Saturday, December 31, 2011

On Occasion...

On occasion you'll read a book, see a film or perhaps hear a selection of music that will have a dramatic effect on how you view life. It may be a single paragraph in the book, a single line in the film, or a single phrase in the lyric. Yet still, it has the ability to transform.

As we close out this year and look towards the next, I want to share one such instance in my life.

It was a Wednesday evening, October 26 to be precise, and my wife and I had gone to the cinema to see The Way. This is a film written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father, Martin Sheen. The story of The Way is of a father who must travel overseas to recover the body of his son who died while walking the pilgrim route, the El Camino de Santiago. Once there he decides to take the pilgrimage himself and through it, rekindles the relationship with his son, and more importantly, himself.

During a flashback sequence, we see Sheen's character driving his son Daniel (Estevez) to the airport so that he can leave for his pilgrimage. During the drive, Sheen (not looking at his son) says, "this is the life I have chosen." Daniel turns to his father and says, "You don't choose a life dad, you live one." This exchange, coupled with the premise of self-rediscovery, were cause for a transformative occasion in my life!

You see, all too often I would be focused on a destination; a goal. This is not to say that having a destination or a goal is a bad. To the contrary, they are not. Nor are having dreams for what may lie ahead in a near or distant future. However, when the drive towards a destination or the pursuit of a goal obscures or takes away the adventure of the journey, then something is out of balance. This has been my life.

I have spent most of my life looking ahead to what I hoped the next thing to be; to what my plan was for the next month, the next year, or the next five years. Then I began consider what I know to be the truth, which is, that we are not assured our next month, our next year or that we may be able to enjoy what was to come in five years. The truth is that we are only assured of the moment that we have right now.

Does this mean that I will not look ahead? No. I will still look to the future and I will plan for things that I wish to do. My wife and I hope to return to Europe, to travel, and perhaps, to live there again someday. We have cross country train trips we have in mind that we'd like to take. There are places I wish to see that I have yet to see; Venice, Vienna, the Greek Isles, the Isle of Iona, the Grand Canyon, and the list goes on. So yes, I will still look and work towards these things. But, in doing so, I will not forego the privilege and the pleasure of this moment. I hope not to miss an occasion to experience the adventure of life now because I am focused on a later occasion that is not guaranteed.

As we look forward to the coming year and make our resolutions, I suppose you may tally this as my resolution. As it concerns my life, I resolve to live one! That may mean I enjoy stopping to take a photograph or draw a picture. It may be an evening reading a book or laying on the floor playing with the dog. It could be taking a walk with my wife or enjoying a picnic in the park. It is trying a new recipe for dinner or dining at a new restaurant. It is visiting a gallery or strolling through the botanical gardens. It is laying on my back in the yard looking at the clouds or playing with the grandchildren. It could be any number of things that have absolutely nothing to do with some future time and has everything to do with the living life in whatever moment presents itself.

I suppose you can say that in my own way, I too am on a pilgrimage. I am on my own El Camino de Santiago. Along my way I seek to find and reclaim the joy, the adventure, and the complete excitement of what it means to live!

"Buen Camino!"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

Once more life has kept me tasked in other directions. What with work, an online art course, Christmas play rehearsals and presentations, planning for the holidays, not to mention family, things keep standing between me and here.

But today, I wanted to return for a moment to share A Sign Its Saturday. This sign is somewhat special, in that it is found on an island that has been a favorite spot of one of my best friends. And today is that friends birthday.
Happy 30th Birthday Ryan! I hope you find the paint brush!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hey there...

It has been a while hasn't it? So, how are you doing? Wonderful I hope. As you can see, the Fall has been pretty busy for me; that is if the lack of posts is any indication. But, it has been. Work is still rather busy, I am finishing up a commitment on one non-profit Board of Directors and in the beginning months of another Board commitment. This new one is on the board of a theater company I help to start some years ago. Oh, and look, there are 99 people regularly following this blog. Wow.

I am taking an art course. Well, it is an art course in that I do draw. But it is really so much more than just drawing.

Yes, I have been busy and I'll stay that way.

