That’d bring a tear to a glass eye…

Looking back, I have no idea how my mother put up with me, but somehow she managed to make it look like she enjoyed the job.  There’s not a day goes by that her positive influence on my life doesn’t manifest in some way, and I surely wish I could tell her right now how much I love and miss her.  The image below is from one of the festive July 4 celebrations we have in Tennessee, the mother and daughter in question being angels from Alaska.  (4 July, 2008  Smithville, Tennessee)

He’s a Yankee Doodle Dandy…

The fourth of July is celebrated in the US as Independence Day, and for us it means it’s time to head up to the Hicks Farm in Smithville, Tennessee for good times, good friends, good music, and the best life-giving pork you’ll ever put in your mouth.  There will be guitars aplenty and people who know how to bend a string, a hickory fire burning at all times and usually loafers pulled up in front of it sipping and telling stories, and the guest of honor will be in the process of becoming all he can be.  Bill and Bess Hicks started the tradition more years ago than anyone wants to count…a gathering of family and friends at the farm on Center Hill Lake, featuring a whole hog barbecued in traditional pit fashion.  The cooking technique has been refined over the years, and the cast of characters changes courtesy of Father Time, but the love and southern hospitality remains constant.  (4 July, 2008  Smithville, Tennessee)

In absentia…

Traditionally, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will stand on the balcony of his or her room in Olso’s Grand Hotel and wave to the passing torchlight parade that honors the recipient.  It was a little different in December of 2010, as Liu Xiaobo was still in prison in China for being a meddlesome troublemaker…that can be a serious crime in China.  In his stead we had a photo of Liu projected onto the side of the Grand Hotel courtesy of Amnesty International.  (10 December, 2010  Oslo, Norway)