Thursday, December 22, 2016

HOUSE MOUNTAIN, #137 (published 12/22/2016; updated 10/3/2022)

10/3/2022, Monday: I updated by adding section titles only. I did not change a word.

House Mt. #136, 3/16/2016

My House Mountain hike #136 was on Saturday, 3/26/2016 – three days before my world changed for the bad, when the uninsured chicklet failed to yield to my right of way (mentioned in 12/8/2016 article).

House Mt. #137 (#1 “bionic”), 12/22/2016

Instead of hike #150 (which it would have been, by my estimate), I took hike #137 today, 12/22/2016. This was my first time on “my mountain,” since I was almost killed.

I hiked alone on the two little loop trails at the base of the mountain. One trail is 0.2 miles. The other is 0.35 miles, according to the signs. I hiked on uneven paths, down and up a few dips, and over a few fallen logs.

A man has to start somewhere. I cannot yet “mountain goat” up the side of the mountain, but I have taken my first hike. My surgically repaired right knee and foot (which is still swollen and scabbed) took the pounding well enough.

I rejoice that I could take this little hike on “my mountain!” Of course, the rocky bluffs are calling me. How much longer before I answer? Give me time. Today, the weather was sweatshirt warm and sunny, a little too warm for the time of year. Enjoy the photos.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

PEARL HARBOR at HOMEPLACE (published 12-8-2016)

December 7, 1941. The mention of that date is sufficient. I was not yet born, but I have seen the film and photo footage. I have listened to the stories. I have seen the documentaries. I have heard my parents and grandparents talk about it. That date changed this country.

Yesterday was 12/7/2016, 75 years after that “infamous” day. The weather was sunny and seasonally cool. I drove my new, ol’ truck, an ’06 Nissan Frontier, to and from the homeplace, for the first time, since my ol' ’95 Nissan truck died, and I almost did, when chicklet failed to yield to my right of way, on 3/29/2016. That date changed my life, at least for these several months.

Yes, I have improved. I can walk well enough, and I can drive. I am not yet able to hike up a mountain. On 12/5/2016, I was medically “released” to return to work, on 12/19/2016. I will work two weeks part-time; afterward, I will be back to full-time.

Yay, rah. Ho hum. Okay. I am still alive, and I have recovered well enough to drive and to return to work. Don’t get me wrong. I am glad that I am out and about, going toward a normal, active life. I can see a finish line up ahead. The end of the marathon is in sight.

What’s wrong? The prolonged and ongoing recovery has been and is just a gritty process. It’s the reality of life. At least, I am going forward. (My stubborn, strong will has helped in this.) The deeper purpose in life is still missing. Yes, I will be a good husband, brother, uncle, and in-law. I will be a good neighbor. I will be a good coworker. Is there anything else? Pause. . . Wait. . . Oh well, we’ll see. In my 8/26/2016 post, I asked God: “Could you not open a door of complete physical healing and another door of opportunity to serve you, as I once did before you took Mom home? I await your reply and/or action -- as I have been doing since 2000, I do now still.” The long physical healing process, still ongoing, sees a finish line. What about the “door of opportunity?” We will see. Until then, I go back to being a bureaucrat in eleven more days.

To those, if any, reading, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. Maybe, I will take my long-suffering wife with me to hunt a tree on Saturday, if I am physically up to it.

Friday, August 26, 2016

I’M STILL ALIVE – WHY? (published 8/26/2016)

I almost died! I should have died. Why am I still alive?

The almost three year silence is now broken. I write on this blog again, to whomever may read it. Life the last two plus years has been the mundane: work, chores, hike, family and friends, eat, sleep, etc. Life was okay, if not wonderful. I lost interest in writing. Life was going through the motions.

Life, however, changed on 3/29/2016. My ol' ’95 Nissan pickup and I were on the way from the office to home. An 18-year-old, with no insurance, decided that I didn’t deserve the right of way, and she hit us. My ol’ truck died. I almost died. Two hospitals had me for 36 days combined. I am still unable to return to work. I am improving to the point that I’m slowly going insane, by not having much to do, being confined at home. So, now I write.

Today, by the way, would have been Granny and Papaw Wood’s anniversary! They married in 1931. How I miss them and the many others who have gone on to a better place.

