June 10th is National Ice Tea Day. As our world evolves, I can’t think of a better holiday on a hot humid day. Yes in the south I consider today a holiday.
In my travels, it’s funny how different parts of our country feel about Ice Tea or Sweet Tea. In the north, you can’t buy it by the gallon at McDonald’s. I consider northern Virginia the beginning of the north, while going south of northern Virginia through Georgia as the south. Florida is its own hodgepodge, with no one truly being from Florida. As you travel west you usually find unsweet tea and then you have the Pacific Northwest with all of it’s coffee. No wonder they are protesting in the northwest.
Now that we have the demographics in order, think about it, if everyone took time out of their day to have a cold glass of iced tea how much enjoyable your day would be. I think the civil war was really about iced tea. Lincoln’s proclamation should of been about making tea available for everyone. Maybe Atlanta would not of burned down, and what about the Boston tea party? Dumping all of that tea into the harbor, shameful, shameful, shameful!
There is truly two kinds of iced tea, sweet and unsweet, not raspberry tea, not lemonade tea. Just plain ole brewed tea. At night, I will give you Long Island Iced Tea to knock the edge off a hard day, but that’s it, no Arnold Palmer or any other variations of tea.
I believe the southern slow accents in the south come from the bottom lip wrapped around a cold mason jar. Think about it, the bottom lip pressed up against a cold wet glass jar, just pressing for more happiness! Now when they speak the lip is numb and has the shape wrapped around the mason jar. You try to speak this way? Bless their heart!
If we all just step back from our daily hustles and enjoyed a nice cold refreshing iced tea, I believe we would have a much happier place to live in. The Southerners figured it out a long time ago. So on this day I proclaim iced tea for everyone.
This writing was meant to bring laughter or even a slight smile to your face. It isn’t by NO means meant to offend anyone, even if you are a Yankee! 😊
I wanted to do a tribute to my dad and the best way is to send it to my friends. Warning it might bring tears.
The last 2 1/2 years my dad has suffered with dementia. It wasn’t easy caring for my dad and seeing his mental decline, but I can say that the last day he could acknowledge me was while in the hospital during his final days, it will always be remembered by me.
I went up to visit and after getting off the elevator I was walking to his room. My dad was further up the hallway, to my back. I didn’t see my dad but he saw me. He hollered out in his strained voice, “that’s James, hurry push me faster!” He was excited to see me. He kept hollering for me to get my attention. I turned and he said, “you are the prettiest thing I have seen since Santa Claus!” I laughed because it was ironic that he played Santa when I was young and it was always a joke because I discovered my dad was Santa at the elementary school in the fifth grade. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday because of my memories my parents gave me. We didn’t have money, but Santa always gave me a new basketball. I would lay awake on Christmas Eve all night anxious and excited for Christmas morning. From 4 am till my parents gave in at around 6 am I would wake my parents wanting to know if it was time for Santa. I was always pleased with what Santa brought me. When Santa arrived my mom would sit on the steps and film him putting the presents out with their 8 mm film. My dad would shake his bells and wave goodbye. My dad played Santa with all his heart making me believe until my 5th-grade teacher spoiled it for me. This is the kind of parents I had, making sure we had the best Christmas a child could have.
My dad led by example, he didn’t preach, he wasn’t a hard disciplinary. He used common sense. He supported us in our sports. I remember getting a pep talk before basketball games. He taught me to take pride in what I did. He also set lofty goals for how many points I would score. I can say I wasn’t the best player but I always started on championship teams. I practiced as hard or harder than others because my parents encouraged me to do my best.
My dad gave me the confidence at age 18 to start my journey in life under my terms. I remember getting my first new car and I needed a co-signer for the loan. I didn’t ask my dad, because he taught me that if I couldn’t do it on my own then I don’t need to do it. The owner of the car dealership volunteered to co-sign for me and I got the car. My dad gave me the ability to succeed in life. I never had to depend on my parents for help after becoming an adult.
