Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This story gave me an idea….

Read it and I’ll explan.

Monument to First Regiment of Virginia Infantry

WHAT: Monument to First Regiment of Virginia Infantry. Memorial to a state militia regiment formed in 1754, before the Revolutionary War.
LOCATION: Meadow, Park & Stuart avenues in Meadow Park, a triangular park in Richmond’s Fan District.
ARTIST: Ferruccio Legnaioli.
DEDICATION: May 1, 1930.
DESCRIPTION: A 7 foot high bronze standing figure of a colonial infantryman of 1754, the founding date of the Regiment. The figure is mounted on a pedestal 8 feet high which is lined with bronze plaques describing the history and service of the Regiment through seven wars.
This statue is just another reason why people love The Fan. The quirky roadways create space for little triangle parks with hidden gems. The Fan District has several parks and statues that often seem to go unnoticed by tourists and probably some Richmonders.

First Regiment of Virginia Infantry monument is one of my favorites of all the statues in Richmond. I love the uniform and the hat and the fact that there’s a statue in the middle of a neighborhood, much like the Richmond Howitzer’s statue, which has been absorbed as part of the VCU Monroe Park Campus now.
During the morning snow storm Feb. 9, 2010, that brought a little more snow than expected, I finally got a chance to shoot some photos in The Fan during the daylight hours while it was snowing. I’m quite pleased with the results.
J.E.B. Stuart on Monument Avenue

WHAT: Statue honoring J.E.B. Stuart on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia.
WHERE: Monument and Lombardy avenues in the Fan District, in the center of the intersection.
ARTIST: Fred Moynihan.
DEDICATION: May 30, 1907.
DESCRIPTION: A 15-foot-tall equestrian bronze statue mounted on a 7 1/2 half foot granite pedestal. The statue faces north and is the most animated of the Monument Avenue statues. The horse’s right foot is raised and Stuart is portrayed turned in the saddle to face east. It was unveiled by Virginia Stuart Waller, the general’s granddaughter.

Confederate General James Ewell Brown “J.E.B.” Stuart was major general — chief of cavalry — in the Army of Northern Virginia, Confederate States of America.
While he cultivated a cavalier image, his serious work made him the eyes and ears of Robert E. Lee’s army and inspired Southern morale.
He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in 1864 and died in Richmond just a few blocks away from where his monument is located at the intersection with Lombardy Street.
I’ve often heard the complaint from visitors and tourists what a shame it is that Stuart’s statue is facing the direction it is facing. Monument Avenue officially begins at this intersection. As the traffic heads east, the street becomes into Franklin Street and is one-way. That makes it tougher to drive by the monument and get a good look at Stuart, especially for tour buses. Traffic through the intersection also makes it tough to safely cross the street to get a closer look at the statue.
No matter. I’ve always enjoyed the confines in Stuart Circle. The intersection is the most busy, architecturally speaking. The statue came first, but then came First English Lutheran Church (1911), St. John’s United Church of Christ (1928), Grace Covenant Presbyterian (1920-23) – and on opposite corners, the old Stuart Circle Hospital (now apartments) and the attractive high-rise Stuart Court Apartments.
Dr. Hunter Holms McGuire at Capitol Square
WHAT: Statue of Dr. Hunter Holms McGuire at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia.
LOCATION: Capitol Square, Northern Edge.
ARTIST: William Couper.
DEDICATED: January 7, 1904.
DESCRIPTION: A seated bronze figure 6 foot high in a heavy armchair on a 7 foot high granite base. Dr. McGuire was President of the American Medical and American Surgical Associations and founded the University College of Medicine which merged to form the Virginia Commonwealth University / Medical College of Virginia in 1913.
Dr. Hunter Holms McGuire (Oct. 11, 1835 to Sept. 19, 1900). The inscription on his granite base reads:
Hunter Holmes McGuire, M.D., LL.D., President of the American Medical and of the American Surgical Associations; Founder of the University College of Medicine; Medical Director, Jackson’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia; an eminent civil and military surgeon, and beloved physician; an able teacher and vigorous writer, a useful citizen and broad humanitarian, gifted in mind and generous in heart, this monument is erected by his friends.
He is buried at Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery.
Gov. William ‘Extra Billy’ Smith at Capitol Square
WHAT: Governor William ‘Extra Billy’ Smith at Capitol Square in downtown Richmond, Virginia.
LOCATION: Capitol Square, along the Northern Boundary.
ARTIST: William Ludwell Sheppard.
DEDICATED: May 30, 1906.
DESCRIPTION: Standing bronze figure 7 1/2 foot high on a pedestal 9 foot high. The pedestal is heavily inscribed on all four sides illuminating Smith’s career. He was twice Governor of Virginia and a member of the US Congress. Sculptor F. William Sievers enlarged in bronze Sheppard’s model.
William Smith was born Sept. 6, 1797 in King George County and died May 18, 1887. He was a lawyer, congressman, twice a Governor of Virginia and one of the oldest Confederate generals in the Civil War. He is buried in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery.
He earned the nickname “Extra Billy” through one of his early career moves, according to Wikipedia:
He established a line of United States mail and passenger post coaches through Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia in 1831. It was in this role that he received his nickname. Given a contract by the administration of President Andrew Jackson to deliver mail between Washington, D.C., and Milledgeville, Georgia (then the state capital), Smith extended it with numerous spur routes, all generating extra fees. During an investigation of the Post Office department, Smith’s extra fees were publicized and he became known as “Extra Billy” in both the North and South.

