Sunday, September 29, 2013

Even Before Hippies, There was Love

I never met my grandfather, Frank Hall.  He died in 1955, before I was born.  But I do have a few pictures of him and a few of his writings.  Like me, he was a lawyer.  And like me, he practiced workers (or, as it was known then, "workmens') compensation law.  He was even an Administrative Law Judge for a time, having been appointed by Governor Happy Chandler.  And he was a farmer, with an orchard,  And he was a beekeeper.  These last few impress me more these days than when I was younger. 

For a time, Frank (full name: Franklin Pierce Hall) was also Clerk for the New Salem Association of Old Regular Baptists.  He was asked to write the Circular Letter for the 1952 session - their annual meeting.  The following is excerpted from that letter.

...I could mention many subjects in the Bible that would be interesting and beneficial, but the night following your selection of me to write this letter, I was impressed and inspired, as I feel, to write on the subject of "Love."...There is no greater subject to be found in the Bible.
The Apostle John...writes much about this subject.  John tells us love is of God and God is love.  We all understand that love has more than one form, and we all know, or should know, it's the greatest thing in the world, in the home, in the church and in our associations.  It is that perfect expression of unselfishness which prompts us to do good, to return good for evil, and to make the Golden Rule our rule of dealing with our Brethren and Sisters, and not only them, but all with whom we deal and come in contact with.  It puts into our lives something nothing else can put there, a feeling for which a price cannot be fixed, a feeling all the gold on earth cannot buy.  Naturally, everybody has love for natural things, love for their family, love for their country, and in a degree, love for all humanity.  This natural love prompts the parent to work for and support its offspring; it prompts us to love our homes and the natural surroundings, and to protect our countries against invaders.
I could write at length about natural love, but my desire is to write about the love the Apostle John wrote about.  God's love, which we are born of, and lets in deed and in truth and not in words nor expressions by tongue.... Love is the the dominant factor throughout both the old and new scriptures and a requirement of our Lord.
Beloved, our whole spiritual life is the product of love, and not only our whole spirit lives, but love is the foundation of all our true churches and associations. ...
...I must conclude this letter, but my subject will go on, for it's from the beginning to the end.  It's the first and the last.  God is love.  In the day and age, tribulation is mounting, and we are praying for peace, peace, where there is no peace except that found in Jesus....  Spiritual peace is a product of love.  It is born in us, and prompts us to strive for unity; prompts us to work for harmony and refrain from saying or doing anything that will bring discord....
May God's perfect love and peace be with you and bless you all.  Your humble Brother in hope for a more abundant life.

                                                                                                               Frank P. Hall

Too bad I never met my mother's father.  I think I would have liked him.  Or, maybe closer to the truth, I would like him if I met him now.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Fun Afternoon

Just for fun, Ann and I set out for a small applery (my made-up word) in Harlan County for some honeycrisps.  We ate lunch at the Texas Roadhouse in Pikeville on the way.  And then went across Pine Mountain to the little place I know to get some apples.  We talked to the nice people there for quite a while.  Turns out they grow their honeycrisp apples on 3000+ trees on nearby Lynch Mountain at a height of more than 5000 feet.  All I can tell you is that they are delicious.  But the day was so beautiful that the drive was most of the point and even if they had been sold out of apples, the day would still have been a good one.  On the way back we stopped at one of my favorite overlooks on Pine Mountain, where I took this picture.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book Giveaway!

Ten copies of my novel, The Road of Regret, are going to be given away on Goodreads! Click the "Goodreads Giveaway" tab above to enter. Or click below. Not a member of Goodreads? You can join for free, rate and review books you've read, and receive recommendations for other books you may like.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Road of Regret by Jeff Damron

The Road of Regret

by Jeff Damron

Giveaway ends October 20, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Sunday Morning Enlightenment

There is something special about the light on Sunday mornings.  Or maybe it's just that I take the time to appreciate it.  This morning found me circling Dewey Lake.  It was a crisp 53 degrees and the crows were shouting to one another across the water.