As I grew older and married Missy, we started our family. You guessed it, my dad became Santa for my kids. His suit had to be 35 years old by now. I feel confident by now that my dad could have been Santa in The Miracle on 34th Street. My dad made Christmas fun for my kids giving them awesome memories. I remember my kids seeing Santa outside the window, running up to bed so Santa wouldn’t see them awake. They could hear his bells jingling outside their windows. My dad was now a proud grandfather playing Santa.
As I grew older, my dad never mettled in my affairs. If I asked for advice he was always there. As adults, we continued our family tradition at Christmas of a German feast with the opening of presents. My last Christmas with my dad was a good Christmas with him laughing and thanking us for a good time.
It was hard to see his mind diminish. I felt horrible because I couldn’t help him. I did want him to know what kind of dad he was for me and I wrote him this letter while he could still comprehend.
I am writing this because of your hearing deficit, and I wanted you to know how much I appreciate you as my dad. You and mama gave me everything to succeed as an adult growing up. You taught me right from wrong, and gave me the strength to become my own person. I watched you, when I was a kid on how you supported our family hoping one day to do the same with my family. I saw the common sense you had to make sound decisions and to stand up for what was right. I remember you saying,” do your best and do it well, as you step off this carousel”, in the mornings before school. One thing you always said, whatever you do represent the family name honorably. I hope I have done that! You taught me that when you make your bed, you then have to lay in it. You probably didn’t realize that I was paying attention but I was.
I just want to THANK YOU for being the best dad a son could want. I wish I could help the pain go away, and would do anything to make you better. I promise I will always be there for you as you have for me.
Who could have had a dad who acted as Santa Claus, and kept it a secret for so many years. I saw kids whose parents didn’t support them in their sports like you did. Your environmental teachings helped me become a productive citizen as an adult. Thanks for everything you have done for me.
I feel like I won the lottery being born as an Otterman. I have no complaints about my childhood, while sometimes wishing I could go back to my childhood days. This is a testament to you and mama.
I want you to know that I Love You and wish I could make you feel better. I also know that I carry a lot of what you taught me inside of me. Thank You for being the dad you have always been and continue being!
I Love You!
P.S. “ Do your best and do it Well, as you step off this Carousel”!
I share this to encourage you to thank your parents before it’s too late.
My dad left me with a lot of memories that I will forever hang onto. The hardest thing I have had to do was write my dad’s obituary and eulogy. I wanted to speak at my dad’s funeral because he earned it and deserved it.
Hi I am James, as my parents liked to say the baby of the family.
Today I would like to celebrate my dad’s life. It’s a sad day but a joyous day knowing that he is at peace with the Lord and with my brother John.
We called my dad Booze, something my older siblings came up with before I was born.
I think Booze would like to see smiles today rather than tears. Booze liked to joke and laugh. Recently I took him to a doctor’s appointment and I suggested getting some ice cream at Dairy Queen after his appointment. He loved chocolate ice cream. So as we were eating he looked at me with a serious face and said now we have to ride around town so mama won’t know we got ice cream. Sorry, Mama! We laughed about hiding ice cream all the way home.
My dad was the youngest in his family growing up in Radford, Va.
After serving in the Korean conflict in the Army with the Big Red One, he met my mom. He tried to take my mom to a drive-in movie theater on their first date, but my mom wouldn’t have anything to do with this! Good try Booze!
They got married in 1955 and after working as a police officer and other jobs and having their first child, my dad decided to move to Roanoke, to go to college in hopes of better pay to support their new family.
My dad was a sole supporter of a family of 6. He wanted my mom to stay home and raise the kids. He knew the importance of this.
Growing up, my parents supported us in our sports while providing everything we needed.
While growing up my dad played Santa Claus at the school and on Christmas eve. I discovered accidentally in the fifth grade by my teacher that my dad was Santa Claus. You got me Booze!
