Monday, August 17, 2009

Potpourri and Updates #2

Hmmm, what do you write about when life is ordinarily ordinary and you haven't written for two months?? Well, let's see....

I started a new (second) job as a courier and did it for four weeks. I really enjoyed it, but have quit because of the miles piling up on the car and things picking up with more hours at the hotel.

Two grandsons - Jacob and Connor - are now playing football, on both offense and defense. I know they're having a great time. Emily started middle school this week, Jenna will soon be 14, and Joshua had a great 2nd birthday party.

Jane and I are starting to make bead jewelry.

I am doing pre-stuff for Union College alumni board meeting and homecoming in October.

I saw a man with no nose.

I had a colonoscopy and EGD that came out fine. Still don't know why I have so many stomach or chest pains.

Eyes are improving, but still problematic. Wish I had kept my cataracts.

We are going to have a new great-nephew soon in Florida (Sam and Tori).

Brian is going to Boston for five week's training for a new chef's job in Florida.

We found a new home for Wendy, who seems to be doing fine, and we're concentrating on working with our beautiful Rocksy.

The scam investigation is on again, as the scammers are back working in the area. We had to do a police photo lineup and might have to testify in court.

We had to get a new (used) washer. The old one became toiled not, neither did it spin.

We're planning our third annual Blessing of the Animals at church on October 4.

My beloved Jane works very hard.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Potpourri and Updates, Volume 2

Early May found us back in Barbourville for the Union College commencement. Ashley Judd was the main speaker and received an honorary degree. My speech as Alumni Association president was well received, with applause in the middle of the speech as well as at the end.

Dr. Ashley and Dr. Joe

Naomi Judd and her husband, Larry Strickland (former backup singer with Elvis)

The day we went to Barbourville, I started having major eye problems and ended up going to 6 eye doctors in three cities in 14 days as we traveled on vacation. While they are better than they were, I am still having problems. I go back to the eye sturgeon in 2 days.

After leaving Barbourville we headed south to Columbia and Hilton Head, SC, and then to Brunswick, St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island, GA. We fell in love with Brunswick and St. Simons, and hope to relocate there one day. It was great to meet up there with Jane's brother and sister-in-law (Sam and Diane).

A bored Hilton Head resident

Jekyll Island Boardwalk

John Wesley's stomping grounds on St. Simons Island

Our Brunswick Bed and Breakfast, WatersHill

Sam and Diane at Brunswick's Lovers Oak

The Lady Jane is anchored at Brunswick

Downtown Brunswick
(Brunswick has several squares, similar to the ones in Savannah

Jane continues to work full time, and mostly from home. My hours at the hotel have been cut, but thankfully I still have a job, as many other positions have been eliminated. I am, however, looking for other employment to supplement my Opryland hours.

This past weekend it was back to Barbourville again for a special Alumni College weekend, which is a new project endorsed by the alumni association. We look forward to growing it significantly in the years ahead.

We continue to take care of the household critters and the horses, and are very slowly trying to get some painting and decorating done in the house.

Today I learned that I need a colonoscopy and EGD on the 24th for a year's worth of stomach and intestinal pain. My colonoscopy doc is pictured below, preparing for his next patient.

Tomorrow night we are going to a celebrity softball game at Greer Stadium (home of the Nashville Sounds) for Country Music Association week. Quite a few Titans players and country music stars are playing, including Dean Brody (managed by my oldest son).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Exciting Conference at Opryland

The International Garage Door Association is meeting this week at the hotel. They stayed pretty much on track, but they had some ups and downs.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Big Night For Dean Brody

Last night was a big night for Dean Brody, as he made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry. He did an awesome job, and received a rousing ovation from hundreds of Opry fans in attendance. He did backstage interviews afterward and was surrounded by a group of adoring female fans.

We went backstage and joined in the fun. Even Clark, his manager, was excited (and he usually doesn't always show much excitement)!

We also met Darius Rucker (formerly Hootie of Hootie and the Blowfish) and Opry legend Little Jimmy Dickens. Other acts included Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs, the Sons of the Pioneers, Riders in the Sky and Mike Snider, among others.

