Wednesday, May 30, 2012

SIGIS Summer Reading

So far I'm calling this my ADHD summer.   I'm just all over the place and unable to settle and focus on anything.

I got out of school exactly one week ago today and so far I've been to Coushatta for vegetables, to Minden for antiques, to Belcher & Gilliam just cruising around.  I've joined the American Legion Auxiliary and attended two Memorial Day services.  I've cleaned out the fridge, the pantry and my closet.  I've taken two huge bags of clothes to Goodwill.  I've worked in the yard a little and blogged a little and read a little.

I need to slow down.

Summer lasts more than a week.

I have lots of things I want to do this summer but I don't have to do it in a single week.  So today (after the Memorial Day service) I just sat.  I forced myself not to do anything.  I didn't go to the store.  I didn't go anywhere.  I sat on the couch and blogged a little and I sat on the deck and read some.  I played ball with the dog.  I grilled steaks.  I watched Gunsmoke.

So maybe now I can settle in and enjoy my downtime without this gunshot approach to relaxation.  I have a piece of furniture I'm dying to start refinishing and restoring.  And I have a huge stack of things to read.

Speaking of ADHD, I'm reading at least three books right now.  Why do I do that to myself?

What am I reading, you ask?  Well, I'm about a hundred pages from finishing The Fountainhead.  I've never read it before and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.  I'm pulling for Howard Roark.  No spoilers, please.

I'm also about halfway finished with Marcus Luttrell's Service.  I became a fan after Lone Survivor and am proud to own a personally signed copy of that one.  Service has held me riveted just as Lone Survivor did, and I continue to be thankful for people like Marcus Luttrell and his brothers in arms.

The third book I'm currently reading is Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System.  I'm only 41 pages into that one but so far I'm filling pages with Post-It Notes.  Ravitch is a  former assistant secretary of education who has repudiated her earlier views that a national curriculum and charter schools are the way to solve the woes of public education.  She now advocates leaving education to educators rather than business models and encourages family involvement in education.  While I think she's still for a good national curriculum, she has modified her views on the best way to achieve that.  I'm only 41 pages in, as I said, so I'm not sure yet where she's going with this.

Waiting in the wings on the reading list?

The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg - the third in his family trilogy.  I loved All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man.  Bragg has a lovely, Southern style voice to his writing that reminds me a little of Pat Conroy.  He was raised by his mom while his father was out drinking somewhere and ended up becoming a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.  His family stories are sad, funny, and poignant.  Reading his words is like sitting under the magnolia tree listening to your great aunt and your grandma tell family tales.

I also have Bragg's Somebody Told Me which is a collection of his favorite articles that he's written.

Also in the stack, Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys.  It came out in 1995 and there's a movie version but it was recommended by a fellow English teacher whom I admire very much so I'm going to read it.  She tells me I'll see some "familiar" characters.  I'm looking forward to it!

If I ever finish The Fountainhead I still have We the Living and Anthem to read by Ayn Rand.  I know Anthem will only take a couple of hours, but I've never read it.  And once I've done that then it would just be silly not to read We the Living so I can say I've read all the major Rand works.  Why not?

I'm not a fan of Chick Lit  but I do like to read Mary Kay Andrews and she has a new book coming out next week which I've pre-ordered:  Spring Fever.  I like her books because she talks about antiques and vintage finds that interest me.  Plus, sometimes you just need something rather mindless that you don't have to concentrate too hard on or make Post-It Notes.

I also have a copy of The Help; never seen the movie, never read the book.  No spoilers.  I'm going to read it.

I've done a lot of reading on the war in the Pacific during WWII (and still don't consider myself an expert, by any means), but have three more tomes on my stack in that subject area:  first is On The Canal which tells the story of the Marines storming ashore on Guadalcanal.  Also sitting there is Into the Rising Sun which tells the story of the Pacific War through the men who were there.  And finally, The Long Road of War by James Johnston - a very personal account of one Marine's experience in the Pacific.

I have a couple of other books I want to re-read.  I've been thinking about Ira Stoll's book on Samuel Adams and while I know it has nothing to do with beer (sorry - just had to say that), I want to go back and re-read that.  I don't think I gave it due diligence the first time.  I had just read David McCullough's book on John Adams and Stoll's book on Samuel was not as riveting at the time.  I'm thinking I need to give it another shot.

I also want to finish reading Empire of Liberty which I started and never finished.  It's been on the shelf for at least two years.

