Look who appeared on our front porch today.
This cat has been a “stray” in the neighborhood for at least 3 years. I learned that one of our neighbors has been feeding him/her. Isn’t (s)he a beauty? I wonder if (s)he is related to Kali and Shoko up in Canada…
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There was a time that Lexi loved going to The Market. That was before the operators of the TN Pavilion banned dogs “for health reasons.” I happen to know it was really because some of the vendors threatened to pull out because of dogs urinating on their goods. I guess you could call that health reasons if it was fruit and vegetables. After the ban on dogs, I refused to go, since I couldn’t take Lexi. This picture is from the fall of 2006 when Lexi was growing out her hair to play Toto. And yes, that is me with long blonde hair!
I went today with Jeff. Jeff plays alto sax in Chattanooga’s Big Band, Sweet Georgia Sound. They play at The Market in the Tennessee Pavilion in downtown Chattanooga at least twice a year. In the picture on the right, Jeff is front, far right. The band mostly plays the American Standards, and today they were honoring the veterans (Veteran’s Day is this coming Friday).
Jeff splintered the small bones in the top of his right foot about a year and a half ago and is still not able to do much ballroom dancing. Several dancers we know had claimed a couple of the tables directly in front of the dance floor, and beckoned me over to sit with them. In ballroom, everyone dances together, so I got more dancing in today than I have in ages. Jeff even came out of the band to dance a swing and a foxtrot with me!
These folks were outside the Pavilion, doing their own thing for tips, and they were good!
The Market is a riot of colors, smells and sounds. There is enough original artwork to open a small gallery.
Lots of arts and crafts
I had to share a picture of this original “toy” truck holding none other than Tennessee Whiskey and two Jack Daniels shot glasses. How would you like to see this coming down the road?
There were lots of food vendors and I had a delicious pulled pork sandwich with slaw and BBQ sauce. There were also baked goods, produce, honey, jewelry, soap – all homemade or homegrown – and lots more for sale. The weather was sunny and in the mid-70’s F, so The Market drew a huge crowd today.
First, let’s look at what happened between Jeff and Rocky the Gnome last Sunday at Rocktoberfest in Rock City on Lookout Mountain, Georgia.
Ready for some great dogs having fun at Rocktoberfest? By the way, Sam the Golden Retriever was the only one who asked Rocky to pet him. The rest either ran, barked or tried to bite Rocky. What would you do?
If you have ever been on I-75 in Tennessee or Georgia, you have no doubt seen the billboards for Rock City, and maybe even seen the barn roofs or sides painted with the Rock City ad. The Rock City bird houses are famous around here.
For thousands of visitors from all over the world each October, Rocktoberfest is a fun tourist destination where, once they make the drive to the top of Lookout Mountain, they can enjoy nature amongst huge rock formations, dizzying heights and natural flora. They also get to enjoy polka bands and dancing, and locally brewed beer, the best of which (IMHO) is the Octoberfest beer.
For Jeff and me, it means much more. This was the first year that Rocktoberfest has been in existence that Lexi did not attend. Sometimes she was frustrated by not being allowed to help teach polka with Jeff, and sometimes humiliated by being used as a prop when Jeff MC’ed and announced she was the “German dog helping out today”. She was recognized by the bands for singing with them from the sidelines and pet by many children of all nationalities. She often saw friends whom she always recognized from year to year, such as her beloved Dorothy from her first Wizard of Oz, as well as some band members. She loved walking the trails and smelling the pee mail. This year, Jeff worked there every Saturday and Sunday as usual, and I went every weekend to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and try to heal from her loss.
There is a different band each weekend , although sometimes a band will perform two weekends when there are five weekends, like this year. Last Saturday, a boy about 5 years old walked up to the band with his fingers in his ears, removing one long enough to try to grab the instruments. He managed to snag the slide on the trombone while it was being played as well as one of the bells. We were sitting on the bench just to the left of this picture, and when Jeff jumped up to rescue the bell, the kid’s Mom stopped laughing and ran up and grabbed the kid. Since I keep this a “G rated” blog, I won’t voice my feelings on the entire episode. Moving on. At least two of the bands had alphorns, the instrument used to play the famous “Ri-co-la.” I hear there’s even a ringtone with that three note cough drop tune.
The Birds of Prey show with different species of owls, a comical vulture, several falcons. and an American bald eagle is quite impressive, with the birds release to fly just above the heads of the seated audience. This all happens within an enclosed space. All these birds have been rescued, either from being raised in captivity or found with injuries too severe to treat and release back into the wild. The eagle, for example, only has one wing due to illegal poaching. No photography allowed during the show. 😦 And no dogs allowed anywhere near it. They are, after all, birds of prey, and some are quite large. If one should escape, well, there might be one less chihuahua or yorkie in the world.
Here is the overlook where you can see 7 states – Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and South Carolina. It helps to put a quarter in the telescopic viewers.
There is one large waterfall as well as a small one very close to the overlook. I took all these pictures the last day of Rocktoberfest (last Sunday) and was too lazy to walk to the big falls again. So here is the smaller one.
Since Rock City strives to be child-friendly, there are some fun costumed characters. One of the most famous is Ik, King of the Trolls. This guy has been playing Ik at different venues for 20 years, and comes across as bigger than life. He says that he doesn’t eat children for three reasons:
He will make an exception for free-range children that contain no antibiotics or growth hormones.
While at Rock City, there are plenty of souvenirs to buy. We have some very large beer mugs and steins that we take back every year, since the beer refill is only $2!
Jeff uses his special floor mat to stand on to keep his back from hurting. Come back tomorrow to find out who wins in Jeff’s battle with Rocky the Gnome for the mat. Also tomorrow I will highlight the dogs of Rocktoberfest. Well, at least all the dogs that were there last Sunday – and did’t get eaten by a bird of prey, bwahaha!
This is the first day of November, also known as All Saints’ Day. Many churches will observe this holy day next Sunday. St Luke UMC, however, chose to observe it on October 30. Prayers are said for those who have passed, especially those who have passed since this time last year. The congregation is encouraged to name their loved ones who have gone on and to come to the altar rail to light a candle for them.
At St. Luke, besides the candles on the altar rail, a special table was set up in the middle to hold larger candles for those who left us this year. A picture and/or a memento could be left for that special loved one. I think you know where I am going with this.
I knew I couldn’t sit through this service without crying the whole time, so I asked Lexi’s favorite person at St. Luke to light the candle when the time came. I am sure this was hard for David, too, but he did this for Lexi and me.
This is the page in the bulletin from where the names were read. I do believe that no matter what happens, there is a reason. Losing Lexi in early September is one of the hardest things I have ever endured. About one and a half years ago when I got my job at this wonderful church, I never expected anything like the support I have received since that time. I am blessed to be among these loving, caring people.
Cartoons by John Atkinson. ©John Atkinson, Wrong Hands
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