarding Ernest's sideboard.

It was a police officer that killed Ernest.  He never got out of the car, just shot where he sat behind the wheel.  In the trial, Aycock tried to accuse Ernest of reaching for a concealed weapon in the door with his left hand.  Aycock did not know that Ernest had a withered hand, and could not have handled a firearm. The lawman's alibi didn't hold water.

Dear Ainsworth,

I want to write you what I remember about that thing.  Of course Rutha didn’t like the “stir up” but I guess it’s as long gone it will not matter.
Rutha had been to Cheraw to pay me a little visit.  She had been married two months - that was in the bargain that she’d do that.  While she was home the last Sunday afternoon, she was sitting in the swing with me. She said, “This is the last Sunday I’ll stay away from Ernest as long as I live.”  So she went back Monday to Savannah where he met her.  They went in some stores - and in a music store and bought some songs. One was “Oh Thou Sublime Sweet Evening After”.  They then went on to St. Simons.  Before he left McRae,  he told his Mother this, “Momma, if anything happens to me, I want you to keep Rutha here with you.”  Mrs. Dyal told me that herself.  Earnest heard that his mother was sick so he was anxious to get back and they thought the new car would be there as it was Rutha’s gift (birthday). 

Rutha Wait Finlayson Dyal
They were riding in Mrs. Dyals car – a Cadillac.  As they drove out of Jessup they noticed a car passing them - Aycock or Kemp.  Said they were going down that way to break up a still – when Ernest & Rutha got out on that road.  (I don’t think that new one was built in those days.)  They had to detour to the right on an unpaved road, so when they got to the road on the left where they were supposed to detour back onto the main road.  Aycock passed again.  Had some trouble in passing, got ahead a few feet and came back, got on running board and reach his hand in to stop the car but it was sandy there and Ernest was trying to get into the road, the car wouldn’t pull up, so gave a jerk.  Ayock backed off of running board but came back reached his hand in behind Rutha and shot Ernest in neck.  Then not satisfied, he went to back of car and shot again.  Blood splashed all over Rutha and she said “Ernest what must I do!”  By that time Aycok pulled Rutha out of car.  She said “Where are you taking me to?”  He said “Come with me, I’ll take care of you.”  I don’t think Ernest spoke one word or moved an inch to protect him self – just scared to death.  The last thing Rutha heard him say was “Ruth, we might have taken that road back there.” 

 In the corner of the road, just as they were to detour, on the right was a little country house and two old women were sitting on the porch.  They saw it all.  Kemp stood back of Aycock’s car and looked on and didn’t move.  He was not called on to testify in the trial.  Aycock pushed Ernest’s body to one side and drove back to filling station where he was asked if he knew the man he had killed.  He didn’t, so the man at the filling station said, “You’ve killed one of the Dyal boys.”  A man and a younger man happened along right after the shooting and it was Mr. Brown, the one West stayed with on Hines Terrace.  They told us that - Mrs. Brown told me.  Some claimed it was mistaken identity or some thought he was after Edgar who drank, but it was not brought up at the trial.  The old man who sentenced him said “We know you didn’t mean to do it, but it was your ungoverned temper that killed him.  He must have been crazy.  That’s about all I know of it.  I think we have all the papers pictures of the place at home, but the print is dim. 

It was an awful thing.  Two weeks before this happened; there had been a terrible murder of a bride and groom near that same place. So they said that was on Ernest’s mind and that he had worried about it a good bit.  It was an awful thing to happen to Rutha..  I don’t see how she has stood it as well as she has.

You can send this on to West.  I don’t know how I got out of it last night on phone as well as I did, for I didn’t want her to know we were talking about it so long.  No more news since last night.  Wofford says Bee is to start home Wednesday.