Something that also keeps me busy, is dreaming. I am a dreamer and I have no difficulty in admitting as much. Chalk it up to a constant state of wanderlust. I always look ahead to what may be the next thing. It isn't that I lack contentment with where I am at, but more, that I know that there is always something new to experience around the next corner. Taking a course is part of that. Looking at travel sites is another. I am always curious to know, or to dream about, what is next. Having had many adventures, I wish for more.
This photograph, taken from the Impressions de France film, somewhat speaks to this. When I see this couple walking beside the Channel, I like to think that perhaps this is my wife and I in some distant year. We will have grown old together, but still find the joy in seeking out new adventures and... holding hands.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Five Hundred +1

For the 501st post, I am going to take a bit of a break. You see, I do have this obsessive side that requires that I go into the Parks from time to time. And since it has been just six months since I was last there, I thought it was time. So, this morning, I am flying down to Walt Disney World for a few days.

Actually, I'll be there until mid-afternoon on the 18th. There our several of us from our local gathering of Disney fans who are converging for a few days of fun. Oh, and we'll be enjoying a few trips around the World Showcase to experience the aromas and tastes of the International Food & Wine Festival.

If you are a friend on Facebook, or if you follow me on Twitter, look for a photograph now and then. Better still, if you're going to be in The World anytime between today and next Tuesday, look me up. Maybe we can say hello.

So, until next time, keep breathing!

More to follow...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Five Hundred

I felt that I should write something profound for my 500th post. Sorry, don’t have anything, profound that is. So, maybe just a bit about why I started The Disney Obsession.

The simple, quick answer is because my wife suggested I start blogging. She understood how important Disney was in my life and felt that I should share that with others. I think too that she knew it would provide an outlet for a lot of pent up anxiety owing to the fact that I live too far away from the parks to go every other month or so. Okay, every other week or so. It was not a bad idea and I decided to begin blogging.

I started with no real vision or plan for the blog. In fact, on September 30, 2007 I wrote:

“Am I certain of how this will work? No! Do I know specifically what I will write about? No! Will I be a generalist or a specialist? I do not know. There are so many great blogs out there covering so many aspects of my obsession. What can I possibly add to the dialogue? I do not know. What I do know is that I have to start somewhere and sometime, and today is that day.”

And here I set, October 7, 2011, a little over four years later, typing my 500th post, and that paragraph still holds true. I still don’t really know what this blog is about. I know what it isn’t. It isn’t the place you turn to for news about the parks, or in-depth studies on attractions. You don’t come here to determine what books to read or what films to go see. How do I know this? Well, because I write this blog and I know where I turn to when I need to know these things. It isn’t The Disney Obsession. In truth, I learned very early on that my blog could not keep up with the quality and quantity of content that is out there, and frankly, I am glad I learned this. I didn’t want to keep up that pace, either then or now. But is saying that, I offer my greatest admiration and appreciation to those that do. And you know who you are.

Honestly, knowing that blogging can sometimes be a struggle, and that keeping up even my lackluster attempt at providing content is challenging, I have often considered simply letting is drift into the sunset. I thought of quitting. I thought of taking a one-month break, I’ve thought of... well, a number of things. But it all comes down to this: I really enjoy having a blog. I am happy that through this experiment that I have had the chance to meet some “really swell” people; some of whom have become some of my closest friends. It has opened a door to some wonderful friendships here in at home. I wouldn’t know you. I think that without it, the friendships I enjoy today would not exist. And, friendships that are yet to be made would not take place. For those reasons, I am happy to have started. And I am happy to continue.

Have I found my voice? I still don’t know. I do like what someone once said about this blog, “Greg, your blog has heart.” I think they meant that I write is from my heart. It sometimes reflects the emotion of life. At times there is more photographic content than there is written content, but this comes from the fact that I sometimes don’t know what part of my life to share. As much as Disney is important to me (and it is a large part of my life) there are other areas that are more important. My family and my family experiences are wonderful and mean more to me than anything else in this world. My faith is important because I believe that it is through my faith that God has blessed me with my family. My life experience has been varied and adventurous and I have the honor of sharing those adventures with an incredible lady; one who encourages me daily towards the next great adventure! If only I were as courageous as she.

