Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mountain Home Marathon for Kenya

WE FINISHED!!!----the 5K portion, that is, of the annual Mountain Home Marathon for Kenya. Today's event was a real test of dedication for the volunteers and participants who braved the blustery winds and cold temperatures along the route. I owe a special thanks to my pastor, David Johnson and his wife Roxanne, for enduring a bit of freezing sleet, while waiting at the finish line for me, so that we could have our annual "Kodak moment" for the occasion. The photo grid above represents four of the past years; we were even present for the first one although we don't have a photograph for it. How blessed we are to be physically able to walk the 3.2 miles, through a lovely community, for a cause that will benefit the kids of Katito, Kenya. This excerpt from a Lifeway publication is worth mentioning here: "Scripture uses the analogy of running and the Christian life several times. Both involve a starting line, a finish line, the need for endurance, and the necessity of competing according to rules. In the Christian life Jesus is BOTH our starting line and finish line (He is the author and completer of our faith). Furthermore, we have need for endurance as the Book of Hebrews reminds us often. And as believers, we must run our race with God's 'rulebook' (Scripture) always in view." I usually sign off my blog posts with "miles of smiles", but in honor of today's event, I will simply say "five kilometers of smiles"!!! Tricia Turner
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From Belle Meade to Santa Anita

At the time I made my visit to the historic Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee, this fall, I did so because I had seen the Interstate Exit signs to it several times in the past, and I was curious to know more about it. I prepared for the visit by reading up on its history on the Internet, but the thing that I learned that was most interesting to me, was not revealed until I was inside the mansion and taking the guided tour. The docent pointed out paintings and documents showing that a well-known thoroughbred that I had become intrigued with ---Sea Biscuit---has a bloodline that can be traced back to Belle Meade Plantation. On a visit my sister and I made with one of our California cousins, we posed for photos with a life size statue of Sea Biscuit at Santa Anita Horse Racing Park in California. Horse breeding was an important aspect of the Belle Meade farm's past, and one of their prominent horses was named Iroquois, who became famous in 1886, because it was the first American winner of the English Derby. Although Kentucky is more commonly thought of as the center of horse breeding, back in the 1800's, the area around Belle Meade (which means "beautiful meadow") was also a force to be reckoned with, in terms of breeding stock. Besides the livestock raised on the farm, there were crops to be cultivated, and as was common in those days, the field labor was done by slaves. One can tour the former slave quarters, the dairy barn, the smokehouse, the large groomed lawn,and the carriage house, as well as the interior of the mansion. Of course, there is a gift shop, and even a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal while contemplating the rich history of the place where you are dining. This was a very enjoyable afternoon for me, and I would recommend it if you are ever in the Nashville area. Go to for more information. Miles of smiles! Tricia
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The Olvey Expedition

As my sister and I were going through our parents belongings after their death, we came across the letter jacket with a big chenille "O" sewed on the front that had been our father's "uniform" when he was the superintendent and basketball coach for the town of Olvey in eastern Boone County, Arkansas. Our mother was also a teacher there. The upper left hand photo was taken from the 1940 school album (called The Shadow) and shows our father wearing the letter jacket as he stands amidst the boys basketball team wearing their "O" sleeveless jerseys. Since the black, shiny Olvey letter jacket was in fairly good condition (our parents seldom threw away anything) we looked into donating it to the Boone County Historical Museum. The officials there had a pow-wow (aka Board Meeting) and determined that they could accept the jacket as a possible historical artifact for a future exhibit. The jacket held special meaning to us because our parents were not only dedicated employees of the Olvey school district in those months preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor, but they also lived on the school grounds in a small, mobile trailer that our father built himself. The Olvey school building (as shown in current-day photo above) was first occupied in 1930. Its first high school class to graduate was in 1933; the last one in 1945. However, Olvey continued as a grammar school until 1959. Many years later, the building was turned into a church, and our father helped build the rooftop steeple to signify its conversion. So when you are driving along Highway 62/412 between Harrison and Yellville, and you see the Olvey Bible Church sign, let your mind imagine the scene there when it was a bustling community (it even had its own tomato-canning factory!), school buses would be coming and going, students playing outside the school during recess, and our parents were practicing teaching skills that would later come in handy as they raised the two daughters, also shown above. Neither one of us turned out to be basketball players, but our parents DID instill in us a deep appreciation for the value of a good education. So "keep on learning"! Tricia
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Covered Wagon Expedition

