Category Archives: Peggy Ruth Allen Paregien

Issue 379 – 1984: A Vintage Year

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 379     –     Dec. 10, 2018     –     An Occasional Blog by Stan Paregien

I’ve been to a great many funerals over my lifetime and presided at many of ’em as the clergyman or one doing the eulogy. I can truthfully say that too many of them were either far too long and/or way too somber and formal. I know, ’cause I preached some like that in the early years of my ministry.

However, I learned a lot about what to do and not do and about what to say and what to avoid when I was an Associate Minister at the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City from 1968 to 1970 or so. That is because I observed and learned from a master public speaker and encourager: Virgil R. Trout, the Minister of the congregation. His regular Sunday morning and evening sermons were 15 to 20 minutes long, and they were among the most therapeutic, encouraging and instructive I ever heard. 

Virgil was especially skilled at personalizing the funerals for which he was the officiant. I went with him a few times on occasions where a funeral home just needed someone to say a few words over the deceased, with few (if any) family or friends in attendance. Still, by the time he ended his short eulogy you felt the person in the casket was important, because Virgil reminded us God feels that way about each of us and believes in us right to the end. 

Okay, so what has all that to do with the title of this blog, “1984: A Vintage Year”? Good question.

This week, on Wednesday and Thursday, millions of us watched on TV as our nation and the world said goodbye to George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States and the father of the 43rd President. He was a remarkable man, not only for his many career achievements, but for his plain decency, his unfailing loyalty to friends, his sense of humor, and his strong love for his God, his country and his family. Quite a guy. 

The first funeral for Mr. Bush was in the magnificent National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Every detail was perfectly choreographed. It had to be with that many people and world-wide TV coverage. Yes, I think it was far too long (about 3 hours worth). If I had been there, I would have had to run to the nearest restroom at least twice during that three-hour extravaganza.

It was even a tad funny to see all those presidents (one present and three ex-presidents) and their wives sitting in the same pew. The Obamas and the Clintons were more than a little uncomfortable being so close to the guy who had been smearing them for the last three years. But it was good for all of them and for the nation to see them working through that moment.

But let it be said that the military and the police and Secret Service did there their just as they were trained. The musicians, singers and speakers were all in sync to produce a memorable experience. It was inspirational and instructive. It unapologetically showed all who were paying attention the importance President Bush and Barbara and their whole clan put on a personal walk with God and a real relationship with Jesus Christ.

The second funeral, at the Bush’s family Episcopal Church in Houston, was a replica of the first. Same officiating minister, for one thing. It was different in the details or ceremonies or length (mercifully, it was only about 90 minute), but no difference in the vivid witness of a grieving family who lost both Barbara and George within a seven month span and yet relied on faith, family and friends to make it through the long days and to move on.

Wow. It was all just a positive shot in the arm for me and I think for the nation. Their preacher, a Rev. Levenson from the Episcopal Church in Houston presided at both services, plus the burial. 

Our son Stan Jr. lives in the St. Louis, Missouri area. He called us that night a few hours after the body of President George H.W. Bush had been taken for burial next to his wife and their daughter inside the walls of the George Bush Library in College Station, Texas (our daughter, Stacy, lives and works just a hop, skip and a jump from there. She and her daughter, our granddaughter Christal Magness, drive by there every day). 

As Peggy and I visited with Stan Jr., I said: “You know, it seems like I went over to Tulsa one time to hear ol’ George speak. I couldn’t tell you a thing about it, but I believe it was right in downtown Tulsa and was some kind of a rally or fundraiser of some sort.”

“Hey, dad,” Stan Jr., said. “I went with you to that event. It was down there in the heart of Tulsa. And, yes, we got to see Mr. Bush.”

See there, all you doubters, I haven’t really lost as much of my brain power as you thought. More than I’d like, but just not that much. We did not get very close to Mr. Bush in Tulsa, but here is the one and only photo I took of him:

1984--065--OK--Tulsa---George Bush speaking in downtown plaza -- Copyrighted by Stan Paregien Sr

Quotes from George H.W. Bush

It is my considered judgment that you [sitting President Richard Nixon] should now resign. I expect in your lonely, embattled position this would seem to you as an act of disloyalty from one you have supported and helped in so many ways. My own view is that I would now ill serve a president, whose massive accomplishments I will always respect and whose family I love, if I did not now give you my judgment. — George H.W. Bush on August 1974, speaking to President Richard Nixon shortly before he resigned, when Bush was Republican national chairman.

