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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Kids drive down for a refresher course this weekend, to refresh this old soul of mine: Connie-doo and Gabi. Danny, too! Whoopee ti i a! And sister Peggy and…and..Joe Frankie; it’s a wonder I could walk the next day! (Oh, you says I couldn’t? Damn!) August 30, 2012

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120829 Carrollton, Kentucky. General Butler State Park. Bright lights from god. Criptographics.

Just in time to rebuild my faltering electronic empire, daughter Connie and granddaughter Gabi drove down from Lansing last weekend to make my electronic gadgets better!

120829 Two Star Restaurant, General Butler State Park, Carrollton, Kentucky. Another of the miraculous tools that help me get out of the house: a 12 inch fan to blow air full force into my panic attacks. Annnnd it works! Sometimes. Criptographics.

My printer is printing again; thank you, Connie-doo. (This is a week later – printer is NOT working AGAIN) The printer/copier did NOT get back on track sufficiently to get back on line before Connie-doo and Gabi left. Still, if there is enough life left I’m pretty dawned sure it’ll all be okay in a little while.

120901 Gabi baked some cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Saturday. I grabbed me a yum. And what it was wuz yum. Criptographics. Gabifoto.

Connie-doo, aided by CB, returned WIFI control of our computers from the cable company to our own selves and got us back on line.

All the while, Gabi and Connie-doo were going through the throes of back to school blues/agony/excitement. Gabi had waited until the last minute to complete the summer homework for her special advanced classes. Later she emailed that she had finished it all, but that she also discovered it was all unnecessary, that she had mixed a course that required summer work with another (the one she took) which didn’t. She says yes she might pay a tad more attention next year.

Mexican takeout from the Cancun. Danny drove all the way from Detroit to have dinner with us. Steak Fajitas, as usual. Was feeling way out of sorts and so came down fo me brief R&R. By daylight, however, he was back on in the Motor City. Above l-r: Danny, Gabi and Connie-doo. Less than a week after this photo was taken, Danny was admitted to a Detroit hospital for observation. Unfortunately, we have been unable to get a reliable report (as of this writing).

There is an obvious hole there since Jacob has moved to Wyoming. I miss him. Damn, I wish that gal of his had a mom in Kalamazoo, too.

Successfully. Everybody’s back behind a desk chewing on pencil erasers and punching keyboards.

As time goes by, I seem to enjoy their visits ever more et more.

A garden artisan had created the perfect bullfrog out of two wheelbarrows in the hotel’s flower garden. I like it! Thank you, Gabi, for grabbing it (camera) for me.

120829 Flowers. Two Rivers Restaurant Hotel in Carrollton KY’s General Butler State Park. Criptographics. Gabifoto

Friday we all jumped into Tranq and tooled down to Carrollton, Kentucky, to celebrate my sister Peggy’s birthday at the Two Rivers Restaurant. Excellent fried fish and blackberry cobbler. Carrollton’s about halfway between Louisville (where my sister lives) and Cincinnati (where I live).

Good day! It’s good to have family and friends to love and cherish and adore and like, isn’t it?

120831 Happy Birthday Sister Peggy, nor shall we unzip, not even for a pipsqueak!!!! That which once might have been boring was wonderful. Criptographics.

120831 Happy Birthday Sister Peggy, nor shall we unzip, not even for a pipsqueak!!!! That which once might have been boring was wonderful. Criptographics.

En route to Peggy’s birthday luncheon, we stopped for a fresh fruit tort from Servatii’s bakery down the street from our apartment. Only thing better, my opinion, is tiramisu which doesn’t travel well, I’m told.

Family around the table at Two Rivers Restaurant in General Butler State Park, Carrollton, KY. L-R: Joe Frankie, Peggy, me, CB, Connie-doo. (Gabi served as cameraperson of the day). Criptographics.

Thing is, the white beans and cornbread pone she brought me from her own kitchen were worth half a dozen fresh fruit torts. Thank you, sister.

120829 Joe Frankie insists he is not a “talker.” There are those who disagree with him, however. I heard. Criptographics. My sister insists, “I just listen!” 120829

120832 Peggy’s B’day Part in Carrollton KY. My daughter Connie and her daughter Gabi (Gabrielle) also got in their fair share of giggles and clickety clacks. Criptographics. flefoto.