Gerrie and I on the shores of Lake Victoria, near Jinga, Uganda


I have said some of this before and I beg your forgiveness if I am beginning to sound like a broken record. But, I need to say it again (maybe more for my benefit than yours). I feel that if I keep saying it, that I will some day miraculously stumble upond something.


The Disney Obsession seems to be forever at a crossroads, and here at number 500, we haven’t moved much from that place. I still don’t know what I am doing, but I do know that I will continue doing it and not knowing. I do know that I still wish to share my love for Disney with who ever wishes to visit this site; yes, it may be more photographic than words, but didn’t someone once say that “a picture is worth a thousand words”? But I also want to share my life and my heart with you and so I will explore more ways to do that.


After all, when all is said and done, it is how we share our lives with those around us that is most important and that is best remembered. Someone once said that “Life isn’t about the number of breaths we take, but about the moments that take our breath away.”


My friends, I want to go through what is left of my life always fighting to catch my breath!


I wish you many breathless moments.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Where In The World: Hollywood Studios

Still playing catch-up. So, let's catch-up with Where In The World. Last month, September 5th actually, we ran a photograph of the opening night of Mary Poppins. Devon Sowell correctly identified the photograph as being on display at the Great Movie Ride attraction in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Congratulations Devon.

Before moving on, the photograph would have been taken on August 27, 1964. It opened at Graumann's Chinese Theater on the 27th and then nationally on the 29th. The film earned 13 Academy Award nominations (only two films have received more nominations) and won in five of it's nominated categories. One for Best Actress for Julie Andrews and the Sherman Brothers took home two statuettes.

Now for another photograph; perhaps a bit more difficult. Where In The World would you find this?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Something On A Sunday

I try to be a bit creative in posting my Facebook status. I do not always succeed, but I try. A few weeks ago I had a series of updates that highlight places I have, on occasion, considered moving to or moving back to. One such update mentioned that I have considered moving to Alaska.
Can you blame me?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Forty!

"Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney... and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney's dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place... a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn — together."

Roy O. Disney
10.25.71

See you in twelve days!

A Sign Its Saturday

Perhaps it isn't a sign exactly, but I am sure you know where you are when you see it. So in that sense, it is a sign.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Something On A Sunday

Wilson County Fair August 2009

I don't go to many fairs.

I suppose I am spoiled. I go to Walt Disney World often enough and thought of fairs simply isn't that appealing to me. Plus, I am old enough to remember a small amusement park once had in Nashville called Fair Park, which was a delight as a child to go to. I still miss it. I also, still miss, Opryland U.S.A. It was music themed park that occupied many of my days as a teenager and young adult.

So, I don't go many fairs, but did visit a county fair a few years ago. It is called by some, the best county fair in area. I could agree with that, though honestly, I don't have much of a basis for comparison.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

A scene from a bygone day...
The last show I saw there was during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in '08. A nice parting memory.

Editor's Note: my regular readers, those I lovingly call "The Fear - The Proud - The Followers", will have noticed my absence lately. First, I apologize. I have been quite busy with my work and have not had the desire to do much more than rest when I get home. Hopefully life is returning to my particular brand of normal. I still haven't enjoyed two-days off in a row for more than a month now, but that looks possible next weekend.

So, I just want to say thank you for continuing to check in from time to time. I plan to get back into a normal flow of updating here. And so that you know, I have some things I have been working on that I have not been able to complete and post. Maybe I can get those finished soon. There is also a trip to Walt Disney World on the horizon next month. Maybe some new photos.

More to follow...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

Just under this sign is the entrance to yet another danger zone in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. My home has become home to more than a few items found inside these walls. Next time you visit the WOD, take time to look at things other than the merchandise. The decor is also a treasure.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

15 years is a long time...

For my son's graduation from high school I took him to Walt Disney World; sort of the father / son trip. There were other trips with family, but never just the two of us in the World and goofing off. Looking back, I think that is what my son and I did best - goof off. I think most parents wished they had the ability to stop time; to capture it in a bottle. I wish I could have stopped time during that week. That we could have just kept on being two kids having a blast in my happy place. But of course, that couldn't happen.