That's enough to keep me busy for a little while, but I'm sure I've overlooked something.  I'm going to finish the three I have in progress before I start another one, though.  I swear.  

What are you reading?

Smartest President Ever is Now an Expert on Judaism

Barack Obama yesterday:

Obama also stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it - and wondered how come no one asks Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner or Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel about their support to Israel. 

That's absolutely amazing.  The arrogance of that statement leaves me speechless.

I've read a lot about the war in the Pacific but does that mean I know more than anyone else about it?  More than any other teacher?  More than any president?  More than any person in Louisiana?  No matter how you qualify it, it's still an arrogant and condescending statement.

I've read a lot about the history of pressed glass and about depression glass.  Does that mean I know more than Milly Rose about it?  Not hardly.

And how does Obama know what every other president has read or what they knew?  Oh wait, probably because he's read about them.

Bill Kristol:

And the claim that Obama knows more about Judaism than any president? His vanity boggles the mind. One could begin by citing Adams and Madison, who knew Hebrew, or Harry Truman, who knew Jewish history ... but it's silly to dignify this claim with a rebuttal. In thinking about the presidents since Truman, though, I'd guess the president who knew the most about Judaism was Jimmy Carter, who taught Sunday school and had a deep interest in religion. So let's stipulate that of the modern presidents, Carter and Obama "know" the most about Judaism. But what is it they know? In Obama's case, one could ask whether what he “knows” is what he learned from Rashid Khalidi and Jeremiah Wright.

I would add Thomas Jefferson to Kristol's list.  He knew a thing or two about Judaism and religious freedom.  He was certainly well read.

I've read about narcissistic personality disorder too...

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism. 

 ...and while I'm not expert, I sure know it when I see it.

(H/T:  Memeorandum)

Memorial Day Service at Greenwood Cemetery 2012

Today is the actual date of Memorial Day before it was moved to accommodate a three day weekend.  This morning the Louisiana Disabled Veterans and the Louisiana Disabled Veterans held a memorial service in historic Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport - except the DAV cancelled the service because of what looked to be bad weather moving in.  Nobody told the LDV or the spectators present though, so we forged ahead and had the ceremony anyway.

No tent, no chairs, no programs, no podium or microphone was needed to honor the fallen today.  

Someone was recruited to give the prayer and the service was underway.  Parkway High School's AFJROTC was in attendance to post the colors:

and these two young ladies did a spectacular job singing the national anthem:

They sang a cappella and their clear, sweet voices brought a tear to my eye, I must admit.  It was beautiful.  

The DAR ladies were there:

There was a brief speech and then the traditional laying of the wreaths:

The Sons of the Confederacy did a three shot volley:

And a lone bugler played the mournful Taps from beside the cannon:

There were about as many photographers present as there were spectators and I'm sure that was due somewhat to the confusion around the supposed cancellation of the service.  I suspect, also, that many people who normally attend this ceremony were back at work today.  

Here is the post from the 2010 ceremony, and the 2011.

Kudos to all the participants today for forging ahead and conducting a lovely service despite miscommunication and mix-ups.  

The Shreveport Times has a photo gallery (much better photos than mine!) here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Debbie Disses Marco

In typical liberal fashion, Debbie Wasserman Schultz flings mud against the wall to see if it sticks.  In an interview which aired yesterday the DNC chair said:

“Marco Rubio, in the polling that I’ve seen recently, doesn’t really make much difference and, in fact, in some cases actually hurts Mitt Romney or does very little,” she said. “Marco Rubio is a nice guy, but not someone who I think belongs on a national ticket for a lot of reasons.” 

 She, of course, fails to elaborate on any of those reasons or provide any polling information to substantiate her claim.

In fact, according to this article from the Tampa Bay Times, Romney is leading Obama in Florida and Rubio actually helps:

Mitt Romney has crept to a 6 percentage point lead over President Barack Obama in Florida, where a new poll shows a majority of registered voters don't think the incumbent deserves a second term. 
Romney's 47 percent to 41 percent lead over Obama would grow even bigger — to an 8 percentage point advantage — if the challenger chose Sen. Marco Rubio a running mate, according to Quinnipiac University's new survey.
Maybe Wasserman Schultz is referring to this poll which says Jeb Bush would be a better pick.

But polling aside, what are these "reasons" that the DNC chair suggests would keep Rubio off the national ticket?  He's "not someone who I think belongs on a national ticket for a lot of reasons."  That sounds sinister, doesn't it?