I have always felt lucky being born an Otterman and learned so much from just watching my dad.
My dad started losing his hearing as he got older. I remember trying to tell him something and he just couldn’t hear what I was saying. I kept repeating and getting louder. I will never forget it, He looked at me in his serious look and said why are you screaming? You got me again Booze!
As my dad grew older I saw his relationship with God grow. He would read the Bible at night before bed. Unknowingly to us, this relationship with God was to become very important later in his life.
As my dad’s mind worsened with dementia, his mind started wrestling with the devil whom he nicknamed Bob. He told us Bob was trying to get him to go against God. My dad still had the fortitude to tell Bob he wasn’t going against God.
Think about this for a minute,
His mind was starting to play tricks on him, he was having trouble understanding what was right or not, but he was still able to resist the devil.
In 1st Corinthians, chapter 10 verse 13 it says,
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure.
My dad stood up to Bob for weeks, with his faith in God prevailing over Bob with God giving my dad the way of escape.
In James chapter 4 verse 7
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Let me say this again,
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you!
Because my dad’s faith was so strong he was able to resist Bob to the point that Bob succumbed to my dad. My dad would tell us everything was good between him and Bob now. My dad was at peace. My dad was able to do this even when his mind wasn’t right, because he still had God with him.
My dad defeated the devil!
It tells us in James chapter 1, verse 12,
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
My dad has received the crown of life, yes the crown of life and I couldn’t be any prouder of my dad.
This is the greatest gift my dad could give me besides his love and it came during a time when he was sick.
I can now celebrate my dad’s life with pride and with a joyous heart. Let’s all celebrate his 88 years and 66 years of marriage to my mom!
Booze I love You and I hope to see you one day!
Thank you, Lord, for taking care of my dad!
And thanks everyone for coming and celebrating my dad’s life.
I just wanted to share my dad with my friends because I feel proud and lucky to have him as my dad. I want to think my mom for showing her true love to him by taking care of him as long as she could.
Our adventure today had us leaving Denver on a 3-hour drive to Steamboat Springs, Colorado at 7 am. Steamboat Springs is Northwest of Denver, and with an elevation of over 10,000 feet, Steamboat Springs is home to natural hot springs that are located throughout the area and skiing.
In the late 1800s, Upon first hearing a chugging sound, early trappers believed that a steamboat was coming down the river. When the trappers saw that there was no steamboat and that the sound was coming from a hot spring, they decided to name the spring Steamboat Springs. The Utes Indian tribe lived here until 1879 when they were forcibly moved to Utah.
Steamboat Springs has produced more athletes for the Winter Olympics than any other town in North America.
We arrived a little after 10 am for our snowmobiling adventure. The snowmobiling was in the Routt National Park. The check-in was in a cabin that looked more like a trappers shack.
Being the national forest, there were no houses or disturbed snow other than the snowmobile trail or animal tracks.
There were somewhere between 12-24 inches of snow in some spots.
Our snowmobile adventure lasted 2 hours in mother nature’s winter playground that once again reminded us of a Hallmark Christmas Movie.
In the picture below, the orange marker on the tree shows how high the snow will become around March.
We ended up our fun day in downtown Steamboat Springs having lunch outside at the Backdoor Grill.
As we woke up in Denver, Colorado the night had brought us 4 inches of freshly falling snow. The snow here is powdery dry that can be pushed with a broom. Luckily Brandee’s car is 4×4, with no problems getting through the snow.
Today’s adventure took us to a slightly larger town of Evergreen, Colorado (8,000). We first noticed Evergreen lake, frozen of course, with ice fishermen. Below the lake was a dam with water running freely.
Next to the dam was an ice sculptor of The Polar Express train.
We decided to walk out on the lake and talk to an ice fisherman in his portable igloo. He was fishing for Rainbow Trout. He hadn’t had any luck today, but a few days ago caught 4 keepers. 4 Rainbow Trout are the limit for the day. They use a almost child like fishing pole with 4lbs of test line. Jigs or dough balls are the bait of choice. The fisherman assured me that the lake was safe with about 8 inches of ice, it could support a car.