And my opponent won’t rule out raising taxes. But I will. And the Congress will push me to raise taxes, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push again. And I’ll say to them: Read my lips. No new taxes. — George H.W. Bush on Aug. 18, 1988, during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

I do not like broccoli, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.” — George H.W. Bush on March 22, 1990.

To those who say we no longer need a CIA, I say you’re nuts. To those who want to dismantle CIA or put it under some other department … you’re nuts, too. And to those who feel the right to know takes precedence over legitimate classification of documents or over protecting our most precious asset, our people, the same to you. You’re nuts, and so’s the horse you came in on.” — George H.W. Bush on Sept. 17, 1997, at ceremony marking the 50th birthday of the CIA.

I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don’t always agree with them.—George H.W. Bush

I’m conservative, but I’m not a nut about it.   – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

We are a nation of communities… a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. — George H. W. Bush

I’m not trying to get myself up a notch on the ladder by shoving somebody else down on the ladder, whether it’s a candidate or the president of the United States or anybody else. I just don’t believe that’s the way one oughta campaign, I’ve never done that.  – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

You know I vowed when I became President not to talk about the loneliest toughest job in the world and I didn’t. — George H. W. Bush

I have a form of Parkinson’s disease, which I don’t like. My legs don’t move when my brain tells them to. It’s very frustrating.  – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

We must act on what we know. I take as my guide the hope of a saint: In crucial things, unity; in important things, diversity; in all things, generosity. – George H. W. Bush in 1989.

I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world [i.e., having been President of the United States], but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband. – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

There is a God and He is good, and his love, while free, has a self-imposed cost: We must be good to one another.  – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

In what has been deemed his “most devastating” quote of all time, the former president promised voters “no new taxes” during the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans: “Read my lips: no new taxes” (Aug. 18, 1988). It certainly wasn’t the first time a presidential candidate broke a campaign promise when he became president, but it proved catastrophic for Bush, who raised taxes on the wealthy and lost his re-election campaign in 1992.

Don’t forget: Old guys can still have fun and still do stuff. — – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.  Mr. Bush met with Headline News anchor Robin Meade on June 16, 2009, just four days after his 85th birthday, Those words were addressed to Meade by Bush to explain what they were getting ready to do. Then they went up in a perfectly good airplane and each of them, joined to an expert jumper, parachuted safely to the ground. President George H.W. Bush did the same thing on his 90th birthday, too.

No nation can fully understand itself or find its place in the world if it does not look with clear eyes at all the glories and disgraces, too, of the past. We, in the United States, acknowledge such an injustice in our own history: The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated.  – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

The Class of 1959

We had a class reunion for our Class of 1959 (Fillmore Union High School in Fillmore, Calif.) in the summer of 1984. Here are a few photos of those who attended. Yep, I was there as well.

1984--002 Fillmore, CA -- Reunion of the HS Class of 1959

1984--002--A Fillmore, CA Reunion of the HS Class of 1959

 

1984--003 Fillmore, CA -- Reunion of the HS Class Of 1959

1984--004--A Reunion of the HS Class Of 1959

1984--004-C Reunion of the Class of 1959 -- Cartoon

1984--004-D Reunion of the Class of 1959 -- Cartoon

1984--004-E Fillmore, CA Reunion of the Class of 1959 -- Chili Blagg - Pat Brown - Mary Ann Shipley Real - Roger France

1984--005 Fillmore, CA - Reunion of Class of 1959 - poem by Stan Paregien

By now, many of those folks shown in the photos above have died. Next May, 2019 will mark the 60th anniversary of when we all graduated in 1959 from Fillmore High School. No, I have no plans to attend any reunion. 

1984--007--StacyParegien

Our lovely daughter, Stacy Paregien in 1984.

 

1984--008--WapanuckaOK--AlumniReunion

This is one of those vintage Wapanucka (Oklahoma) High School’s Reunions. This one in 1984 included my father Harold’s two sisters – Mrs. Alvin (Loretha) Young of Duncan, Okla., and Mrs. John (Eupel ) Higgenbotham of Santa Paula, Calif. – and my stepfather Chester Spradling and his wife (my mother, Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling), plus my maternal uncle Harry Snell and his wife (my mother’s sister) Opal Cauthen Snell of Jay, Oklahoma. 

