Friday, June 29, 2007

100 Things About Me

Just for the fun of it, and for the hand-full of folks who read this page I offer this list of things you may not know about me.

1. I like my pizza with ham, onions & green peppers. Might as well start out talking about food, eh?
2. I have 3 children, and they are me.
3. I've gone skinny dipping. When I was younger and much, much thinner.
4. I don't watch Opra, Letterman, or Leno.
5. I don't drink coffee.
6. I don't do disco.
7. Steel Magnolias is one of my favorite movies. Yes! I know, it's a chick-flick.
8. I'll take the Beatles over the Rolling Stones any day.
9. I've never owned a foreign car.
10. I don't think every baby is cute. Most are, but there are a few that...whew, you get the idea.
11. I married my college sweetheart.
12. I used to work at a drive-in theatre.
13. I like vanilla ice cream with Hershey's syrup. Yum, yum!
14. I cry in cemeteries and at funerals.
15. 90% of what is on television today insults my intelligence.
16. When I do watch television I watch British comedies on PBS.
17. I don't like spinach.
18. I hate raisins.
19. I watched every moon launch when I was a kid. Jim Lovell was my favorite astronaut.
20. I'm left-handed.
21. I love pancakes.
22. I've gone whitewater rafting and had a blast.
23. I voted for Bush...yeah, I know, we all make mistakes. But then again I voted for Clinton before it came out that he couldn't keep his horse corralled.
24. John Wayne is my favorite actor.
25. Fall is my favorite season.
26. I lost my dad when I was 12. It's been more than 30 years and it still hurts as much now as it did then.
27. I want to get a tattoo...a bear paw on my right shoulder.
28. My oldest daughter has me wrapped around her little finger...and she knows it. 'I wuv you, Daddy.' Heavy sigh.
29. I saw my grandmother naked. I still haven't gotten over that one.
30. I torment telemarketers. It's sooooo much fun.
31. Jaws scared me when I saw it in 1976. Today I think it's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.
32. My wife is my best friend.
33. I say NO to my kids, frequently. Hasn't scarred them yet. Maybe I'm onto something.
34. I want a motorcycle someday. A Harley...not some Japanese rice-grinder.
35. I've had my heart broken.
36. I think ALL politicians are some degree or another.
37. I don't think its society's job to raise my's mine.
38. Snickers is my favorite candy bar.
39. I watch the Red Green Show on PBS. It's sort of like the Flu...not everyone gets it.
40. I can ride a horse.
41. Christmas is my favorite holiday.
42. I love glazed doughnuts.
43. I had ancestors on both sides in the Civil War.
44. I once drove a backhoe. No, I wasn't drunk.
45. I think a woman with a tattoo in the right place is very sexy.
46. I've gone rappelling.
47. I want to go to Alaska someday.
48. I dropped out of college...I eventually went back and got my degree in history.
49. My favorite dessert is spice cake with peanut butter icing.
50. I use Jack Daniels grilling sauce in place of ketchup.
51. I'm not politically correct. Sorry! Hey, life is hard, wear a helmet!
52. I've written a book. It just isn't published, yet.
53. I've been too drunk to make whoopee.
54. I got hit in the eye with a rock when I was 13. Kids, never hit rocks with ball bats when someone else is standing nearby.
55. I've made out at the drive-in. Yes, I was working there at the time.
56. I have a crush on Lee Ann Womack...and my wife knows it.
57. I started going gray in my 20's.
58. I got married at 19. Maybe that's why I started going gray early. Did I say that out loud?
59. I've been known to listen to classical music.
60. I used to work for the National Park Service. And I loved it.
61. I once rode in the cab of a steam locomotive.
62. I'm an award winning photographer.
63. I love Bluegrass music.
64. I'm a history nerd.
65. I used to play the coronet. And people clapped for me...when I stopped playing.
66. I was a boy scout.
67. I've biked the entire length of the C&O Canal. Have you?
68. I own a mandolin, and I can make noise on it.
69. I hate reality TV. Refer back to number 15 on this list.
70. I love NASCAR. And, yes, I root for Dale Jr.
71. I almost drowned once.
72. For the record, I don't believe John Wilkes-Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
73. Alien is the scariest movie I've ever seen. But I thought Sigourney Weaver was hot.
74. I used to roller skate.
75. I almost joined the Navy.
76. I've never been to Hollywood. Know what? I don't care if I ever get there.
77. I threw up in a moving car once. Yes, I was plastered at the time.
78. My dentist gave me nitrous-oxide once and I thought it was way cool.
79. I dream in color.
80. I love my i-pod.
81. I don't own a cell phone. I think they're annoying.
82. I snore like a banshee.
83. I wear my emotions on my sleeve.
84. I'm afraid of growing old alone
85. My favorite actresses are Maureen O'Hara and Judi Dench.
86. My first car was a 1976 Mustang II
87. I believe less than half of what I hear in the news...and that includes all the spin doctors and the one that says he don't spin.
88. I love a pair of tight jeans on a woman...uh, I mean my wife.
89. My favorite hair color is red. Yep, my wife is a red head, and Irish. What a combination.
90. I loved the experience of college.
91. I've met Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley. Hey, it's a big deal to me.
92. I'm not afraid of the dark.
93. Jaclyn Smith was my favorite Charlie's Angel. Still is!
94. I hate the sound of my voice.
95. I hated Psych class in's the only class I ever fell asleep in.
96. I got lost in Sears once. I was 7 at the time
97. I love Country music.
98. My favorite bar...Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, in Nashville.
99. My favorite restaurant...The Alabama Grille, in Nashville.
100. It took me a month to come up with this list. Am I dull, or what.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Since school is out I thought I'd post a few school pictures. On the left is my father in his little sailor suit. Ain't he cute. That's me in the middle with the ears sticking out and buzz cut. And lastly is my son, Skippy. What a handsome bunch we are.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gone But Not Forgotten

