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Showing posts from October, 2008

A New Passion

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Here I am pictured at my grave site at the Northwood Cemetery in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. All I need now is a headstone. I haven't decided yet on what I want for my permanent memorial. I do know that I want something unique for my counterpart next century who will be researching me. Yep, my new passion (actually an old one that I've revived) is cemetery trolling. I don't know why, but I've always enjoyed walking through a cemetery (preferably on a nice sunny day - not at night) and reading headstones. I can't explain it, but I feel a sense of completeness when I read the headstones and wonder about the people below and their history, their life. I first started exploring cemeteries looking for dates to back up my genealogical research. However, I soon discovered a relaxing karma (no better way to explain it), as I walked and communed with the departed. Recently I discovered a web site devoted entirely to graves called Find A Grave.com . How ironic to discover tha

Veteran's Care

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A short time ago, I returned from the Veterans Medical Center in Wilmington, Delaware . My appointment today was with the urologist. This was a followup to my kidney stone problem. Again, I was very impressed with the quality of care that I receive from the Veterans Administration. About ten years ago, I applied for my Veterans Administration card as insurance in case I was left without medical insurance. At that time I didn't that it was likely that I would ever find the need to use the Veterans Administration for my medical care. Little did I know. In 2001 I changed my job where I was covered with full medical care to a consultant job with no medical care insurance. Fortunately for me I had medical care with the VA which enabled me to work as a consultant. Also, lucky for me that I applied to the VA for medical care, because when the Bush administration took office, one of their first actions was instruct the VA to stop advertising medical benefits that was available for veter

A Letter To A Friend

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Below is a letter (e-mail) I sent to a long time friend this morning in reference to our disagreement on which presidential candidate to vote for this year. Most of all my friends and all of my family disagree with my choice to vote for Barack Obama for president. Most of them have one thing in common: they are from my previous life (before I retired to Delaware.) Most of my friends in Delaware have the same political view that I have - liberal. Much of my view has to do with me being a gay man. Since my former political party has made me unwelcome in their party by word and action, I had to join the Democratic party by default. This action on my part has put me into disagreement with all of my family and most of my friends from Pennsylvania and my workplaces. This morning I received an e-mail from a good friend (and former boss) which states simply: "We'll have to agree to disagree who we vote for president." However, that doesn't mean that we can't remain fri

Find A Grave.com

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My distant cousin (our great-great-great-fathers were brothers) TimTipton has a passion. He searches for Tipton graves to take pictures for his book he hopes to publish in the future. For many years I have also trolled through cemeteries in search of my Tipton ancestors. I have also search for my maternal ancestors, the Hadfields and Hickmans. Over the years I have accumulated a many pictures. I have also discovered facts that surprised me. For instance, I found my maternal great-great grandfather and grandmother's graves less than a mile from my Pennsylvania home. If I hadn't began my grave search, I would never have known this Find A Grave.com . Finding this web site is like finding a chest of treasure at the end of the rainbow. Yes, I admit it. I am weird. Hey, another good friend, Larry Meredith also like to troll through cemeteries. Larry and I have made several such expeditions in the past. Now here is the best part. This morning I was reading the background information

Find a Grave

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Recently, while enmeshed in my Tipton genealogy research, my cousin Tim Tipton from Tennessee told me about the web site Find A Grave.com . I checked it out and now I have a new passion. I've always loved roaming through graveyards, searching for family member headstones. I envy Tim, because he lives in Tennessee where there are literally thousands of Tiptons buried in that area of the country. Here in Pennsylvania, I have a much more limited number of Tiptons. However, I also have many members of my Mother's side of my family, the Hadfields, Hickmans, and Weavers. Now that I'm living in Delaware, my search for family members is severely limited. I doubt if I can find any of my family in the area where I live, Sussex County, Delaware. I've checked the phone book and I see where there are some Tiptons. I'll have to give them a call and find out if any of them know of their ancestors. That is another field of genealogy research that I have to plow. I get no