 

1984--009--StanParegien

Little ‘Ol Me in 1984

1984--023--GeneParegien-LisaShields-April13

Stan Paregien Jr. (better known as “Gene” until he went into the Air Force in 1985). He and his date for a prom or such at Stroud, Oklahoma in 1984

1984--025--StroudOK--BoysState-GirlsState

1984--026 Stroud, OK -- City Of Stroud, OK

We lived seven miles north and one mile west of Stroud, Oklahoma in 1984. We had 10 acres of land (our “farm”) which featured an old “shotgun” style house and a couple of nice barns. About 7 of those acres were a good stand of hay which we bailed once or twice a year.

1984--027---StanParegien--Evelyn--LosAngeles

The above photo is of me with my mother, Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling, at the airport in Los Angeles in 1984. She was as lovely a person on the inside as she was pretty on the outside. She was a very strong person with a deep love for the Lord and his people . . . and for every person who came her way. She had a servant’s heart, to be sure.

1984--030--B Dallas, TX Evelyn Spradling with founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

My mother did very well when she was a sales representative for Mary Kay Cosmetics. She worked really hard at it, and she liked to visit with everyone she met. So in 1984 she got to meet the Queen herself, Mary Kay.

1984--035--B Fillmore, CA -- Evelyn Spradling -- Eupel Higgenbotham

Here is a photo of my mom celebrating her 62nd birthday in Fillmore, Calif., by holding up a cake which her daughter, Roberta Paregien Loffswold Fournier, made for her. Looking on, at right, is my father Harold’s youngest sister – Eupel Paregien Higgenbotham of nearby Santa Paula, Calif.

1984--035--D Washinton, DC -- National History Day --- Gene Paregien

Our son, Stan Jr. (“Gene”), and his friend Dess Applegate won this competition two years in a road. So they made two trips to Washington, D.C. Much later, as the chief Public Affairs Officer at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, ILL, Lt. Col. Stan Paregien, Jr. goes to Washington at least once a year with his base commander to meet with congressmen and senators and, over at the Pentagon, various military leaders. Kinda heady stuff.

1984--036--A Fillmore, CA-- Parade Float -- Spradling -- Gary

This 1984 photo was taken at the annual parade in Fillmore, Calif., sorta saluting “The Old Days.” That’s why my stepfather Chester Spradling and my mom Evelyn (at left) and her cousin Troy & Lucille Gary were dressed up this way. They were on their Mobile Home Park’s float and it won the trophy the unidentified man is holding. These four folks, whom we loved very much, left us several years back. Of all things, Chester Spradling actually grew up in the town of Fillmore. Nope, not Fillmore, California. He was born in tiny Fillmore, Oklahoma. He and his first wife lived in Oxnard, Calif., until she died and he married my mom and moved across the county to live with her. He was a great guy, a real gentleman.

I wrote the following poem, “Our Twenty-Second Anniversary,” in May of 1984. We are now in our 56th year of loving on and living with each other.  It has been quite a journey.

1984--041--A Stroud, OK -- May31 -- Stan Paregien -- poem for our 22nd anniversary

1984--041--B--StroudOK--May31--Peggy--StanParegien--22nd-anniversary

1984--042--StroudOK--StacyParegien--on-Paula

Stacy Paregien on one of the several horses we had at our little farm over the years. She was a very good rider and loved any and all animals (as her mother did/does).

I had Mr. Charles Mozley for Social Studies and as a drama teacher (I was in one play, for which I received an Emmy . . . or was it a Showoff Award. Heck, I forget. Anyway, Mrs. Mozley was a really wonderful teacher and a genuinely nice guy. He was a little funny looking, being a small leprechaun kind of guy with one blue eye and one brown eye. Hey, If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’. He would stop lecturing every once in a while to state some something he hoped we’d remember. His only words I recall are when he smiled that impish smile and announced, “I have only two faults: I cannot resist pain . . . or temptation.” I’ve thought about that every once in a while over the years. He pretty well summed it up.

