June 2009

25 Jun 2009 06:01 pm


Horses cool off as they swim and play in a pond off Steep Hill Cutoff.

Photo by Kaia Larsen

Kaia Larsen is a photographer for our local newspaper. She always manages to capture magical shots. I love this photo of horses keeping cool.

It’s really hot outside but after all, it’s summertime in the South.

25 Jun 2009 02:50 pm


My Dad and Mom married young. They celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary this month.


My brothers, my sister and I were lucky kids. We had a father and mother who raised us with love, attention, and discipline. My Dad was always my idol and I followed him around like a puppy. (as I have written before)

I was busy celebrating Fathers Day with Daddy this past Sunday and neglected to honor him here at The Wide Awake Cafe. So here are some photos that almost capture his sweet essence.


My Pop, drinking a pop.


His grandkids call him “Pappy.


The Beautiful People

24 Jun 2009 02:37 pm


Sad sight

Governor Mark Sanford’s press conference today did nothing to help him. In fact, from the excerpts that I’ve heard of it, he didn’t seem sorry about his affair with his Argentine hotty. Sanford seemed to revel in talking about his “dear, dear friend” and how he “sparked” her.


His poor wife.

I try to stay away from blogging about stuff like this but Sanford’s disappearance was just so odd. The fact that there were two stories floating out there and that his wife wasn’t “concerned” was eyebrow raising. I suspected there was more to Sanford’s game of hide and seek.

Good Dads just don’t leave on Fathers Day weekend. Not with four sons. Not with one son. Not with one daughter.

No way.

(unless they are going to war)

Fathers Day is the only day in the calendar that honors men. Mark Sanford may as well resign his governorship. He will never be elected again.


Jenny Sanford’s statement. (he doesn’t deserve her)

22 Jun 2009 05:05 pm



Life has been hectic lately but I must take time to express my support for the Iranian protesters who are risking their lives and their treasure on the streets of Iran.

Some have already lost their lives.

After all, those of us who live freely think nothing of our abilities to get out in our cars to shop, visit family, go to work, go to the church of our choice and simply live our hectic (and in some cases, unexamined) lives.

This is not the lifestyle of those who live in Iran and hasn’t been for thirty years. A very inept and passive president helped to arrange that debacle and it appears that another Democrat president is also embracing passivism.

It appears that making tough decisions on foreign policy makes Obama squeamish. So far, regarding the chaos in Iran, he has chosen not to choose. Hat tip: Sissy Willis

Had Barack Obama not sided with the evil regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the first, the revolution would be on sturdier legs today.

Obama’s hesitation to speak out strongly in support of the Iranian people demonstrates that he is not a strong leader and/or that he agrees with the Iranian despots. His own administration is not all that open after all and attempts to quash any and all dissent within our country (and investigations of Obama cronies) are ongoing.

Warning. Heartbreaking.

The Gateway Pundit has more news and links.

Welcome Bookworm Room readers!

17 Jun 2009 12:23 pm


This was a great oak tree.

It stood for ages above the graves of my great (2nd) grandparents, Polly Miranda Mabry and Joseph Lafayette Stiles and my great grandfather, William Chase Whitmarsh and his three year old daughter, Ada Elizabeth. Ada Elizabeth died on Christmas Day from diptheria, leaving her mother devastated and unwilling to ever celebrate Christmas again. This sad tale was related to me by my grandmother when I was young.

In the shadow of the tree my ancestors rested and I always knew where to find them because of the great and mighty Oak.

I remember going with my grandmother, Hazel Alabama Whitmarsh Webster to Oak Cemetery to visit the graves of my ancestors and my grandfather, Guy Smith Webster when I was young. She told me stories about her father, William Chase Whitmarsh, a native of New Hampshire and her little sister, Ada. Her grandparents, Polly Miranda Mabry and Joseph Lafayette Stiles and her late husband, Guy S. Webster were also very important stops in the cemetery.

I listened raptly as Mamaw told me about her proud, grandmother, Polly, whose real name was Mary. The nickname for Mary was “Polly” during this long ago generation. I never understood that. Polly Miranda Mabry was born on September 6th, 1836. I always felt a kinship with her because September 6th is also my birthday.


This past Friday in our city there was a fierce thunderstorm (some say a possible funnel cloud) and the old Oak Tree met its demise. The tree fell to the ground, uprooted by a great wind. It shook the stable rest of three gravestones that marked the ground where four of my ancestors was buried. I was driving past Oak Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in our city this past Saturday. I was shocked to discover that the tree above the Whitmarsh/ Mabry and Stiles graves was uprooted.


According to my grandmother, Polly Miranda Mabry was native American or at least was in part. This photo is of poor quality but it is obvious that Polly was a native American. Through my genealogical research I have discovered that Polly’s mother, Nancy Caroline Payne was the daughter of Mathew Payne and Amelia Cooper. Her father was Parham Poole Mabry, a son of colonists who originally settled in the Bermuda Hundred in Virginia. Somewhere along the way our English roots melded with our native American roots. Strange that my interest in family roots was in part inspired by my girlhood visits to the cemetery with my melancholy grandmother and now an oak tree has been actually uprooted above them.

