Friday, October 4, 2019

B151. For My Daddy on His 80th Birthday

I invited friends and family (via Facebook) to submit memories and stories, or statements of something they love about my daddy. Happy 80th, Daddy!

Deborah A.: He has the cutest little mischievous grin. Like he's got a secret he's not telling He & Faye have always been there. Taking Grandma to church. Always a constant Godly presence in a world of change. And he loves to watch the birds. Who could not love a man who loves to watch the birds outside the living room window! I love you, Uncle Lowell!

Tammy A.: Happy birthday, Lowell, enjoy your day . . . remembering you is so easy . . . insurance days at Farm Bureau, you were my first agent there, and so polite . . . oh, and by the way, your daughter ain't so bad either, we graduated from B'ville and S'mount together.

Alicia B.: It's hard to see uncle Lowell now because he looks and acts so much like my daddy. My favorite memories are whenever there was a baby or child around Lowell loves to hold and play with them, just like my daddy.

Amanda B.: My fondest memory is interviewing him for my graduate level career development project. I genuinely enjoyed hearing him speak about his secondary educational experience.

Marisa B.: I loved that when I was younger he took the time out of his own life to pick me up and take me to church.

Debby C.: When I think of Lowell, I think of his quick wit and gentle ways! He is a man who loves his family and others. Happy birthday to him!

Beth D.: Softball days at Booonville Elementary School

Kim E.: I love how he (and your mom) was able to love us at Mills Home like their own.

Carla L.: Always styling and profiling! Handsome uncle who's always smiling.

Melanie L-R.: Tell "Ol' Boss Hogg" I love him! Margie and Bill said I called him that when I was little. Lol! He has always had a smile and a hug ready for me and my kids.

Norma L.: I have known Lowell for a long time! To me, he always seems to be so humble! He is a blessing to many people with his heart for helping others! Great man!

Brenda M.: I remember thinking that Lowell never complained, and that reminded me of his Mom.

Scarlet M.: Memories of your dad leading the choir and congregation every Sunday at church still brings a smile to my face! You and Lisa are very blessed to have such a great and loving Dad, with your mom right by his side, also a great blessing. Happy 80th birthday, Lowell!

Mark M.: Your Dad always had a smile on his face. We would speak to you anytime he sees you. He would always lead the music at church or sing in the choir. Happy birthday, Lowell!

Melanie P.: One of my favorite memories . . . is when he used to drive Lisa and me somewhere and he played what I called his "elevator music" on the radio. Or course we thought it was the least cool music ever, but secretly I loved it because he was so cheerful; always humming and whistling and just enjoying a simple pleasure. Refreshing. We could all learn a lot from him - just sit back and enjoy a snappy tune every now and then. It is good for the soul!

Bill P.: Enjoy our trips. Great person to travel with.

Daniel P.: My Cathy and I still have a stack of $2 bills that he would send to us at Christmas.

Margie P.: I can remember we were best friends and playmates when we were little whether it was playing with our older siblings in the creek, cracking and eating walnuts under the walnut tree or climbing the apple tree in the spring or watching a line of ants coming to get the bread crumbs on the front porch that we had provided for them. We worked in the tobacco field when we got older and this was not fun. I am thankful for my brother Lowell and his family.

Bradley S.: Lowell (and Faye) were always the best examples of Christ for me growing up. They were at the church every time the doors were open, and always kind and loving to everyone. I do remember a trip to a ballgame with Lowell and my dad one time when Lowell was talking about growing up and being in great shape with "washboard abs."

Susan S.: One thing that sticks out in my memory about him is he would always give me $2 bills for birthday/Christmas. Plus he's one of the most humble, gentle, kind people I've ever known.

Becky S.: One of the BEST brothers anyone could ever ask for, not only to me but to so many people. He truly is one of a kind.

Penny S.: I loved having him as my trivia partner that year at Christmas. He is so smart, and I miss y'all.

Tammy S.: Like Scarlet, I remember him EVERY Sunday leading the choir and always dressed in his finest suit with every hair in place. Him and Faye were always and still are a big part of Charity Baptist Church. Great Christian Man!

Betty S.: I remember one day years ago when we cousins were at Grandma Vestal's. We were sitting around talking about our favorite food. Lowell said his was Pizza and I didn't even know what Pizza wa at that time. I also remember a few years ago when he and Faye came to visit us. Spencer took Lowell for a ride on the Gator and Lowell came back with his eyes itching and swollen. He found out that day that he was allergic to pollen from fescue grass. He said Spencer was his Allergy doctor because now he knew the cause of his allergy.