In 1984, he got to thinking about which of all our high school football teams was the best to ever play at Fillmore Union High School in Fillmore, Calif. He decided it was the team of 1958 — the team on which I held down the right end position. No, funny people, I was not just at the right end of the bench. I started almost every game. And we beat every doggone team we faced by a bunch. That is, until we played my old school where I went to junior high school, William S. Hart (the silent screen movie star) High School in Newhall (now known as Santa Clarita). Those guys, several of whom I still knew, kicked our butts all over that field in front of 6,000 folks. We lost 25 to zip. And that, dear readers, was the end of that.

1984--057--CA--Fillmore--Football Team of 1958--by Charles Mozley--Sept

1984--059--OK--Stroud--Stacy Paregien -- fall

1984--061--OK--Stroud--Stan 'Gene' Paregien Jr in Letterman jacket -- fall

 

1984--063--B--OK--Stroud--Stan Paregien Sr -- card from Richie Vallen's mother, Connie Valenzuela

When Business People Lie

If they ever put a photo next to “bald-faced lie” in the dictionary, I’d nominate this document. In 1982, the area of Oklahoma and surrounding oil-related states went into a deep recession. The rest of the nation barely noticed, but thousands of families in the area were hit hard. Many banks and oil-related businesses declared bankruptcy and/or went out of business. That included many of my clients when I was in the life & health insurance business. Pretty soon I found myself having to take another job. And that was as a lab technician at Allied Materials Company in Stroud, Okla. We refined crude oil and made and sold jet fuel as well as  roofing tar and related items.

Allied had been in business in Stroud for some 40 years. They provided many of the best-paying jobs in Lincoln County. Then rumors started going around that the company was in trouble. I still have a video recording of the president of our company being interviewed by radio and TV reports. He stood right there and told them there was no truth to the rumors, that the company was doing fine. And below is the letter which he addressed to we employees. He was lying through his teeth.

1984--069--OK--Stroud---Closing down in the fall of '84 the Allied Refinery--where Stan Paregien was working as a lab tech

Things rocked along. We shut down for our regular “turn around,” during which we did major updates and repairs to our equipment. We even had 40 or so certified contract welders taking the place apart and putting it back together. Very expensive job, of course. And then these news stories hit the newspapers and the end was near.

1984--070--OK--Stroud---Closing down in the fall of '84 the Allied Refinery--where Stan Paregien was working as a lab tech

Even our dear sweet, lying dog of a company leader had to admit they were closing the doors on most of our operation. It was terrible news for our community and the entire area.

1984--072--OK--Stroud---Closing down in the fall of '84 the Allied Refinery--where Stan Paregien was working as a lab tech

Even then, he did not tell us all of the truth. The fact is that the Environmental Health Department discovered and proved the company was illegally disposing of toxic materials and asbestos materials at their dump, which was on a creek which flowed right into nearby Deep Fork Creek. Numerous residents learned their water wells had been polluted for many years. So it was a sad, bitter day when 280 were terminated in November of 1984. 

All those refining towers, furnaces, tanks and lines that were updated or repaired a couple of months earlier? A year or two later Allied sold them for scrap metal at pennies on the dollar.

Well, as my all-time favorite radio newsman Paul Harvey used to say after telling a morbid story: “Wash your ears out with the following good news.”

So here is little poem which my sister, Roberta Paregien Loffswold Fournier (Class of 1961 at Fillmore; my wife graduated in the Class of 1961 at nearby Ventura High) wrote:

1984--089 A poem, 'My Home Town - Fillmore, Calif' - by Roberta Paregien Loffswold Fournier - died on June 5, 2015

There you have it, a roundup of reasons why I could say why 1984 was a “Vintage Year” for us in particular. A few hard knocks, but lots of wonderful times with friends and family. 

Thanks to the good Lord for helping us make it through another year. There were even bigger changes ahead. Stay tuned for more sometime down the road.

— Stan

Logo---The End---Zia--with-blue---- 500w x 400dpi--- 2018--01--17

THE END. Or pert near it.

Issue 373 – Six Freebies for You

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 373  —  Feb. 24, 2018  —  Published Occasionally

Six Freebies for You

Free--002--round, red button

I have a number of free documents posted on my Google Drive storage account in a public folder.They are all in the popular PDF format, and all you have to do to read them is to go to the link below.

In addition, you may download any or all of them to your own PC’s hard drive . . . or upload them to your own cloud storage. One big advantage of a cloud account – such as Apple – iCloud; Google – Drive; Microsoft Outlook – OneDrive; etc. – is this: then you will be able to access that material through your PC, your tablet, your laptop, your smartphone, and so forth.