Why am I not in that better place with them? Why did I not die on 3/29/2016? As the Russians say well, “Только Бог знает!” I still can’t work, drive, walk well, hike, do yard work, check on and do work at the homeplace, etc. I’m still here for my longsuffering and loving bride. (Our 30th wedding anniversary was spent at home, with me still unable to walk.) I’m still around for brothers, some closer than others. If, however, I can’t yet do the things that I need to do or do the things that bring me joy (i.e., hiking, working at the homeplace, etc.), then why did I not die with my ol’ truck?

The above Russian phrase is “only God knows.” God only knows why I am still alive. He has decided to not inform me as to why. I was once an earthen vessel, in whom he had placed the glorious gospel message. I found joy and purpose in serving Him in fulltime ministry and then mission work. Life, however, changed when Mom went to see Jesus, after her yearlong illness and suffering. The “fire in my bones” was extinguished. I didn’t extinguish it. He did. For almost 16 years now, I have been going through the motions of living, with my ministry purpose taken from me.

"So, God, howdy. I’m still here! Since I’m still alive, could you not open a door of complete physical healing and another door of opportunity to serve you, as I once did before you took Mom home? I await your reply and/or action -- as I have been doing since 2000, I do now still."

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

House Mountain 97-100th Hikes (published 1-1-2014)

The Appalachian Irishman has hiked House Mountain 100 times! It is official, as of 1/31/2013! Now, it’s time to start working toward the 200th hike! The following are photographs and commentary, on hikes 97 through 100.

Hike 97 was on 11/28/2013, Thanksgiving. The next four photographs are from that hike. The light snow on the ridge was wonderful! It was a good way to work up an appetite!

Hike 98, in the next three photographs, was on Sunday afternoon, on 12/15/2013. I bought a Christmas tree from House Mountain Christmas Tree Farm afterward. This hike is dedicated to our oldest niece, on the Appalachian Irishman’s side of the family, as I hiked on her birthday.

The next photograph is a rock outcropping – a good place to take shelter if it rains.

Hike 99 was on Christmas day, 12/25/2013. The temperature was about 20F, on the ridge, when I hiked. The icicles indicate the cold. The next six photographs are from that hike.

On the ridge trail heading east, I saw my first bobcat track on this mountain.

About the middle of the ridge, near the lower north bluff, someone decorated a Christmas tree.

With cell phone signal, I called the owner of the north side of the mountain, to ask permission to take photographs from the lower north bluff. (He had to restrict access, due to disrespectful hikers, who leave trash.) The next two photographs are from the lower north bluff. The owner told me to watch out for a black mountain lion, which a game warden and he had seen on the ridge not long ago.

The monumental 100th hike was on New Year’s Eve, 12/31/2013. This hike is dedicated to my sister-in-law, whose mother had passed away three days before. There are eleven photographs from this hike. The first three photographs are from the west bluff. The light clouds were sufficient to send snow flurries.

Near the middle of the ridge, looking east, the next two photographs are where the old fire tower used to stand and where the old two-seater out house, filled with buckshot, still stands. The stories that could be told about times at the old fire tower would be interesting! A cell tower is the modern footnote now.

The next three photographs are from the upper north bluff, which a hiker may access without violating owner’s restrictions. The photographs do not do justice to the eye’s view. Come hike with me, if you want to see for yourself!

A man and woman arrived just after I did. I told the woman that this was my 100th hike. She asked, “Are are you the man who wrote the article about your 75th hike?” (She had done an Internet search and read a previous post.) Of course, I am! I had my few minutes of “hiker fame” talking with them. She then took my photograph.

The next two photographs are from the east bluff, looking southwest. The east part of the ridge reminds me, just a little, of Devil’s Nose, in Hawkins County, but much more tame!

The final photograph, from the 100th House Mountain hike, is of my ol’ faithful ’95 Nissan truck. He has 293,860 miles on him, as of the photograph, but he’s still running like new!

Lord willing, in about ten years or less, I will write about my 200th hike on My Mountain!

Devil's Nose, 11-29-2013 Hike (published 1-1-2014)

Devil’s Nose, in Hawkins County, Tennessee, is the highest peak, at its saddle, in the county. How it is named? I have heard two stories. From the east, the mountain looks like a crooked nose coming out of the ground. The other story is that someone got lost on the mountain and never returned. Someone asked, “Where is he?” The answer was, “Only the devil knows.”