So if that is the fact, why not preserve yourself as a statue.
They don’t go away and years from now, when no one remembers what the story is, you will impressively give awe to the common class.
More than a gravestone, a statue, preferably with a plaque giving great accolades to deeds, real or perceived, will give your statue “statue”.

Monday, February 22, 2010

30 Years Ago in Black and White

30 Years ago, Radio Rick came over and captured the new house in the first snow of 1979

The white kitchen with a double ceramic sink
A hallway from he office room to the bathroom with shelves in the middle
A loading dock and hot water heater upstairs
An art room with drawing board and markers
A music room for reel-to-reel recordings
The black and white greek shower curtain
The dining room holding a bike and painting from my first wife
Piano, air conditioner, television, stereo to make a living room
Plain back of the house with wires draping over a green lawn
Lavender azaleas and tall pine in the front yard
Big numbers and metal awnings
A lot has changed since then.



During the slug time of winter, I’ve not been able to get out and ride my daily ride. I’ve noticed it doesn’t take long to become a solitary couch potato without moving around.

Walking between rooms while the snow fills the roads is not exercise.

Remember those simple exercises that were taught in school? Jumping jacks, toe touching, sit-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups.

We did them as a class at recess, then as a group in funny shorts and t-shirts during gym. These exercise classes instructed by a teacher or a coach included our first locker and shower experiences.

But the format was easy. Lie down on the ground, have someone hold your feet, then sit up and try to touch your toes. Turn over and lift yourself using your arms and keeping your body straight. Stand straight, jump up spreading your feet apart and slapping your hands over your head, then bounce back to straight. Then repeat.

It doesn’t require any fancy spandex, or machinery, which we all buy but never use. It doesn’t require a DVD or even an iPod to keep the rhythm. A simple 1-2-3-4 count off will keep the pattern.
It is so simple it can be done in any room of the house or even outside.

My ride today (before the rain) felt long, with a slow pace, but I finished the route.

The robins swarmed the wet swamp grass for early spring as the large hawk announced itself overhead. Leaves and bags of leaves ready for pickup but avoided when the snows came clog the melting water forming ponds. Children laughed and did somersaults as their father praised their play.

I use the lame excuse of rain to hold me inside this afternoon, but the lunch of mozzarella cheese sticks and cheddar cheese and bacon covered potato skins does not help what I logically know I need to do.

The sun and warm weather will be here soon and the excuses will go away. So a regular daily schedule will begin again.

At least that is the plan, but as I am fully aware, some plans take longer than others.
And don’t forget to drink lots of water.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What an experience

It has been a long time since I’ve had a hot bath.

Sit in a metal basin covered in painted tile soaking in sudsy water wrapped in warm steam.

It fogs the mirrors and the memory.

Bubble bath and oils soak the skin. Like a spring pond the water ripples in the movement.

This common day event to most people is a rare and extravagant experience for me.

I will enjoy each bath of suds and water…

And tomorrow.

A long, soaking, hot shower.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why Blog?


Diaries? Journals?

Some of us keep schedules. Most are online or on the computer or cell.

Time was when at the end of the day, written words on paper captured the activities and thoughts of the day.

Before high school, I started keeping records of the days events.