Fog is great around here in September.

After a relaxing tour of the lake, I headed to Van Lear, where I took a pedestrian picture of the front of the Coal Miners' Museum.  I won't bore you with that one, but here is a more interesting one I took of the back side of the building.

As I was walking back to my car a guy pulled up in a vintage Buick and started talking.  Turns out he was quite the Van Lear historian.  He told me that, contrary to the sign (partly cut off on the left side of the photo), there never was a division of Consolidation Coal Co. headquartered in the building.   He also filled me on hometown star, Loretta Lynn.  He said she wasn't born in the little house passed off as her birthplace, but in an even smaller house further up Butcher Hollow and that the only thing left of that house was the floor.  He told me that Loretta Lynn is "a bitch" that refused to come play at his high school prom so they could afford a good senior trip.  Not sure how that ties together.  But, according to him, Ms. Lynn wouldn't come and said (this part delivered in a high and snooty voice), "I don't owe Van Lear anything."  He added that her sister, Crystal Gayle, also wasn't born in the old homestead, but was actually born in Indiana.  Her real name is Brenda and he said she is "very sweet."

He also told me how some of the most influential families in Johnson County got their start by operating truck mines and paying their workers $8 to $10 per day while they grew rich.  I won't mention their names.  There was also a prominent family that got its money by burning down their store after secreting all of the inventory in garages they owned, then collecting the insurance money.  He knows because he and some friends saw it  through an open garage door as they were coming out of their hollow to go to school.  The family bought their silence with new notebooks for school.  But when they got to school the principal brought them into his office and accused them of stealing such nice notebooks.  Eventually he called the family and they confirmed that they had given the notebooks.  Don't you love a happy ending?

I was about to ask if I could take this colorful guy's picture when two kids showed up and climbed in the back of his car.  There was lots of cussing and swearing all around, but they said they needed to talk to him.  I was thinking that maybe there was a drug deal going down, so instead of a picture, I took advantage of the moment to leave.  On the way back to my car I heard the guy tell them he only had one cigarette left and he was not going to share it with anybody.  So, yeah, a drug deal.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Random Thoughts and Shots

Candle and cigar from the Middle Creek Civil War Battle Re-enactment
Ann had her first round of chemotherapy on Thursday.  I've learned several things since her diagnosis of breast cancer on June 28.  First, the cancer treatment industry is a-boomin'.  Good for those in the industry.  Bad for the rest of us.

The good folks in the cancer treatment business told us it was fine if people visited while Ann was getting chemo.  There was no limit, they said.  At one point, around lunch time, there were nine people visiting.  So now they tell us we can only have two people at a time visiting.  The second thing I've learned is this - people in the cancer treatment industry can't be trusted to be consistent.  They also don't like it if you want to take anti-oxidants.  That's the third thing I've learned.

One good thing I've learned is just how beloved my wife is by so many people!

Another thing I've learned, thanks to our daughter, Lauren, making a board of fun facts to go in the bedroom she made for us for when we are in Lexington for treatment, is that turtles can breathe through their butts.

Another thing I've learned, thanks to our daughter's husband, Jesse, is that a byte isn't necessarily 8 bits.  It is actually hardware dependent and there are systems with different numbers of bits.

Something I've learned from my son, Jordan, is that employers seem to struggle with the concept that full time college students carrying 17 hours of classes can't really work 30+ hours per week.

But really, that turtle thing, that's amazing.  Isn't it?
Route 3 to Inez

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Road of Regret is Now Available as a Paperback

For those who don't want or don't like ebooks, or who just prefer the feel of a real book in their hands,  a paperback version of  The Road of Regret is now available through the Amazon link in the right column beside this blog.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Update: The Reviews are in!

