Friday, September 19, 2014

a traveling man

Murdoch was a fellow who enjoyed traveling, yet didn't own a car.  He used public transportation and his two feet to get him anywhere he wanted to go.  If a nephew or niece ever wanted to spend real quality time with him, you'd have to tag along.  You'd find him in his garden or heading out the door.

Many decades ago, when I was around ten or eleven, Murdoch asked me if I'd like to walk downtown with him.  I had no idea what I was getting myself in for.  We walked down to Columbia's Five Points, going to several grocery stores.  Murdoch kept up with every penny (literally) and made every penny count (literally).  He always had a little ledger in his pocket that kept up with every dollar, every cent he had in his pocket.  If he could walk four blocks to save a few cents on the cost of bread or coffee, he'd walk it.  He spent so much time walking around downtown through the decades, that the people downtown referred to him as 'The Mayor of Five Points'.  No kidding.

Many times Murdoch would make his trip to Gadsden on the Greyhound.  We'd pick him up at the station.  There were times he'd ask me if I'd like to go to town with him.  We'd walk from one side of up of Broad Street and down the other, pretty much doing nothing but window shopping.  Each time I recall, he always went in to The Coffee Cup for a cup of coffee.

Murdoch moved around, usually kept himself busy, even when he was visiting.  He spent a good bit of time outside around the house inspecting our plants.  When we had a garden, he'd spend many afternoons working on it for his brother.

Dad always talked about what a teaser Murdoch was in their youth.  He remained a troublemaker in a harmless funny way.  He'd say little things that he knew would stir up his sisters and quietly watch with a hint of a grin on his face. He knew how to push buttons in a subtle way.

Ol' Murd was a funny fellow, but I don't ever recall seeing or hearing him laugh.  He would chuckle, and I do remember that grin.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

look, there's dad

Several years back I ended up with my uncle's slides.  He was an avid picture taker.  There was such an influx of images and things after his death that I didn't have the time to go through it all. This week I thumbed through some of his old slide boxes.  He's got some real gems in there.

It's fascinating going through uncle Pat's old photos, I am seeing people I knew and love, through Pat's lens.  The above photo is of my dad, H. Westbrook Finlayson.  The car looks familiar. I think it's our old Kingswood Estate Wagon...69-71?  I don't recall him wearing those black frame glasses, but I sure do recall that man.

It's something running across a picture of my dad, a picture I had never seen before.  It's a new photo to me.  It's picture of a very familiar face in a very familiar scene.  This visual is typical, dad arriving home. Perhaps we just came home from church, or from work.  His brother Pat took the picture, so I'm guessing it's a Sunday afternoon and all the Finlayson kids (6 of us) had already escaped the car and already in the house.

This photo of Pat's captured a typical scene at a familiar place, seeing dad there.  That was a long time ago.  It's good to see his face again anew.  We all say to each other that we take everything and each other for granted.  It's true. Every little moment we have with each other is a precious gift.

Moments are fleeting and so are we.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

where dad grew up

This was the home of Burruss and Jennie Wait Foster Finlayson in Cheraw, South Carolina.  The house is located in downtown Cheraw, on Hwy 1 (Market Street), directly across from the United States Post Office.  There is nothing there now but a vacant lot. 

The picture below is the only image I have of it's interior.  Sitting around the table are siblings, Rutha Finlayson Dyal, Jennie Llew Finlayson Guyton and James Murdoch Finlayson.  Their mother (my grandmother) Jennie Finlayson (standing) and long time family friend Evelyn Bland are present and ready for supper.  Evelyn lived with the Finlayson family for years, having been loved as a second mother by the Burruss and Jennie's children.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

hero ship

I found out Friday afternoon that USS LST-325 was on display in Chattanooga until Wednesday.  The 325 is on her Tennessee River Cruise.   I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity, seeing how I was probably never going to get up to it's home at the LST Ship Memorial in Evansville, IN. 

I told Gina that I was probably going to take off during the weekend to check it out.  The 325 is the last ship of her class in existence.  I was surprised that Gina wanted to come along with me.  As we drove up, Gina found herself excited about seeing one of the ships her father, Walter Clifford Hale, served on in the Pacific Theater of Operations.  Her father served on LST-479 as a cook.  Gina was very curious as to what the ship's galley looked like.

