Six generations of Memphians

My 20-year-old is the third generation of his family to attend the University of Memphis, but he is the 6th generation to live in the Bluff City. His great-great-great grandparents immigrated from Italy during the late 1800’s and settled in Memphis. They both died there. Their daughter and her husband lived in a house on Carson Street in Memphis (photographed below in 2012) from the 1920’s until their deaths in 1972. Their daughter, my grandmother, lived there, too. My mother lived part of her childhood in Memphis, although not at the Carson Street address. I lived there from 1991 until 1994. And now the 20-year-old lives there. That’s six generations of the same family literally wedded to one city during the course of a century (a little more, actually).

The Carson Street neighborhood, sadly, is not the same as it once was. It is part of what is now known as Orange Mound, a semi-depressed area of high crime and general poverty about a mile west of the UofM campus. The house was constructed in 1920 and the address 803 Carson Street is engraved in family lore. I’ve never been inside, as it passed out of the family after the deaths of my great-grandparents some 45 years ago.

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48 Eve

All those born on November 17, 1969 are currently enjoying the eve of their 48th birthday. Congratulations to you all for making it this far. May you enjoy many more.

The number 48 is a highly useful number. Unlike 47, which is prime, 48 can be parsed many ways.

For example, 48 is 4 dozen.

It can be written as, 72-1.

– or –

48 x 1
24 x 2
16 x 3
12 x 4
8 x 6
2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 3
42 x 3

In 1980, Mike Schmidt, who was my favorite athlete growing up, hit 48 home runs for the Philadelphia Phillies. it was his career high, and also stood as a franchise record for 26 years. That was the year I got into baseball.

The only prime number that is divisible into 48 is 3.

Half the number of months that will ultimately be spanned by the presidency of Donald J. Trump is 48.

The year ’48 was also the year of “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” Except that it wasn’t. Incidentally, that was 69 years ago, and individuals born in ’69 are turning 48 this year.

If you go 48 years back from 1969, you’ll find yourself in the year 1921. In other words, the years 2017 and 1921 are equidistant from 1969.

An NBA game lasts 48 minutes.

Until 1959, there were 48 states in the Union. That’s how we got the catchy phrase, “lower 48” (or “contiguous 48,” for those who prefer longer words).

Also, the ratio of the ages of a person turning 48 and a brand-new 16-year-old driver is 3:1, and Hillary blew a 3-1 lead.

Words

seriatim (adv.) — taking one subject after another in regular order

multifarious (adj.) — many and of various types

cyclothymia (n.) — a mental state characterized by marked swings of mood between depression and elation; bipolar disorder

gaucherie (n.) — awkward, embarrassing, or unsophisticated ways

grippe (n.) — old-fashioned term for influenza

lapidary (adj.) — relating to stone and gems and the work involved in engraving, cutting, or polishing

perdition (n.) — (in Christian theology) a state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful and unpenitent person passes after death

barcarole (n.) — a song traditionally sung by Venetian gondoliers

sylph (n.) — an imaginary spirit of the air

coccyx (n.) — a small triangular bone at the base of the spinal column in humans and some apes, formed of fused vestigial vertebrae

confiture (n.) — a preparation of preserved fruit

badinage (n.) — humorous or witty conversation

spume (n.) — froth or foam, especially that found on waves

parry (v.) — ward off (a weapon or attack), especially with a countermove

neophyte (n.) — a person who is new to a subject, skill, or belief

carrion (n.) — the decaying flesh of dead animals

garotte (n.) — a wire, cord, or apparatus used to strangle someone

sibilance (n.) — (of a speech sound) a hissing effect, for example s, sh

[category Words)

Quote du jour (Jurassic Democrats)

This is Rush Limbaugh from Wednesday’s show discussing Mrs. Clinton’s new blame-everyone-but-herself book:

Didn’t Spielberg direct Jurassic Park? You would think that the guy who directed Jurassic Park would have been able to do something with Hillary Clinton. If you make dinosaurs come to life and even make them kind of lovable and likable. I mean, admit it. Didn’t you kind of like the Velociraptors in the lab, and didn’t you kind of want one for a pet? Should have been able to do something with Hillary to make her more likable or more exciting.

https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2017/09/13/hillary-is-what-happened/

Fall approaches

Today has been the first day this season that has truly felt like autumn. It has been cloudy and rainy all day.

This afternoon, I was grilling on my deck and noticed several leaves falling from the trees.

Four days ago, we moved the 19-year-old back into his dorm at the University of Memphis to begin the fall semester of his sophomore year.

Three days from now, Lord willing, I’ll be back in Memphis for the first football game of 2017.

The days are growing progressively shorter. It’s getting noticeably darker earlier each day.

Of course, we haven’t officially transitioned over to autumn just yet. It’s still August and we still have several summer-like days awaiting us in September. But all the signs are there, just like clockwork.