Faye V.: We had just barely started seeing each other when my family moved to King, and a friend of mine told Lowell that I was seeing someone else!! I didn't know this, so after a while I dropped him a card and asked if he was married or something! He came over, and now we've been married 58 1/2 years! Happy birthday to Lowell!

Kathy V.: Our special Daddy/Kathy days of family history and cemetery rides,  walks in the woods, getting questioned for trespassing through the overgrowth of the old golf course, and returning just the two of us to the Land of Oz where he became "Uncle Henry."

Tim V.: My favorite memory of Lowell (other than being daddy's twin) is when he would throw his voice and make it sound like a dog barking. So many kids in our family would stop and look, even go investigate. Lowell would just grin and wait for a chance to do it again.

Lisa W.: Two from many treasured memories with Daddy: Saturday mornings having snuggle time on the couch watching Pink Panther together (while Mama and Kathy slept in) . . . and "doodle bug hunting" in the yard. Daddy taught me to place a blade of grass in a little hole and say "Doodle bug doodle bug, come out of your house." We'd pull the grass out and there was the doodle bug hanging on!

Sarah W.: A favorite memory: Dancing with him (and he let me jump on the bed) to Elvis' "Hound-dog" coming from his record player.

Patricia W.: I always loved how he and my dad Kenneth always picked with each other on Sunday morning.

Note: Last names, exact place names, etc. have been omitted here for privacy (except in his personal printed copy). Also the few very kind comments by friends who haven't met my dad have been deleted for his sake, but greatly appreciated. Thank you to all who responded to give him some extra birthday smiles! If you missed the opportunity and would like to be added, I'll be happy to add you.

Photo: The photo is from his 79th birthday.

Other blog posts about my daddy:
B94. My Daddy
B84. Franklin McCain: You Live Forever Tall

Sunday, December 30, 2018

B150. Personal Inventory of 2018

In My Church

If my 2018 has a defining category, it is probably church. I continued to be active in my Sunday School class, my small group, the Presbyterian Women, and the Pastor Nominating Committee. I was ordained as a Ruling Elder and began serving on the Worship Committee and coordinating the communion servers. For 2019 I have also committed to leading the Spring women's retreat and taking a leadership role in the Stephen Ministry.

Other Volunteer Work

Lee St. Theatre: greeter or usher
Literacy Council and/or Communities in Schools: reading tutor of several 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students at Hurley, Overton, North Rowan, and Hanford-Dole elementary schools


Emerald Isle, NC (March) - photo below left
North Myrtle Beach, SC (March)
Indianapolis, IN (September) - photo right
Orlando, FL (October)
Savannah, GA (October) - photo below right

Entertainment / Hobbies

I discovered the amazing OverDrive app, through which audiobooks, eBooks, and videos can be checked out free with just a library card. Including this, Amazon streaming, and physically checking videos and audiobooks from the public library, my entertainment inventory for 2018 has been vast. I listened to books as I drove and cleaned, and sometimes as I walked.

Books97 (38 read, 59 audio)
Movies:   54
Live Stage: 21

I also rediscovered my childhood love for jigsaw puzzles and have worked, I think, 22 puzzles this year, 500-1000 pieces each, often while listening to audiobooks. Another rediscovered pleasure, from college days, was shooting pool occasionally at the Y. And for several years I've enjoyed selling books on Amazon at a hobby level, so if you have a pile of books you'd like to give away . . .

Some Fabulously Memorable Meals

Mezeh Mediterranean, Charlottesville VA
Garden Table, Indianapolis IN (photo below left)
Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe, Sanford FL (German)
Fox & Fig Cafe, Savannah GA (photo below right)

Health / Fitness

My biggest physical challenge this year was continued torticollis, an involuntary turn of the neck to the left, likely related to strabismus surgery one and two years ago. Also, my left foot/leg has continued to be a minor challenge.

I continued my gym membership, walked, and participated in a Restorative Yoga class, averaging 29 minutes per day of intentional exercise.


I love spending time with family and friends.

I love to write, although I have written less than usual this year: nine blog posts, one newspaper
editiorial, and my personal journaling.

Other passions that motivate every part of who I am have remained as steady: social justice,
civil rights, equal rights for all God's children . . . I participated in the Families Belong
Together march/rally in June, in support of immigrant and refugee families, and worked as a poll
monitor during the November elections, helping to be sure all voters were able to cast their votes.
Also, I regularly spend countless hours watching streaming video coverage of various local
government meetings, to stay informed.