The Harvest Is In

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Last August, while shopping at my local Ace Hardware, I spotted a forlorn six pack of plum tomato plants on a rack in their garden department. I don't have a vegetable garden but I do have several raised flower beds. Looking at that dried out six pack of young tomato plants, I thought "why don't I rescue these orphan plants?" I think the pack cost me .75 cents. A minimal amount. In fact, they might have even given them to me for free. I planted those six plants behind my zinnias, marigolds and herb plants. It wasn't too long until these six orphan plants grew into large, vigorous healthy tomato plants, covered with yellow blossoms. Now I'm reaping the harvest, at least 100 plum tomatoes. I'm here to tell you nothing tastes as good as one's own home grown tomatoes. If there is any problem, it is that they all are ripening at the same time. I'm inundated with bright red, plump plum tomatoes. Already I've made several batches of homemade tomato

Go Phillies!

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Go Phillies! I know, I know. I'm being very provincial here. But hey, I've been a Phillies fan since the Fifties! And as a long suffering Phillies fan I've been through the ups and downs (many) of the Phillies baseball team. The worst time was back in 1964 when the Phillies only needed one game to win the pennant and they lost every game at the end of the season. That's when I lost interest in the Phillies. I regained that interest again when they won the World Series in 1980. That was Nirvana for me. My life was complete. The Phillies won the World Series! I remember exactly where I was when Tug McGraw struck out the last Toronto Blue Jay. I was in my fourth floor apartment on 2200 block of Spruce Street in center city Philadelphia. After Tug whiffed out that last Blue Jay, a tremendous cheeer erupted from all those apartments along Spruce Street. I looked out my window and I saw Phillies fans streaming out of their apartments into the streets. It was wonderful! I

Only 17 Days To Go

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Only 17 days to go to the presidential election. Obama is in the lead. However, he cautions his followers not to get complacent. Get out and vote. It is well known that the young and minorities vote in lesser percentages than older voters. Even though the Democratic registrations are way up, that doesn't necessarily mean they they will actually go to the polls and vote. The McCain/Palin campaign are pulling out all the stops now. The robocalls have begun which, non to subtly, accuse Obama of being a terrorist. McCain and Palin are continuing the Big Lie that if Obama if election, the middle class will have their taxes increased. McCain has trotted out Joe The Plumber (who in reality turns out to be Sam the Contractor - he doesn't actually have a plumbing license, his name is "Samuel J.", and he has a tax lien on his house - obviously Joe the Plumber doesn't like to pay taxes, something he has in common with the McCain Republicans.) How anybody could vote for fo

My Room

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My room. A simple statement but it means so much to me. My room is my bedroom. It is my oasis. It is where I escape from the world. My room is what I have worked for these many years. Growing up, I shared a bed with my two younger brothers. My Mother tells us that she would put me and my brothers as babies in a communal basket. For a year or two when I was nine years old I shared a bed with my Uncle Sam. At that time my Uncle Sam was a teenager and still going to school. His mom and dad has passed on (my paternal grandparents) and he was living with us until he finished school. I could not wait until I had my own bed. I finally achieved that goal when I was 12 years old and received a fold away bed for Christmas. I still shared a room with my two younger brothers but I finally had my own bed. The summer of 1958 I finally achieved my dream, my very own bedroom. My parents had built a small ranch house (1,100 square feet) with three bedrooms. My parents had the master bedroom (such a

Visit By The Monarchs

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The last few days I have noticed that my butterfly bushes have been visited by two monarch butterflies . My butterfly bushes must be on the flyway for these beautiful creatures of nature. they certainly are welcome visitors to my garden since my birds have long gone to their winter home. The weather this fall so far has been exceptionally beautiful. Earlier today I was outside, trimming the grass around the plantings that line my back yard. My home in Pennsylvania I had twenty five years to build a backyard wildlife habitat for my friends in nature. With my new home here in Delaware I literally started with a blank slate. Almost one acre of open horse pasture. This is my second year at my retirement home in Delaware. Only two years into building my new backyard habitat and already I have a wide variety of visitors from my friends in nature. Some of these visitors are the same as I had in my Pennsylvania and some are different. Here in my Delaware backyard habitat I do not have nutha

