More Goodies!

Thanks to a new tool called Easy Thumbnails, I have each of the photo directories set up with thumbnails and an index page for each folder — should be MUCH easier to navigate and “peek” before pulling down a 400Kb+ file. Have fun with it!

Jamaica is but a few days away, and I just can’t wait. We still don’t have our finalized travel arrangements, but that seems to be par for the course. I imagine we’ll get the final stuff tomorrow.

Let’s see…. Molly goes in for her next checkup on Tuesday.

Tuesday morning is the Leonids. Peaks around 11PM and 4.30AM CT. Rates are supposed to be >1000/hr. It’ll be about 33 years until this one peaks again like this.

Two Weddings…

Today, Darla and I attended two weddings. The first, this morning, was for her cousin Jimmy, and his new wife Jen. The second, this evening, was for Ed, a bowling pal, and his new wife Tara. Pictures from both are up in the “My Photos” section.

Jimmy’s wedding was nice, quiet, and what I would call a typical church wedding. Jimmy and Jen are both strong Christian souls, and it was a ceremony and reception that reflected that. As always, it was fun to the see Darla’s family all together. The only other time we see most of them is at Christmas and Fourth of July.

Ed’s wedding was also very nice, but was not as traditional. Ed and Tara were wed at the old Lemp Brewery. This is an old Falstaff brewery, and one of the (rumoured) more haunted places around. There are tales — confirmed, I think — of several of the Lemp family meeting their demise in the mansion and brewery, and supposedly still haunting the place to this day. Ed and Tara will be spending their first married night there, with a trip to the Cayman Islands tomorrow.

My prayers are for God’s blessings for both couples!


Well, I finally have my photos online. (They’re off to the right under the “Here” banner.) Now, when I add new photos, they will appear as if by magic. The collection will grow as time passes, but right now, it’s just the pictures since we got our Olympus C-700UZ in May — only about 3000 shots so far. Each shot is about 400k in length, and I’ll work on a better interface — perhaps with thumbnails — but at least they are available now.

We are off to Jamaica on Thursday, and I have bought enough film to shoot about 1400 shots, so we should record the trip well. Those shots should be online the Friday after Thanksgiving.

I badly need the R&R associated with this trip, and it will be nice to do absolutely nothing and watch the world go by. We’re off to an all-inclusive in Negril, and I intend to make them sorry everything is included! 🙂

It’s Been a While…

But life gets in the way of blogging, and I guess that’s ok.

I badly need to repair/rebuild the Linux box that hosts this, as it is barely limping along. I’m surprised it’s functional at all.

Many, many changes in my life. Not some of the best ones, unfortunately — the best ones would be weight, exercise, etc. However, I’m spending more time with Darla and family, and am really cutting back on so many of the distractors in my life — things that keep me from me, my family and God.

That’s where this goofy Linux box comes in. Is it worth fixing? It’s another hole into which I pour a large part of my life. Or, is it a tool to express and extend my life? Would I be better off with pen and paper? Hammer and chisel? Cave walls and buffalo blood? I dunno.

Apple. That’s where I think I want to land. It’s gonna take some doing though. The outfit I drooled over at the newly opened Apple Store is about $5k, including a 23″ theatrewide LCD panel. Cool stuff. I want/deserve cool stuff. I’ve been working with “get me bys” for too long. Anyway, I think defecting to the Once Bitten side would be a fundamental change for me. The G4’s, along with Jaguar, though have UNIX underpinnings, so much of what I do now, and much of what I know, oughta still percolate.

Perhaps the blog should go there someday. After all, 1GB+ RAM, dual procs, and fast bus should allow you and me to share the system.

Oh, and if I’m feeling particularly masochistic, or schizophrenic, I can run Win98/XP/DOS/Linux in VM’s right on the desktop. Coolness. Certainly would make the server farm smaller and lower my power bill to boot.

The Cards made the NLCS — Game One is tomorrow and Darla and I are going. Photos & drivel are forthcoming.

Note to self: Write every day.

Labor Day

Today is day we observe Labor Day.

Yesterday, Darla and I went to the County Air Show and Fair. While it was a fun time, and we got to see some great flying and static displays, it was faaaar to hot for me, and I began to wilt like a thirsty flower. So…. we came home!