Dean Brody debuts at the Grand Ole Opry

Jane, Dean, Clark and Joe

Darius Rucker with Jane

Joe with Little Jimmy Dickens

Ricky Skaggs and friends warm up in a dressing room

Dean's single, "Brothers," continues to do well on the charts, and his first album will be in stores on April 28. It's a good one!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Potpourri and Updates

Well, several folks have said it's time for a new blog, so here are a few odds and ends.

Wendy, the horse with the tumor, seems to be doing better. She's getting fat and sassy, and the swelling in her head seems to be down. Her future is still uncertain, however.


the meantime, we have a new quarter horse (someday we'll buy the whole horse!). She's 6 years old and her name is Rocksy. She's beautiful. The photo below after she was in the mud doesn't do her justice. When we put her out, she kicks and bucks and runs like the wind, but she is also gentle as a lamb and easy to ride. Jane is going to be working with her, and plans to both ride her and show her.


We also have four new parakeets, making our 5 dog-9cat-4 bird-2 horse family complete.

Sophie Blossom. Denny Crane, Mrs. Maggie Murphy, Maximilian Blue

Dean Brody, the artist that my oldest son (Clark) is managing, is making his first Grand Ole Opry appearance on April 17th, and his first album will be released on April 28. Check it out!
Dean Brody

As President of the Union College Alumni Association, I will be one of the speakers at the Union College commencement on May 9. I will be sharing the stage with the main speaker, actress Ashley Judd. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

Ashley Judd

Finally, these old eyes will be having cataract surgery on April 7 and 14.
They tell me I will no longer have to wear glasses for perfect distance vision. Having worn them for more than 50 years, this will be quite a change that I can't yet imagine. We'll see. (No pun intended.)


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Camouflage, Dogs and Hairy Boogers

The National Wild Turkey Federation is meeting at the hotel this week (murderers!). 3,000 people walking around in camouflage with turkey calls.....Today a lady at the hotel was wearing a t-shirt that said "Hug a dog." So I hugged her, and she slapped me.....One lady on my boat today had a huge hairy booger hanging out of her nose. A couple people who saw it said it was a nose ring that had gotten twisted around. I'm sure it was a hairy booger.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Scam Update

He's in jail!! Thanks to great followup by the original investigating officer!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


People who trust can sometimes get scammed. I admit it. We were too trusting, and we were scammed. What makes it even worse is that we have all heard stories about this exact kind of thing.

We have a lot of cracks in our driveway.

Yesterday Jane and I both happened to be home when a very nice looking, very polite, man came to our door. He said he had completed a driveway installation and had some materials left over which he didn’t want to have to dispose of. He offered to “spray seal” our driveway for $300. I told him we couldn’t afford that. Then he said if we would put one of his signs in our yard to help him get business, he would do it for $250. Jane and I discussed it, and since we are getting a tax refund, it sounded like a good deal, so we agreed.

He made a phone call and a second truck soon appeared with his “son” (?) and a third man, and they began busily sweeping and cleaning the driveway. He said this was a spray procedure and would not take long to complete.

Later he came to the door to get his check, and gave me a receipt that had a phone number on it to call him if there were any problems. He said he had to get a sign from one of his other jobs, and would bring it back and set it up. He said the cracks were still showing, but the sealer would expand over night to fill the cracks.

When he left we went out to look at the driveway and it looked like someone had just sprayed oil on it. So, too late, we began to realize this must have been a scam.

I went to the internet to look up his name, figuring he probably used a fake one, and this would be a dead end. Lo and behold, there he was – GLEN STAMPER – two articles about him scamming people in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

We immediately called the police. While waiting for the police, I looked at my checking account on the internet and the $250 check had been cashed within 20 minutes!

The police officer found his picture and info about him on his computer. He said the man was wanted in several states, and if we ever saw him again, we should call 911 and report him as a fugitive. The officer also called the number that was written on the receipt, and it was a disconnected number.

This is where it gets even more interesting. And very frustrating, as though we were being screwed a second time!