Here are the items I’ve posted there so far:

  1. Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling: Her Story  (1922-2011)

Article cover -- 1975 Photo of Evelyn Paregien Spradling

This is my personal tribute to my mother. I completed this 179 page document and released it on the 7th anniversary of her death – Feb. 23, 2011. This is a remarkable story of her growing up in south-central Oklahoma during the Great Depression, the daughter of dirt-poor sharecroppers, getting married and moving to California where life became a whole lot easier and better. I worked hard to let her love, faith and integrity clearly show. 

This essay really amounts to a book, since it is 180 pages long. It contains well over 300 photos and documents, mainly from her total of 30+ years in Oklahoma and 52 years in Ventura County, California. Many of the stories and photos relate, specifically to towns in which we lived: Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru and Newhall (in Los Angeles County).

  1. An Open Letter to Christian Friends  (May 18, 1972)

Book cover -- 02 - Open Letter -- May 18, 1972

This document will be of special interest to who grew up in (or are still in) religious groups which grew out of the “Restoration Movement” which started in the United States in about 1804 and rapidly grew. It was a recognition that followers of Christ by those days had divided into warring factions, and an effort to unite those Believers by using the Bible (not denominational creeds and disciples) as the standard for work and worship.

I wrote this letter to a few dozen friends way back on May 18, 1972 to explain why Peggy and I were changing from one Christian segment to another. Then in 2018 I rediscovered the letter and added an explanatory preface and a list of resources. It may also be of historical interest to those who study . . . or have to deal with . . . divisions within Christianity.

One of the factors in our leaving the group we’d been part of for our whole lives was their theological position regarding the use of instrumental music in worship. They were a’gin it. That is, they favored a cappella (voices only) in worship. There are other churches who advocate the same thing, though maybe not was loudly as we did. But that is only a part of the equation, as you will read.

  1. The Day Jesus Died (eBook in 2013)

1968-001 Cover of The Day Jesus Died

This book was published as a hardback in Austin, Texas in 1970. Back then I was a minister, first with the University Church of Christ in Las Cruces, New Mexico and then with the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was a collection of my sermons and magazine articles. It went out of print, but in 2012 or so I started revising many of the chapters. So, as with the more than a dozen other eBooks of mine, you may find them and buy them by simply Googling “books by Stan Paregien.” This PDF copy, however, is free.

  1. Oklahoma Almanac of Facts & Humor: Part 1

Cover--Part 1 -- Oklahoma Almanac--2013 --- Nigh 1773w x 2400 x 95dpi

Published: May 21, 2013. Category: Nonfiction. Foreword by the Honorable George Nye, former Governor of Oklahoma. This eBook is Part 1 of 2 containing facts about the state of Oklahoma. Part 1 covers Achille to Nowata. It is not your grandpa’s boring history book. The author starts by telling the unique stories of 148 towns, including those which are a county seat in one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. He includes photos, prominent people and humorous stories. Part 1 covers such towns as Ada, Atoka, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Chandler, Claremore, Clinton, Del City, Durant, Eufaula, Elk City, Erick, Lawton, McAlester, Midwest City, Moore, and Norman.

  1. Manatee County, Florida: Facts, Folks and Photos

 

Master Cover -- Manatee County, FL -- Stan Paregien 01 1,900 X 2,561 X 600 dpi

This eBook is a combination of one part travel guide for the beaches and other attractions in Manatee County, one part who’s who of today’s leaders and yesterday’s heroes and heroines, one part family photo album, and one part a history book containing over 450 photos and 470 biographical sketches. It is written in a conversational style with touches of wit, wisdom, mystery and spice. There’s all kinds of factual information about our beautiful beaches and our vibrant history. But you’ll want to spent a lot of time in Chapter 3. There you’ll see photos and biographical sketches of hundreds of Manatee County people. Learn why the heck we do things like we do them (Hint: “Because that’s how grandma and grandpa used to do it.”) You’ll meet some of our wonderful pioneer families, a great many solid citizens, plus a lot of folks who work doggoned hard to make this County an even better place to live or to visit.

  1. A List of Stan Paregien’s eBooks

This lists the 16 eBooks by Stan Paregien which are available at various retailers online. Also a brief bio.