Rabid real estate agents

Within the last year, I have received 4 telephone calls from real estate agents in the area wanting to know if my wife and I are selling our home soon. There have been two such calls in the past two weeks, and one today.

I guess the real estate market in Mt. Juliet is doing quite well. Agents are apparently having a difficult time finding supply to meet the demand.

So far I’ve been cordial to these rabid real estate agents, but it’s getting more difficult. Today’s exchange went something like this:

Agent: So-and-so had you as a contact. She’s no longer with the agency so I’m following up on her contacts.

Me: She must have called me in the past. I haven’t called a real estate agent since 1999.

Agent: Okay. Well, if you ever need an agent, be sure and give me a call.

Me: Look, my wife and I have lived here 18 years. We’re in our 40’s now. We plan on living here until at least one of us can no longer climb the stairs.

Agent: (laughs) Okay, then. Well, if you ever need anything, even a plumber or an electrician, just give me a call.

Me: (Thinks: Heck, if I need a plumber or an electrician, I’ll call a plumber or an electrician.) Okay, sure.

I don’t care

Every so-often I have a day or part of a day when I just don't care about anything. Today is that day. There will be no meaningful blog posts today because there's nothing I care enough to write about. I'm actually in a perfectly fine mood. It's a great day to be alive. I'm just totally unbothered. There could be a meteorite headed toward earth threatening all human life, and my reaction would be something like, "Meh. Whatever." Tomorrow I'll probably care enough to write about something. Or maybe not. Who really cares either way?

Taking stock on the first day of August

Today is August 1. We are at that point where we can look back and ask where the summer has gone, even though there is still plenty of summer left. College football starts this month. The first Memphis Tigers' contest is the 31st of this month. The 19-year-old heads back to college for his sophomore year three weeks from Friday. He's been home nearly three months already but it really doesn't seem that much time has passed. But it has, and next month we'll get our first taste of the forthcoming autumn chill. So here's what I'm up to these days:

Running: Despite missing almost a week of running due to illness earlier this month, I still somehow got in my requisite 50 miles for July. This is a goal I set for myself every month, and it is extremely rare that I miss. The last two times I did miss were due to injury and illness. This time, it took until the next-to-last day of the month after running 8 times in 11 days, but I finished at 51.41 miles. Two months from today I will begin training for the St. Jude half-marathon in Memphis (December 2).

Reading: At the moment, I'm reading "Absolom, Absolom!" by William Faulkner, and "The Coldest Winter," a 1,000-page tome by David Halberstam about the Korean War. "Absolom, Absolom!" is regarded as one of the best southern novels of all-time. Faulkner is a difficult read, and it's not often that I make the attempt.

Watching: Very little. I've gotten to where I rarely watch any TV. In fact, the only show I ever watch is CMT's Nashville, which is in its 5th season. I've seen every episode. I don't even watch sports anymore, or at least very rarely. It just doesn't have the allure that it used to. I'd rather be reading. Of course, Mrs. Lefty and I do occasionally rent a DVD from Redbox. It's just difficult for me to sit in front of a TV for any length of time and not get bored.

Tinkering: My summer projects are over. I replaced five light fixtures and three bathroom faucets. For me, this is huge. I'm not that good at these sorts of things. But the lights work and the faucets don't leak. Mrs. Lefty is pleased. So it was a success.

Anticipating: I have 9 trips to Memphis planned from later this month until early December, Lord willing. We'll start off by moving the 19-year-old back into his dorm at the UofM. Then we have 7 home football games. The grande finale is the half-marathon.

Missing: I haven't been in the hammock much lately. It's been too hot, even in the shade. I need a breeze, and none has been forthcoming. Now that it has turned cooler, I plan to enjoy the hammock this week.

Working: I haven't taken any time off since the latter part of May, when I went to see my brother graduate from medical school. I'm saving up my days off for all these trips to Memphis. Honestly, I've enjoyed not going anywhere this summer. We've take at least one family vacation every year for about 15 years in a row, until this year. I've been perfectly content spending a quiet, uneventful summer at home.

Undecided: Which serves the better chicken? Hattie B's in Nashville or Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken in Memphis? I can never settle on an answer. Whichever place I last visit always gets the nod. Right now it's Hattie B's, since I ate their just last week. But the next time I'm in Memphis and eat at Gus's, they'll go back on top. It's a perpetual seesaw.

Forced down time

Saturday evening I started feeling ill. I even got a nasty case of chills which lasted most of a sleepless night. It turned out to be a “stomach bug,” which I still have. The chills went away, but the rest of my symptoms have not.

Yesterday, other than going to church, I did nothing. Today, I’ve done next to nothing. I never do nothing or even next to nothing. I’m always doing something even when I’ve promised myself I would do nothing.

