Monthly Archives: April 2012

Gene Higginbotham Takes Helm of Arkansas Waterways Commission

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I’m very proud of my brother!  Congratulations Gene, I know your hard work and dedication is what got you there!

Arkansas Waterways Commission names new Executive Director
Gene Higginbotham Takes Helm of Arkansas Waterways Commission

LITTLE ROCK, AR (April 26, 2012): Gene Higginbotham has been selected by Arkansas Waterways Commission to replace Keith Garrison, who served as Executive Director for ten years, and retires May 31, 2012.

Before joining Arkansas Waterways Commission, Higginbotham served as Deputy District Director for United States Representative Mike Ross. He also held several staff positions with United States Senator Mark Pryor.

Higginbotham holds degrees from Arkansas State University-Beebe, Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Georgia State University.

“Gene Higginbotham has served as my Deputy District Director for almost 5 years,” said Ross. “While I’m sad to lose a valuable member of my staff, I know the Arkansas Waterways Commission has hired the best person for the job of Executive Director of the Arkansas Waterways Commission. Gene is very knowledgeable of the needs and challenges facing waterways issues and has forged key relationships with important stakeholders like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, numerous Levee Districts, as well as many other organizations. Gene will truly be an asset to the State of Arkansas and the Commission as its next Executive Director.”

“Gene is one of the hardest working people I know,” Pryor said. “He earned the name ‘Road Warrior’ for his tireless effort traveling the state working to help Arkansas communities with their needs. Gene’s experience and enthusiasm will serve the Arkansas Waterways Commission well.”

Arkansas Waterways Commission was established in 1967 to develop, promote, and protect the commercially navigable waterways of Arkansas for waterborne transportation and economic development for the welfare of the people of Arkansas. A 2002 study by Arkansas Waterways Commission, in partnership with the Mack-Blackwell Transportation Center, reported that the water transportation industry impacts the Arkansas economy at $811 million.

Go Fly a Kite!!

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I don’t mean that viciously, I just mean go fly a kite.

For real.

It’s entertaining and exciting when you aren’t trying to untangle them for hours.

Or pull them out of trees.

Or keep them out of power lines.  (Yes, we have power lines on the compound)

Or away from the other kites.  (There is a story behind this, it’s for later though)

What I’m trying to say is, for the 20 minutes the kites were in the air, I spent two hours keeping them untangled.  Poor Tori was fed up.  Hers tangled the most because she had never flown a kite before, or maybe it had been so long since she had, she didn’t remember how.

First, Michael got his up in the air.

Now, Tori is giving it a go.

Wow, Michael’s Angry Bird, is way up there!!!

Way, way, way up there!!  Ringo wants the kite!

Now Tori is finally getting her Angry Bird up in the air!!

Down, and tangled.

While this occured, I went and helped her to untangle it, and I told Michael to go get my kite. Well, he walked to the garage, and never put his kite down. He comes back out into the wind, and the two kites tangle together and he gets mad, winds up all the string (and streamers!!) from both kites together onto one handle, and goes inside. That took me an hour (at least) to untangle, and at times, the Hubs, Tori and Michael had to hold different sections of the strings so we could get them untangled from each other.


I should have taken a picture of that, but I didn’t.

I was angry at the Angry Birds.

I showed her how to get her kite up in the air without having to run, and she was finally getting the hang of it.

Finally, way up in the sky! Good job Tori!

Now, Tori’s Angry Bird is way, way, way up there!

In the end, the inevitable happened. Tori’s blue Angry Bird, lost her streamer to the tree.

It was fun though, and we all spent time together, and that is what’s important. I want my children to have fond memories to look back on one day and tell my descendants!


Painting Vintage Photos

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I found a tutorial over at  for painting vintage photos.  It was surprisingly much easier than I thought, and now I’m hooked on it.  I can’t believe the difference it makes on the old photos.

This is my great grandmother Mollie Davis Harris, whom everyone called Big Momma.  I don’t know what color her eyes were, but I gave her blue eyes like my grandmother.

These next two pictures, I wouldn’t really classify them as vintage, since they are both photos of living people, and they would probably have a thing or two to say to me if I ever, in any way referred to them as vintage, cause their not.  Just sayin’.

This is cousin Robert Cowan as a young man.  Love the jacket.  Do those ever go out of style??

Last but not least, because I had so much fun doing this one, here is cousin Nedra Harris Turney as a baby. What a cutie pie!

So drag out those old photos, and give em’ a re-do in Photoshop. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!

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Martin Family Reunion, 1982 – Ida, Louisiana

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Guest post by Kookie Stanley Hemperley

Martin Family Reunion 1982 - Ida, Louisiana

I wrote this back in ’96 about family reunions.  These days people wouldn’t be pulling out their wallets to show family photos; they’d just pop out their cell phones!


We all gather around, kissing and hugging

While the aroma of fried chicken and apple pie fills the optic and smelling senses

As new babies are introduced to the clan

And older relatives are greeted and offered a helping hand.

Pictures pop from wallets like jacks in boxes

As mid-size kids make their way outside; bored with it all

Dodging Aunt Gracie and her ruby lipstick that leaves behind tell-tale smooch marks, impossible to remove.

Memories of when we were children

Of embarrassing situations,

Some humorous,

Some colorful,

Some we’d rather forget

Are related by a narrator who has them firmly embedded in his mind and on uncanny ability to embellish upon them.

Quite often they’re followed by laughter.

Frequently they are concluded by “not Me!”

Long tables are filled with family recipes, full of calories and cholesterol

Serving dishes vary from Grandma’s black crusted cast iron skillet to a Colonel Sanders’ bucket.

Hands joined, heads bent, someone invokes the blessing of nourishment of bodies and souls, with special thanks for our safe voyages.

Those who have departed on a voyage of another kind are somberly remembered.

A resound “Amen” breaks the silence and the binge begins.

Gray haired women and new brides clear away the dishes.

The older males, refreshed by a breeze under a spreading oak tree, whittle on fallen twigs while balancing on the back legs of straight chairs.

Their creations serve no purpose other than to wile away time or show off a new Buck knife

As younger dads teach the art of flying a kite or how to slide in safely at home plate.

A freckled face boy on a bag swing nearly rams one of the elderly gents as two little girls play Barbies

And two little boys scuffle in the dirt.

The shade grows longer and one by one they load their empty casserole dishes and Igloo coolers for the homeward pilgrimage

With invitations one to another to “come when you can”

Or the echoed refrain of “Same time next year.”

The little girls, shy only hours ago, separate their Barbies.

The little boys, neither of which has a shiner to display as a badge, glare at each other as if to say, “Same time next year.”

The reunion ends as it began with hugs and kisses

And a few teary eyes.

As the family car pulls away, the little girl, squirming in the back seat asks,

“Who was that girl I played with?”

“Your kissin’ cousin,” comes the reply.

Her brother brushes dust from his jeans and rolls his eyes.

“Will I see her again?” asks the little girl.

“Yes, dear.”


“Same time next year.”

The little boys a large toothless grin.

“MA! He’s laughing at me.”

“Am not!”

“Am so!”

“Am not,” he says peering out the rear window while making a grotesque face at the little boy he had tussled with earlier in the day.

Same time next year he thinks; and the grin grows broader.

~Kookie Stanley Hemperley~

Here are a few more photos from this reunion, a great time was had by all.

J. D. and Linda Martin race against Martin kids, Kookie with back to camera, Judy Stanley and David Frossard, Mamie Stanley, Scott and Kelly Hemperley Brown all standing by the tree.

Kookie Stanley Hemperley, Mamie Martin Stanley, Tommy, Stanley, Judy Stanley

Womanless Wedding: Wilburn “Kink” Burge as father of bride holding shotgun, J. D. Martin as Bride, LeRoy Carrell as groom, James Hanson as preacher

Mamie Martin Stanley tossing to Kookie Stanley Hemperley.

Dale LeBlanc and Don Hemperley arrive by boat after fishing before the reunion.

Dixie Carter Hanson with grandchildren and Martha Gingles at the piano present devotional music at the Sunday devotional.

Balloons released to announce the Martin Reunion with notes inside to invite others Martins to join us.


Easter on the Compound

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We had a three day weekend on the compound, and spent a lot of that time working.  It’s hard work to keep a place like this going!  We always try to make the most of it though, and throw some fun in there somehow.

The Hubs was a little forlorn as his children were with their Momma this weekend, but they had a great time and that’s what we want.  Happy kids.