It wasn't long after we returned from that trip that life caught up with us. His adult life began. He got married and had three great children and has gone about the business of providing and caring for his family. He served our country proudly, including a tour during the Gulf War. He sacrifices being with his family in order to provide for his family; in that he travels extensively with his job. He has a very proud father!

It is hard at times watching your children grow up. You know that their love is always there, but there needs are fewer and fewer as the years go by. You learn a different type of parenting when your children are grown. True, you have time to pursue the things you always wanted to do and perhaps you come up with a few new dreams along the way. I know that I have. But most always you're looking forward to those times you can spend with your children. You look for those occasions when new memories are created.

We just finished enjoying a Labor Day weekend and I am reminded of Labor Day two years ago. It was an occasion for new memories! I had the opportunity to fulfill two wonderful dreams that weekend. One was to take my grandchildren by the hands and walk down Main Street U.S.A.! The other was to once again to be in Walt Disney World with my son; my grown son. It took 15 years for it to come to pass, but it did, and it was wonderful!
I cried a little.

We goofed off!

A lot!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Where In The World: Adventureland

Alright. So perhaps the last installment of Where In The World was not as difficult as I thought I might be. April Baker of Scrapping the Magic didn't take much time at all to share that it was from the Adventureland. Congratulations.

Now, let's see how you do with this one. Where In The World would you find this?
Yeah I know, probably not that difficult.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

For me, no trip to Walt Disney World is complete unless I have the opportunity to visit The Art of Disney. This then gives me the opportunity to share some of my money with the Disney yet again. It is also is in keeping with a suggestion my wife gave me years ago, in which she said, and I paraphrase, "If you are going to collect things from Disney, they may as well be some really nice things." A good suggestion indeed.

Lately I have been scaled back my pin purchasing (I am not a trader, but a purchaser) and have focused on the Robert Olszewski Galleries of Light. But there are three other items that I have been considering during my last few trips: the Olszewski Cinderella Castle, the replica of the Partners statue, and a particular cell The Art of Disney - Disney's Hollywood Studios location. It is quite possible that at two of these will make the journey home with me following my October trip.
So, here's to The Art of Disney and to collecting "some really nice things."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Disney World After Dark: Memories

There is a debate that continues among those who frequent the parks. I don't know, it may also take place among those who have only visited Walt Disney World once and come home with a multitude of thoughts about the experience. But the question is, "What is the best nighttime show in Walt Disney World?"

There are those who say that Wishes is the best. In fact, a survey of readers in October 2010 had half of the respondents voting for Wishes. The other 50% were split between IllumiNations and Fantasmic. So, some say Wishes, some say IllumiNations, and so forth.

Now there is another option, Magic, Memories and You. No, we're not going to poll the audience, but I am saying that it is a show that should not be missed. If for no other reason, for the technology. In fact, you may not tear up as you would for the others, but I think you'll find it does touch a chord for many viewers.


As for me, I find my eyes leaking for Wishes, IllumiNations and Magic, Memories and You. What is not to love about any of these three?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Something On A Sunday

A Lamp, in some restaurant, in an old train station in Battle Creek, Michigan 05.04.08

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

I know I posted this photograph last year. But... it is still one of my favorite signs in Frontierland.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Apologies

You've heard me say it before, and sadly, I must say it again. Life has gotten a bit busy lately and I have not been able to keep to my regular schedule. Sorry!

Please keep stopping by. I hope to be back on a more or less regular schedule in the next 7-10 days; but will add some things here and there as I can.

Thanks.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Where In The World

I rather thought that the last Where In The World would have been something of a challenge, but that it would be recognizable. Take a look back at the August 8th and see if you don't recognize this from the queue on Kilimanjaro Safari. Erik Wagner wrote in on our Facebook page saying it was definitely in Disney's Animal Kingdom, but not exactly where. Either way, thank you for playing Erik.

This week, we are turning it up a notch, I think. Take a look and tell me Where In The World you'd see this.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

Better late than never I suppose. I had to work this morning, then my wife and I joined some other family at the Nashville Zoo for the afternoon. But before settling down for a little dinner and watching the Social Network, thought I'd take a moment to add today's sign.

