Sunday, May 30, 2010

Today is Memorial Day. Please take a moment to remember our men and women who served in our military. Without them we would not have the freedoms we take for granted.

“It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the veteran, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin will be draped by the flag.”

(Enjoy this version of the poem recited by Fred Thompson.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010


John David Allen

Taken Oct 1968

John David and me with my children at the time

Kelly on John's lap, Kristy and Kim on my lap

Chad and Herbie in back

Taken Dec 29, 2009

John David was born when I was 4 1/2. Being older I always bossed and tormented him. Poor guy he took it. Mother always said he was going to be bigger than me one day and watch out for paybacks. He never did. My bossiness probably made him stronger to be the great sailor he was during the Viet Nam War. After the war he became a firefighter retiring as Captain. He presented me with his Captain's badge which I cherish dearly. Both of our parents are deceased. Our mother at the early age of 45 and our dad at age 77. We were always close but since our father's death we have gotten closer.

Happy birthday John David! I love you very much.


Last night George Clooney put on a fundraiser for Haiti. Here is the website if you would like to donate: and here is some more information directly from an MTV article:
Brad Pitt, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Jon Stewart, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hanks and Will Smith are among the many participants joining George Clooney (in Los Angeles), Wyclef Jean (in New York) and CNN's Anderson Cooper (reporting from Haiti) for the event.
"You got about 130 to 140 actors, athletes, singers and television hosts, and they're all coming up not to be on TV, but simply to answer the phones," Clooney told MTV News on Thursday. He added that the telethon's main goal is to "raise money, period. That's it. ... Just first and foremost that we can raise a lot of money. If I thought that we could all pick up shovels and go in there and not be in the way, I think a lot of people would do that."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Betsy Haynes was my maternal great great grandmother. She married Cain Wall July 20, 1845 in Terrell Co., Georgia. They had twelve children. Their daughter Sarah Laurel Wall married Hiram Hardy Hay and had my grandfather John Melton Hay. Betsy raised Sarah's five children as Sarah and Hard both died while the children were young. My grandfather told us about coming back to Georgia from Alabama in a covered wagon with his Uncle Charlie after his mother's death.

I have so far been unable to find Betsy's parents. Betsy was born March 1825 in North Carolina and died October 10, 1905 in Worth Co., Georgia. Her tombstone is in Oakfield Baptist Church Cemetery, Oakfield, Worth Co., Georgia.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I spent the afternoon reading blogs I hadn't visited in a while. On my granddaughter Tori's blog that she posted on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 was the most touching testament of her grandfather that it took my breath away reading it. Tori and her grandfather were best buddies. I wanted to share her writing with whoever may stop by here. Her blog is LADY OF THE EARTH and you would enjoy her photography as much as I do. She is very talented. Visit her blog sometime.

pura vida
Today, on this cold pre-winter day, I miss Costa Rica.
I appreciate where I live, & the things I am able to do here, but i have days were nostalgia gets the best of me, & i dream of being on those dirt roads again.
I was going through old files today, and found this narrative I wrote in my first semester of college. I have my last final today, so for lack of time to write anything else, I thought I would share it.
There is an energy that radiates between us as human beings, as I see it- an invisible force that flows from our fingertips, our eyes, our lips. We are all interconnected; we feed off of each other, draw inspiration from each other, and live because we have each other. I firmly believe that every person who enters our lives, whether for 10 minutes or for infinity, is there for a purpose. On my summer escapade backpacking around Costa Rica, I found something I had never thought I would find, and it will forever be etched into my memory.

We finally stretched our legs on the gravel roads of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica late in the evening after a three hour van ride with our newest Tico friend, Carlos-a man with perfect English he had picked up merely two months prior, and with enough kindness to stop and let us see the monkeys swing in their treetops, like children on a jungle gym. Clad in our backpacks and Chacho's, exhausted from our journey, and overwhelmed with the beauty of a foreign country and culture, we walked down the unpaved roads past children picking orange's, Germans drinking in bars, Rasta's with dreads getting high on the beach, and the tall local who walked around with a stick shouting, "ahh!" for some unrecognizable reason. Settling in hammocks, we fell asleep to rain on the tin roof of Rockin' J's, the place we paid merely five dollars to bunk at.
Dirty in our sandy shoes and unshowered hair, my sister and I talked about an old man she had met the last time she visited this Caribbean town. "His name is Juan and he is so much like Poppy, Tori." Immediately, I pictured my grandfather who took his last breath in a hospital bed surrounded by everyone who loved him two years prior. I was reminded of how much i missed seeing his sky blue eyes as he waved by to me from his porch swing every evening. We set out to find a new place to stay. Tucked away between clothes-lined yards, and painted in the colors of Jamaica, stood a tiny lodge. As we walked around, not knowing who lived there, my sister shouted, "Hola?!" Out from a dimly lit room stepped an old man. "Juan!" my sister exclaimed, but before she even said his name, i knew it was him like the way i felt it in my heart that Poppy was going to die the morning we rushed to the hospital in silence to say goodbye. I saw the resemblance instantly. He was a tall, gangly, old man with large hands and a blunt, but inviting personality; a man with spirit. He was, hands down, the Spanish version of my Poppy. I could not stop staring at him, like a mother who sees her child for the first time, awed that she had created this perfect gift to the world.