There is a Motel 6 behind a Mexican restaurant where we sometimes eat. Some friends whom we had told about the incident happened to notice his two trucks parked at that motel! The friends called us, and we called 911 while our friends watched from a distance.

Police came. They looked at the trucks. They went to the office. They came back and knocked on a door. No answer. They went to the office again.

Our friends decided to talk to one of the police officers to tell them they knew about the situation and see what was going on. The police actually saw that the man was walking around right there in the parking lot, but said they could find no Tennessee warrants, so they couldn’t do anything! This, after the investigating officer had taken our complaint and said there were warrants in several states!!

I called the police station and asked to speak to our investigating officer. They said he was not on duty and they could not take a message unless he was on duty. I looked up his name in the phone book and found three listings. Two were not the right number and I left a message at the third number.

We called the warrants department. They told us they couldn’t find anything. They told us to call the main police headquarters. The police department said to call the Warrants Department! After we explained that we had done that and were now going in circles, they said we should talk to the Desk Sergeant at our local precinct. After figuring out the correct precinct, they said they would call the dispatcher, who would call the desk sergeant, and the desk sergeant would call me back. That was over an hour ago. We’re still waiting.

Being scammed by the crook was bad enough. But after finding him, calling 911 as were told to do by the investigating officer, and then being told they couldn’t do anything….I can’t begin to tell you how that feels!!

Bottom line, we are out $250 due to our trusting (yes, and our gullibility). We found the scammers for the police, who said they couldn’t do anything. And, most certainly, the scammers will be on to a different area tomorrow, if they’ve not left already.

We still want to be able to trust people, and 99 times out of 100 that works out fine. But a lesson learned is that we will never again buy anything from any stranger who knocks at our door. If it’s something we need, we’ll make a call to a person or business of our choosing.

In the meantime, watch out for Glen Stamper and his two white pickup trucks. He might be coming soon to a neighborhood near you!

It just ain't nice to do to old people!


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Reunited With a Most Special Friend

Today I was able to acquire a piece of art that will always hold a special place in my heart. It is a Boehm porcelain figurine of an old friend – and one of the world’s most famous bassos – the legendary Jerome Hines. Incredibly, there were only 12 of these figures ever made, and this bears the mark of #1.

Jerry, as he liked us to call him, was asked to leave his high school choir because he “couldn’t carry a tune.” But his love for music, and subsequent training, made him the leading basso at the Metropolitan Opera for 41 years. His most famous role was the lead in Boris Godunov, which he sang at opera houses worldwide, including a performance at the Bolshoi in Moscow for Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In fact, he carried a message directly from Khruschev to President Kennedy that affirmed Russia would not go to war over Cuba.

A born-again Christian, Jerry composed I Am the Way, an opera on the life of Christ. He sang the role at the Met in 1968 and performed the role many times around the world. I can never forget when I first met him at a dress rehearsal for I Am the Way in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1970’s. He was in full dress for the role of Jesus, and this imposing 6’6” frame “Jesus” staring down at me with his hand on my shoulder left a most indelible impression!

When I was a pastor in Dayton, I had Jerry do a sacred and secular concert as a benefit for the church, which drew about 1,000 people. He spent three days and two nights in my home, and preached for an overflow crowd at my church on Sunday morning. Every time he was in the area, I would call him, or he would call me, and we managed to spend time together.

Jerome Hines was undoubtedly one of the most committed and sincere Christians I have ever known. He touched thousands of lives well beyond his monumental operatic repertoire. He was active with the Salvation Army, and often could be found singing at rescue missions in the Bowery area of New York City and witnessing to drunks, addicts and homeless people.

Jerry battled cancer for a number of years, and literally thanked God for the disease, because it was another opportunity for him to teach others that, for a true believer, nothing can overcome the power and blessings of God.

Jerry believed that death was God’s “perfect healing,” where pain and sorrow are no more, and where we can finally live perfectly with Him in eternity.

My life will never be the same because of him. Jerry died peacefully in 2003 at 81 years of age, two years after his final operatic performance.

So you see, it’s much more than a porcelain figurine. He’s come to stay with us again, as a reminder of his powerful love for Jesus Christ - a shared faith and a shared friendship.