Usually when people make insinuations like that with no evidence, there isn't any.  I suspect that is the case here.

Speak up Debbie.  If you know something that should keep Mr. Rubio off a national ticket, share it with us.  It couldn't be his lack of experience on the national stage, could it?  Because pretty much everybody had more experience than Obama in 2008.

If DWS knows something relevant she should reveal what she knows.  Insinuations without evidence are meaningless.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Links 2012

It's been a memorable Memorial Day around SIGIS.

After talking about it and not doing anything about it for several years, Steve and I finally joined the Lowe-McFarlane American Legion Post 14 today.  We were headed out that way today for their "casting of the wreath" Memorial Day ceremony anyway, so we gathered our paperwork and went a little early and signed up.

The post was chartered in 1919 just six days after Congress granted the American Legion a national charter.  The post is housed on 11 acres on a beautiful point on Cross Lake and is very active in numerous service organizations.  I went ahead and signed up for the Auxiliary, too.

We got our paperwork done and then were given a tour of the facility.  There's a huge meeting room with a beautiful view of the lake and a "grand ballroom" upstairs with an even prettier view of the lake.  There's a fishing pier, lots of historical artifacts, a lounge with an outdoor patio, an RV park, a kids playground, a boat pier, and lots of really nice people.

The wreath ceremony was held on the point where a nice breeze kept the heat tolerable:

The ceremony included he tolling of the bell and a reading of the names of the fallen.

A few boats gathered at the point to participate.

Then the wreath was cast on the waters...

After the ceremony we adjourned to the lounge for a little while before heading home for smoked brisket and fresh veggies from our Coushatta trip this week.

The Shreveport Times has a nice photo gallery of the wreath ceremony.

A quick round-up of Memorial Day posts:

Goldfish and Clowns:

You see, my father was a soldier. He did not set out in life to be one, but the world dictated otherwise back in the satanic onyx days of the early 1940s, and so a soldier he became. He fought long and well in a different kind of battlefield than the soldiers slogging through the mud below. He was huddled in his radio operator’s station aboard a freezing B-29 over Japan, focused on the task at hand while thinking about the young bride waiting for him back home again in Indiana. 

 The Daley Gator has videos.

Legal Insurrection is remembering Lt. Roslyn Schulte.

Ed Driscoll points out that not everyone is moved by thoughts of the fallen on Memorial Day and cites the rhetoric of MSNBC's Chris Hayes as an example.

Pundette looks at some Medal of Honor citations.

Paco links to Rep. Alan West's remarks.

Pirate's Cove has the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Philadelphia.

Politicaljunkie Mom posts the now iconic photo of a grieving fiance and also shares the photographer's remarks.

Sippican Cottage has a beautiful post.

And, of course, Michelle Malkin has a link-filled lovely post.

Tomorrow the three day weekend is over and many will stow their flags in a closet until the next holiday - July 4, perhaps.  Meanwhile, brave Americans will continue to fight for our freedoms and serve with honor.

Never forget.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Take a Trip to Coushatta Down Louisiana Backroads

It's Memorial Day weekend so that means a trip to Ed Lester Farms for the first veggie haul of the season at our house.

Steve and I pulled the windows out of the Jeep today and headed south, down La. Highway 1, to Coushatta.

 If you've ever read this blog before you know that Steve and I always go places on the back roads and shun the interstate whenever possible.  Highway 1 isn't exactly a back road but it's less traveled ever since I49 opened.  The Haynesville Shale has brought a lot more traffic to Highway 1 in the past few years but not before lots of little towns and communities dried up.

Both Highway 1 and I49 go south out of Shreveport but it's a little hard to tell from this map:

At any rate, we headed south and in about 45 minutes we were at Ed Lester Farms on the Red River in Coushatta.

It's a little early and they aren't fully stocked just yet, but we loaded up with enough to last up for a couple of weeks until their full spread comes in.

I got some fresh pinto beans (which Steve had to shell when we got home):

I got some Armistead sweet onions and a new variety called Cajun Spice; we're told that's "a hot onion."

We stocked up on fresh yellow squash:

And Steve filled two brown paper bags with new potatoes and sweet corn:

Of course, you can always just sit among the caladiums and catch the breeze off the river while you listen to the jazz or big band swing coming from the speakers:

This is what is coming:

We'll be back in a couple of weeks to fill the freezer!