Not all signs in Walt Disney World are of actual establishments. Some are added to simply create atmosphere. These are a few.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Photo Phriday

I dreamed of Africa.

Having lived in a place where you woke up every morning to gentle sound of bells on the necks of sheep and looking out your window to see the French Alps, you wonder what could be more beautiful. This is a question that people have asked my wife and I. It is a question we ask ourselves. What is the most beautiful place you've ever been too?

It is a difficult question to answer for we have been blessed to see many magnificent places. It may be the shear magnitude of a mountain, or the barrenness of a sweeping moor. We've walked along the rugged coast of the Irish Sea and along the quiet waterfront of an North Sea inlet at a time when there was 20 hours of daylight. We've walked the dusty roads of Uganda and the sidewalks of the Champs Elysees. This does not account for the many spectacular places we've seen right here in our country and our state.

But still, the question remains. What is the most beautiful place you've ever been too? My wife will tell you Switzerland. I would answer, Zimbabwe.

When we arrived in Harare, it was like other African cities I had been to. But once you leave the city, then it becomes the place that dreams are made of; my dreams at least. I had dreamed of what Africa would be and one day, while on a safari east of Harare, I saw it. I saw a landscape that said, "I am Africa."
Yes, I once dreamed of Africa. Now, I simply dream of Africa. I dream of time that I may get to return to Zimbabwe. To ride in the back of a truck out onto the savannah and witness the variety of wildlife found there. To walk through the grass and get nearly get close enough to a giraffe to touch it.To ride on the back of an elephant again and to sip tea in the shade of a koppie. These are things I dream of.

I dream of Africa.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Doc's World - A Door

I was sharing with a friend last week saying that "Life would be a lot more fun if it wouldn't get in the way so often." This week has been one of those times. It has been a good week, but a busy week and I didn't have time to get something ready to post on Wednesday. Sorry.

I was puttering around (one of my favorite pastimes) in my office earlier this month and was taking a few photographs, all the while thinking that we haven't paid a visit to Doc's World lately. So here goes. A visit to Doc's World.
This is board I have hanging on the closet door of my home office. When we built our house my wife said I could have one room to fill with all of my Disney things. And, for the most part, I have kept things confined here. Though it has spread a bit; we both believe that every room needs a little Disney. For example, the Galleries of Light live in the living room and dining room. But most of my collection resides upstairs in my little haven, my laughing place, my "Li'l Disney".

The board holds a selection of pins, old wristbands from past events (and PI), a couple of now tarnished jingle bells with a pin saying "Believe" that I picked up at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party a few years ago, some notes to myself and doodles, and a few photos. You may see my son posing by a Photo Spot and then a little further down is a picture of me in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Paris Disneyland. Just below that is a picture of my daughter when she was a bit younger and my dear grandmother, Nannie. We lost her a few years ago. If fact, I was just coming off of Expedition Everest when I got the call that she went home to be with the Lord.

Then about the pins; one of my many goals is to have a pin for every attraction in the Magic Kingdom. So, I have a park map on the board and I place an attraction pin on or near the spot on the map. I still have a few pins to go.

Some day, very soon in fact, I'll show you behind that door. I am in the process of clearing it and then I'll re-purpose the space into a small studio for my drawing. I like to doodle and I like to work on pen and ink renderings. Hoping to get back to it soon.

So there you are. Just a little bit more about life In Doc's World.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Disney World After Dark: A Fountain II

There is something that I have been meaning to do. With every trip to Epcot I hope that I find time to sit and watch the fountains. I am not very successful in fulfilling this hope, but still, I hope. I have often thought that if ever I find myself in a situation when I can come and go to the parks whenever I wish, then I'd have a better chance of having that time.

Of all the fountains in the World, the World Fellowship Fountain is my favorite. I slow down when I walk past it during the day. If I stop to eat at the Electric Umbrella, I never set with my back to the water. At night, the fountain is even more spectacular! Then, I come to a complete stop.
Someday.