120829 Peggy’s Birthday Party’s server (Wouldn’t you know I’ve forgotten her names, both her birth name and her pseudonym. One of her attributes I admire: she doesn’t act like she’s doing you a favor by waiting on you. Criptographics. flefoto.

t heartily recommend General Butler State Park as a meeting place for lunch or an overnight visit. We’ve been there so many times, I see the beginnings of wheelchair wheel prints on the carpet.

120831 chicory blossoms n plant held by CB tweaked. Another food shortage in the Confederacy during the American Civil War was coffee. Someone discovered that chicory wasn’t coffee but also that it wasn’t too bad for a caffein junkie. Chicory was sometimes mixed with coffee, an extender, and sometimes substituted wholly for coffee. I was kinda shocked when I first learned years ago that those beautiful blue blossoms in ditches and fields everywhere I turned were the same chicory my grandmother’s coffee from the Standard Coffee man was flavored. Some say chicory coffee is favored over plain straight up coffee in New Orleans and southern Louisiana. Chicory. Criptographics. flefoto.

120902 Gabi did some back to school shopping and happened upon some of my favorite colors, like these bright orange britches

Sunday afternoon found us double-dipping, however. Danny drove his shiny blue car down from Detroit to get away from neighborhood hassles for a while.

120902. Chums. CB and Danny. She sometimes can find the words when the rest of us try desperately but futilely; I think he’s lucky to have such a friend. Criptographics. flefoto

“Sometimes it seems the ground rises, the sky falls and the outer walls of Detroit close in on my neighborhood” he said, “feeding my fear that ne’er-do-wells threaten the castle I’ve worked so hard to build and maintain.

“So I get away for a day or two of R&R. After which the visions of total destruction of my neighborhood lightens up a bit and I’m usually fine.”

Despite all the excitement, fear and uncertainty, we were glad to welcome Danny and have him with us for a few hours. Back home, he pronounced all was fine and back on track.

Danny also is one fine Scrabble (copyright til you die) player.


Written by frankieleeee

August 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm

July 8, 2012. Gramma Martha Hopkins Annual Birthday Party Reunion. For me from afar for all my tomorrows. (Hopkins Reunion)

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What if you had a party and nobody came?

Or. What if THEY gave a party and YOU couldn’t come?

The Hopkins Reunion last Sunday in Paris, Tennessee, home of my heart and many who reside in my heart. I didn’t go. I could ‘t. I blame my COPD. Too many hoses, too many machines, too many visiting hospice norses assuring me I’d be in deep doo-doo if I left town and got into trouble out of town because they don’t cover that ground?


Thank goodness, brothr Ronald and niece Sandra took a lot of pictures.

Thank goodness Wanda gathered signatues from everyone which she included in that beautiful card I received in the mail yesterday along with the card and note from Vita.

Sad as I am about losing such a chunk of my life, I am so lucky to have so many friends, so many family members who are also friends.

No cornbread. No black-eyed peas. No blackberry cobbler.

The face of our reunion is changing dramatically. Aunt Maxine died short weeks ago, the oldest of Grandmother’s children,, leaving only Aunt Margaret.

Uncle Willie’s kids seem to have stopped coming after the deaths of their spouses and/or siblings.

Forty showed up Sunday. It looks like there’s a brand new field of beginning seniors who will take up the staff of memory keeping for the Hopkins family.

L-R: lap and folded hands of Joe Frankie Smith, husband of Gramma’s great granddaughter (my sister) Peggy Moody. Gina Hopkins, daughter of Gramma’s cousin, Eli Hopkins. Dana Harvoth, daughter of the late Rebecca Hopkins, daughter of Eli Hopkins. As close to the olden days of rocking on the front porch and swapping stories, keeping them alive for the next year and the next generation. And showing pictures. Pictures. Jump starting our memories of people we used to love as much as ourselves. Or liked a lot. Or knew only slightly in passing. Picture of lives we thought would be with us forever. 120708 Hopkins Reunion, Paris Tn Ronfoto IMG_2010


120708 Hopkins Reunion, Paris Tn Ronfoto IMG_2010 Wanda Green Sykes, the tomato lady (Ron got my tomatoes this year, she see, as I sobbed)

anna lou owens hopkins n spouse Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2020-001 Ronald photo

Barb n doy family2 or dup of 1 Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2032-001 Ron Shot


Barbara Webb and a handsewn quilt in the works at the senior center. A reminder of the quilts Grandmother used to make in the wintertime. I can still see, in my mind’s eye, the big quilting frame hanging from the ceiling, after she had sewedalll those tiny patches into beautiful patterns. Outworn shirts, dresses and god knows what else would rise to the discernible eye. Criptrographics.