This was probably an extension from recording school, church or club memorabilia or maybe the signature capture of autographs.

Photos replaced the written word, but I kept diaries through much of my teen years.
Just little notes, a few lines trying to capture a day in the life.

Most were boring, some were memorable, and others were unforgettable.

So this year, I decided I would not keep records of the day-by-day thoughts.

The past has been put in a wooden footlocker, for distance review, if necessary.

They are written records of just another life.

So the blog has taken over the recording of life, and it has been helpful.

The pen-to-paper writings were the only recordings of life, then placed into a darken box.

Like dreams, these were meaningless but important at the time.

The blog allows thoughts, feelings and remembrances typed and recorded on the air.

Anyone, everyone is welcomed to view the innermost thoughts, without restrictions, and even given the option to comment on dreams.

Are we more secure in our internal or do we just blast our souls out to everyone hoping for a glance and maybe a response?

Writing a Blog has been helpful, writing down the past year and if the hard drive fails and the memory is wiped out, so be it.

Perhaps life should be on the edge.

I know I write more now like poetry, in short phrases of thoughts.

Perhaps it is attention value or lack there of, but as life progresses, a simple view makes the waste disappear.

Continue reading if you will, for I will continue writing, drawing, listening, and observing life behind blue eyes.
The past diaries will rest in the trunk for a future review.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Light at the end of the Tunnel

The upstairs, except for a few more cleaning issues, is cleared. The winter project is complete for the coming spring.

Secret rooms and private places invaded by my need to clean up and move on.

Another load will be provided to the Army, and then a long hot bath in the next week.

Come on spring.

I need to get out and ride.

I need a new project.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Last Load

A few bookcases, chairs, and desks to the army, but the memories been cleared.

Bags of paper, notes, dreams, list, photos, documents, letters, and receipts have been gathered and piled for the past eight months.

Many years of what is saved have gone to landfills for the future to decide.

As winter comes to an end and spring brings new hope, the goal is accomplished and a thought of the next step fills the mind.


From growing up in the 50s and 60s, there were several rules to behavior.

Guys hung around with guys, girls hung around with girls.

The segregation, as real as the white and black separation, was integrated during teen years.

Dancing brought the warm softness and sweet smells of another being within grasp.

The behavior holds true to this day.

The guys get in the man cave watching rude comedies or sports, slapping each other over alcohol and rude stories, while their significant other gather to discuss children, health, and the hot pool boy who will be the boy toy when the money train is gone.

So do the gay folk have it right?

If the same gender could be the best pal, buddy stories, connection to past experiences, hangovers, and also have sex, would that be the perfect couple?

I don’t have any tendencies for a lifestyle change, but I can understand the attraction without fear to cross the gender line.

It is a big leap to share the other world.

What is your Title?

How are YOU introduced?

Are YOU Mr. or Miss or Mrs.?

Are you presented to a stranger by YOUR job description?

Between YOUR title and YOUR birth date, will this describe YOU?

Will this be YOUR gravestone?

YOU present yourself to others by your hairstyle, clothes, statue, personality, voice, and domineer, but how do others evaluate and remember?

What school did YOU attend? What organizations do YOU belong? What charities do YOU fund? What faith do YOU follow?

How do people accept YOU?

Or will they say, “What a fun person.” Or “What a nice person.” Or “What a joy to know.”

These are the remembrances that cannot be published in the newspaper or etched on the headstone.

So decide what is important.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Take a Hike

After an evening of doing good deeds, laughs and stories, a taste of the hops, and finalizing the weird TV series of great music and strange characters, I slept until eleven to birds calling in the sunshine.

Washing the night down with coffee, I climbed the 13 stairs to pile boxes in the snow. Check that off my list of to-do with a treat for the white pups waiting at the fence behind me.

Then I was off on a public transportation adventure. Waiting at the bus stop I had used for so many years, packing down the powder to ice. The robins flew low back and forth across the street as the clouds became grey and the wind picked up. I’ve got to feed them when I get back.

A quiet hour of listening to the wet tires on the pavement and the bare winter trees, I got a free ride because the machine was broken and would not receive my card.

Paying my fine, I start to hoof it off down the potholed street past the street people. “How you doing?” a black man asked me. “OK.” I responded thinking I can fit in with this lot.

My next mission was to wander down Carytown and see if I could find a dealer for jewelry or silver, when suddenly awaiting traffic to thin, I remembered….” Pepper grinder”.