We paid for our veggies, climbed in the Jeep and crossed the river into town:

It was lunch time and that means Bailey's hamburgers:

It's hard to explain how great these hamburgers are.  Steve says when he eats one he can feel his arteries clogging up.  They're the messiest, juiciest hamburgers I've ever seen.  They're just good old homemade burgers.  We discovered this place by watching one day to see where the locals go.  They go to Bailey's when it's lunchtime; the place is an institution.

You just walk up to the window, place your order, and hang out until it's ready.  You can sit at the picnic table and eat or in your car, or you can take it with you.  They've got burgers, chili dogs, hot dogs, that sort of thing.  Bring cash - they don't take debit or credit cards.

After our fine meal we drove through Coushatta (pop. about 2,300) headed toward Nichols store.  We passed Shakey Rays and I gave a little thought to going inside; maybe next time:

Nichols has everything from Wranglers and white rubber oyster boots to high end home decor - (heavy on the fleur de lis motif); you can get candles, baby clothes, ammo, toys, toothpaste...just your typical dry goods store.

Steve especially enjoyed what we called the Redneck section.  On that aisle you can get a fish mailbox:

Shotgun shell salt and pepper shakers:

Decor for your man cave:

Or for your bathroom:

How about a rope lamp:

And for the budding hunter in training you can get this nifty set with windup animals that he can shoot with a rubber dart gun.  I think Steve really wanted this.  I could just see little white tailed deer marching across his desk at work while he shoots them down with his dart gun.

Steve was a little disappointed that he is too big to ride "Sandy":

I bought an oil lamp and some cherry sour balls and Steve bought a couple of t-shirts and we headed north.

Instead of our usual return route up U.S. Highway 71 we turned off onto La. Highway 515 which runs a little closer to the river and through the community of East Point.  It's a pretty little drive through swampy areas:

and pastures:

Did you know if you stop the car and say "Hey Cows!" they'll stop eating and look right at you?

RIGHT at you:

We crossed a bayou:

Soon we hooked back up to Hwy. 71 which led us right to the Red River Lock and Dam No. 5 and since we were right there, we turned off to see how high the river is.

We visited with a park ranger that was there for a bit and we watched the egrets fly over the water:

We found a walking stick:

and I made a one minute video of the water.  I love the sound of the water coming through the spillway:

Finally we climbed back in the Jeep and headed home.  The hay bales reminded me of Iowa, where Steve is from:

Now we're settled in for the evening watching baseball (Rangers then the Cubs) and I'm cooking fresh pinto beans, sweet corn, squash and cornbread.  If I'd only gone inside Shakey Rays I could be fixing turtle meat, too.  Oh well, hindsight.  (I've never actually had turtle meat.)

Another successful day trip!

The SIGIS Take a Trip Series:
Take a Trip to the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at BAFB
Take a Springtime Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden, LA
Take a Trip to Logansport, Louisiana
Take a Trip to the Lock and Dam on Red River
Take a Trip to the 2012 Barkus and Meoux Parade
Take a Christmas Shopping Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take a Trip to Grand Cane's Fifth Annual Pioneer Trade Day
Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Take an Autumn Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Take a Fall Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base
Take a Summertime Trip to Grand Cane
Take a Trip to Desoto Parish
Take a Summer Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation 
Take a Trip to Ed Lester Farms and a Random Antique Stop
Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery and the Masters of Cuban Art Exhibit
Take a Trip to Natchitoches to See the Christmas Lights
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation

Brett Kimberlin Tests the Courts

Stacy McCain is still in hiding but reports that Brett Kimberlin will be in court Tuesday:

Convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin’s failed attempt to silence bloggers who tell the truth about Kimberlin’s criminality will be the subject of a court hearing Tuesday morning in Montgomery County, Maryland. 
Kimberlin, who in 1981 was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for his Indiana bombing spree and other crimes, has requested a “peace order” against Virginia attorney Aaron Walker, who says Kimberlin tried to “frame” him on an assault charge earlier this year. The final hearing on Kimberlin’s peace order request – which Walker has described as “frivolous” – is scheduled for Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. in Montgomery County District Court (191 E. Jefferson St., Rockville, Md. 20850), according to the court’s official Web site.

Hopefully the courts will recognize this suit for the frivolous mess that it is.  And hopefully the disinfectant of sunshine will continue to shine on Kimberlin.