However, we decided to make a “date night” of it, and watched Pearl Harbor. What an amazing film! While the love story piece of it seemed to be there to glue things together, the attack sequences were breathtaking. Seeing aircraft flying up and down the streets of Pearl Harbor was incredible. I can’t imagine what the residents and military personnel went through during that attack, but to my untrained eye, this film really captures a sense of how it must have been. Obviously, there’s no way to capture the horror of the sounds and smells and feeling of that terrible day, but I’m glad someone tried.

As I just learned from the news, today is the anniversary of V-J day (1945). How appropriate that we watched Pearl Harbor last night.

Of course, dad loved watching WWII programming on The History Channel, and had more books and knowledge of that era than anyone I know. For someone that was only born in 1940, he sure seemed to have a huge interest in the events around his birth.

Two weeks, and I still miss him terribly. Last night was a tough night, and I’m sure it was quite a freak-show for Darla. Somehow, though, I just don’t want to let go, and I don’t want to forget the hurt — I guess I’m afraid if I forget the hurt, I’ll start forgetting other things, and I don’t want to forget a thing.


I knew tomorrow would come — it always does. And with “tomorrow” comes the return of routine — morning drive, work, lunch with co-workers, evening drive home and chores upon my return to the house. While I welcome the routine to help me forget what has happened over the last week, the routine somehow doesn’t seem enough.

I know the planet is an emptier place right now. I know because my heart feels it. And I know no routine can fill the void that has been left by the departure of my father from this world. Tomorrow makes a week he’s been gone.

However, routine is what’s left to me, so routine is what I plod along with.

While I was on The Mountain, I listened to Kevio talk about his job, his endeavours, and I’m envious. He works his own schedule, doing exactly what he loves to do, and is making a name for himself. The work I do is a little mundane, and can be a little too political for my tastes, but it is reasonably predictable in frequency, provides a regular paycheck, and assures me of benefits that are helping take care of my family. That’s the balance I’ve opted for — I guess I’m not a big fan of the unknown.

I suppose the thing that I’m the most envious of is Kevio’s close proximity to The Mountain — about 20 minutes away. He’s gotten to enjoy dad on an almost daily basis over the last few years, while I moved away to chase a career. That’s time that I can’t have back, and now is impossible to make up.

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s bravery that’s put Kevio where he is, or if it’s simply dumb luck. Either way, I wish him well in building his empire. It certainly won’t be routine.

And Life Goes On…

Darla and I returned home yesterday. A long drive after a particularly long week.

Today we had an appointment with Molly’s specialist. Last Tuesday, Molly was spayed, and while she was under, we had her hips and elbows x-rayed. Good thing we did.

The specialist today said that her hips are severely dysplastic — 25% ball-into-socket on one, less than 20% on the other. (50% or greater is the target number.) However, the doctor is more concerned about her elbows. Both need arthroscopic surgery to correct problems with how the bones have grown. Additionally, her shoulder has a cartilage problem that will require surgery. In all, five specific problems were identified, all needing surgery, all needing immediate attention, and all genetic in nature. Darla was heartbroken, crying in the office. I was merely getting madder and madder at the yahoo who sold Molly to us. Obviously, we’ll do what it takes to help Molly, but it will be close to $4000 by the time all the work is complete.

Again, watch this space! There will be more details about Molly’s plight, and our walk through her surgeries and recovery.

Dad’s Birthday

We went to visit Dad today for his birthday. Kevio spread grass seed, and each of us placed a flower just beneath the little dogwood at the head of the site.

Happy birthday, dad.

The flowers lasted well through the night.

The flowers lasted well through the night. (Click to see enlarged version)

Mom, Darla and Gypsy watch Kevio work at the site.

Mom, Darla and Gypsy watch Kevio work at the site. (Click to see enlarged version)

The mantle with dad’s flag, and many flowers from friends.

The mantle with dad's flag, and many flowers from friends. (Click to see enlarged version)

With Honours

Dad’s funeral was today. In short, he was interred with military honours at Lusk Cemetary here on The Mountain.

It was tough getting to sleep last night, but I finally did it, and was awakened by the alarm early this morning. I was far too tired — I have been this whole trip — but got up and got ready. Mom, Darla and I headed to the funeral home.

The parlour already had flowers and plants throughout it, and dad and his casket were waiting our approval. Mom wanted a closed-casket service, but the folks there wanted us to approve what they had done before closing it. Dad looked great in his flannel shirt and jeans. Beside him was his favourite hat. Sio had made dad a couple of angels to help him feel better, and the folks placed one under his folded hands, and the other next to his hips. Sio had sent down a flower for his chest, and they had already placed it above his heart. Mom had to leave before they sealed the casket — she couldn’t bear that. It was sealed, and the US flag was draped from end to end.