A small bell rang as I opened the door to the empty shop. Blinded by the change in light and the transfer of glasses the proprietor asked if I needed assistance. Adjust my lenses I replied that I had visited the establishment many times and stood before the assortment of grinders. Tall wooden grinders, short plastic grinders, dual grinders, some in boxes, some with tags presented themselves before me. I picked two identical grinders, but was instructed the store had larger pepper models. I asked, “ What is the difference in the salt or the pepper grinders?”

“It’s just what you put in it.” She responded. We both smiled knowing the answer.

The trek home was uneventful and quiet, a path I have made a million times before.

A bottle of water fed my determination to ride, since it had been such a long time. The white dogs bid me safe journey as I dragged the tired pony to a spot of dry pavement.

A short slow paced roll to the grocery and my legs told me I had not been using these muscles. I’ll sleep good tonight, listening to my body.

Twin Peaks

“Diane…I’ve finished with Twin Peaks….don’t know what happened to Annie…David got a little nuts about himself, but lost track of the pattern, ah what writing on drugs will do for you….and it seems I turned into Bob…Coop out.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another Snow Day

“Why I remember the winter of 2010. We were stuck in the house with over a foot of snow and every weekend there was more. By the time we shoveled out, it would snow again. Why the nation’s capital was closed down for a week. Nothing moved. Power was out. We sat in darkness reading the computer screens by candle light.”

“What? But grandpa you said there was no power?”

“Oh yeah, we were snow blind. The cold affected our brains. And, ah, our laptops had these huge batteries that lasted for days. “

“Grandpa, you are making all of this up. There couldn’t have been all that weather in the global warming.”

“One in three Americans was affected by these continuing snow storms. Flights were cancelled. Trains stopped. Highways cluttered with wrecked cars. People skied on the streets. Schools were closed.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Really, this was the worst storm since the 1800’s. Wind gust up to 50 mph. It took me 2 hours to walk a mile to the 7-11.”

“What is a 7-11 and why did you have to walk there?”

“I trudged through the snow and slide on the ice to get alco…. Err.. my medicine. Grandpa must have his medicine.”

“So how did you survive?”

“We didn’t. We were buried under so much snow….. Well we all froze.”


We come into this life alone and we leave alone.

We view life, read books, are exposed to art, color, nature through only own two eyes.

We hear music, words, speeches, and laughter through our two ears.

We share, converse, and learn through the conversation with others.

We grow close to some and push others away, and yet they grow close with others.

If lucky, we can feel warmth inside being in the company of another, but we will never be able to fully share their life.

We all have the same number of minutes to a day.

We create our taste and attitudes from influences of family, friends, and trends.

Jobs, family, organizations, and friends structure the life’s schedule, but the responsibility for the decisions of time management rest with one.

Icesolation is the time before drifting off to strange dreams reviewing the decisions made to the options presented.

So when the sun rises, breaking the darkness with light and the day lays ahead, only one person can decide what to do.

No excuses, no blame, no one else can do it.

The obituary will only tell of what one has achieved, accomplished, joined, learned, taught, and propagated.

That is the solution to icesolation.

Just get up, pull up your pants, take a deep breath and get on with it.

Hopefully tomorrow will be another day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010



With a blanket of white a wall is built around me by nature.

Isolation is supposed to be the hardest punishment in prison.

Isolation is a being locked tight away from any communication, sight, or interaction with the present, the past or the future.

Isolation means the inner being must survive on it’s own.

Isolation is the lack of interaction between beings.

I have been isolated in a room full of people, some familiar, some of them strangers.

Conversations, sharing of thoughts, laughter, and tears among those who are familiar and cherished is what our society terms “normal”.

Some call this “family”.

Perhaps due to family training, perhaps due to cultural moirés, isolation buffers our internal inadequacies to cope with our surroundings.

Electronic media of the Internet and television brings incoming news and information, some true, some not.

And the isolation from others has a history to it.

Perhaps my own isolation from family formed an environment of separation?

I appreciate the quiet times, but this winters walled cold days have been tough.

Too many thoughts of days gone by, dreams realized, hopes never achieved, all the while surrounded by the beautiful white glow of winter.

Take a long breathe knowing warmth and spring are on the way.

Cold makes the mind wander to different places, some dark, yet the morning brings the sound of feathered friends and the glow of light.

Time to venture out.