Well, maybe not "the" reviews, but ten reviews so far have been posted on Amazon.  Thank you to the readers who took time to do that!  What do they say?  Here's a sampling:

"Road of Regret" reminded me (in a great way!) of the police procedurals that I enjoy watching on TV, but I think that fans of FX's "Justified" (which is also largely set in Eastern Kentucky) will REALLY enjoy this murder mystery.
Emily Northcutt

I literally read it in one day and an evening. Because it's that good! Don't miss out. If you love a good crime mystery or even you don't, you will love this book. The twists and turns in the story kept me wanting more.

I loved this book ! It was full of twist and turns and a few surprises.


You can see more reviews here.

Haven't reviewed it yet?  Please consider posting one at Amazon or Goodreads.  Or both - I don't want to impose limits.

Miss the big End of August/Beginning of Labor Day Weekend Giveaway?  If you are an Amazon Prime member you can borrow a copy for free - just follow the Amazon link above or on the right hand side of this blog.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Battle of Middle Creek is Underway!

Or, a re-enactment of it anyhow.  The original was fought on January 10, 1862.  But who wants to go out in the cold and wet to watch a re-enactment?  You can read more about the real battle here.  Meanwhile, below are a few pics I took today with the Canon EOS M.  Post-exposure work up was in Lightroom 5 and Nik plug-ins.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Around the House with an EOS M

I didn't mean to get a new camera.  But when I happened across the Canon EOS M with a 22mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.0 lens at B&H Photo for only $399, I couldn't help myself.  The lens alone is worth half that price.  I love the 35mm view and f2 is pretty fast, especially for a pancake lens.  It's a small, well-built package and with the latest firmware update, I find the auto-focus is plenty fast enough for my shooting.  The other knock against the camera is the dearth of manual controls.  But I find that I typically shoot small cameras in aperture priority with auto-ISO and don't worry about changing controls much.  That seems to be working with this camera as well.  So far, all I have done is walk around the yard some this evening and take a few snaps, but I'm liking what I'm seeing from the APS-C sized sensor in this small brick.  You can get you one too while they last (they've been discontinued), here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Lake Has Many Faces

I drove around Dewey Lake early Sunday morning  It always amazes me how different the same places can look, depending on the season, the weather, the hour, even the minute.  This rather majestic scene was shot from the bottom of the dam, while the following is a picture of the steps I descended to get there, with the high water marks are painted the steps with the dates.

This shot was made after I came back up the steps.  It is of the control tower of the dam, or, if you prefer, it is a shot of the dam control tower.  The clarity of tiny sensor in my pocketable Ricoh GRD III camera amazes me.

The following two pictures were made within a hundred feet or so of each other at another stop.  Sometimes the journey is at least as important as the destination.

Thanks to software, it is easy to get many looks from the same digital camera - even one with a small sensor and a fixed, non-zoom lens like the GRD III.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ale 8 One Country

My wife, Ann, and I met her friend Liz at Miguel's in the Red River Gorge for some pizza last weekend.  We didn't have any Ale 8 One but I think we were in the minority on that.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Now on Goodreads!

Yeah, yeah, I know.  You're tired of my posts about my book.  I understand.  But good things keep happening with it.  It is now listed on Goodreads, so feel free to leave some stars and a review there too (or instead of on Amazon).  Here's the link.

Time to Stop and Say "Thanks!"

Stop signs make such perfect targets for shooting practice, don't they.  And I thought the rising sun reflected nicely off the back of this one.  Anyhow...

Thank you to everyone for making my book giveaway an incredible success!  I had promised myself that I would be content if there were even 50 downloads.  And that 250 would be amazing.  Well over the two days of the giveaway, The Road of Regret was downloaded from Amazon's global websites more than 400 times!  So, thank you, thank you, thank you!

There are already three great reviews up at Amazon, and hopefully more of you who downloaded the book will post reviews too, once you have read it.  They don't have to be long or detailed, but it will help me sell more copies for money if there are more positive reviews.  So if you liked it, please say so.