The three hours of visitation passed quickly — I was surprised. There was a constant flow of friends of mom and dad’s — some folks I didn’t know, many I had met throughout dad’s life, and many I had worked beside at IBM in the 80’s. All the while, the number of flowers and plants continued to mount.

Around 12.30, the funeral folks rolled the casket toward the chapel. Mom couldn’t bear that, either. There were many such times today. We had a prayer with the Mountain Pastor, and then made our way to the chapel.

The Mountain Pastor delivered a terrific service, and once again emphasized that dad had a relationship with the Lord — there was no doubt of his belief that dad was in heaven, smiling down on us. This whole ordeal was tough on the Mountain Pastor, as he was a dear friend of mom and dad.

We piled in the cars for the procession, and began the long drive to Lusk. There were at least twenty cars in the procession — I know that made mom feel warm. So many friends of dad’s showed up, and continued up to Lusk! Along the way, as is Southern tradition, cars stopped out of respect. I still think this is a wonderful piece of “good manners”.


Tribute (Click to see enlarged version)

As we drove toward the mountain, Kevio had arranged to have “Rest In Peace, Ramond B. Wright” on the storefront of the bait shop across the street from the boat launch. Mom fell apart, but so appreciated that this had been done.

As we climbed the mountain, the clouds built, and the torrential rains began. By the time we got to Lusk, most of the rain had stopped, and we all gathered under the tent. Mom, Kevio, Denise, Darla and I sat in front as the Mountain Pastor delivered his graveside message. It was short and comforting. The honour guard from Ft. Cambell played Taps, and folded the flag that had draped dad’s casket. They inserted rifle cartridges in the flag before the final fold — something I didn’t know they would do, but something that so befits dad. They delivered the flag into mom’s hands, and delivered a message which went something like “On behalf of the President of the United States, I thank you for the honorable service of your loved one.” The leader of the honour guard then shook each of our hands, and consoled us on our loss.

The crowd broke up, and began heading to mom’s house. Darla and I remained behind, and I tossed a red rose into the grave before dad was lowered into it. Kevio remained behind to ensure that the grave sealing was done like he’d like, and I gathered mom and Darla up, and headed to the house. As we passed the honour guard, they saluted as we drove by — a fitting final tribute.

There’s always a bunch of ATVs running around on The Mountain. As we drove away from Lusk, we saw that a dozen or more of them had stopped at the beginning of the trail, waiting until we were finished with dad’s service before they continued with their riding. Once again, Southern custom and good manners surfaced, but I have to admit that I was very surprised at this.

We arrived home to find that both churches on The Mountain laid out quite a spread — and quickly disappeared! There was enough food to feed two armies, and the fifteen or so of us that were here tried to polish it off, but it was too daunting a task…. there are massive leftovers.

We all talked of dad, and family, and had a nice quiet time telling tall tales — that’s what dad was best known for, and it was fitting that we all got a chance to experience that one more time.

Darla has made the house beautiful by arranging the flowers in vases throughout the house. Mom will get to enjoy them for many days. Darla is so very thoughtful, and has been a pillar of strength for me through this.

Tomorrow would have been dad’s 62nd birthday, and I’m sure it will be a tough day for everybody. I think Kevio and I are going to go visit dad. I think he would like that.

R.B. Wright, K4UQP, SK

Today around 12.15pm ET, dad’s fight was over.

Mom, Kevio, Darla and I were all at his bedside as he slipped away. I wasn’t sure I could be there, but I am so very glad I was. The Preacher and us said a couple of prayers, and I held his hand as he slipped from us into the Lord’s waiting arms. I know that he is rejoicing in heaven with his sister Faye, his brother Bill, and his mother and father, and is smiling down on us.

Heaven has gained a prankster, and it’s a better place for having him there.

It’s still hard to believe that this has happened, and I still expect him to turn the corner, or walk in the door. Even the little dog he gave mom last year is looking for him.

His was the least painful route, though, and much better than suffering with an inoperable, non-responding tumour, or dealing with the rupturing of his aortic aneurysm.

That doesn’t make it hurt any less, but it does make it easier for everyone here.

Tomorrow, we visit the funeral home to make the arrangements, and it looks like visitation, service and burial will be Saturday up here on the Mountain.

The Tylenol PM are starting to kick in….

can·a·peel (noun) ˈkan-ə-pēl – A meal with a lot of variety, where each participant finds and cooks their own food.