This Appalachian Irishman has hiked Devil’s Nose, since his high school days. A friend's uncle owned property, at the southwest base of the mountain. We boys would hike up “the Nose” from his property. Later owners still allow us to hike from the same property. In 2002, I began keeping record, of my usual annual hikes up “the Nose.”

My 10th hike up Devil’s Nose, since 2002, was on 11/29/2013. The weather was cool and clear – almost perfect. If it had been a little cooler, as in 20F or so, the weather would have been perfect.

In recent years, only my youngest brother has been brave enough, to venture up “the Nose” with me. The following are photographs from our 11/29/2013 hike.

The first two are of my brother and me, at what he calls “the Samson Rock.” This is a rock formation, as we hike up the southwest side.

The next photograph is of my youngest brother, climbing in his favorite tree on the ridge, heading east. He likes to have his photograph taken in this tree every year!

It had snowed the day before, on Thanksgiving, and snow was still on the ground, on the ridge and on the north side of the mountain. We found fox and bobcat tracks on the ridge. The next photograph looks like fox tracks.

 This next photograph looks like a set of bobcat tracks.

The next two photographs are heading east on the ridge. This is the first time that I can remember hiking, with snow on the mountain.

The next three photographs are taken from the east bluff, looking south and southeast. A group of four hikers came up the treacherous east side, using rope and hooks, while we were on the bluff.One was a nine-year-old girl, who is the great granddaughter of my uncle Carson and aunt Hazel Ferrell! (Can you figure out how she and I are related exactly?) This young girl certainly has some Appalachian Irish blood in her!

The next two photographs are the traditional “standing on the bluff” images, of my youngest brother and me.

Lord willing, I want to hike Devil’s Nose every year, the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving, as a memorial to my mother, whose birthday was on November 24th, 1932.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tribute to Papaw Wood - Revisited (published 3-14-2013)

The Appalachian Irishman penned the following words exactly two years ago today. Thirty years have now passed, since Jesus took Papaw Wood home. Much has changed in those years. His dear wife, Granny Wood, passed in 1991. Their daughter, my mother, went to be with Jesus, so early and unexpectedly, in 2000. Their son-in-law, my father, joined them in 2008. Life has changed. Still the memory of Papaw ties a strong bond to the past, the present, and the future. Now, my purpose is to instill in my remaining family the family stories, the history, that still binds us today. I love you, Papaw!

----- From the Appalachian Irishman, 3/14/2011 -----

My Papaw Wood, my mother's father, passed away on this day, March 14, back in 1983. I'll never forget leaving Morristown-Hamblen Hospital, after sitting the night shift with him, thinking that Papaw was going to make it. Mom called me later to say that he had passed.

Papaw was a farmer, in his earlier years, in Indiana, where Mom was born. Later, he worked for Prater's Furniture, as a furniture mover, in Morristown, Tennessee. In his retirement, he worked part-time at a gas station, in Bean Station, Tennessee.

He and Granny had one of those all-too-rare marriages, in which Papaw courted Granny all his life. They always had that spark! Even in their later years together, Papaw would sneak up behind Granny, reach behind her ear, and say, "I stole some sugar!" Granny would pretend to be annoyed, but then she'd smile and say, "Oh, Aby!"

Papaw was married once, before he met Granny. The first marriage didn’t work out. Some time after the divorce, as he enjoyed telling it, he saw Granny walking down Main Street, in Morristown, and said, "There's the girl I'm going to marry!"

I used to spend a week during the summer with Granny and Papaw. I saw how they genuinely loved each other. Papaw taught me how to whittle, carve wood, tie rope, work in the garden, etc. He loved to tickle me until I couldn't breath! His mother's maiden name was Bare, and he'd give me a "big ol' Bare Hug," as he'd call it. Papaw loved to pull little pranks on Granny and other folks. I got some of my sense of humor from him.

For birthdays and holidays, we would either go to Granny and Papaw's, in Bean Station, or they would come to Rogersville. Well, they always came to Rogersville for Christmas Eve and spent the night. I used to love to listen to Papaw "tell his stories," about when he was younger. I just wish I could remember them all! I guess I received my appreciation for good conversation from him.

At the viewing, before the receiving of friends, Granny looked at Papaw’s body, lying in the coffin, and said, “He loved me so good.”