Here’s the magic link for any or all of the above:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1AYwU8g8IZo9v4nwXIBnDaXrpqmd6InRI

PLEASE NOTE:  The link above is subject to being changed at any time without notice.

Happy reading, my friends.

— Stan Paregien

Logo---The End---Zia--with-blue---- 500w x 400dpi--- 2018--01--17

Issue 364 – Fleeing Hurricane Irma, Part 3

logo-the-paregien-journal-2016-05-09-05-595-x-145-pix-x-400-dpi

The Paregien Journal    —    Issue 364    —    September 21, 2017

Fleeing Hurricane Irma, Part 3 of 3

[See Parts 1 and 2 for earlier portions of the story of our evacuation from Bradenton, Florida due to the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irma.]

On Thursday, Sept. 14th, we made a mad dash from our motel in Lexington, Kentucky about 20 miles west to visit Frankfort, Kentucky. That is where the state’s capital is, plus that is where the grave of he one-of-a-kind American hero Daniel Boone is buried. The first place we went was to the final resting place of Daniel Boone and his beloved wife Rebecca. A tall, impressively carved marker stands in the beautiful and historic cemetery across the Kentucky River on a bluff which looks out upon the State Capital.

2017--09--14 06--D Frankfort, KY - Stan Paregien at grave of Daniel Boone - by Peggy Paregien

2017--09--14 06--A Frankfort, KY - grave stone of Daniel Boone -2017--09--14 06--B Frankfort, KY - Stan Paregien at grave of Daniel Boone - by Peggy Paregien2017--09--14 06--C Frankfort, KY - Stan Paregien at grave of Daniel Boone - by Peggy Paregien2017--09--14 06--F Frankfort, KY - Stan Paregien at grave of Daniel Boone - by Peggy Paregien2017--09--14 06--G Frankfort, KY - grave of Daniel Boone - by Stan Paregien2017--09--14 06--H Frankfort, KY - grave of Daniel Boone - by Stan Paregien2017--09--14 06--J Frankfort, KY - grave of Daniel Boone - by Stan Paregien2017--09--14 07--A Frankfort, KY - State Capital Building - by Sttan Paregien2017--09--14 07--B Frankfort, KY - State Capital Building - by Sttan Paregien2017--09--14 07--C Frankfort, KY - Ky Historical Society Bldg Quote from Happy Chandler - by Sttan Paregien2017--09--14 07--D Frankfort, KY - First Baptist Church building - by Sttan Paregien

Then we drove up to Williamstown, Kentucky. Never got to see the town itself. But we saw what draws many hundreds of people every day to the edge of town. Just off I-75 is an attraction named “Ark Encounter.” A bunch of some bodies invested a ton of money in this project. Taking the actual dimensions given in the Old Testament of Noah’s Ark, they built a 510 foot arch, with a ground floor devoted to a huge gift shop, some meeting room, etc. Then the ark itself — with all the birds and beasts and such all arranged two by two — takes up three full floors. We walked ourselves silly and were amazed by all of the displays and exhibits. We probably spent three hours or so there.

However, if you’re a serious student of the Bible and/or archeology and such, you really ought to buy a two-day pass. Then pace yourself by maybe spending two hours there on the first morning and after lunch another two hours. Same thing for the second day. My bet is you won’t even be able to see it all even then. It is H-U-G-E, as a car dealer in the Tampa area likes to shout in his commercials.

2017--09--14 11 Williamstown, KY - replica of Noah's Ark2017--09--14 12 Williamstown, KY - replica of Noah's Ark2017--09--14 13 Williamstown, KY - replica of Noah's Ark2017--09--14 14 Williamstown, KY - replica of Noah's Ark2017--09--14 15 Williamstown, KY - replica of Noah's Ark2017--09--14 16--A Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - by Peg Paregien2017--09--14 16--B Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Stan and Peg Paregien2017--09--14 16--C Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Peg Paregien2017--09--14 17 Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Peg Paregien2017--09--14 18--A Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Peg Paregien2017--09--14 18--B Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Peg Paregien2017--09--14 18--C Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Peg Paregien

After seeing the Ark Encounter, we had planned on driving on up to Indianapolis to visit Peggy’s eldest sister, Mrs. Charlotte Allen Richardson and her husband Bill. We thought we might spent a couple of nights there, then wander west to our son’s house near St. Louis for the duration of our evacuation from Florida. That is, we did not want to start back until we were sure we had our electricity back on and that food and gas supplies were adequate.