We spent the next five days venturing around Puerto Viejo where all the people are electrically ecstatic to be alive, and we would return at night to stay up having conversations with Juan about God, lovers, families, politics, and his plan to make this town into a "paradise for people who can not afford paradise." Halfway through our journey of filling voids that had before this trip, been evident in our lives, we sat on Juan's patio discussing humanity. Hanging above Juan's head was the only bulb radiating light on this mosquito flocked night. "You remind me of my Grandfather. He died two years ago," I said to Juan as he started a makeshift fire. He looked up at me with a smile on his face, like the one you mother gives you when you reveal something secret to her; something you would never tell anyone. Not two seconds late, the light bulb flickered off, revealing darkness. Juan pointed up at the lack of light, and said matter-of-factly, "This is symbolism. You tell me something special, and the light goes out. This is big. This means a lot." He touched his heart, looking at me in genuine compassion, and said, "Thank you for that. It means a lot." Tears filled my eyes as they did for days following Poppy's death at the mere mention of his passing, and i knew we had made this trip for a reason.

Boarding the plane to Costa Rica from Memphis, Tennessee, excited and nervous, anxious for a new land, I did not anticipate finding what i found. I expected new tastes and sounds, rainforest adventures, green valleys and mountains, and seeing my sister again for the first in a month. I expected to get lost in translation of a language that i still do now know. I expected to see monkeys, birds, and little Tico children, and i did see all of those things. However, i never once imagined that my voyage to this foreign land where you never say, "Goodbye," only, "I'll see you later," would alter my views on humanity and my Poppy's death so drastically. I realized that he was there- my favorite old man with his Yankee accent-holding my hand and reassuring me that although he is gone for now, it is possible to find his beauty in a Columbian native who has seen the world in his life through trying, exciting, and beauty-filled eyes.


I went through my photographs and found the picture of John and Sarah Law Odom's daughter Sarah Elizabeth Odom born Nov 26, 1853 in Dooly Co., Georgia. She died Nov 21, 1943 in Crisp Co., Georgia four months after I was born. She married John Henry Shrouder on Jan 1, 1874 in Georgia. He was born Nov 28, 1851 and died July 17, 1905. They had six daughters including my great grandmother Sarah (Sallie) Barbara Shrouder who my mother (Sallie) and myself (Barbara) were named after. That is my grandmother in the background. This picture was taken about 1910 when my grandmother was 14.
She had 58 grandchildren, thirty-three great grandchildren and five great great grandchildren at her death.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

My maternal great great great grandparents John Bull Odom born Oct 2, 1827 Georgia died 1881 Georgia/Sarah Elizabeth Law born Jan 5, 1833 South Carolina died March 14, 1907 married about 1852 Georgia

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


My great great grandfather

Sunday, May 10, 2009



by Helen Steiner Rice
A Mother's love is something
that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .
It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking . . .
It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems . . .


I have this Lady friend
Whose Mother passed away
Moving to a better place
And, a peaceful day.
I know about the pain
That, she is going through
Because the loss of "Mom"
Is the saddest, that is true.
Sometimes, it is a blessing
When their "life" is in decline
Not, what it used to be
When, "everything" worked fine.
But still, it hurts so much
When Mother goes away
When you know you won't see
Her For, forever and a day.
But the memories will be there
And will help, to get you through
When, you're thinking of Mom
And, feeling kind of blue.


God gives us one Mother
There will never be another.
She's one of the few things in life
That can never be replaced
She's led us down those life's paths
That can never be retraced.
Too many take their Moms for granted
And think they'll always be around .
They don't know how She'll be missed
When, one day She's Heaven-bound.
Why we celebrate this special day
Only this one time a year?
When everyday our Mom is special
And we should tell Her, make that clear.
So, if you are a lucky one
Whose Mom is still with you
Tell her everyday you love her
For, that's the least that you can do.