Papaw, thank you for being so good to me! You were the best Papaw I could have ever had!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

“ELIMENTRY” LESSONS for the “GUVERMINT EDUKATED, SO$IALIST” FOLK (published 2-24-2013; updated 8-28-2022)


8/28/2022 note: I updated for style only. I did not change one word! I added this sentence only, which I conclude now.

US Debt Clock is the link.

Pay attention. You may have difficulty thinking logically, with conclusions from facts, not feelings. Take a deep breath, clear the mush from your mind, and THINK!


Lesson #1: On spending. (Source: “US Government Revenue: Government Revenue Details for 2012,” compiled by Christopher Chantrill.)

* 2012 federal tax revenue:   $2,627,500,000,000
* 2012 federal budget:           $3,728,700,000,000
* 2012 new debt:                   $1,101,200,000,000
* 2012 national debt:           $16,654,300,000,000
                                                (and still counting!)
* 2011 budget cuts:                    $38,500,000,000

Now, let's remove eight zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

* Annual family income:                               $26,275
* Money the family spent:                            $37,287
* New debt on the credit card:                     $11,012
          (29.5% of spending)
* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $166,543
* Total budget cuts so far:                                 $385

Got it? Now, do we have a spending problem in the home? Do we not also have a spending problem in the nation?

Lesson #2: On the debt ceiling.

You come home to find that the sewer backed up. Your home has sewage up to the ceiling. What should you do: Raise the ceiling, or remove the crap? Oh, this argument has one weakness: Crap is free, but when the federal government borrows and spends money that it does not have – that is not free!


By way of primer instruction in logic, these are arguments by analogy. (You may want to look up the term “analogy,” as you may not understand it.) The reasoning is sound. (Look up the formal, logical meaning of “sound.”)

Do you want “free” or “guvermint” subsidized healthcare, housing, and food? Do you want a guaranteed job, with guaranteed income, and guaranteed retirement income? Do you want our “grate nashun” to keep spending more than it takes in? If so, here’s your new “fed-derail” tax form:

Line One: How much did you earn last year?

Line Two: Send it in!

You know, the type of “so$ialist” state that we are becoming was tried in another country. That was the former Soviet Union. It fell in 1991.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

SILENT FOR TOO LONG (published 2-3-2013; article #66)

The Appalachian Irishman has been silent for too long! (Well, I must admit that the almost three-month battle, with the Kick Your Backside (KYB) virus, had been a significant distraction. After seven trips to the doctor, four days of missed work, five rounds of antibiotics, two rounds of Prednisone, volumes of salt water flushed through my nose, hot toddies, and so forth, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be completely well, and over this lingering cough, soon! Having been blessed with excellent health all my life, this is a first for me, to be sick this long.)

Nothing gets the ol’ Appalachian Irishman’s blood boiling faster than these namby-pamby, liberal, socialists, who want to further their ever increasing and faster-paced agenda, to change what was once a great, God-fearing nation, into their “socialist utopia,” of limited freedom and a super-sized “Big Brother is watching you” government. The opinions of those, who do not toe the politically correct line, will be silenced.

Until recently, I have resigned myself to sitting back to watch, with sarcastic glee, as our nation taxes and spends itself into oblivion. I gave up, when “we the people” re-elected our current and socialist, Jimmy-Carter-on-steroids President. I stopped watching the news, and I just didn’t care anymore. “Let the country fall apart,” I thought. Maybe the phoenix will rise from the ashes.

Then, the socialists began pushing my buttons, on “gun control” and “homosexual rights.” My Irish dander went up several degrees. Dang it; enough is enough!

First, on “gun control,” as a true conservative knows, gun control involves careful aim to hit your target – nothing more. The socialists, however, want to stand, on the coffins of those, who were killed by a mentally unstable individual, to restrict our freedom. Make no mistake – taking away, or greatly restricting, a true patriot’s access to fire arms is the real, hidden agenda of these socialists. The second amendment exists, to secure the right of the people, to stand against a tyrannical government. The socialists want to remove that freedom. They will do so, by any means possible.

