Friday, June 29, 2007

Home Again!

It is Friday morning, and I am safely home thanks to United Airlines, Ted, and Uncle Olan!

Wyoming was an amazing experience! Although I had visited there once before in 2002, I was reminded of why this area is the most beautiful place on the face of the earth. The pioneers who called the West "God's Country" did not lie. The beauty is stunning, breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and all the adjectives that fail me now. Wyoming does not disappoint. I hope to write more about my experiences later, but I wanted to let everyone know that I'm safely home.

The trip home was "interesting," to say the least. Weather delays for the United aircraft from Denver to Jackson Hole caused the return flight (mine) from Jackson Hole to Denver to be delayed. Then when we arrived in Denver we had to wait on the ramp for lightning in the area to clear. There were several people on the plane who had tight connections. I was one of those people. You should have seen me running from gate B26 to gate B18 to catch my connecting flight to Tampa. April and Carla, I'm sure the airport surveillance video is available. I arrived at the gate panting, and fell over the counter. The agent was so kind when he checked my boarding pass. Although boarding had already ended and the gate had been locked, he made a call and found that the plane was still refueling, and he could let me on board. He sent me on my way with several "God bless yous," and of course I blessed him back.

When I found my seat I gave Carla a call, and she told me Uncle Olan was going to pick me up. I don't know how he got wrangled into driving to Tampa International Airport at 1:00 AM, but I blessed him, too! I love Uncle Olan so much. He has been a second father to me, and he has invested time, money, and energy in me in more ways than I can say. He never fails to tell me he loves me every time he sees me, and he proved his love again last night. Thank you, Uncle Olan. You're the BEST!

Well, I've got lots to do today to catch up before I leave again . . . this time to Israel. I'm suffering from sleep deprivation, and although I need to crash for about two days to catch up, I've got to schedule some time to see the best little boy in the whole world, the one who made me Nathan's Uncle.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Tonight's post will be short. I've got to get up early in the morning to finish cleaning house and packing for my trip to Wyoming. I fly out tomorrow for a week at the American Wilderness Leadership School near Jackson, Wyoming. I applied for this teacher education program in the spring and was selected as one of several teachers sponsored by the local chapter of the Safari Club International for an all expense-paid outdoor experience. The last time I was in Jackson, Wyoming, was summer of 2002 when I did the Green Tortoise 16-day National Parks Loop. The Jackson Hole area, located south of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful regions of the country. I love my Appalachian mountains in North Georgia, but out West the Rockies seem to touch the sky.

I doubt I will have time to post while I am away, but I plan to keep a hand-written journal, and I will post it online with some of the, undoubtedly, thousands of picture I will take.

Until then, my love to everyone . . . especially "you know who!"

Uncle Howie

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Medieval Times

I stayed up past 3:00 AM last night working on this blog, but it was fun. Then, I had difficulty falling asleep, which is rare for me. I got up around 7:30 AM, so needless to say, I didn't put in my eight hours.

I spent the day unpacking from my Georgia trip, catching up on phone business, and organizing for my Wyoming trip. Linda Navicky came by to touch base before I leave. Linda and her daughter, McKenzie, have been my puppy-sitters for years when I travel out of town. Bless them!

Around 5:00 Carla dropped off Bubby (AKA Nathan), and we headed to Kissimmee for the 7:00 performance at Medieval Times. Knowing that the days are numbered until my nephew moves to Jamaica, I am trying to cram in as much uncle/nephew time as possible.

There wasn't much traffic on I-4, but the ticket line was painfully slow. We picked up our reserved tickets and walked into the main hall just as they were calling the yellow
team into the dining and show arena. We made our way to the top section and slid (literally) down the long row to our seats. At first I felt trapped and a bit claustrophobic, but later it became a great excuse to snuggle with Nathan while we watched the show. Knights and wizards, sword fights and horses are right down Nathan's alley. He loved it! The bill of fare was pretty good, too, especially the half roasted chicken. Nathan put a hurting on his baked bird, but he didn't leave the pile of bones like Uncle Howie did. Our Yellow Knight won the tournament in the show, but alas he was cut down by the king's evil brother.

After the show we went to the gift shop, and Nathan picked out a necklace and ring. My nephew is showing an early interest in bling! The king and princess were finishing their photo session as we were paying for Nathan's jewels, so I casually asked him if he wanted to pose for a
picture with them. And he agreed. I was floored! Anyone who knows Nathan knows that he has an aversion to any characters in costume. In case you don't believe me, the proof is right here. -->

The hour-long ride back to Plant City was a great bonding time for us. I asked Bubby several times if he wanted his DVD player or GameBoy, but he said no. And he didn't fall asleep either. We actually talked all the way to DeeDee's house, where I dropped him off so DeeDee and Grandaddy can "make some memories" before he leaves. I got some great sugar before I headed home.

Nathan's name means "Gift of God." He is certainly God's gift to me.

Monday, June 18, 2007

First Posting

Okay, Rhoda, you inspired me! Your blog is amazing!

I don't know if I can keep up with this and not let it dominate my time, but I'm going to give it a try.

I just returned last Saturday from three weeks at my cabin in the North Georgia mountains, and I will be leaving this Thursday for a week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Why I'm initiating a blog at midnight is a mystery to me. I should be getting some sleep, but here goes . . . .

For starters, why is my blog called Nathan's Uncle? I guess out of all the titles that describe me, good or bad, it is the one that makes me the proudest. Yes, Nathan Todd Hood is the cute little guy in the picture. He came into my life July 18, 2001, and my life has never been the same.
He is the son of my only sister, Carla, and my brother-in-law, Todd. This shot of Nathan, by the way, was taken in my back yard when my family came up to the cabin in Blairsville, Georgia, to visit for a few days the week before last.

Although Nathan will probably be a major focus of this blog, I hope to write about many aspects of my life.
For instance, I love the following things: mountains, waterfalls, dogs, choirs, books, music, CDs, movies, singing, reading, poetry, writing, autumn, travel, sandhill cranes, children, family, friends, hot springs, Florida springs, teaching, rain, log cabins, cracker shacks, timber frames, genealogy, libraries, museums, bookstores, reality shows, documentaries, Gaither Homecoming videos, concerts, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, The Amplified Bible, history, castles, cathedrals, cold sheets, gardening, quotes, Oprah, Dr. Phil, the Rambos, Dionne Warwick, Diet Pepsi, eating at Mama's, Fred's Market Restaurant, Outback, Carrabbas, Shells, all things British, Jesus, and lists. This list, by the way, is in no particular order and by no means is it exhaustive.

Later, I'll write a list of things I don't love. I'm sure April will enjoy that one!

Tomorrow I've got to work in my yard a bit, run to Wal-Mart, start packing and making arrangements for my trip, and then I'm taking Nathan to Medieval Times in Kissimmee tomorrow night. So, I guess I will go ahead and close this first entry or posting or whatever you call this thing I'm writing and try to get some sleep.