Someday I'll have the time I speak of. When that day arrives I plan to find a place along a nearby wall and watch the fountain through a whole cycle of shows. Then when that's done, I may do it all over again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Something On A Sunday

Today we celebrate the Fourth of July from the penthouse of the Icon.
Nashville, Tennessee 07.04.11

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

When considering today's installment of A Sign Its Saturday, I have just two words for you: Fixin's Bar!
Alright, so not just two words. Here are four more and a few numbers thrown in for good measure: Deluxe 1/3-Pound Angus Cheeseburger.

'Nuf said.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Photo Phriday

In England a bus has two levels; you know, the double-decker bus that we are familiar with. A coach is one level, or what we in the States call a bus. In in 1995, prior to moving there the following year, Gerrie and I took a trip to London and Paris. It was a great two weeks. We spent a few days staying in and touring London, then took the EuroStar to Paris for a few days. Then it was back to London and some tours outside the city.

One of these was a coach trip to Cornwall, or as it is sometimes referred to as, the West Country. This began my wife's love affair with the region. She adores Cornwall and in particular, Port Isaac. She dreams that someday we'll return to England and have a chance to visit Port Isaac again and stay at a little B&B that she enjoys. I can't blame her. I too enjoy Cornwall and spent a few weeks during the Summer of '97 there while on tour with Godspell and I hope to make it back someday. The ruggedness of the coasts and the sweeping barrenness of the moors is its own special beauty. And the food? Nothing like a Steak & Stilton Cornish Pasty followed with a nice cream tea. But more on that some other time.
On this particular visit we went as far west as you can go, to Land's End. It is at the southwest most tip of England on the Penwith Peninsula. There is a small settlement there catering mostly to the tourist trade. The nearest village/town/city of an any import is Penzance which is 8 miles away. You may recall that Gilbert and Sullivan had something to do with Penzance.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wishful Wednesday

You may recall that I hope to take each of my grandchildren to Walt Disney World sometime while they are 9-years-old. I mentioned a few days ago about taking a trip with my dad; just my dad and me. It's special to have just that one-on-one time. I have enjoyed that with my children and now I hope to enjoy it with my grandchildren.

For my granddaughter Shelby, that trip was this past April. To say that I spoiled her is an understatement. I did. I admit it. She enjoyed the full treatment at the Bippity Boppity Boutique and had breakfast in the castle with Cinderella. She got to hug her favorite princess, Ariel and the two talked for a short while. She then made her wish on her Wishing Star. She was living her dream. At one point, she looked across the table at me and said, "Papa, this is the best time of my whole life."

Okay, I got a little choked with that. Then, and now.

But you know, as wonderful as all that was, this is what it is all about...
Smiles.
Laughter.

There are few joys that compare, or are greater than seeing a child smile or hearing them laugh. Whether it is in Walt Disney World or over a bowl of cereal in the kitchen, it doesn't get much better than this.

This is what it is all about.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where In The World

I am happy to report that one my oldest and dearest friends (not that he is old, in fact I am somewhat older than he is, but you get the point) correctly placed the last Where In The World. My friend Ryan Wilson of the Main Street Gazette wrote in to let us know that the picture in question was that of the Yakitori House in the Japan Pavilion. Congrats Ryan.

And folks, if you haven't already, stop by the Main Street Gazette. Ryan has been at it a few years now and always, always puts up excellent material!

Now for this weeks edition. Where In The World would you find this?
It may be a little too easy. But then, one never knows.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Something On A Sunday

There used to be passenger train service in Nashville.
The Timetable
Union Station 02.20.11

Yes, there used to be passenger train service in Nashville. The photograph above is a timetable during the golden age of rail travel. As the years progressed and cars became the standard method of moving from one place to another, the services declined and some markets phased out entirely. Nashville was one of those markets.

But before the end my dad and I took a trip aboard The Floridian from Nashville to Palm Beach. What a great trip and a what great memories. At the time (the early 70's) Union Station was a home for pigeons. Thousands of pigeons. Amtrak had a small office and passenger waiting room in a corner of the lobby and to get from the front door to the waiting room you'd have to, in some places, walk on planks; the only walkway across gaping holes in the lobby floor. Flash forward - you'd never know that was the state of the building. Now it is a magnificent lobby for the Union Station Hotel.