The report that follows was written by my mother about twenty-five years ago, to go along with the picture above. The occasion was for her grandson (named Grover) to have something for a "Show and Tell" class in elementary school. The story is about my mother's father (also named Grover) and his wife, Effie. She wrote it as if it were the young Grover telling the story to his classmates as he held up the painting shown above: "Grandmother, at the age of 4, traveled in a covered wagon to Oklahoma to a farming country near Fort Sill. The family (consisting of her, her mother, and her father) was all that was on the long trip. They had their belongings and what they would need for camping along the way. A team of horses was used to pull the covered wagon that transported them. It took 17 days to make the trip from Lead Hill, Arkansas. Among their belongings were 16 head of mules. My great grandfather said that at night when they camped, he would tie the team of horses out to graze the green grasses. In the early mornings when they would start to travel again, all the mules would follow the wagon. When they would pass through a town, the mules would all get very close to the wagon for protection. No mules were lost. One night at camp, my grandmother and my great grandmother laid their hats on the coupling pole (or wagon tail) for the night. The next morning, they left camp really early, and forgot about the hats hanging on the back of the covered wagon. Needless to say, the hats were lost. The family came back to Arkansas by another mode of travel within the next two years." I am very thankful my mother wrote out this account, because it gives a little glimpse of what life was like in rural Arkansas in 1919. It is a reminder to me that what we call "hard times" today, dims in comparison to the hardships of life that our ancestors experienced. As far back as I can remember, anytime I was going to be traveling in Oklahoma, mother would tell me to keep a lookout for that hat she lost---Sooooo, if you ever see an old hat blowing like a tumbleweed across the fields, remember this story! Miles of smiles! Tricia
ADDENDUM:  I recently had the opportunity to travel along two historic pioneer trails, and observed two items that reminded me of my mother's story about traveling by covered wagon with her parents.  The first was a mural in the town of Hines, Oregon, in Southern Oregon, that had a mural reflecting its location on the Oregon Trail.  Since it showed a mother and daughter in bonnets, I thought of my mother and grandmother, wearing their bonnets!
The other item I saw was in Lamar, Kansas, along the historic Santa Fe Trail.  It was a statue called "The Madonna of the Trail", of a pioneer mother---facing the unknown with her children.  She was wearing a bonnet, as well!
I am thankful for these reminders of the hardships our ancestors overcame when they were pioneers in this country called the United States of America.  Remembering their perseverance, gives me "Miles of Smiles"!  Tricia

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wimbledon & "The Royal Box"

On a trip I took to England in the late twentieth century, I happened to be there at the same time the famous Wimbledon Tennis Championship Matches were being played. Although I was not a big tennis fan, my traveling companion was, so the two of us took the train from London to the site of the town where the matches were being held. Once we got through the ticket gates to get spectators onto the grounds of the park, we split up. She was going to try to see an actual tennis match, and my only goal was to take photographs of all the color and spectacle that are associated with an event like this in the wide world of sports. As I was wondering around, I saw a small sign on the side of a giant-sized building that said "Press Entry". Back in those days, in my home state, people that did news writing or news photography would apply to the state police headquarters for a Press Pass, that would allow them to pass through barriers, etc., in order to get to the location of a news event. I had one of those press passes because of my work as a state newsletter editor, as well as some freelance photojournalism. Having no idea if it was good in England at something like this, I looked into my wallet, got out my press pass, showed it to the official at the door, and without a word, I was inside! What I was inside of, I had no idea, so I just wandered around trying to figure out where I was, and what was going on. I decided I must be in the media area for the famous "Wimbledon Center Court". Press photographers stood in line for the opportunity of a ten minute interval of getting a seat in center court to photograph and report on whoever might be playing when that photographer's turn came up. It turns out John McEnroe was one of the players out on the court when my turn came, so I got to photograph him making some shots, as well as throwing one of the "hissy fits" he was so well known for. After my brief interlude as a spectator in Center Court was up, I continued to roam the inner hallways of the big green building until I came to an open door to a room with no one in it, but filled with gorgeous, dark green wicker furniture. I loved wicker furniture, and besides, I was tired, so I went into the empty room to sit down and rest a spell. I sat there a while, noticing what a great view this room had of the tennis court it looked out over, although there was not a match going on in that particular tennis court at the time. But, I thought, it would make a good photograph anyway---showing the beautiful, throne-like wicker chairs, their matching fabric cushions, and the tennis court in the background. So I brought my camera to my eye to snap the shot. Just then, a guard seemed to come out of no where, approach me, and say, "I am sorry, madam, but no photography is allowed in "The Royal Box". I quickly put away my camera. However, the guard had not told me to leave, so I sat there a few minutes longer, replaying in my mind what he had just said. What did he mean "royal box"? My only experience with the word "royal box" was in the context of a box of gelatin with the brand-name "Royal". But the time was approaching for me to meet my friend for the train ride back to London, so I exited the room with the pretty green wicker furniture. After I was just outside the room and in the adjacent hallway, I looked above the door to see that there was a sign up there saying "Queen's Box". I had not seen the sign when I first entered the room because I was so captivated by the green wicker furniture. "Oh, my!" I thought, not believing what had just happened! So here is my travel tip for this blog entry: If you are in a country ruled by a monarchy, and you see the sign "Royal Box", it is probably not referring to a gelatin box! (Disclaimer: I am pretty sure that an incident like this could not happen in the post 9/11 era, and the state police quit issuing press passes years ago. So it is safe to say "Long live the Queen!")
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ICE!---The Festival