Blog Posts

97 (listed in order of publication date)
The New Testament (TNIV, audio, repeat)
Persuasion (Jane Austen, 1817, audio)
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Harriet Ann Jacobs, 1861, audio)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1865, audio)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott, 1868-69, audio)
The Red Badge of Courage (Stephen Crane, 1895, audio)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Frank Baum, 1900, audio)
Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolf, 1925, audio)
Don Segundo Sombra (Ricardo Guiraldes, 1926)
As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner, 1930, audio)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley, 1932, audio)
Little House in the Big Woods (Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1932, audio)
Farmer Boy (Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1933, audio)
Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1935, audio)
Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck, 1937, audio)
Lord of the Flies (William Golding, 1954, audio)
The Baptist March in History (Robert A. Baker, 1958)
A Separate Peace (John Knowles, 1959, audio)
A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle, 1962)
Colonial America (Vol. 2 of the Amer. Heritage New Illus. History of the US, 1963)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou, 1969, audio)
The Tao of Pooh (Benjamin Hoff, 1982, audio)
Christian Caregiving: A Way of Life (Kenneth C Haugk, 1984)
Tell Me About Yourself (D.L. Maberry, 1985)
The Defiant Muse (eds. Angel Flores, Kate Flores, 1986)
Keeping the Sabbath Wholly (Marva J. Dawn, 1989)
Hymns of Faith & Inspiration (Pamela J. Kennedy, 1990)
Speaking the Truth in Love (Ruth Koch & Kenneth Haugk, 1992)
Lent Is for Children (Julie Kelemen, 1993)
Ministry in an Oral Tradition: Living with Will Rogers, Uncle Remus ... (Tex Sample, 1994)
The Scottsboro Boys (James Haskins, 1994)
Barbara Bush: A Memoir (Barbara Bush,  1994, audio)
Life on the Color Line (Gregory Howard Williams, 1995)
Practical Magic (Alice Hoffman, 1995, audio)
Can You Drink the Cup? (Henri Nouwen, 1996)
Encounters on the Road to the Cross (Robert Martin Walker, 1998)
This Side of Easter (J. Michael Ripski, 1998)
Selected To Serve (Earl S. Johnson Jr., 2000)
When and How To Use Mental Health Resources (Kenneth C. Haugk, 2000)
The Truth Is (Melissa Etheridge, 2001)
The Children of Willesden Lane: . . . Kindertransport  (Mona Golabek, 2002, audio)
Lamb (Christopher Moore, 2002, audio)
J.K. Rowling (Bradley Steffens, 2002)
Reflections: Life After the White House (Barbara Bush, 2003, audio)
5 Love Languages (Gary Chapman, 2005, audio)
The Last Days of Dogtown (Anita Diamant, 2005, audio)
I Feel Bad about My Neck (Nora Ephron, 2006, audio)
Home of the Brave (Katherine Applegate, 2007, audio)
The Hemingses of Monticello (Annette Gordon-Reed, 2008, audio)
Letter To My Daughter (Maya Angelou, 2008, audio)
Armageddon in Retrospect and other new and . . . (Kurt Vonnegut Jr., 2008, audio)
Return To Sender (Julia Alvarez, 2009, audio)
Louisa May Alcott (Susan Cheever, 2010, audio)
This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection (Carol Burnett, 2010, audio)
I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections (Nora Ephron, 2010, audio)
Laugh Your Way to Grace (Susan Sparks, 2010)
Committed (Elizabeth Gilbert, 2010, audio)
Orange Is the New Black (Piper Kerman, 2010, audio)
Caleb’s Crossing (Geraldine Brooks, 2011, audio)
Heart and Soul (Kadir Nelson, 2011, audio)
The Confidence Gap (Russ Harris, 2011, audio)
Bossypants (Tina Fey, 2011, audio)
Growing Up Amish (Ira Wagler, 2011, audio)
The American Bible (Stephen Prothero, 2012)
The Cove (Ron Rash, 2012 audio)
My Beloved World (Sonia Sotomayor, 2013, audio)
I Am Malala (Malala Yousafzai, 2013, audio)
Everybody’s Got Something (Robin Roberts, 2014)
Where There’s Smoke / Larger Than Life (Jodi Picoult, 2014, audio)
The Boston Girl (Anita Diamant, 2014, audio)
The Girls of August (Anne Rivers Siddons, 2014, audio)
Brown Girl Dreaming (Jacqueline Woodson, 2014, audio)
A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety (Jimmy Carter, 2015)
The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah, 2015, audio)
Gateway To Freedom  (Eric Foner, 2015, audio)
In the Unlikely Event (Judy Blume, 2015, audio)
Above the Waterfall (Ron Rash, 2015)
The End of Plenty: The Race To Feed a Crowded World (Joel K. Bourne, Jr., 2015)
The Risen (Ron Rash, 2016)
Hillbilly Elegy (J.D. Vance, 2016, audio)
The Third Reconstruction (William J. Barber II, 2016, audio)
Waking Up White (Debby Irving, 2016, audio)
The Dust Bowl Girls (Lydia Reeder, 2017, audio)
Cloud of Witnesses (Melissa Bane Sevier, 2017)
Sing, Unburied, Sing (Jesmyn Ward, 2017)
Make Your Bed (Admiral William H. McRaven, 2017)
The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas, 2017, audio)
The Female Persuasion (Meg Wolitzer, 2018, audio)
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World . . . (Austin Channing Brown, 2018, audio)
The Beagle and his Boy (Cathy Cook, 2018)
Becoming (Michelle Obama, 2018)
The Hush (John Hart, 2018, audio)
Faith: A Journey for All (Jimmy Carter, 2018)
Undivided (Vicky Beeching, 2018)
On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity & Getting Old (Parker J. Palmer, 2018)
Whose Boat Is This Boat? (The Late Show, 2018)
Journey into the Light: Devotions for Advent (Susan M. Lang, 2018)