If you missed it, be sure to read Patterico's tale of intimidation.

Will the Choom Gang Story Cost Obama Any Votes?

So it turns out Obama was a stoner in high school.  Who knew?

Does it matter?  That's a legitimate question - I'd like to know if this information is going to sway anyone's vote this fall.

That Obama smoked pot in high school is the least of his offenses, it seems to me.  I'm not defending smoking weed, mind you.  It just seems to me there are much more obvious reasons to vote him out of office.

The more relevant part of this Obama-was-a-stoner story seems to be the obvious fact that nobody knew anything about him and yet elected him anyway.  Oh, sure, Obama wrote in his memoir that he smoked pot in his youth, but apparently nobody cared.  And now, it turns out, he was quite the avid and innovative smoker.  Will the fact that he was more interested in pot than we knew make any difference?

I'm sorry, but it seems a non-story to me at this point.  The people that voted for him in the first place probably won't care that he smoked pot; to many of them it might even be a plus.

Of course we don't want the President of the United States to be stoned but I don't think anyone is claiming that he's still smoking pot, are they?

I'm more interested in the fact that he's crushing the middle class.

I'm more interested in the way he's crippling American energy independence.

I'm more interested in his campaign against coal.

I'm more interested in his massive spending.

I'm more interested in his government takeover of health care.

There are lots of things that concern me more than Obama's pot smoking youth.   Do I think he's an embarrassment to this country (for lots of reasons besides smoking pot)?  You betcha.  But do I think we're going to defeat him in November by confirming something he's already admitted to?  Not really.

As Allapundit notes, "Apparently, we elected Pauly Shore."  

Vote him out and move on.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Standing With Conservative Bloggers Against Kimberlin

I'm rather averse to posting things when I have nothing to contribute to the story.  I try to avoid being part of the echo chamber.

That said, I'm going to just point you to some others who are covering the story of Brett Kimberlin and his campaign of intimidation against Stacy McCain and others in the conservative blogosphere because I think it's important that people know who this guy is and what he's doing.

Start here, with this post by Patterico.  It explains who Kimberlin is and how dangerous he is.

Michelle Malkin has an excellent post on this story, too.

Check Stacy McCain's site, too.  He's now in hiding because of this Kimberlin person.  Stacy's posts can fill in some of the big names that have funded Kimberlin.

Both of these sites have multiple links that you can follow.

Check also Memeorandum for the massive aggregation of stories about this.

And you might note that the mainstream media isn't covering this at all that I can tell.

Like I said, I don't want to be part of the echo chamber, but this is different.  When a man has to take his wife and kids and move out of his home in order to feel safe then something is definitely wrong.

I'm standing with conservative bloggers in outing this guy.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memorial Day Events in Shreveport 2012

Memorial Day weekend is upon us.  Too many people think of Memorial Day as just the first official three day weekend of the summer, or a day off work to grill and sit by the pool.  That's all well and good but take a moment to remember the reason for the holiday.

Memorial Day is a day for remembrance of those who died in service to our nation.  You can read about the history of Memorial Day here.

We're flying the flag at chez SIGIS and have the front walkway lined with small flags.  I put this arrangement together this morning (pictured left) for the grave of the fallen Vietnam soldier that Steve and I have adopted at Greenwood Cemetery.  We'll place it this weekend in time for the annual Memorial Day service at the cemetery.  I'm not sure yet of the date and time of he Greenwood Cemetery ceremony; I believe it's on Wednesday this year at 1:00, but I'll confirm and update.

Observations around Shreveport will include a service at the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Keithville:
On Monday, May 28 beginning at 12:00 noon Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery located in Keithville will host a Memorial Day ceremony honoring our country's fallen military personnel.  
General Charles Campbell of the United States Army (Retired) will be featured as the Keynote Speaker at the event.  Colonel Ted Cox, United States Army (Retired) will serve as Master of Ceremonies. 
The Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery is located at 7970 Mike Clark Rd. in Keithville, LA. 
Sunday, the Paradise Baptist Church on Hollywood Ave. will host a Salute to Veterans Program with mayor Cedric Glover as speaker:
This event will take place on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 5:00 p.m., at the Paradise Baptist Church, 1706 Hollywood Ave., Shreveport, LA., Rev. Robert C. Hudson, Pastor. 
There will be a 30 minute musical prelude performed by a 20 member wind and string ensemble starting at 4:30 p.m.   
This ensemble includes music educators from throughout the Ark-La-Tex.  A variety of patriotic music will be performed.
There will be a ceremony at Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton at 9:00 a.m. Monday.  If the Greenwood ceremony isn't until Wednesday we will probably attend this one.