Write -
      Love -

Mr. Brown you know was a prominent construction man down there.  Mr. Brown took Rutha back to Jessup, to the hospital and treated for shock.  They put Aycock in Jessup jail but had to move him from jail to jail for safety.  They gave him 12 years.  He got out – killed second wife up against a wall -shot her to death just mad with her.  Rutha can’t stand to think of it.  It may be well for West to save this letter.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

USS-312 in New Orleans

The photo above is an image from the late Richard 'Dick' B. Hudson (Wilmington, Delaware).  Dick said that he had originally received this from John Rees (Louisville, OH) at a previous reunion.  On the back of the photo he wrote," LST-312 unanchored in New Orleans, waiting to go into dry-dock, 1945"

I came back from Columbia, SC this past Sunday with my uncle Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson's footlocker.  Pat had wanted my brother and I to have it after he died.  It meant a lot to Uncle Pat that I took interest in his story.  He told me several times over the past few years how much he appreciated being able to share his story before he died.  I was honored to do it.

The footlocker is filled with memorabilia from his years spent aboard USS LST-312 during WWII, his service in 1947 in Orlando Florida, as well as documentation from his years as base historian for Warner Robins Air Force Base.  It also had some information of his older brother James Murdoch Finlayson, and plenty of old Cheraw related letters.  I spent the majority of Labor Day going through information trying to find someway to organize it.  I am far from finished.

I will be posting more about LST-312 in future blog posts (as well as other subjects).  I sorted through many-many letters from fellow shipmates that were primarily posted between 1980 to 2003.  Uncle Pat corresponded with many of his old war buddies, and went to as many reunions as he could.  As I scanned many of these letters, I realize that almost all of them are gone...maybe all of them.  It's going to take me a long time to read all of them and gleam from them more of the story of the 312.  I can tell you something they all shared in common, they loved each other and were proud of their service aboard the 312.

Friday, September 2, 2011

it's a good thing

They come into the clinic with aches and pain.

"My neck hurts."

"My low back is killing me."
"Oh my shoulders!"
"Can you help my headache go away?"
"I've been hurting all day."

I hear the complaints and problems.   I get to lay my hands on the hurt, focus on the areas of discomfort - and bring comfort.  I offer up a silent prayer for each of them as I work. 
It makes my day when I can decrease someone's pain level, or better yet, make it all go away.  It makes me feel good to make my clients feel good.  It's a rewarding experience to know that at the end of the day, I made someone's day better.

To me, massage therapy is more than simply manipulating tissue, it's more than touch.

I like my job.  I'm glad God brought me to this profession of laying on of hands.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

a virtuous woman

Gina woke me this morning with a kiss.  She said, "It's twenty one years today and I love you just as much as I did the day I married you!"

I feel the same way.  I love her even more.  I can not imagine my life without her.

Last year I wanted to do something special, but we're in the same boat this year as we were last year - a tugboat.  One day we'll go on a cruise together.  It was my hope last year, but it's just wasn't in the cards.  Nothing is in the cards this week.  I told Gina that I was going to have to be out of town this weekend.  She replied, "We're past all that, we know we how much we love each other."

She's sweet, but I'm not past it.

The above photo was taken the night I proposed to Gina.  I was working with Jamey Moore Productions at the time.  I woke up one morning knowing what I was to do that day.  God had Gina on my heart and mind that morning.  I wasn't going to let the sun go down without asking her to marry me.  I drove to work and told Jamey that I was not going to stay that day....that I was heading to Chattanooga to propose to Gina. 

God is so good.  My trip to Chattanooga was divinely orchestrated.  I simply can't explain all the nuances of that day seemed to be laid out for the two of us.  There were the string quartet made up of college professors who were up on Signal Mountain that happened to be there practicing.  No one else was there but the musicians, Gina and myself.  We know to this day that God was winking at us.

Every where we went that day, something unique happened, and I am convinced God unfolded those moments for us.  God is a romantic.

Gina was the one.   I'd been in relationships ...but I wanted someone in my life that would love me as much as I wanted to love.  When I met Gina, I discovered that love.  She pours herself out daily and loves without ceasing.  Gina is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. 
What we have - we will always have.

Our anniversary week will go by quietly and with little celebration. 
Our time is consumed with other things to do this year.   We are going to have to be apart this weekend.  Nevertheless, my heart is filled.  I am thankful to God for sending Gina my way.  That this love I have is greater than I ever could have imagined.  Thanks God.
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.
- Proverbs 18:22

Friday, August 26, 2011

the opposite of faith

I am looking at the future and wondering what to do.  The economy is hurting our business.  New healthcare laws are limiting how much we can help our clients and how much we make.  Six years of struggling to make business work, and all the forces of nature seem to be against us.  Life these days is like trying to navigate raging white-waters on a surf board.  I know that I'm not the only one.  Other folks around me are undergoing far worse.  It's not just me.  There are times in everyone's life that life seems overwhelming and impossible.