Notice how the legislative focus is on “gun control,” not on the degradation of society or on the mental state of the shooter. We need an overarching discussion, on how big government policy and the welfare state have broken down the family, diminished the role of religion and morality in society, and led to a situation, in which school shootings occur. That, dear reader, is the true issue, which the socialists will avoid discussing, at all cost. Oh, and the media arm, of the socialist state, will not even allow these points, for open and honest discussion. Nope, they will focus on “gun control” only. Beware, the camel has his nose and hump under the tent. “Shoot” him quickly, before he gets in completely!

Then, the news came out that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) may cave, to the homosexual lobby pressure, by allowing openly homosexual scouts and, even worse, scout leaders, to join their organization. I was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout, in my youthful years. This news distressed me greatly. Homosexuals compose about three percent of the population. Their power, in proportion to their numbers, is frightening. History indicates that a small minority can render significant change, for good or evil, in a society.

I acquired the names of local BSA leaders and, through them, learned how to communicate, to the BSA national executive board. The local leaders, thankfully, are taking a stand against the national executive board. I have penned my two cents, in their support and against the national executive board’s spineless considerations.

Moral absolutes are not changed, by the whims of society. Murder, theft, lying, premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality, polygamy, bestiality, and so forth, are morally wrong – absolutely. I can prove and defend this easily, if anyone wishes to challenge me. People, of good conscience, must take a firm stand now; lest we, by our silent complacence, allow our moral and ethical standards, to erode even further, in this once proud nation. Otherwise, to speak against “homosexual rights” will be a crime worthy of some punishment. Churches beware! A sermon upholding marriage – which is, by definition, between one man and one woman – could be outlawed. Employers beware! Not hiring or offering benefits to “same sex partners or spouses” could enlist fines. We are already very far down the road. We must stand, hold the line, and turn the tide.

The thought enters this Appalachian Irishman’s mind that Big Brother may be monitoring the Internet, for articles, such as this one. The freedom to speak, in opposition to the forces of political correctness, may be the next to be lost. For now, I do have this forum, but I’m watching my back!

What say you?

Monday, September 17, 2012

HAPPY 85th BIRTHDAY, DAD (published 9-17-2012; article #65)

Dad would have been 85 years old today. This article is my conversation, with Dad.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Three of the four of us brothers gathered, at the homeplace, for a little while, yesterday afternoon. I'd stopped by the gravesite, on Mom's and your anniversary. Today is a rainy Monday, and I'm here in Johnson City, alone, without my "little Georgie," due to work training. It's almost over, in only eight more days. I feel empty, pensive, and sad.

When “will the circle be unbroken? By and by, Lord, by and by. There’s a better home awaitin’, in the sky, Lord, in the sky.” As a ten-year-old boy, I remember your brothers (my uncles) and you, talking about that song, around the time of Papaw Ferrell’s passing. For some reason, I remember standing in the front yard, at the old Livesay place, near the big walnut tree, by the garden entrance, with that song going through my young mind.

You often kept your thoughts, about your parents, after their deaths, of just seven months apart, to yourself, rarely opening up to us. How did you feel, when you were my age now, after your parents were both gone? You never seemed to meet a stranger, and you could get that Irish dander up, but what about your pensive side? I knew it was there, but I respected your privacy.

Dad, I’d like to sit around the living room talking, after eating one of your good Sunday afternoon dinners, as we used to do, after Mom passed. Well, I’d like to sit around, at the homeplace, with both sets of grandparents, Mom, us four boys, the next generation of young ‘uns, and you. Wouldn’t that be something, for Granny and Papaw Wood and Granny and Papaw Ferrell, to see the next generation?

For now, I’ll let that thought comfort me. I’ll reminisce. Maybe I’ll have my upbeat spunk back tomorrow. Until then, may God grant the whole Ferrell clan a wonderful, beyond imaginably joyful great reunion day, up there, where Mom, your all’s parents, so many others, and you are already “waiting,” in everlasting celebration!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

25th Anniversary Myrtle Beach Vacation! (published 8-23-2011)

Ah! Beach! Twenty-five years ago, newly married Mr. and Mrs. Appalachian Irishman spent their honeymoon at Myrtle Beach. Many things, in that resort city and in life, have changed. They beauty of the ocean, the reassuring repetition of the waves and tides, and Mr. and Mrs. Appalachian Irishman's love for each other have not.

Despite all the changes, of the last ten years or so in particular, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman's unconditional love suns Mr. Appalachian Irishman's heart and reassures him in waves.

Enjoy the photos!