A Sweet Song

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The stock market is down, the presidential campaign is descending further in the gutter because of the McCain/Palin dishonest, angry and negative campaign tactics, and increasing concern about my Mother's health weigh heavily on me. However, the new day dawned at my beautiful home here in southern Delaware. Last night I had a good long conversation with my fellow genealogist and friend from Tennessee. We talked well into the night. In fact it was 1:30 AM in the morning before we realized what time it was. In addition to being a distant cousin (our common ancestor is our great-great-great-great grandfather "Major" Jonathan Tipton 1750-1833) we also have the same political views and sexual orientation. We have a lot in common. My cousin brought up the subject of Billy Tipton , a jazz musician who lived her life as a man. He told me how a few years ago Billy Tipton's adopted son called him about information as to how he was related to the Tipton family. Ironically, th

Getting Back In The Groove

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Day Two of my regular routine since my six week stint of working full time. It is nice to wake up at my usual time of 6 AM and turning on "Morning Joe" and watch Joe Scarborough make a fool out of himself (one of my favorite past times) and watch his guests discuss the political landscape of the day. I love the freedom of rolling out of the bed when I feel like it. That's what retirement is all about, freedom. Even though I work part time, I still feel the freedom. That freedom was lost when I work full time. During my six week marathon run of working full time, my garden maintenance fell behind. Also, I wasn't able to make my usual daily blog entries. My other activities that I had to suspend was cooking and cleaning the house. All back on track now. Yesterday, I made an absolutely delicious dish from my crop of tomatoes. When I lived in Pennsylvania, I couldn't grow tomatoes because I lived in the middle of the woods. I didn't get enough sun to grow veget

The Bates Motel

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Remember the old Alfred Hitchcock movie "Psycho?" The dark and brooding image of the Bates Motel silhouetted on a hill in the nighttime sky was one of the stars of that movie. I was reminded of the spookiness of the Bates Motel while doing my rounds last night at my place of toil for pay in Lewes, Delaware. Ah yes, I was working again last night. I thought I finished my six week run of temporary full time employment with my Sunday nighttime duties. Alas, it was not to be. The gentleman who took my hours on Monday night called in about an hour before work to inform the assistant manager that he threw his back out (always a convenient excuse) and would be unable to come into work. The assistant manager thus made a call to me asking me if I would mind coming in. It is not in my nature to refuse to help (probably my downfall too.) So, in for one more go round. It wasn't busy last night, the hotel only having one guest. It was a quiet night. Much too quiet. The hours dragg

Wednesday Night Outing

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The tourist season is over and now it is time for our friends to get together again. This evening we met at the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach. Attendees included Wayne, Paul, Jack, John, Jack, Bob and me. Last year Wayne and I began this tradition by meeting at the Purple Parrot on Sunday night for the prime rib special. That meeting grew to include Bob and Harvey (who didn't attend tonight because he was on one of his many cruises), Paul and Jack. Newcomers John and Jack (another Jack) joined the group tonight. All are welcome. It's ironic that this late in our lives that we have all formed this camaraderie. This is quite different from when I first used to go out to gay bars. Back in "the day" it was all about cruising. It was about sexual encounters. Not now. And maybe that is a good thing. Friendship is so much more important now. My brother belong to a large fundamentalist church in Greenville, South Carolina. He and his church members always refer to their

They Are Gone!

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First day of my last week of working full time at the hotel. It was a good day. Tonight I'm meeting friends at the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach to renew our weekly get together. While we residents all appreciate the seasonal visitors and the money they bring to our economy, it is good to get our town back. The well kept secret of the Rehoboth Beach area of Slower Lower Delaware, it that the weather is just fine after Labor Day. Don't tell Them (the tourists.) I remember well years ago what I overheard one Labor Day weekend in Provincetown, Massachusetts. I used to vacation several times over the summer at Cape Cod. I always thought the waiters and waitresses were glad to see me, the Big Tipper. What I overheard that night at the restaurant where I was stuffing my face was a waiter say to his friend another waiter "Thank God They will be gone this week!" WHAT? I felt Unwanted. To quote David Letterman when John McCain stood him up last week, I felt like an Ugly D