We then moved down the lake to see if any other fishermen had any luck catching Trout. They told us they had caught some small ones, but none worth keeping. Everywhere we have been and conversed with the locals, everyone has been super nice and friendly. This next fisherman was kind enough to let me fish and get my picture taken. I think he was hoping I would change his luck. I was so excited!
As we hiked around the lake, Missy found her a home in Colorado. Luckily it wasn’t for sale! It was beautiful with the snow and the lake.
We then went into town to visit the shops. We had this black crow follow us around and squawk. He didn’t seem to like us being there, but when I took his picture, there was a rainbow that showed up on the picture. Thought it was pretty cool and was this rainbow like a sign of a angel following us? What could it mean? I guess I can imagine whatever I want too.
At one of the shops, the clerk said hello as we entered and proceeded to say, “ I have to show y’all this video!” She had put a trail camera on her back deck and it was a mountain lion. Pretty cool! She was so excited. Outside of her store was this stuffed bear that I will let you see below, haha.
We then went to Buffalo Bill Cody’s grave on Lookout Mountain. Buffalo Bill had originally wanted to be buried in Cody, Wyoming, but as he laid dying at his sister’s house in Denver, he recalled this beautiful place called Lookout Mountain and asked to have his will changed to be buried there. His wife is buried there too. The plaque said, Colonel William Frederick Cody, Buffalo Bill, noted scout and Indian fighter.
From Lookout Mountain, you can see downtown Denver, The Coors Brewery, it’s truly in the mountains of Colorado.
Next, we went a few miles down the road to the Red Rock Amphitheatre and Colorado Music Museum. The amphitheater was large with large red rocks as the backdrop of the theater. In 1971 John Denver performed at the amphitheater.
At the Colorado Music museum that had The Grateful Dead, John Fogleburg, and of course John Denver along with others. I think most people think of music and Colorado, have to think about John Denver.
As we were leaving the parking lot, we saw a Magpie Bird. It is considered one of the most intelligent animals of the world, and one of only a few non-mammal species able to recognize itself in a mirror test. Could you imagine testing a bird in a mirror? Magpies are well known for their thievery, avidly collecting shiny objects to adorn their nests. We felt lucky to see one and snap a good picture.
Another fun day with lots of interesting things. I got to Ice Fish!!!!
We decided to take in some small-town charm and boy was Georgetown just that. It was like a Hallmark movie with the snow and the Christmas decorations. With a population of just over 1,000 people, we succeeded in finding a quaint little town that on this day only had about 10 tourists walking around. As we took the exit we saw a herd of bighorn sheep. The sheep weren’t afraid of us as they allowed us to take their pictures.
Next, we went to the visitors center and then into town. Parking was plentiful, with most shops open.
In one of the stores that was like a general store, there was a father-son who was working and they were the friendliest. They were both vibrant and full of cheer. They made their spiced cider and kettle corn. They gave us samples and talked while thanking us for coming to visit. Honestly, they could be in a Hallmark Christmas Movie. We continue down the main street visiting the various stores.
The store owners suggested we go to Cabin Creek Brewery for lunch and we were glad we did. They had portable igloos outside with heaters since you can’t eat inside in Colorado now. My first experience in a portable igloo, and what a great idea.
The brewery was on a lake that was frozen and had these igloos where people were ice fishing. The brewery got their idea from the ice fisherman to buy portable igloos so they could stay open during the restrictions.
After a restful night from the hike in the snow we woke up with visions of snow with temperatures of 1 degrees feeling like minus -13. Yes I said that right.
As we started to ease into our day we had plenty of laughs from the day before. We then contemplated what would our adventure be today. Nothing was planned, but we came across a brochure of a guided tour of The Rocky Mountain National Park in a heated van. That was going to be very important. We booked it at the last minute with the tour company calling the driver for his availability since we were the only tourists for the tour. Our guide was Alec who was very knowledgeable about the park. Today’s sky was blue without any hints of clouds.