Ronphoto. Barb and son and his die and their son. Sandrashot. ParisTN. Jul 8, 2012. Hopkins Reunion. Criiptographics. My earliest memories of Doy, I believe, are in church at Mansfield Baptist Church where all of us went way back then : Uncle Sam and us; Uncle Jay and them and seemed like all of Mansfield wuz Baptists.

Barbra talking to yet unid Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2027-001-1

ben nixes son john warren Nix and two children Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2037-001


cousin elis family Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2030-001

fred n sandi n randy Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012 IMG_2019-001

Hopkins boys n wives Odell Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2035-001

JOE frankie and Hopkins boy Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2017-001

Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2029-001

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Jim Forsythe. Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2014

Joe F et all Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2022-001

Joe Frankie and others. Hopkins Reunion. July 8, 2012. Paris TNIMG_2013

john warren etc better teweaked Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2038-001-1

Kay (far right) sisters n niece Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2015

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not sure thinks its connieowens Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2036-001

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odell n brother n wives nelda and anna Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2034-001

Ozellas family Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2033-001

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Teresa Smith IMG_2016-001

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Written by frankieleeee

July 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Family, Genealogy

(July 4, 2013) Blast! Zowie! Pow! Krak! Kaboooom! Batman and Robin clash over Paris Landing (TN) on July 4th; some of you mistook their aggression for celebratory pops of pure patriotism

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Explosive lanaguare of fealty over what used to be the Tennessee River and which now is the Kentucky Lake at Paris Landing Tennessee State Park. July 4, 2013. Criptographics. fotobyRon

One thing that hasn’t changed since I was a child. Fireworkds. First, sparklers which would do no more harm that burn your fingers, or eyes or arms or your house. Couple years older and we were eligible for cherry bombs which were a real man’s firework: blow open mailboxes, scare the hell outa chickens, other domestic animals and young children who had sense enough to know those things were dangerous. All the way up to the atomic and hydrogen bobs and rocket boosters and such which make the exciting shows of our youth so insignificant. The same people who passed laws forbidding the use of celebratory firecrackers that might injure our young boys and girls, are today themselves playing with the fireworks which, once touched by a flaming match, would destroy civilization, leastwise what we often miscall civilization. Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam, our Frankenstein, but he’s ours, by dabbit!

Written by frankieleeee

July 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm

June 22, 2012 Two Rivers Lodge, General Butler State Park, Carrollton, KY: Thank you!

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It should be illegal, the delight I find in being with friends and kin. Lookee here. Clockwise starting with me: ME, my cousin Fay Evans, her brother and my cousin Johnny Alexander, My sister Peggy Moody Smith, another Alexander girl, Linda who makes the finest blackberry cobbler this side of the great divide, my brother Ronald Moody, (seated) Carol Ann Alexander Norwood who does good wherever she sees road kill and bloody fingers. Criptographics. photo by ronald moody Jun 22, 2012

A big bunch of my family huddled over hoe cake and beans and blackberry cobbler at yer General Butler State Park in Carrollton, Kentucky, the other day. In part, I guess, it was my birthday which had eschewed Jefferson and Leee weeks earlier when Lee was locked in a breathe freeze over in Cincinnati. I do love these people either because it’s intrinsic or because I’m desperately looking (as Arthur Godfrey is said to have done in his lonely dying days) for a friend I can die happy with or mebbe get him or her to drop down the abyss with me to serenade me on the way down. Mebbe JC could soften my landing with some of his soft and sweet songs. But I digress. Again. Don’t I?

June 22, 2013. General Butler State Park, Carrollton KY. Fle n CB at fle’s bday party/gathering at Two Rivers Restaurant. Obviously, two years of dieting gone to hell. Shall I starve myself so I’ll look better when I die or shall I yummy my ass to the grave? More or less on that later methinks. Criptographics

Criptrographics. Jun 22, 2012. General Butler State Park,

The very best days these days are those I can spend with friends and kin. Was it ever thus and I ignored it? Ronald gave me an electronic picture frame for my my death gallery. Here, he’s showing me the Slide show he put together. I watched it intermittently for an entire day and plan to add more and see more more often. Thanks, Ron.