Sixty-three years ago today, June 10, 1944, a B24J heavy bomber, beloinging to the 714th Bomb Squadron, named the 'Little Sheppard' took off on it's twenty-third mission. It would be it's last mission. According to the casulty report, the Little Sheppard had just dropped it's bombs on a German airfield at Evreux, France when it was struck in the bomb bay by flak. The report further stated that the plane caught fire, exploded and broke in two at the bomb bay. The wreckage was found five miles northeast of the target. Out of a crew of ten, only four survived.

Among the crew was my mother's twenty year old cousin, Howard Lepley. Howard was the radio operator and sat just forward of the bomb bay in a compartment about the size of a phone booth. Howard never made it out of the plane, never made it back to base, or made it home. He never even got the chance to marry, have children, or live a normal life.

It took two years for the Army to locate the wreckage, identify the remains and have them shipped home for burial. Sixty three years later, my mother still gets emotional when she talks about that awful time. According to her a young soldier accompanied Howard's casket home and stayed until he was in the ground.

This is an article from the Cumberland Times-News two weeks after Howard's plane was shot down.

The crew of the Little Sheppard in front of their plane. Howard is in the second row, second from the right. If he'd grown a pencil thin moustache he would've looked like Clark Gable.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

June 6, 1944. 63 Years Ago.

First wave at Omaha. Storming the Beach.

In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944 thousands of American, Canadian, and British soldiers stormed ashore at Normandy to begin the long awaited liberation of Europe. Some of the landings met little resistance. Omaha Beach was a much different story. The carnage there was beyond belief; watch the first half hour of Saving Private Ryan if you want a glimpse of what it was like. Many suffered, and many gave, what Abraham Lincoln called 'the last full measure of devotion.'

3,000 miles away in little Bedford, Virgina--situated between Lynchburg and Roanoke--Elizabeth Teass was at work in the local drugstore at the Western Union counter when the teletype machine began chattering. Reading the lines 'The secretary of war wishes me to express his deep regret,' her heart sank. But this was just the first of 19 such messages. Quaint little Bedford, a town of just 3,000, had lost 19 of her sons in the first wave on Omaha Beach. This was the greatest single day loss for any American town for the entire war.

Company A, 116th Infantry, 29th Division. Lest We Forget.

All photos taken at the National D-Day Museum, in Bedford, Virgina. April, 2004.

Post Script. At our church there is an elderly man, who if you never asked, you'd never know he was in the Army, let alone what he did. Last year on the anniversary of D-Day, our pastor asked for any former or current member of the armed forces to stand and be recognized. About thirty stood, including this old fella. Pastor Dave looked at him and asked what he was doing on June 6, 1944. The old man modestly replied, "I was soaking wet and scared to death." Turns out, he waded ashore on Utah Beach with the 4th Division.