We saw beautiful snow-capped mountains as well as some Elk.
We then saw one of many Ponderosa Pines with their reddish bark.
The snow-capped mountains with a clear blue sky made for some beautiful pictures.
We then learned about the Aspen Pine with it’s white bark.
Our guide then dropped us off to explore at one of the passes that were closed to cars. We saw a few skiers headed up the closed road.
These were our views at just over 9,000 feet.
In this upper section of the park we saw Englewood Pines which has a whitebark too.
Missy and Brandee walking down the closed road.
We then ran across some mule deer in the road.
Next, we went to Sprague Lake where we saw guys playing hockey on the frozen lake. Mr. Sprague was the first habitant to the area and also a big ambassador to bringing others to the area.
After our tour, we went for some lunch for barbecue, brisket, and pecan-crusted trout. The trout was very tasty. Our next stop would be the Stanley hotel, where Jack Nicholson stayed in the movie The Shining. We learned that Stephen King wrote the whole movie in one night in room 217 of the hotel. The hotel is considered haunted. It is told that Jim Carrey stayed in room 217 while filming Dumb and Dumber with the Stanley Hotel being the Danbury Hotel in the movie. One night around midnight, Jim Carrey checked out without any explanation. Wonder if he saw something ghostly that night?
Notice the wind blowing the snow on top of the mountains.
We concluded our day with plenty of shopping from the local stores in Estes Park, Colorado. I would recommend Estes Park and The Rocky Mountain National Park as a place to visit.
Our winter adventure takes us to Denver, Colorado to visit Brandee. We arrive in Denver with it snowing. Oh what a wonderful Christmas trip. Temperatures have been below freezing with fresh white powdered snow falling daily.
Our first adventure takes us to The Rocky Mountain National Park for a 3.4 mile hike to Emerald Lake. As we arrive in the park it begins to snow with accumulations of 3 inches on top of the snow on the ground.
The trail begins at Bear Lake Trailhead and we walked across Bear, Dream and Emerald lakes during the hike. There are signs warning of snow and ice as you walk across the lakes. The lakes were frozen completely with a small layer of snow on top.
As we headed farther up the trail the snow became deeper and the views became prettier.
As we got closer to Emerald Lake with elevations of 10,118 feet and about a foot of snow we find the lake frozen.
After riding around The Rocky Mountain National Park we went back to Estes Park and stopped at a brewery before dinner. We drove through the cute little town to see the Christmas lights.
After spending a day in the snow and looking at the lights, I think today put us all in the Christmas spirit.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Thanksgiving to me is a time to show thanks and appreciation to the ones in our lives and God. I think this is what the pilgrims and native Americans were doing hundreds of years ago. They were setting their differences aside and showing each other that they could coexist. For my generation, it was time to step away from our usual everyday commitments and spend time with family and friends.
As a child, we always watched the Macy’s day parade, usually choosing our favorite float. I remember getting excited when floats like Tony the Tiger, Scooby-Doo, Snoopy and of course Tom the Turkey came down Times Square. The floats always looked so big to me alongside the towering buildings of New York City. NYC looked as if it was a fictional place that didn’t exist with buildings that even on tv you couldn’t see the very tops of. I had a fear of heights, so I couldn’t imagine people living or working in such tall buildings. Nothing I had seen in Roanoke, Virginia compared to what I saw on tv.
My family was small, with really no relatives, so we never traveled on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was a day when no business was open, no start of Black Friday, just one of the few days of the year where the car never left the driveway. If the weather was good we would go up in the park for an hour or two and play football or basketball. We always watched football on one of the 2 channels on tv. The third channel ABC was out of Lynchburg and unless we adjusted the antenna on the house, the picture was what we called snow. A simpler time and day, but not necessarily better. It’s all really a mental perception of what you make it be. I just wish today that people didn’t have to work and were able to spend the day as they wish.