Of the trip, I remember spending hours in the domed club car, one time staying up late playing nickel ante poker with some college students. My dad asked "How much did you lose?" "Well dad, I don't know how much I lost, but I won a little over $5.00." He was impressed. We visited the house we lived in when I was in the 3rd grade, spent a little time window shopping on Worth Avenue. Went to a greyhound track and saw my first game of Jai Alai. We drove along South Ocean Blvd. and I was amazed at the size of the houses some people lived in. Still am for that matter.

I could go on.

I wish passenger trains would return to Nashville. I would take as many train trips as time allowed. We have a few train trips noted in The Dream Book. Perhaps someday. On a train, the journey really is the point.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

I thought that for the month of August we'd spend a little time strolling up and down the streets, and looking at the shops of Frontierland. This morning, let's pay a visit to one of my favorite shops in all of the Magic Kingdom, the Frontier Trading Post. Hardly a visit will pass without me stopping in and selecting a few pins to bring home.
And who is "Texas" John Slaughter you ask? "Texas" John arrives in the town of Friotown. He kills two gunmen in self-defense which, in turn garners him an invitation to join the Texas Rangers; an invitation he declines. He came to town to set up a cattle ranch, but his plans are sidetracked by the outlaw Frank Davis.

Sound familiar? That is the story as it was told in an episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. The episode aired on October 31, 1958 and starred Tom Tyron as "Texas" John Slaughter.

But our little history lesson doesn't end there. There was a real "Texas John" Slaughter. Slaughter was born in Sabine Parish, Louisiana on October 2, 1841. During his 80 years he was a Civil War veteran, a trail-driver, cattleman, (actually was) a Texas Ranger, sheriff of Cochise County in Arizona and was State Representative in Arizona. John also liked to gamble. Slaughter died in his sleep on February 22, 1922 in Douglas, Arizona.

If you'd like to learn a bit more about "Texas John", visit the Legends of America. His is an interesting history.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Photo Phriday

I love the month of August! I love the month of August for two particular reasons. One, my wife was born in August and two, I married my wife in August. In fact, we will celebrate our 20th Anniversary on the 30th. I can still remember it as though it was yesterday. It was a quaint gathering of 175 of our closest friends. My mother handled the catering. My son stood as my Best Man and my daughter was the Maid of Honor. It was an outdoor wedding, candles floating in the pool, and my bride came down the aisle, escorted by her son, to Flower Duet from Leo Delibes opera, Lakme. Instead of writing a vow that I would stumble through, I had In My Life by The Beatles played; my song for her.

Nearly twenty years ago.

I want to celebrate the month of August by sharing a few photos and stories of our life together. We'll begin with a photograph of two countries.
In the Fall of 1996, Gerrie and I took part in what was known as the Reconciliation Walk. The Reconciliation Walk was a prayer walk tracing the routes of the First Crusade. The purpose of the Walk was to pray for forgiveness for the atrocities committed in the name of Christ during the Crusade and when possible, share a message of peace with Muslims we may encounter along the way.

Gerrie and I, along with other members of our missionary training team, walked over a 1,000 miles during our ten weeks on the road. We began in Dijon, France and ended in Bari, Italy. We crossed three mountain ranges; the Jura Mountains, the Alps and Apennine Mountains. The photograph above is of Gerrie and I at Great St. Bernard Pass. The pass is at 8,100 feet above sea level. In the photograph we are standing in Switzerland and over our shoulders, the buildings in the distance, is Italy. We spent the night in the Hospice there, which has been receiving guests since around 1050, including Napoleon in 1800. The road he used to cross? Built by the Romans. The morning the photograph was taken, October 5th, we would come through the pass and enter Italy spending our first night in a monastery in Saint-Oyen.

From Saint-Oyen, we spent the next 6 to 8 weeks walking through Italy. Not the Italy of the travel books, but the Italy of the Italians. The small towns and villages that no one cares to visit. Sometimes we had wonderful accommodation, meaning that the floor was clean where we'd throw your sleeping bag. Sometimes we'd make it through the night and then pray that our next stop would be better. But good or bad, hot or cold, rain or snow, it was an experience that neither of us will ever forget.

Years have passed since those days and I am not nearly in the shape I was then. But on occasion, I dream about our Walk and I'd like to think I could do it again someday.

