MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: September 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Yep, the entire Class of '64 turns 65 this year...time to start drawing from the Social Security and Medicare benefits that we've been paying into for all these years!  Some of us have been drawing since 62, but this year we all begin Medicare coverage.  That's the reason for us having a SS & M Party this past weekend.

The week, in general, has been a good week, with a couple of visits downtown to see my Princess, and to update my running blog of the restoration project.  That can be found on the Princess Blog!
Note the "funeral" tents in the background (Click to enlarge)
I'll have to say the highlight of the weekend was Friday night at Harriman High School's 2011 Homecoming game.  My son is the Guidance Counselor there and usually coordinates special events at the Friday night games, like who gets on the field and when, Homecoming Queens, and people like us returning alumni.  So, he had some funeral tents set up, almost too appropriate, for us to gather and socialize under during the game.  He even roped-off reserved seating in the stands, but most people elected to stay under the tents and reminisce.
Those that attended lined up along the 45 yard line, opposite the Class of '81, while they announced our class year.  Surprisingly, both classes got a rousing hand and we began to feel special!  Then we (both classes) moved down to the north end of the field and joined the Homecoming Queen and her court in forming a line through which the Blue Devils ran as the game got under way.
The Queen and court, the band, and us old folks, left the field to allow the coin toss.  It was just then that Phil Dawson, the fellow with the whitest hair, which used to be the reddest in the class, had the gumption to walk over and ask if he could toss the coin!  The refs asked if he could catch it, the nerve, and he just said, "We'll see!"  I missed that moment with my camera, but no one, not even Phil, until the last moment, knew he had the cojones to ask!  He was our hero!
So, we talked, watched a little football, that is until Harriman got behind, then some of us got distracted by hunger and thirst.  We reconvened in a corner at Los Premos and began munching chips and salsa; washing it down with Margaritas!
I got to spend some time with my ol' buddy David Arp too, Friday night, and again on Saturday morning during a special tour of the Princess, and then later at the Saturday evening SS & M Party!  It was good to talk to him again, and laugh about our former "Fight Club" and how it bonded our friendship.

My other good, high school best, friend Barry Henderson could not make the event due to loads of work he is doing in a tornado ravaged area of upper East Tennessee.  Maybe in three years he can make our normal, every 5 years, reunion party date.

Like I said, I had sent out an impromptu email inviting classmates to join us at the Princess, but only David, his wife Kathy, his mom, and his brother-in-law Jim Henry, who has been very important to our restoration project, his son John, and Dr. Ahler came to the unplanned tour.  Gary Baker, the important man behind the scenes of the Princess project, and, our very own "Michelangelo" Tim Plemons met us there to show us the recent progress.
David loved the tour, and being able to share with his wife stories of slipping into the balcony back long ago!  I guess I never had the guts to do that, although I did jump out of a tree into the Midtown Drive-in one night, but then again I married assistant manager's daughter and had a free pass!
Morgan's group shot will be better, but this will do for now.
Later, on the Clinch River, near K-25, our party gathered and the music began flowing down the valley, riding on the slow rising fog spreading there.  It's strange how we look at each other today and still see each other seated at school desks, and pay little attention to the passing of time, although we are keenly aware of "the age in my (their) eyes", and the slower way we turn and walk these days.
Party venue at Kay Culton's
But all the senseless ego and pride is gone.  All the pettiness and jealousy, has vanished with time and we just enjoy being in each others company again.  We have already lost nineteen classmates and it's so sad that we can no longer share this special "golden" age with them as well.
Our host - Kay Whitson Culton

We still like our music rather loud, as some kept asking for the music to be turned up, possibly in order to hear it above the many conversations and loud laughter!

We don't need alcohol anymore to give us the courage we once thought we needed to socialize, although we haven't given up on it completely, we just have learned to be more responsible with its use.  Thankfully, it has become a lesser motive to party.  It's seems to be all about the people, their lives, their kids and grand-kids now, and that's so special.  It only comes with age. 
My heart was warmed Saturday evening too, when some that never even had a date in high school, at least as far as anyone knows, were dancing with former "most popular" students.  Who would have ever thought we'd live long enough to see that happen; and how great it was!
Time heals all and gives us the life experience we need to have that kind of confidence...finally, self-assured enough to step out on the dance floor and "cut a rug" like we could only once fantasize!
I'm proud of my age...I'm proud all that small stuff has passed.  I'm also happy to be 65...happy to be alive and feeling well, for a change, and happy to be a 1964 graduate of Harriman High School

Best damn class ever!