Harbin, China is the site of one of the four largest ice festivals in the world----BUT, if you can't make it there this winter, you can still get a sample of the artistry of their famous event right here in the U.S. of A! The location is the Gaylord Hotel properties in Grapevine, Texas or Nashville, Tennessee. I will report on the one in Grapevine, Texas, as that is the resort where I was able to view this "happening" in person. The history of ice carving goes back hundreds of years; legend says the ruler of the northern province of China where Harbin is located was trying to figure out something to keep his people motivated and busy during the extremely cold, harsh winters of that area. The ruler came up with the idea of ice carving competitions. The tradition continued and grew with each passing winter, so that ever since 1985, the Harbin Ice Carving Festival has been a major tourism event in China. So it is not surprising with the expansion of a global economy and improved refrigeration/transportation processes, China is exporting their artistry to the U.S.; it takes about five months for the Chinese sculptors to carve their numerous themed pieces, yet the U.S. showings only last for about fifty days! The craftsmen use three kinds of ice: clear, colored with dyes, and white (resembling packed snow), and it must be placed in an area for the public to view it that is maintained at a very frosty 9 degrees F. Your normal windbreaker is not enough to keep you comfortable in 9 degree temperatures, so the price of the ICE! exhibit ticket includes a lovely parka (I am pictured in the gold parka provided, in above photo) The upper right photo above shows the crystal clear ice used for carving the life-sized nativity scene, as well as some of the colored and white ice visible in the life-size penguins in lower photo. So if the stress of the political elections has left you longing for a place to "chill out", then plan a visit to the ICE! exhibit---you won't regret it. Miles of smiles! Tricia Turner
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nashville's Standard at the Smith House

Remember the good feeling you get when the hometown sports team you're rooting for wins the championship? That's the way I felt recently when I visited friends from my home town that have made the "championship list" in Nashville, Tennessee, for their work in historic preservation of a Nashville landmark. The honor they have received is called the Nashville Metropolitan Historical Commission Architectural Award. The bronze medallion declaring them as recipients is seen beside the Smith House Front Entry (which is also featured in a well-known painting of famous entryways in Nashville), along with the medallion indicating that their property is on the National Register of Historic Places in Tennessee. Jerry and Sharon Hudson Smith are graduates of Harrison High School in Northwest Arkansas. After they attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Jerry went on to seminary and was the pastor of a church near Memphis for many years. But in a move that Jerry described as a "paradigm shift", they left the position of a full-time pastorate and started a project, along with their adult children, of restoring a three-story, brick townhouse in downtown Nashville, into a fine dining restaurant, as well as the living quarters for Jerry and Sharon. The impressive work the family has done was featured in a special on PBS television, and the townhouse can also be seen in several music videos filmed in Nashville by various recording artists. I was able to join Jerry and Sharon for a lovely and delicious lunch in the enclosed courtyard section of their restaurant last month. When they told me about some of the famous people that have dined there, I was impressed! And it wasn't just country music recording artists either--- since The Standard at the Smith House is next door to the Lifeway Publishing Company Headquarters, they have had the opportunity to host many famous authors and religious leaders as well. So if you EVER get a chance, be sure to visit The Standard at the Smith House, located at 167 Rosa Parks Blvd. (8th Avenue) in downtown Nashville. If you are there on a Sunday, you may not be able to get food from their extensive restaurant menu, but you CAN get food of a different kind (that is, "fed spiritually") by attending contemporary worship services held in their ballroom on Sundays. You can get more details and see more photos at their website, which is or phone 615-254-1277. Miles of smiles! Tricia Turner
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U of A Foods Laboratory Dedication

Since I am always looking for an excuse to visit the University of Arkansas when the maple trees are putting on their dazzling display of color, I was delighted to receive an invitation to the 10th Annual School of Human Environmental Sciences Homecoming Breakfast held this morning on the Fayetteville campus. The highlight of today's event was to be the dedication of the newly renovated Donald and Linda Wray Foods Laboratory. Since I had spent many hours in that food lab during my college years, I was eager to see how it had changed to reflect the world of the 21st century. The basic "footprint" of the space is the same, but it has been updated with ventilation hoods over the cook tops (there was no overhead ventilation when I had classes there), plus the old, slow draining sinks have been replaced with deeper ones with state of the art fixtures. New appliances, including an institutional-size ice maker round out the furnishings. I am pictured behind two counter top mixers in the lower right hand corner, and the U of A staff member that was the "general" in command of the changes is pictured in the upper left hand corner. She is Donna Graham, Associate Dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences. I say "Hats Off!" (or should that be "Chef Hats Off!) to a job well done! Miles of smiles! Tricia Turner
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