Movies / Films
54 (listed in order of release date)

King Kong (1933)
Sylvia Scarlett (1935)
Knute Rockne All American (1940)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Key Largo (1948)
Hamlet (1948)
Adam’s Rib (1949)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
A Man Called Peter (1955)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, repeat)
The Beatles: Help! (1965)
Time To Run (1973, repeat)
On Golden Pond (1982, repeat)
King David (1985)
Children of a Lesser God (1986, repeat)
Steel Magnolias (1989, repeat)
Lord of the Flies (1990)
The Last of His Tribe (1992)
Sense and Sensibility  (1995)
The Birdcage (1996, repeat)
Mrs. Dalloway (1996)
Last Stand at Saber River (1997)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (2001)
Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity (2002)
Ladies in Lavender (2004, repeat)
The Lakehouse (2006)
Last Chance Harvey (2008)
Last Stop for Paul (2008)
The Velveteen Rabbit (2009)
Play the Game (2009)
Love and Valor: The Intimate Civil War Letters (2009)
Labor Day (2014)
Maleficent (2014)
The Lady in the Van (2015)
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Moonlight (2016)
A Man Called Ove (2016)
Mr. Church (2016)
Fences (2016)
Wonder (2017)
The Post (2017)
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
Christopher Robin (2018)
Black Klansman (2018)
Little Women (2018)
RBG (2018)
Black Panther  (2018)
The Producers (2018 PPT stage production)
Ocean’s Eight (2018)
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
A Star Is Born (2018)
Boy Erased (2018)
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

The Big Bang Theory Season 11 (2017-2018)
Young Sheldon Season 1 (2017-2018)
Blackish season 4 (2017-2018)
This Is Us Season 2 (2017-2018)
Roseanne Season 10 (2018)
Jesus Christ Superstar Live (2018)

On Stage (21)
Doubt: A Parable (Lee St. Theatre, January)
Spring Concert (Piedmont Prime Time Community Band, March)
Running on Fire (LST, April)
Children’s Concert (PPTCB, April)
Sense & Sensibility (American Shakespeare Center, April)
The Great War (Phoenix Readers, April)
Salisbury Symphony & Darrell Harwood (May)
Concert of Disney Music (Salisbury- Rowan Choral Society w/ Symphony, May)
Pops at the Post (Salisbury Symphony, June)
Taming of the Shrew (ASC, June)
Souvenir (LST, June)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang  (Wayne Theatre, August)
Steel Magnolias (LST, August)
Woodstock concert (Reeves Theatre, August)
Fall Concert (PPTCB, October)
Little Women (LST, November)
Hamlet (Catawba, November)
Candlelight Christmas in Rockford (December)
Christmas Concert (PPTCB, December)
Christmas Concert (SRCS, December)
A Christmas Carol ( ASC, December)

Note: bold print denotes favorites; red must-reads