I have enjoyed this summer, but summer has so far involved a series of projects around the home. Even though my wife and I aren’t traveling anywhere this summer, I’ve taken no time off. Honestly, I don’t mind not going anywhere. We’ve taken at least one vacation a year for many years, and we even went to the Smoky Mountains back in April as sort of an early vacation. It actually feels good to not be going anywhere. We’ll take vacations again in the future, just not this summer.

If you own a home, you know there’s aways something to do. There’s never a time when you can honestly tell yourself you’ve done all that can be done. And that’s how it is with me. I’ve tried to be mindful to give myself one day a week of doing nothing, but it often doesn’t quite work out. I’ll pile up chores on one day so the next day can be a free day, but then I often find things to do on my free day.

So I went to church yesterday morning. I figured I could feel like crap at home or feel like crap at church. I have a volunteer position at church I enjoy. I operate a video camera. Fortunately, I’m isolated sitting atop my camera platform, so I don’t breathe germs on anyone. I figured it was safe. Then I came home and did nothing.

I watched part of a baseball game last evening, then shut my eyes before it was completely dark. I slept much better last night. I’ve slept some today. I’ve done a little reading. I listened to part of the Rush Limbaugh Show. I’ve ignored the clock for the most part. I still have the occasional stomach cramp. My appetite is almost non-existent (not the worst thing that could happen to me).

Today I called in sick for the first time this year. I’ve been blessed with good health these last several months. I don’t enjoy being ill. I guess no one does. But I’m not one to complain. I figure it will just have to run its course. It sure is taking its time. My running is on hiatus. I haven’t run since Friday, and don’t know when I’ll run again. I may not get in my requisite 50 miles this month. Oh well. It’s not the worst thing, either.

I don’t know if my illness was due in part to fatigue or something I ate or something I breathed or something else. I do know that your body sometimes has a way of forcing itself into a period of “down time.” Normally, I would not sit around and do nothing, even though doing nothing isn’t a bad thing. We don’t always have to be “productive.” There’s a reason God gave us the Sabbath and commanded us to do no work one day a week. I do honestly try to be mindful of that, but sometimes the Sabbath slips away from me. I guess I have only myself to blame.

Forced down time

Saturday evening I started feeling ill. I even got a nasty case of chills which lasted most of a sleepless night. It turned out to be a “stomach bug,” which I still have. The chills went away, but the rest of my symptoms have not.

Yesterday, other than going to church, I did nothing. Today, I’ve done next to nothing. I never do nothing or even next to nothing. I’m always doing something even when I’ve promised myself I would do nothing.

I have enjoyed this summer, but summer has so far involved a series of projects around the home. Even though my wife and I aren’t traveling anywhere this summer, I’ve taken no time off. Honestly, I don’t mind not going anywhere. We’ve taken at least one vacation a year for many years, and we even went to the Smoky Mountains back in April as sort of an early vacation. It actually feels good to not be going anywhere. We’ll take vacations again in the future, just not this summer.

If you own a home, you know there’s aways something to do. There’s never a time when you can honestly tell yourself you’ve done all that can be done. And that’s how it is with me. I’ve tried to be mindful to give myself one day a week of doing nothing, but it often doesn’t quite work out. I’ll pile up chores on one day so the next day can be a free day, but then I often find things to do on my free day.

So I went to church yesterday morning. I figured I could feel like crap at home or feel like crap at church. I have a volunteer position at church I enjoy. I operate a video camera. Fortunately, I’m isolated sitting atop my camera platform, so I don’t breathe germs on anyone. I figured it was safe. Then I came home and did nothing.

I watched part of a baseball game last evening, then shut my eyes before it was completely dark. I slept much better last night. I’ve slept some today. I’ve done a little reading. I listened to part of the Rush Limbaugh Show. I’ve ignored the clock for the most part. I still have the occasional stomach cramp. My appetite is almost non-existent (not the worst thing that could happen to me).

Today I called in sick for the first time this year. I’ve been blessed with good health these last several months. I don’t enjoy being ill. I guess no one does. But I’m not one to complain. I figure it will just have to run its course. It sure is taking its time. My running is on hiatus. I haven’t run since Friday, and don’t know when I’ll run again. I may not get in my requisite 50 miles this month. Oh well. It’s not the worst thing, either.

I don’t know if my illness was due in part to fatigue or something I ate or something I breathed or something else. I do know that your body sometimes has a way of forcing itself into a period of “down time.” Normally, I would not sit around and do nothing, even though doing nothing isn’t a bad thing. We don’t always have to be “productive.” There’s a reason God gave us the Sabbath and commanded us to do no work one day a week. I do honestly try to be mindful of that, but sometimes the Sabbath slips away from me. I guess I have only myself to blame.