Friday, September 23, 2011


2 Chronicles 7:14 in God's Word, He states:
"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
I am convinced that we (Americans) must pray for our nation and its leaders.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I took my little momma to see her #2 son this week.  It was just from Wednesday afternoon until Friday noon, but it was a good short time!
Wade and his wife have just completed a part of their planned home update, which thus far has included a new pool and remodeled garage, and even though mom had already seen photos, she was anxious to see what they had accomplished in person.  

We had an uneventful 248 mile ride over to Lincolnton, NC from Harriman, except for a little brake rubbing coming down the mountain west of Asheville.  I didn't think I had been using them that much, but apparently it was enough to build up some heat in them. 
Shine on Tennessee moon!

The stretch from the I-81/I-40 split to Canton just seems like forever.  You cannot doze either going up or coming down that Black Mountain stretch, or you'll end up hitting a "jersey" bumper, drive into a tunnel wall, or run under a tractor-trail rig!  It's extremely stressful driving that road, with several sand ramps that stop runaway 18-wheelers to remind you of the inherent dangers.

Finally into Lincolnton, we pulled up, honked the horn, and promptly shouted, "Mountain folk!" like my dad always did when we used to arrive "down home"!
Wade greeted us outside with big hugs and then took us inside past his babies...three rather huge Rottweilers, who immediately checked us out.  Two of the dogs smelled us over, and after offering the back of our hands to smell, they allowed us to pet them on the head.  A third one, Neo, kept his distance after a brief sniff, and he watched us closely the entire visit.  The other two, Ursa, the oldest at 10 years, and Kong, yes, the name of this 147 lb. baby fits him to a tee, soon forgot about us and paid little attention to us unless they wanted some loving!  He would just waddle to any area he wanted, and spread out!  He often pushed the couch out of the way with his weight!

"Where does a 147 pound dog sleep...anywhere he pleases!"
During the construction of the new kitchen, bathrooms, pool, and garage, a couple of unlucky workers got a little squeeze on the thigh between the huge jaws of Kong and Neo!  Once there was some skin broken, but apparently the workers had surprised them and the dogs quickly reminded them who was boss!
I was already somewhat nervous around Neo, and tried not to show it, however, after hearing these stories I made sure I said his name when moving about, or coming into, the room.  His eyes never left me and I made sure I didn't invade his space.
However, the visit was a good one, with homemade tacos and chili, and several libations, including a Sam Adams Black Lager, which I had never tried, and a little sip of some "good ol' Tennessee mountain dew"!
As Wade says, "This is why we call'em broads!"
Mom, bless her heart, stayed with Wade and Lynn, but was afraid to come out of her room at night.  Luckily there was a bathroom just across the hall, but she didn't dare go to the kitchen during the night for water or a snack!  I don't think the dogs would have hurt her, but she was afraid she would make them bark and wake everyone up!  So, even though she got hungry during the night, she waited until morning, and after hearing Wade up, to venture out of her room.
Me...well, I had stayed there once before, sleeping in the living room with eyes on me every time I moved.  So, I got a room in a nearby motel and enjoyed their complementary country breakfast without those watchful eyes around!
Mostly we just sat in the shade by the "cement pond" (actually fiberglass) and talked.  It was a peaceful time in Wade's quiet neighborhood.  The temperatures were decent, for a change, and they actually dropped down into the 50s and 60s Friday.  This was probably the last week their pool will be open until spring.  Soon, as I reminded Wade, all the leaves in the area will drop into his pool! (I've been there...done that!)

So, we came back Friday...also uneventful.  

The next trip mom and I will take will be to the Williams Reunion in Florence, AL.  She and her sister Nell are the last of the elders in our family.  It will soon be up to us second-cousins to carry on the traditions....but I wonder how long that will last when even we are gone.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Sadly, we are through planning our class' 65th Birthday, SS&M (Social Security/Medicare), Party, because we've had so much fun at our "planning meetings".  However, we shall resume when you all you Harriman Class of '64 members get here on September the 24th!  It would be awesome if everyone could be here for the planning sessions, but sadly we have split apart and gone our separate ways.  But, that's the reason for our parties and get us all back together and renew our friendships and relive our high school days.

One good thing though, we won't have to hear Bob reminiscence about each and every one of you as we read the list of class names!  I think he could blackmail just about everyone in the class! Seriously, it was all good fun!  I think it was just his way of stretching out the party time!
I will shut up now and just let you enjoy some of the photos (double click to enlarge) I took Thursday evening at Kay (Whitson) and Bob Culton's home; where the party will take place.  Come dressed as you see us dressed...casually, 'cause someone just might end up in the pool!  So, relax and have fun!

Oh yes, there are between 15 and 20 of us planning on going to the Harriman vs. Wartburg football game on Friday evening the 23rd.  If you plan on attending, let me know so I can get seating reserved!
Who knew Kay was a two fisted drinker!