I admit it.  My first reaction is usually fear.   I try to be optimistic, but fear is the first surge that I experience.  I appreciate how God works during hard times.  He always comes along at the right moment and nudges us.   I was beginning to feel succumbed by the hopelessness of it all.  I lose sight many times along the to the way, feeling the way the enemy would have me feel.  Here is where I have found myself failing time and time again.  I confess it.

So out of nowhere I got the almighty nudge and a hopeful reminder - the opposite of fear is faith.

"Humans are amphibians - half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time."
-C.S. Lewis

I can easily be overwhelmed or learn to navigate each new hardship with faith.  Fear will always make us lose control - eventually tip us over.  I believe that we are more spiritual than physical.  Like the Lewis quote infers,  we only have our physical bodies for a short amount of time - we are forever spirit.  We must endeavor to learn to live our lives in an unseen reality.

You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
-C.S. Lewis

While on this earth, bound by our flesh - we are to take the spatula of truth and flip our fears over and find our faith.  Most of us have experienced this before in our lives, we have to give our fears to God and believe on Him.

 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
-Hebrews 11:1

God doesn't always deliver us from trials that cause us fear.  He desires the trials to test our faith in order that we learn to rise up with the character of Christ.  I still have to relearn the lesson of faith over fear - to step out of the boat onto the water.  None of us are going to make it if we try to overcome situations in the flesh.  We can't balance ourselves on what we perceive with our own eyes.  We have to let go and stand on what we have been taught.  We are not to balance flesh and spirit.  We are to walk solely in the spirit.

" ...and everything that does not come from faith is sin."
-Romans 14:23

We are not to be drowning in fear, but walking by FAITH.  We are indeed spiritual beings. 
I should know this by now and I need His reminders from time to time.  It's too easy to get caught up in the fear of the flesh, because it is the natural thing to do.  Living in faith isn't natural.  Stepping off into the unseen unknown scarey.  We will struggle with it until the day we die.  It's because all we each see in the mirror is flesh and bone.  All we see around us from day to day are flesh and bone.  It's easy to lose sight of the unseen and drown in all that is seen.  Sometimes we'd rather stay in the comfortable familiar than experience life the way we were meant to live.

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
-Romans 14:17

We are to be above fear and not forever drowning.  It is faithlessness that keeps us from being the beings we were created to be.  If we are constantly reacting to life with fear, our lives will not be as full or as fruitful.  If we are constantly succumbing to our fear, we are acting just as lost as the rest of the world.  We must live by faith and discover the way we were meant to walk.  We have to make that bold step each day.

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this."
-C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

i miss them

School is back in session.  Both of my daughters are no longer at the office during the day.  I miss them here.

There was a long period of time this Summer that our family was running on just one vehicle.  The old van was in the shop for a month due to a mysterious electrical problem.  Gina needed our only car running to drive to and from the nursing homes.  The girls and I were stranded together at the office during the work day.

It wasn't bad mind you.  Most of the days we brought sandwich materials from home to have lunch.  A few times a week Katie, Kelsey and I would close up shop at noon and hang an Out To Lunch note on the door.  We'd walk to lunch.  I miss THAT.  We'd hold hands, talk and laugh as we strolled together downtown.

Sometimes the three of us would venture down Broad for a  monster  of a club sandwich at Gadsden Variety & Deli or for a hotdog from Connie's Coney's.  The girls liked sitting outside under the shade of the umbrella and munch on a hotdog with chili and cheese.  Sometimes we'd venture down Chestnut for a reuben sandwich at the Downtown Deli.  Kelsey hasn't acquired the taste for a good reuben as of yet.  She'll take the ham & cheese.

Here I am writing about food.  I can get that stuff any old day.  What I MISS is enjoying lunch with my daughters.  I miss walking to lunch with them.  I miss sitting down and enjoying them on a Summer day.

Today  I sit alone at my office and contemplate what I'm going to do for lunch.  I find myself opting out.  It's just not as fun without my girls.