Jun 22, 2012. Criptrographs. Don Norwood, CB & me! Welcoming summer with open arms and stuff. Welcome, you ole Sole, if it wasn’t for the death threats of your humidity, I would fling off my clothes and get me a tan the likes of which even Wee Willie has never seen; instead, you say, “stick it in your nose.” Really?

There was Reanee whom I hadn’t seen in years, since my first marriage when the family used to get together for marathon pitch (card game) battles – I’m told they picked it right up and ploughed straight ahead at Two Rivers.  Reaneee who is actually more related to my first wife, Gerry, than to me and who is closely related to my Alexander cousins, mebbe because she’s an Alexander her own self, being progeny of J-B and Sarah. Reanee recerntly graduated (retired) from the IRS after 32 years, says she may spend the rest of her time playing cards while I straw my death letters all over the place (I’m up to 114 before I did 3 more this morning – does that make it 117?). Reanee and my late brother Jacky were good buddies.

June 22, 2012. Criptographics. Reanee Alexander; and my cousins Carol Ann, Johnny, Linda, Fay. Aunt Louise and Uncle Nolan must done a pretty good job, as did J. B. and Sara Alexander. They all turned out good. Real good.

Truth is I had almost completed this post yesterday (Wednesday), then I discovered all my work had disappeared. Poof! Everything disappeared into thin air. Musta been karma telling me it wasn’t good enough. So, let’s see. Hell, it’s never good enough is it? I wonder if anyone will give a damn about these precious photographs after I die.

June 22, 2012. Father (Joe Frankie in the middle), son (Randy standing on the left) and grandson (Nicholas on the right). Has it been so long since Randy, Nick’s dad Carl and I went on fishing trip to that big reservoir – got some pictures somewhere – and got chased by a beautiful but toothless woman who was caretaker of the bar in the town where we went to replenish beer supplies. STERLING! God, Carl, how many cases did we disappear that weekend?  criptrographics

fotobyRonaldMoody. June 22, 2012. Linin’ up to pay attention. Or to collect for sacrificing precious moments of their lives in General Butler State Park. criptographics

Val and Johnny Alexander who’ve had a much more exciting life (I think) than probably anyone else in the family. Johnny’s the acknowledged  brain of his family. Come to think of it there is no one “brain” in ours. We’re more like the ancient Romans. A triumvirate.  I suspect if you asked any of the three of us, you’d get the same answer, “Heck yes, I’m the brains of this family.

June 22, 2012 Joe Frankie, Johnny, Dwain, Don. criptographics Did I tell you this was my 69th birthday pal rty which had been postponed in April because of illness in the honoree – that would be me.

June 22, 2012. Don Norwood & Joe Frankie Smith. criptographics.

June 22, 2012. Peggy & Charlotte. criptrographics

June 22, 2012. Siblings Carold Ann, Johnny, Linda and Fay. criptographics

June 22, 2012. Johnny, Carol Ann & Reanee check out promotional brochures for the General Butler State Park. The only place you can see BOTH the Kentucky River and the Ohio River. Damn! I missed that: both at the same time. For sure I’m going to look for them next time I’m in, around, or through Carrollton. Criptographics

There’s more to General Butler than meets the eye. One could spend a lifetime in aloneness or escaping the constabulary after raiding a watermelon patch. Most of the rest of the group spent the previous night at the lodge where they played chinese checkers, Scrabble, pitch and parlor games that would… I’m telling you, games that would put a blush on your face as you strained toward the winner’s ribbon.  We can never hearken back to the good ole days but we can blink a couple of times and see some pretty damned wonderful ghosts, eh. Shelling beans by the chimney at Aunt Louise’s. Watching movies under a tent in downtown Puryear with my cousins. Being hoisted upon the bed of a truck to draw the winning lottery tickets (and getting financial reward for the doing) June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012 Criptographics. I’m sorry Joe and other family members who have passed on could not be there for a moment of memory, but gladder ‘n glad I was. I kinda like the blurred effect here caused by my inability to hold my new camera steady,

The Two Rivers Restaurant fare was decent, as usual, if they only learn to cook pinto beans; the hoecakes were good. Johnny says hoecakes come from slave days when for whatever reasons, the bread was actually cooked on the blade of a hoe held over a fire. Grandmother used to make it; I never cared that much about it until I got old, however. This time, it was grreattttt! (Attribution to Tony the Tiger, of course). Carryout is great at Two Rivers! I ordered piece of Blackberry cobbler to go. No charge!