For the readers, you can't go wrong with Jules Crittenden's massive "Combat Reads" post from 2010.

If there's anyone on the planet who has not yet read Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor, I'd add that to the list.  I'm currently reading his latest work, Service.

And since we still have to eat on Memorial Day, after we've paid tribute we'll grill something and probably watch some baseball.  Instead of my usualy BBQ chicken I think I'll do a brisket this year and make this pretty salad.

I'll continue to add updates of local events and I come across them.  The local American Legion post always does their traditional casting of the wreath of the waters of Cross Lake but I can't find any info on that yet.  I'm sure there are plenty of other events scheduled as well.

Come back for updates!

Updated 5/25/12:

The Times has its list of events today.  The Greenwood Cemetery event is in fact Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

Other events:
The Lowe-McFarlane Ameican Legion Post will again host the "casting the wreath upon the waters" at 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's a Generational Thing

This is what my Honors English II kids were playing in my 2nd block right before the bell rang to go home today:

And this is what I was hearing:

Must be a generational thing.

I'm going to miss those kids!

Bring on summer!

That's a Wrap

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Take a Sunday Drive in North Caddo Parish

I was about five minutes away from an exhaustion-overloaded induced meltdown this afternoon when Steve, seeing the danger signs, put me in the Jeep and took the top down.

With absolutely no destination in mind, we headed north up La. Highway 71 toward Belcher and Gilliam.  

It's pretty country up that way and the corn is definitely up!

We stopped in Gilliam (pop.178) first.  History lesson:  At the turn of the century a man named Bob Gilliam bought the land and it was called Gilliam Place.  The railroad wanted to come through there and Mr. Gilliam donated the right-of-way to the railroad as long as the railroad agreed to put a depot there and call it Gilliam.  Tracks came through in 1888.  In 1902 the Red River broke through the levee and flooded Gilliam.  

In 1908 a cyclone came through and destroyed all but one house in the town.  Nearly forty people were killed and many more were injured.  The railroad helped out by making rail cars available for people to store their belongings until they could rebuild.

They still gin cotton in Gilliam and the town has one of five cotton gins still in Caddo Parish.

There's a great restaurant there, but it closes at 2 on Sunday:

A couple of buildings over is the Gilliam store:

There are a couple of benches out front and I sat and sipped a Coke and watched the traffic (not much of it) rush by on the highway.  You probably can't tell it in this picture but there's an old, rusty push mower leaning against the wall over to the left and an old plow sitting out there.  The date on the newspaper in that paper box is about two weeks ago.

We wandered around behind the store and found this old cotton press:

Here's the marker explaining how it works:

Behind the restaurant I saw this:

I'm not sure what it is but I hope they don't use those cast iron pots anymore.  They've seen better days.

We got back in the Jeep and headed back south to Belcher.  

More corn.

Belcher (pop. 272)  is another tiny little town but has some really pretty homes:

Belcher is historic because it's the site of the Belcher Mound:

We wanted to see the Veteran's Memorial.  It's actually quite nice:

There are marble slabs for each conflict and memorial bricks honoring veterans.  There's a walking path around the park, too.

We came back home through Blanchard but didn't stop anywhere notable there except for Cliff's Country Store where we bought Slim Jims and Cokes.  Road food.

My anxiety level has subsided and the meltdown has been averted.  We've put the top back on the Jeep (for now) and have settled in for a Sunday evening of baseball and a cold beer.  

If I make it through Wednesday it will all be good; summer is coming.


The SIGIS Take a Trip Series:

Take a Trip to the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at BAFB
Take a Springtime Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden, LA
Take a Trip to Logansport, Louisiana
Take a Trip to the Lock and Dam on Red River
Take a Trip to the 2012 Barkus and Meoux Parade
Take a Christmas Shopping Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take a Trip to Grand Cane's Fifth Annual Pioneer Trade Day
Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Take an Autumn Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Take a Fall Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base
Take a Summertime Trip to Grand Cane
Take a Trip to Desoto Parish
Take a Summer Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation 
Take a Trip to Ed Lester Farms and a Random Antique Stop
Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery and the Masters of Cuban Art Exhibit
Take a Trip to Natchitoches to See the Christmas Lights
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation