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Archive for the ‘My Family’ Category

Branson On The Road

 

Mom was really enjoying the attention.

 

Debbie Horton

This past weekend, Laurie and I treated my mother, Ruth Smail Miller and my step father, Bob Miller to a concert at the Palace Theater in Greensburg, PA. My mother, and Bob, enjoy this band from Branson, Missouri called Branson On The Road.  They watch them perform on television on the RFD Channel.

Cliff Boone

I called my mother upon learning the band would be close and she jumped at the chance to see them again.

The band consists of three musicians and singers doing classic country music. This event, was a Christmas special. Debbie Horton is a great rhythm guitar player. She put in all the chords to Christmas songs. Christmas songs often do not fit what many musicians consider “normal” when chords are used. She got him! She has a beautiful voice, too.

Cliff Boone played lead guitar, mandolin, and five-string banjo, as well as vocals. He does a very good job on all of them.

Brain Capps plays an upright bass using the “slap bass” technique. he did an excellent job.

I told the band that my mother’s 88th birthday is on December 6th.  They all praised her and congratulated her. They said she looked great, and mom does!  The event and time with family was a well spent time together.

Brian Capps

 

 

 

 

 

Bob and Debbie

To learn more about this band visit: http://www.bransonontheroad.com

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Quincy

Quincy and Susie

Quincy was a ferret. This is the third one we have had over the last twenty years. the sad part of a ferret is the fact of living only around seven to nine  years.  Quincy turned eight years old last August.

Quincy began to show his age a little over a year ago. I noticed the cloudiness in his eyes. As time moved along he began to miss his littler boxes. In recent weeks it was visible to see his hind legs not moving as well.  This morning a trip was made to the vets. Quincy went peaceable and quick.

Quincy was a bad boy in his younger days. He hated closed doors and would scratch the carpet at times in an attempt to open the door. Another trait he had was when play time arrived he may scratch at your feet as to tell you; C’mon let’s play chase. He loved big envelopes and plastic grocery bags. Quincy would crawl into them and push them ahead as he moved across the carpet. He would sometimes do these ferret dances across the floor as he hopped and jumped.

He would run up and down the stairs with ease as a younger fellow. recently we needed to be careful with open stairway doors. he would still try to maneuver them and fall down the steps.

He had two special toys he liked very much. One was a black squirrel. Quincy would carry that squirrel around and curl up to sleep with it. Another toy that drove him wild was a dog puppet that the handler would work to make songs ring true. however, the melody was with barks. he would go after anyone using this toy and carry it away to hide.

Yes, we are going to miss Quincy.  Both of these toys were buried along side of Quincy.

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  A secondary place I had planned on visiting on my day trip was the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Fish Hatchery at  Tionesta. This hatchery is along the Allegheny River. I had not been at this hatchery in many, many years. We had stopped, as a family, while traveling to Kinzua Dam to see it and fish. I was a little fellow at the time. I remember seeing aquariums at the hatchery with live fish. I wanted to test my memory and reminisce.

Wild Columbine

The hatchery began operations in 1928. This day employees were working with Walleye and Muskellunge fry. Fingerling Tiger Muskies were, also, available for a future stocking. The workers were very kind and shared information on the process with me. Those little inch and a half Muskie fry will be ready to stock in October as fish around 7-9 inches, possibly more. That is a rapid growth.

 

Allegheny River at Tionesta

I walked down to the Allegheny River and enjoyed memories of fishing here those many years ago. Mergansers were in the area enjoying the sun.

Mergansers

I spotted some Red-spotted Newts in the still water areas. I had seen my first newt of my young life at this very place. I am weird like that for I remember being excited over seeing an amphibian.

 

Callen Run

I traveled cross country towards Belltown. I was heading to the Heath Pump Station Hatchery. This small-scale hatchery is run by the local sportsman’s club. Callen Run is on site. Years ago, my brother-in-law, Bob Hudson and I would always make a trip to see and sometimes fish for the trout. Bob would be killed in a work-related accident in 1988. I had not been there since prior to his passing. Many memories surfaced.

 

A live Muskie…Frankie’s Pal!

I walked along the Clarion River while visiting the hatchery.

 

Ready to bloom!

Pennsylvania’s state flower is the Mountain Laurel. Although some were in full bloom, another week from now would be been

Mountain Laurel

better. These flowers should be about in full array in another week.

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The following letter was printed by the Schenley Distilleries magazine in August 1945. The magazine was called REMARKS OF MERITS. My dad, Allen

Allen K. Smail on the right.

K. Smail, wrote to the company he worked for locally just prior to the war and after the war was over. The Joseph Finch branch was located here at Schenley, Pennsylvania in southern Armstrong County until the early 1980 era. The printed letter was edited for space. Any wording in parenthesis are my extra notes. Dad would have been 94 on June 4, 2017.

Allen K. Smail (I have this uniform.)

Allen Smail, Finch writes: “I really enjoy getting REMARKS OF MERIT. It sort of brightens up these weary days to be able to read about the happenings around there and also to find out what your old buddies are doing. It makes you feel good to know that you are being remembered by the folks back home and you strive all the harder to get your job finished so you can get back to those folks and share in the things you are fighting to preserve… now that it is over over here, we are allowed to tell of our experiences and places where we have been.

In England I was about thirty miles from London at a 9th Air Force Airbase. Being so close to London we were subject to a lot of air raids. Later when the Buzz- Bombs  started coming we were right in “Buzz-Bomb Alley.” We were lucky as none landed on our field but they did drop all around us. From England I flew over to France by C-17 and landed near Paris but moved to Chartres. (D-day 13)I didn’t stay there long, but moved on to a little town in Belgium named Jodigne. I met up with the Buzz-Bombs again. We had between three and four million gallons of gasoline and oil there and with those bombs dropping around I considered it a good place to stay away from. (Buzz-bombs in World War Two were explosive like missiles that would be fueled up and sent towards a target by the Germans. They made a buzzing noise until the fuel was spent. Silence would then tell anyone hearing them that the bomb was now free-falling. My dad told me how frightful it was, especially, once the buzzing stopped.)

We were almost caught in the Bulge last December, however the Germans were stopped in time. (My dad told me he of hearing the artillery, etc.  approximately forty miles away.) I’m now in Frankfurt in Germany working with the Ordnance as a guard. (I have his MP (Military Police) arm band here at home.) I suppose you have heard of the K-9 Corps in the Army. Well, I’m in something similar to that only I’m hooked up with dogs that are used for guards. They are trained to attack and bite any intruder who might wander on your post. It’s just too bad for anyone who doesn’t stop when you halt them.” (My father’s dog was named Wolf.)                                                                                                      

Dad and Wolf. He loved this dog!

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  The day was shaping up into a nice typical spring day. I headed east to go for a hike, but while traveling through Whitesburg, Pennsylvania, I felt an urge to pull into the Whitesburg United Methodist Church. I checked the mirror and quickly turned right into their drive.

I began a slow walk with memorial tombstones on all sides. I picked up a deer antler and placed the “horn” on top of Bob Hudson’s stone. Bob was married to my sister and was killed in a work-related accident in 1987. He was only 31.  The memories started to flow!  The slow gait witnessed my great-grandparent homemade stone. I had never met them. My very own grandparents were here, too. Great uncles and great aunts, cousins and friends all have found their last resting place within these hallowed grounds. Aunts and uncles are resting here.

Finally I arrived at a special memorial stone. The Stars and Stripes hangs beside the stone telling all the person buried at this site was a veteran. The    man name is Allen K. Smail. He was my father passing away on father’s day 1999. I cleaned up around the marker removing many blown leaves that had rested there with him.  Silent words were spoken and some mist in the eyes formed during our talk.  I miss him!

Bloodroot

To my right a small stone is setting. This small stone is for  my sister, Glenna Mae Smail who passed away in infancy in 1962. Many thought bounced around my brain wondering the usual “what ifs.” Would I have had nieces and nephews if she would have survived into womanhood?  I like to think she would have grown into a beautiful woman living a life of joy. Of course, I’ll never know these answers.

I was sad! I continued to walk on familiar grounds to think. I would take a hike along hills and hollows near and around Cherry Run. This area is a place where memories abound for I played, hunted, fished and hiked everywhere.

The woodlands are yet to show much new and refreshed vegetation. I noticed Coltsfoot flowers all over. I had seen my first Coltsfoot of the season way back in February since we witnessed much warmth at the time. Other flowers present were the Spring Beauty and Bloodroot.  Skunk Cabbage is doing well despite recent cold weather.                                      

I saw one deer this day.

Wednesday morning I listened for gobblers at a different place very early and heard none. By 6:30 A.M. I dark cloud bank enveloped the entire area. This may have dampened turkey talk. However, while traveling home in mid-morning I would see a flock of about 15-18 in a field. The clouds had allowed the sun to filter through by mid-morning. I saw six deer.

 

Goldfinch

A Cooper’s Hawk was soaring low through the woods and came to about twelve feet before noticing me and abruptly changing the course of flight.I was blessed to hear and courtship ritual of a Woodcock during the moments at dawn.

I stopped and surprised my mother on the way home.

 

My mother, Ruth Smail Miller

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DSC_0001 Allen K. Smail June 4, 1923 to June 20, 1999. My dad was setting in his car when he had heard of Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor of December 7, 1941. He was drafted in 1942. He was in the European theater returning home in the fall of 1945. I am very proud, and respectful of my dad for I am what I am because of all his efforts to teach me to respect the flag; honor the military, and to never forget what those brave men, and women did to preserve America. I hope America will be able to come through the events happening today.

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Christmas 2015

 

Laurie with her Santa cap!

Laurie with her Santa cap!

On Christmas Day, my small family attacked my old homestead. Those in attendance were my mother Ruth, of course; my step-father, Bob; my sister, Ruthie with her husband Tim; and Laurie, and I! That’s it!

 

My sister, Ruthie with Laurie.

My sister, Ruthie with Laurie.

My mother, Ruth!

My mother, Ruth!

We went about the normal exchange of gifts prior to feasting! We engaged in much laughter, and picking on each other as is our norm.

 

My brother-in-law Tim ...the Ford man!  haha

My brother-in-law Tim …the Ford man! haha

 

Bob Miller, my step father!

Bob Miller, my step father!

Christmas season does bring about some sadness for me. I always attempt to capture those nostalgic feelings of earlier times, and they can not be found.  I remember singing Christmas carols in school including those with a spiritual wording. The attacks on anything of Christ at Christmas tears at my heart. Last year I turned over the Charlie Brown Christmas and Linus’ Biblical reading from the Book of Luke had been edited out.  The passing of my father, Allen in 1999, saddens me. This list can  go on forever. At least, I know in my heart I work with keeping Christ in my Christmas.

Mom modeling her new jammies!

Mom modeling her new jammies!

However, we still enjoy the family functions this time of the year!

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