Beat that if you can, Food Network.

If I’m Dying, then why the Hell am I gathering all this mammon in my arms, all this love in my heart and all these people in the corral behind the barn?

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My daughter, Connie-doo, granddaughter Gabe and grandson Jacob have been beating a path around town this past few days, gawking to satisfy their touristic urges, e. g., the Pompeii exhibit over at the train station they call a museum; keeping/getting their bodies in ship at the swimming pool a few blocks away across the street from Lee’s Fried Chicken which they promptly glommed down even as the water dripped unique, if ephemeral, patterns on the sizzling concrete.

Best of all, Connie-doo has begun the long route toward straightening out my iPhone and iPod and Nook and who knows what all. She spent yesterday afternoon at Barnes & Nobles and Apple way cross town fussing first with the Cincinnati traffic, then with Cincinnati shopping crowds and finally with harried salespersons/help(?) persons behind the counters who were so harried or so helpless or so uninspired she had to get her butt out of bed early today to visit Apple again over there again.

Gabi is here babysitting me, waiting with worm-on-tongue with my poison (morphine), my explosive (nitroglycerin), my oxygen masks, pain pills, anxiety combatants, depression fighters, poop enhancers (or should that be encourager), and so damned many breathers and auxiliary breathers that I can’t remember them all. So many that I don’t have a couple of coffee breaks a day. NOOOOO. It’s 10 medicine breaks… ten ten ten … which tell me time and again…. ten ten ten… start all over… again again again… start all over again and again and again.

Sometimes I begin the morrow’s task way behind the end of yesterday’s entry of effort and output.

Gabi seems always happy to take time out from her Kindle to put things together for me, tasks that once seemed second nature to me but are no buried in frustration.

What seems to be happening here is that the kids come down and play AND put my toys back together; go home for a few weeks, then, at my harried summons, come back to play for a few days and put my toys back together…. so I can do the likes of emailing with my iPhone and sorting out my iPod….borrow books electronically from the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Library (may require acquisition of a Kindle to do this… to supplement my Nook).

Instructions can be so damned confusing that I have, on occasion, pitched gadgets into the garbage. The gadgets I have now seem serviceable except for my deep, dark ignorance. And many of my friends agree, verbal instructions from the far East don’t help much. I called one guy in India (or Pakistan) about borrowing library books with my Nook. Talked for more than two hours with him until…until..until…. he advised me to call my internet provider, get a new network password AND START ALL OVER AGAIN.

Written by frankieleeee

June 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Family


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HAPPY father’s day to me. My daughter brought Jacob and Gabi down to celebrate. CB will lead us to a cool country club buffet, if you like country club buffets. Later, looks like the kids will see a DAY in POMPEII at the museum, thanks to some Cincinnati family help. Wish I could go….. Hell, man, how many wishes does it take to fill this blog anyhow?


The country club, as usual, had the best hot pepper eggs omelet I’ve ever had, and the fresh fruit and that stuff that comes out miced oatmeal and sausage (goetta) was superb. On the near side of the other side of nowhere…. but we found it and left in one piece.

Nothin like family folks, I suspect that is especially true when you think that string is preternaturally getting shorter and shorter.

Written by frankieleeee

June 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Family, Hospice

March 1947. Newspaper article watered down version of our mom’s death by drunken driver near Puryear

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It occurs to me as I face my own demise that I never learned how softly they slapped Sam Garrett’s wrist after he rammed his car into the rear of our pickup, killing Mom in March 1947. Ronald sent me a story from the Paris Post-intellegencer, a very poor piece, if you ask me. I’ve also asked all who might know the final disposition of the case. Henry County ought be ashamed for the waited they treated poor people in those days. No horsewhips allowed, they whined. Mummies be damned!

My mom looking typically World War II in my imagination. I’m told I was her nemesis, defying, sticking my tongue waaay out in defiance.  Poor Mom. (studio photo. date unknown)

March 1947. Ruby Gordon Sutton Moody killed in car crash involving drunk driving.

Written by frankieleeee

May 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

Posted in Family