On a sad note, our family lost another member on Good Friday, Thomasene “Tommie” Chapman, who chose this day to go home to the Lord. I know LC, her husband, was waiting with open arms as was our Lord.  Addie and I were going to try and make the trip to go to the visitation tonight, but it just isn’t going to be possible.  We will keep her daughters and their families in our prayers, and we wish we were closer and could be there to support them.

Also, over the weekend, a childhood friend of mine had a son involved in a car crash and they are prolonging his life in order to harvest his organs, per his wishes.  He was just a young man, around my Justin’s age and my heart goes out to his family.  Their family has already suffered many trials this year, so please add them to your prayer list, I would really appreciate it.

You can say what you want about Facebook, but since we couldn’t be with all of our family this past weekend, it is such a blessing to be able to keep up with everyone on there.  Even if we don’t always comment, we are happy to see the goings on in their lives. It seems all our families and friends enjoyed their love ones this weekend in one way or another and we are thankful for that.

The Hubs planted beans, corn, and peas this weekend.  He also planted some tobacco, and he will be doing a post about that soon. Our potatoes are growing, and I even have a couple of pumpkin vines growing.  Man, thinking about pumpkins made me think of fall, and I love fall.  Not that I want to hurry up the year or anything, but man I love fall!!  I have big plans for fall this year!  Man, I love fall!  Ok, sorry.  I shall focus now.

John planting peas, corn and beans

John working on the garden. See the pile of limbs back behind John? That is what I was doing while he was working on the garden. Michael was a great helper and we cleaned up around all the trees in this area of the compound.

Garden No. 2. I can't wait to see the beans, corn and peas. Hopefully we will also plant squash and cucumbers.

All seeds love water!

Knucklehead, man do I wish I had his energy!

I went over to Mom and Dad’s and blew the pollen off of their driveway.  Mainly because if Momma aien’t happy, aien’t nobody happy!  Well,you should know that saying rings true with my Mother.  She can’t remember a lot of things, but she could remember that pollen on her driveway and she wasn’t haven’t it, so over I went.

Now, with Kleenex in one hand, and my inhaler in the other, I would like to thank her.  With those necessities in my hand, I’m typing this up with the two finger hunt and peck!  Thanks Mom!!!  I still love you though, and I will endure this for you anytime.

How about that pollen cloud peeps?

So, while I am contaminating my lungs, guess who has the camera??  You guessed it!  Knucklehead!  And when this happens, you get the following pictures (and the one above):

Knucklehead and his self portrait.

Knucklehead, all I can say is, I'm glad your nose was clean son!

Then, I got the camera back and wanted to get a good picture of him.  This is what I got:

Knucklehead was in a silly mood and would not smile for a normal picture.

I tried to go the whole “Your face will stick like that.” route, but he didn’t care.  He was in rare form this weekend.

So we moved on to our next project:

Coloring Easter Eggs

Knucklehead with his Easter Eggs

Knucklehead, I wonder if he could do that without holding his mouth that way?

Knucklehead can never be serious for longer than, oh, about 30 seconds.

Finally, a smile from Knucklehead, but it was only because he wanted to show off his egg.

That behind us, back outside we went.  Michael decided to ride his dirt bike around the yard for bit.  It’s been a while since he has been on it, so he was being extra careful, but I thought he was in super slow mo.

Knucklehead on his dirt bike

There he goes, but Ringo isn't sure what to think about that! Put your feet up Knucklehead!

Going good now Knucklehead! I didn't get any pictures of him with his feet up, but he did start riding with his feet up after I harped at him. Yes, harped. It's my job. I'm his mother, I harp.

I didn’t get a picture of Michael with his Easter basket because in all honesty, he wasn’t that excited about it.  He laid on the couch for an hour before he ever went over there to see what was in it.  So needless to say, next year, he will get a choc Easter bunny and that’s it.  I will write the Easter Bunny and tell him it is time for him to retire.  I think he’ll be sad.

Knucklehead and Ringo hunting eggs. Knucklehead found eggs, and Ringo found his tennis ball. Ringo was the happiest of the two.

Knucklehead and The Hubs. Michael wouldn't even carry the basket, so what does that tell you??

This was the last egg found. Happy Easter Knucklehead.

Well, that pretty much sums up our weekend.  I just realized we didn’t eat Ham for Easter, and I’m disappointed in that.  I always eat Ham on Easter.  We were so busy, I never even thought about it.    I see a ham in my future.  My very near future.

Until next time…


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