As mentioned many times here on the Long Journey Home Blog, my Uncle Pat (Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson) served as a
Lieutenant aboard LST-312 in the European Theater of Operations.  We were not permitted to check out the Radio Shack or the Officer's Living Quarters.  These are areas that I would've liked to have visited.  I did get to see the Officer's Wardroom, where officers ate and hung out.

I thought of Uncle Pat throughout the day. I would have loved to have had him along on this little venture. I'm sure it would've stirred many forgotten stories of his service aboard his ship, LST 312.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

15 things

Awhile back on facebook, a challenge went around asking for people to share things about themselves that their friends might not know.  I usually don't participate, but found that it was kind of therapeutic. 

1) I speak fluent faux-French. 

2) I am an introvert in disguise.

3) I take laughter seriously.

4) I realized I am a dancer late in life.  My feet won't let me now.

5) The first song I ever wrote spoofed a toothpaste commercial (Ultra Brite) 'How's Your Love Life'.

6) I could get my father up a flight of stairs in his wheelchair about the time I was 14. It was usually a hindrance for people to try to help. They would often insist, and I would thank them for helping, but they usually threw me off balance and made the task more difficult.  It's more about balance than lifting.

7) It still irritates me when people without disabilities take up handicapped parking spaces for convenience sake. Do these people not have a conscience?

8) Black is beautiful.

9) My middle name is my paternal grandfather's name. It's an odd old name that I didn't like as a kid. Over the years I've taken a liking to it.

10) I avoid places and events where culture snobs gather.
11) My eyebrows hang low and I guess I look mean when I am concentrating/thinking. Since Katie was little she'd ask me, "Daddy...are you mad?" I understand why this is confusing because I also look mad when I am mad.

12) I do not fear my own death.  I just don't look forward to the actual process.

13) I am selfish in that I hope I die before Gina.  I can't imagine life without her.

14) One way God reveals to us His fatherly love for us is when we become parents ourselves. We get to love children first and they learn love from our first loving them. When I became a dad, I understood God's love for me even more.

15) It's not that I don't like tattoos. It's just that there's no illustration that I'd care to have permanently inked upon my glorious naked body. I don't care if it's Michael Angelo himself doing the tat, I'd get tired of it. I would think it humorous to have Moses holding up his staff parting the Red Sea over my buttocks. "DIVIDE!"

Friday, September 5, 2014

a verse for America

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

~William Butler Yeats~
First verse of The Second Coming

I am concerned that many Americans don't understand their enemy, or realize we have an enemy.  Islam is the enemy, and ISIS is it's sword.  We have not as a whole realized that it is 'kill or be killed'.  The oldest evil has come to our doorstep and too many people are still stuck in the politically correct spin mode.  Too many are simply not paying attention.

Obama thinks ISIS is something that can be contained and managed.  America has a mortal enemy, and this enemy cannot be contained.  This enemy is coming for us in ways that will overshadow what we experienced on September 11, 2001.  There are 9/11s to come. The next event will more than likely be worse than 2001.  Our leaders, our government have failed us.  We have been invaded, ISIS is here.  There are many methods in which we will be attacked.  I believe we'll experience a series of tragic events throughout the country.  It's not a matter of 'if' but 'when'.   ISIS is a black swan event that will fundamentally change our country.
I may be wrong. I pray I am wrong.  I believe I am right.
Don't look to Washington, don't look to our leaders. They have chosen to serve themselves. They have turned their backs on we the people. I don't give Obama any benefit of the doubt regarding his well-being for America; our laws, our freedom, our very lives. 
He has no respect for our laws, only manipulates and uses the system by any means possible to achieve his ultimate ends.  His dream is to usher in a globalist utopia. I'm pretty sure his idea of utopia is death to our Constitution, our very way of life, and force America into a new world order ruled under sharia law.

Obama doesn't have a strategy to defend the United States of America because his strategy has always been to take America down, strip us of our sovereignty and liberty.
  He does not see ISIS as the enemy, but as a means to his end. Obama has done everything he can politically do to weaken America's standing in the world, and strengthen our enemies. He is more akin to our enemy than to the American people.
Obama has a strategy and it IS working.

As citizens, our hands are tied politically, yet our answer isn't political.  Yes, eventually we will be forced to fight a very real enemy. With Islam, we will be forced to fight or die.  Soon our nation as a whole will be humbled and taken down to our collective knees. Our answer doesn't come from politicians, but from God alone. Our answer can be found in a single verse of scripture.  Even by having our hands tied, and humbled to our knees, this does not restrict God's people from doing what must be done!

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
~2 Chronicles 7:14