I love the month of August! It is my anniversary month. It has been a wonderful adventure! And it will continue to be for as long as we both shall live.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Need To Rename This Series

Don't you think?

I am not always successful when trying to make a level photograph. What looks level in the view finder doesn't always come out that way and then I am faced with having to correct it in post. But, one area in Walt Disney World that I find cries out to be photographed at various angles, is Italy. The textures, the masonry, the contrasts of straight and curved edges, is too much not to tilt the camera at least 45 degrees.
At least that is my feeling on the matter.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Disney World After Dark: The Temple of Heaven

There are few places in World Showcase that I find more peaceful than the China Pavilion. When I am tired I like to have a Peach Oolong Tea from the Joy of Tea and find a place to sit in the garden. The music and the sound of water I find quite soothing. Another place that allows a moment or two of quiet is the rotunda in the Temple of Heaven. Enter here and let a sense of calm to overtake you.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Something On A Sunday

Ordinarily, Something On A Sunday looks at a photograph of a place outside of Walt Disney World. But yesterday, while looking through photographs, I came across this one taken from the parking lot of Disney's Hollywood Studios. I rather liked it.
Hollywood Tower Hotel 12.13.08

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

This is very possibly one of my favorite store fronts in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Have a said before? If so, this is still one of my favorites.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Photo Phriday

You'll recall that last week I shared how Gerrie and I had a bit of a reunion in Oxford. I also mentioned our deep appreciation for the writings of C. S. Lewis and our desire to seek out the haunts of Lewis during his tenure at Oxford University. We were especially interested in visiting places where he and his friends gathered.

His friends were called the Inklings, and among the places they gathered was The Eagle and Child.

The Eagle and Child, affectionately known as the "Bird and Baby", is found at 49 St. Giles in Oxford. Their history claims that public house sat on this site since 1650. In addition to sometimes meeting in Lewis's rooms at Magdalen College, Lewis and his friends would meet in the Rabbit Room of the pub on Tuesday mornings during the term. The bar keep informed us that they would usually gather at 11:00 a.m.

The Inklings were an informal group; "neither a club nor a literary society" as Warnie once said, but it did meet to discuss literature. In fact, Inkling member J.R.R. Tolkien first read excerpts of The Lord of the Rings at the gatherings. C.S. Lewis, in turn, shared readings from his Out of the Silent Planet and parts of The Chronicles of Narnia.
Today the room looks much as it did during the 1930s and 1940s. The literary connection and history of the room is noted with photographs of members of the group and sheet of paper with the signatures of Lewis, Tolkien, and others saying that they had drunk to the landlord's health.
During our time there, we enjoyed a meal (I had Fish & Chips no doubt) and spent time looking about the room. Once finished, we took a while to sit quietly and write. We both kept journals and being in this place, with the memories of the men who once met here stirring around us, we could not let an opportunity to write escape us.

There are many things I miss about our life in England. I miss our friends, our work and mission and how simple life seemed to be. I also miss being a place filled where I am surrounded by history. In fact the very road we lived on, the Watling Street (A5), was built by the Romans. Hundreds of years before we lived there, Roman troops would march along the road towards the northwest.

I miss being there.

Next up? I don't know. Perhaps we'll stay in England or cross the Channel and visit Paris. Or maybe we'll go further afield. Africa perhaps?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Still Dabbling Some More...

Cinderella Castle affords the park guest many spectacular views. There is the quintessential view of looking down Main Street U.S.A. and seeing the castle beckoning you onward. Then you have the shot where you place the Partners statue in the foreground with the castle just in the background. If you get this shot shortly after rope drop, you have a near empty background. Another favorite is the castle from the Liberty Square Bridge. You know the one with the castle reflection in the waterway.

One we explored earlier was a photograph taken of the walkway leading down from the castle to the Fairytale Garden. Today, submitted for your viewing pleasure, is another from this angle. Only this time it is the castle at the finale of the 10:35 Dream Along With Mickey show.

Isn't it wonderful what the camera can see while waiting two hours with your granddaughter to meet Rapunzel?

And by the way, it was worth every minute of the wait to see one my granddaughters wishes come true.