However, about then we got a call from a neighbor back home in Bradenton. She gave us the exciting news that our electricity had been restored (it had been off since last Sunday night). And she said it looked like our house had only very minor damages.

Hallelujah! Those were the words we were waiting to hear. We did a quick u-turn and headed back to Florida. However, I did not want to drive down I-75 again. So we went slightly west toward Nashville and I-65. We spent Thursday night in a very busy, small town named Franklin, Kentucky, right on I-65. We had perhaps the best night of sleep since we had been forced out of our home by Hurricane Irma.

On Friday, Sept. 15th, we left Franklin, Kentucky about 8:30 pm and drove through some patches of fog on the way down to Nashville. Getting through congested “Music City” was no easy task, but I guess it did prepare us for what was coming next.

After actually looking at a map and seeing that the lower part of I-65 took us way west toward Mississippi, we decided to boogie back over to Chattanooga and join back up with . . . yep, . . . I-75. There is some major road construction going on in Chattanooga, so it was stop and go all the way.

When we got to I-75. the pace of the hordes of southbound traffic moved along pretty well for the most part. That is, until we got to Hell. Yeah, you know — Hell, Georgia. Oh, okay, you may know it better as Atlanta. But I’m here to tell you that driving through Atlanta from 2:15 pm to 5:30 pm is as close as I want to get to hell.

2017--09--15 10 Atlanta, GA -- hell on wheels - by Peg Paregien

2017--09--15 11 Atlanta, GA -- hell on wheels - by Peg Paregien

There were six lanes of traffic going each direction, but it all was going at the speed of a senior citizen snail. It was bad. No it was downright awful. I have driven in a lot of big cities — Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Montgomery, Indianapolis, Columbus, and more. But I ain’t never in all my born days driven in anything that could compare to the helter-skelter of Atlanta. I came away from that white-knuckle experience crying, “No mas! No more! Never again!” Or to paraphrase the great Chief Joseph of Idaho’s Nez Pierce tribe who finally admitted defeat at the hands of the U.S. Army. He said, “As long as the grass grows and the water flows, I will fight no more forever.” And I said as I exited Atlanta, “As long as I am half-way sane, I will drive no more forever in Atlanta.” Amen and Amen!

We were physically and emotionally exhausted when we finally got to our . . . eh, well . . . 3rd rate motel in Macon, Georgia. After a few $160 per night hotels we just had to take something cheaper. It turned out to be okay. Certainly nothing fancy about the room, and the continental breakfast the next morning left much to be desired. But it was a bed and the room was air-conditioned . . . and they allowed pets. 

We set our alarm for 5:30 am on Saturday, Sept. 16th. And we hit the blacktop on I-75 at 6:40 am. We were going home. Nothing quite like that feeling after so many one-or-two night stands. There were pockets of very heavy traffic, especially about 11 am at all six exits or so to Gainesville. We wondered why the heck the traffic was backed up so far. And, bingo, we remember that the University of Florida “Gators” had a home football game that afternoon.

Amazingly, we managed to average about 66 mph on Saturday’s travel. We drove into our driveway about 2:00 pm.

2017--07--17 03 Cartoon - even anti-government folks ask for help after a disaster

2017--09--17 01 Bradenton, FL - Cartoon - linemen were heroes

2017--09--17 02 Bradenton, FL - home damaged - by Peggy Paregien

2017--09--19 01 Bradenton, FL - tree damage - by Stan Paregien

2017--09--19 02 Bradenton, FL - tree damage - by Stan Paregien

Yes, we did see a lot of trees down along the roads, all the way from central Georgia to Bradenton. And some of the residents in our 55+ community had some significant damage, with maybe 25 families still without electricity. Florida’s sauna-like summer heat and humidity are terrible for anyone without air conditioning, but it is especially hard on young children and on seniors. But, all in all, we were thankful the hurricane had not made a direct landing here.

Be it ever so humble, it is always a good feeling to get back home. And it is especially wonderful when the house that you half-way expected to lose in a massive storm surge of water is still in tact. Thank you, Lord.

logo-zia-the-end-300w-x-150dpi-pubdomain