One of my fond memories of Thanksgiving was the smell of food being prepared, and all of the baked desserts and cookies. We only had feasts at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Rest of the year, it was eaten if you were home when dinner was prepared, or fix something when you did come home. As the youngest of four, I don’t remember getting seconds, probably why I was so skinny growing up. Thanksgiving, I wasn’t keen on turkey, so my mom would fix ham for me. Even on Thanksgiving, I don’t remember having so much food that I was stuffed as I do as an adult. I do remember the smell of cinnamon and brown sugar with freshly baked bread. Hence I having a sweet tooth!
Thanksgiving was a day I looked forward too because it was a day that was different from the rest of the year. As much as we try to hang unto traditions, times change and things become different. As corny as it may be, we need more days like Thanksgiving, to spend time with our families, relax, and create new memories with the ones we love.
Being from a small family, I always wondered what it would be like to have more than six people attend a holiday gathering. Hopefully, one day, that the people who are close to me and the few I have opened up too as a family will get together for a large festive and create some memories of our own.
These are my Thanksgiving thoughts with room for many new memories.
It’s been over 2 months since our cross country trip, so I guess we are ready to venture out on a road trip. Our journey will take us through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas.
Our first stop is in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Who knows what’s in Hurricane Mills????????
Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch! Any correct answers?
Upon entering the grounds of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, you will wind down a small road that leads down in the holler to the community of Hurricane Mills. Years ago, Loretta and her husband, Mooney, purchased the pre-civil war home not knowing it included the whole town. While Loretta was on the road, Mooney would go and purchase more property. As fans found out where they lived, they began camping out in front of their mansion with hopes of seeing the famed star. Soon, the Lynns would come up with the idea of having a full entertainment complex of sorts for the fans.
The ranch is 3,500 acres with horses, camping, cabins, museums, stores, a Post Office, and a replica of her original home in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, as well as her mansion. She bought this property to be near Nashville. Soon after building the campground, the ranch began to grow. They estimate they get over a million visitors a year to the ranch.
The Coal Miners Daughter Museum has lots of memorabilia. There are countless outfits worn by Loretta. Many awards and pictures of her family and friends. One entire section was dedicated to Conway Twitty, the movie Coal Miners Daughter, and her family including Crystal Gayle.
Loretta Lynn and her husband Mooney lived in this gorgeous pre-civil war 14 room, with 8 fireplaces, a historic plantation home for 22 years. She has since built another house behind this one that she currently lives in. Now you can tour this historic home.
After moving to Hurricane Mills in 1966, the Lynn Family heard stories of the historic home being haunted. The Lynns, visitors, and employees have experienced strange occurrences throughout the years. A woman dressed in white and two Civil War Soldiers have been seen on many occasions. Strange sounds and happenings are commonplace in the home.
The Travel Channel aired a special on the Haunted Home in October of 2003. The woman in white is Beula Anderson who, after the death of her newborn son, died twelve days later from grief. Sightings of her crying and wringing her hands have been witnessed at the Historic Home and Anderson Cemetery.
After multiple sightings and unexplained occurrences, Lynn learned that the ranch was the site of a Civil War battle. In fact, nineteen Confederate soldiers are said to be buried on the grounds.
The country singer herself says she has seen a woman in mourning on the property, both inside the home and in the graveyard.
The house has been left as originally decorated by Loretta Lynn with all of her personal belongings still in place. It’s like walking back into the 1970s.
What I learned about Loretta Lynn, she was a tireless worker who made time for her fans. She, as the guided tour said, was a collector and not a hoarder. She loved her Avon decanters. Today she is 88 years old and is working on a new album. She definitely went from rags to riches because of her voice. I personally haven’t been a Loretta Lynn fan but after visiting her ranch I have a new appreciation for her.