But as a wise man said, my ancestors are not there. The souls of William, Polly, Ada Elizabeth and Joseph have flown beyond our lowly atmospheric grief. They are in a much better place.



This gravestone for William Chase Whitmarsh and his three year old daughter, Ada Elizabeth is on the other side of the uprooted tree. There were older very simple gravestone/markers marking the graves but they were replaced by my great Aunt Ivy years ago.


There are a lot of other graves in Oak Cemetery that were damaged by the felling of the oak but our ancestors’ graves were right under the tree and its roots. There were four graves that I know of that were affected. William Chase Whitmarsh was buried beside his three year old daughter, Ada Elizabeth. Polly Miranda Mabry Stiles and her husband Joseph Lafayette Stiles were right beside each other. They were all in a row.


I fear that these gravestones will not be treated right when the tree is taken away and that Polly Miranda’s stone is destroyed. When I stopped by the cemetery this past Saturday I could not find her gravestone anywhere. There was a deep chasm directly under the roots of the tree. I tried to avoid looking in the pit, fearful that I might see something disturbing.

Our eyes avert from what we need not see.

Welcome Goodboys Nation readers.

17 Jun 2009 11:38 am


Yesterday I went to an art workshop/Share Day for art teachers in Paris, Arkansas. The workshop was excellent, full of ideas and art lessons as well as hands-on activities. The workshop was led by the art teacher at Paris, High School.

It was the best art seminar/workshop I have ever attended. The above art piece was done by all the art teachers who attended the workshop yesterday. It was inspired by a “journey.” Each of us was asked to brainstorm what a “journey” would mean to us. Then, we were asked to paint our journey.

My part of the painting is the Cathedral of Notre Dame with the sea of blue around it. Now that I think of it, that was an appropriate addition to the piece since I was painting in Paris, AR and the cathedral is in Paris, France.

That didn’t occur to me yesterday but that is not surprising. The entire day was an art experience. I didn’t take notice of the time as I have done in some workshops. If anything, the time passed by too quickly.

11 Jun 2009 12:33 pm


Laura at Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, in Paris, France in 1978. Photo by Robert R. Donoho.

No, I wasn’t posing as a caryatid for Frank Lloyd Wright as the awesome and audacious Professor Althouse was captured doing the other day.

I was just thrilled to be in Paris. Notre-Dame was (and still is) the length, width, height, and depth of my favorite architectural structure in the entire world.

Long ago and faraway (in 1978) my husband and I were stationed in Augsburg, Germany, our first tour abroad. We had a young family, but managed to travel to France, Switzerland, Belgium and England. Sometimes we were lucky enough to have trusted babysitters to stay with our children. We had a great babysitter when we made our trip to Paris.

Some conservatives are incensed that President Obama took his family to Europe during his most recent overseas trip. I can’t be critical of the Obama family’s travels to Paris and London as long as the taxpayers are reimbursed.

On the other hand, this is the worst economy since the Great Depression and it’s odd that while regular Americans are scratching their own vacations Madame Obama is going full steam ahead with her own. She seems not to care about her fellow struggling Americans.

And yet, the Obamas are the First Family.

It is a wonderful experience for any American to see “the old country”. I would advise the Obamas to check out the history as well as the culture of the countries. Read a good historian like Paul Johnson.

Furthermore, it would have been my choice had Obama himself chosen to stay in Europe longer to just loll around. Get in some good smokes. Take the ice train to Berlin. Get some rest. He seems tired a lot. Or maybe Obama could hang out at The Côte d’Azur and take some topless strolls on the beach. He can surely spend his time thinking of more things he hates about America to add to his Apology Tour Act.

Obama should just leave Americans alone.

Alas, he left his wife and daughters in Europe.


Something tells me that Mrs. Obama is having a great time overseas. She caused quite a stir in London yesterday with her daisy outfit. There is something quite childlike in her choice of clothing. It seems that First Lady Michelle Obama likes to play dressup. At least in Great Britain.


My little girls always loved to play dressup. (These sweet little girls grew up to become tough lawyers.)

Perhaps Michelle Obama’s daisy outfit was some kind of in your face message to her fellow Americans.

What must Robin Givhan think?

02 Jun 2009 11:04 am

Grief is the worst of lifes’ maladies. It appears at the unlikeliest of times and pierces the soul clean through.


On February 8th, 2006 my 26 year old nephew, Matt died of an undiagnosed heart ailment. Last Friday his older sister, Annabeth died suddenly in Florida. Amy, the driver of the car in the above photo has lost both her brother and sister in the span of three years. Her parents have lost two well beloved children.

Unspeakable grief.


Here are Annabeth and Matt during their childhoods.





Here is the poetic tribute my husband wrote for his sweet niece, Annabeth. (Annabe) My sister, Lucy did the beautiful calligraphy.