Ronnie watching his Prez!

Sorry Bob...this one's for me!

Bob and I suck it in!

Donna, Judy, and Regina hug up Bob Culton to thank him to letting us use his home for planning and for the party!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Yeah, the cat's out of the bag...Judy and I are "working out"!  We hadn't intended on telling anyone until we had been in the routine for several weeks, but Judy let it slip at our last family gathering, so it's no longer a guarded secret.  You know how people tease you when you announce something and then a few weeks or months later you quit.  Well, that's the reason I didn't want it told just yet, but I'll go with the flow now.

We aren't "working out" in the sense we are trying to bulk up, we're working out to keep these old bones loose and maybe to tone up a little old people flab around our edges!  It's just been 3 or 4 weeks now, but we try and go at least 3 times a week, and already I feel better after going.  This past holiday week they were only open one day and Judy and I sure missed it.  Our bodies could tell we had laid off, this past Tuesday, when we finally got back in the gym it was rough!
The gym belongs to Roane State Community College, here in Roane County, Tennessee, and we love to go.  It's only $40 for a semester, each, and they have just about anything I would want, and some I don't even touch.  Those things are for serious "work outs" and I just know they would hurt an old dude like me!  I'll wait and see if I ever get up enough muscle and courage to hit the larger weights and the more strenuous machines.
The Fitness Center is set up in a "circuit procedure", which they call an Aerobic Super Circuit, that involves warming up on a treadmill for about 5 minutes or more, and then starting the machine circuit.  I understand from Judy that the circuit is much like "Curves", except there are longer sessions on each piece of equipment, and there are many more to use.
After warming up, we hit a machine, and listen for the recorded instruction to "stop, and change stations" announcement.  There's about 35 seconds use of each machine, and from each you move on to a bicycle and peddle it for 35 seconds, and then back to a different machine that works a different muscle group, and then move on alternating down through the length of the gym.

You don't have to stay with the announced can stay as long as you like, but you do have to try and not block someone from moving through their routine.  We just go to a bike and wait until the user clears the machine we want.
We'll never have perfect bodies again...not that we ever did...but just maybe we can get beyond some of the old age creeping into our joints, and tone up enough we won't break if we fall, and then we might be able to get up by ourselves.

We end up each session, which takes about 45 minutes, by cooling off on a treadmill or bicycle.
So, if you live near a community college, check into the availability of their gym.  They usually don't care if you are a student or not, or how old you are.  Take advantage of it can only help you.

BTW...I enrolled in a class this semester too...old people can get a great break on class prices, and that made me very happy.  I sit in there and ask questions with the best of them, and they don't seem to mind that I'm a Silverback!

I'm taking Apple's Final Cut Pro, and hope to be able to edit first class videos for our local TV station (Channel 15) and of performances on the Princess Theatre stage.  I've been to class twice thus far, 6-9 Tuesdays, and was surprised that I learned something each time. 

The class is being taught by Matt Waters, the manager of Channel 15 in Downtown Harriman.  He is teaching an old dog new tricks!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Graduation And Back At School

My daughter graduated from LPN training last week and we're very proud of her.  She's in her forties and just decided it was time to go back to school and start a new page in her life.  
Tracy has been busy over the years since high school, mostly raising her daughter Katie, but she also became a beautician, and managed the family auto accessory and window tint business while doing so.  She learned to do the actual tinting from Eddie, her husband, who is, by all accounts, one of the best "tinters" in the area.
We celebrated her latest accomplishment by gathering at Wild Wings with family and friends.  It was a great evening with lots of laughter, libations, and, of course, wings!
Then on the weekend, Tracy and Eddie, along with Judy, went to Cookeville to see Katie's apartment.
I told Judy to take pictures of the new place so I could see what it looked like.  Well, she brought back photos of Katie, which I expected, but the only part of the apartment I got to see was her bed (not the room), her toilet, and a table in the corner of one room where she keeps her laptop.  Was it not for Photoshop, which I used to lighten the shots, I would not have even gotten to see those areas!  It could have been in any apartment or house in America!

It's true, good photography skills don't just rub actually have to develop them!

Anyway, a few days have passed, and Katie has been to two actual class days of school, and here it is Labor Day weekend.  She is in town for the holiday break and spent the night with us last night, and insisted I make pancakes this morning!  Of course, that don't take much arm twisting, but I try to avoid them until she visits.

She is presently sitting, as usual, in the same chair with her Granny, who is faithfully rubbing her on the arm, out on the screened porch, probably talking about boys and what she intends on having someday in the future.

Judy loves these times and would not trade places with anyone in the entire world!