The Journey


We have a tendency these days to travel quickly from one place to another. Planes are often our preferred mode of transportation. There are obvious benefits to leaving Houston in the morning and enjoying dinner in San Francisco. Making our way across long distances by car takes so much longer and requires a certain amount of patience. Still there is something far more intimate about a road trip. It allows us to begin to truly understand the geography and the people of our country. We get a better sense of the grandness of this nation and the hard working spirit that keeps it moving from day to day.  Continue reading “The Journey”


The Place of Peace

i282600889612593703._szw1280h1280_When the newly formed Confederate States fired on Fort Sumter to begin the conflict known as the Civil War citizens gathered on the verandas and balconies of the homes along the Battery in Charleston to celebrate what they believed would be a very short engagement. Almost a year later the battles lingered on and it would be three more years before the bitter feud between what had once been united states finally ended. The cost would weigh heavily on both sides, especially in terms of the lost treasure of young men. 

In 1862, both Confederate and Union armies had been gathering in a place that was unfamiliar to most people. In Corinth, Mississippi the convergence of two railroads provided the main supply routes between both the north and south and the east and west of the Confederate states. It was imperative to the rebel troops to hold that city in their grasp. It was also understood by the federal troops that to gain a foothold there would be a major blow to the Confederacy.   Continue reading “The Place of Peace”

Uncle Sam

i282600889612563115._szw1280h1280_New Orleans is a siren, a temptress who lulls unsuspecting innocents into her arms. She infects her unwitting visitors with a fever from which there is no cure. Forevermore they love her and must return again and again and again. I am one of those people who is so enamored with the Big Easy that I often find myself dreaming of walking the familiar haunts. When I have been gone too long I feel a longing and ultimately I find my way back to her. I revel in the sights, the sounds, the feast of the senses until I am satiated enough to return to my normal routines but the lovely NOLA is never far from my thoughts. She knows as I do that I will never resist her call. I will come back to enjoy her many charms. 

It was love at first sight for me forty seven years ago when Mike and I spent our honeymoon in New Orleans. I have told my children of the lovely secrets of the city and they in turn have fallen under its spell. The grandchildren that I have brought to visit understand her charms. As William Faulkner once said, “There are three cities in the United States, New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everything else is Cleveland.” Like Faulkner and Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway I feel the pulse of life in this city as in few others. The food, the architecture, the music, and mostly the people intrigue me. Sitting on a bench simply observing the play of humanity around me is entertainment in and of itself.  Continue reading “Uncle Sam”

My Kind of Town


Our fall traveling adventures are coming to a close. We will camp near Memphis, Tennessee today from whence we will set out to visit Shiloh National Military Park in honor of my great grandfather, John William Seth Smith, who was a member of the Army of the Ohio, Kentucky Infantry, during that bloody melee in the early years of the Civil War. Tomorrow we will head to New Orleans for a couple of days of fun and food. From there we will head home to slowly make our way back into our normal routine.  Continue reading “My Kind of Town”

An Amish Adventure

i282600889612424793._szw1280h1280_The northeast corner of Indiana is home to a large number of Amish families. In towns like Nappanee and Shipshawana these quiet and humble people live in simple ways that are reminiscent of times past. Yesterday Mike and I decided to follow the Heritage Trail that loops through the land where they work and worship. It was a memorable experience.

There is much talk these days about religious freedom. That is a topic that is near and dear to so many Americans. In fact, many of the earliest colonists in the New World came because they were being persecuted and often times jailed in Europe for their spiritual beliefs. The Puritans who traveled on the Mayflower had been chased out of one country after another. They dared to cross the Atlantic to the unknown out of desperation. Essentially they had no place else to go.   Continue reading “An Amish Adventure”