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Posts by Joey Ledford:
The great philosopher Mick Jagger sang it best: “What a drag it is getting old.”
One of the worst parts of the affliction the Stones’ song recalls is that not only are you putting on years, but the people you begat are getting that way as well. Or at least they are getting old enough that they don’t need the nest anymore.
ELKMONT, Tenn. — One spectator likened it to Aunt Melba’s Christmas lights. Another described the trek through the darkness to see the show as a Halloween for adults without candy and the annoying trips up steps to knock on doors. “Woo,” said a third. “This is SOOO cool.” This magnificent display of nature is known as Elkmont’s synchronized lightning bugs. Photinus carolinus, one of 14 species of fireflies that inhabit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, pick a two-week window each June to do their thing. Accounts differ when people are asked to describe this eerie explosion of fluorescence. From watching individual fireflies among thousands, it appeared to me that they light six consecutive times within about six seconds. Then darkness prevails for a like period before the cycle begins anew. Some felt the glow swept through the woods in a right to left wave. The phenomena appears to be […]
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I have a young friend named Gus. He is in second grade at school, just starting out in life, and doesn’t hold back in letting us know what he is thinking. I have another friend named Gus who is ninety-four and confined to bed in a nursing home. He has dementia, so we don’t know what he is thinking, but he responds with a smile when someone talks to him. My older friend Gus hasn’t met the younger Gus and doesn’t know who I am anymore. When I telephone the nursing home to ask if he needs anything the nurses are rel Read on →
To begin with, we're not talking about that super-smart cartoon dog who had a pet boy, though someone named Sherman does figure prominently in the topic at hand. We’re talking about the other Mr. Peabody, George Foster, namesake of the media awards that the University of Georgia has been handing out since 1941. Submissions to the Peabody competition over the decades have piled up to embody a remarkable collection, some 90,000 kinescopes, 16 mm films, tapes and DVDs, all now stored in a huge, climate controlled grotto beneath the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Library on the UGA campus. For the past year, the Read on →
Harvey was two years old when his mother died. He was the youngest of ten children and had little schooling because his father didn't believe it was important. Harvey's father had arrived from County Cavan about 1858 with his Scottish parents and five siblings as refugees from the famine that had spread across Ireland. He was twenty seven years old when he married for the first time and forty seven when his wife died leaving him with eight children aged between fourteen and two years. He remarried a year later and Harvey and his older sister were products of the Read on →
The arrival of the Great American Backyard Bird Count a few weeks back prompted a once-a-decade bird-feeder cleaning. I have a couple of the dome-over-dish type, and since I look down from my loft-office window, I figured I could count better if I could see through those weather-stained, mold-splotched domes. Should I do the cylindrical one, too, while I was at it? No. Obvi. Foul as it might have been, the cylinder had no apparatus to block my view. To borrow one of my dear departed father’s favorite expressions, I wasn’t going to make it my life’s work. I hauled ‘em in to t Read on →