When most people think of a meteor or meteorite hitting the earth, they think of the complete destruction of our planet, because that is the image portrayed by the movies, but the reality is that the earth gets hit quite a bit, and the effects are far from disastrous. What is far more unusual, and in reality, almost non existent, is the probability of a person getting hit by a meteorite, in fact, there may only be one known case of that at all.
The Sylacauga meteorite fell on November 30, 1954, at 12:46 local time in Oak Grove, Alabama, near Sylacauga. It is commonly called the Hodges meteorite because a fragment of it struck Ann Elizabeth Fowler Hodges (1920–1972). It is thought that Hodges is the only person ever hit by a meteorite, and the meteorite, while officially named the Sylacauga meteorite, was nicknamed the Hodges meteorite. As the meteorite made its way to Earth, the 8 1/2 pound grapefruit-sized chunk of space rock crashed through the roof of Hodges’ home, hit large wooden console radio, and ricocheted into her side and hand, while she napped on a couch. It left a nasty bruise, which looks eerily like a meteorite itself. It was the first documented extraterrestrial object to have injured a human being. The 34-year-old woman was badly bruised on one side of her body, but was able to walk. The event received worldwide publicity.
The meteor made a fireball visible from three states as it streaked through the atmosphere, even though it fell early in the afternoon. There were also indications of an air blast, as witnesses described hearing “explosions or loud booms”. The meteorite was confiscated by the Sylacauga police chief who then turned it over to the United States Air Force. Both Hodges and her landlord, Bertie Guy, claimed the rock, Guy’s claim being that it had fallen on her property. There were offers of up to $5,000 for the meteorite. Hodges and Bertie Guy settled, with Hodges paying $500 for the rock. However, by the time it was returned to Hodges, over a year later, public attention had diminished, and they were unable to then find a buyer. Ann Hodges was uncomfortable with the public attention and the stress of the dispute over ownership of the meteorite, so she donated it to the Alabama Museum of Natural History in 1956. The day after the fall, local farmer Julius McKinney came upon the second-largest fragment from the same meteorite. An Indianapolis-based lawyer purchased it for the Smithsonian Institution. The McKinney family was able to use the money to purchase a car and a house.
Upon the entry into the atmosphere, the Sylacauga meteorite fragmented into at least 3 pieces…the Hodges fragment 8.5 pounds that struck Ann Elizabeth Hodges. The McKinney fragment 3.7 pounds was found the next day December 1, 1954 by Julius Kempis McKinney, an African-American farmer who sold the meteorite fragment he found to purchase a car and a house. A third fragment is believed to have impacted somewhere near Childersburg northwest of Oak Grove. The meteoroid came in on the sunward side of the Earth, so when it hit, it had passed the perihelion and was traveling outward from the Sun. Considering the orbit estimations, the best candidate as parent body is 1685 Toro. The Sylacauga meteorite is classified as an ordinary chondrite of H4 group. I don’t suppose Ann Elizabeth Hodges cared what kind it was, just that it almost killed her.
My youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock is in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico this weekend having a special birthday/Valentine’s Day holiday trip, lounging on the beach. It was a special gift from her husband, Chris. They have been married for 35 years, and Chris wanted to give his wife and valentine a special trip to celebrate. So this year they are sitting in 80° weather, while the rest of us are trying to keep warm in 23° weather. I would really be mad at her, if it weren’t for the fact that I think the trip was an awesome idea, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more. The trip is an all inclusive weekend, and so they are feasting on all the wonderful foods there are, and lounging on the beach and the pool, of course. What a wonderful way to relax.
Allyn has worked in the billing department in a medical office in Casper, Wyoming for some time now, and a while back when they reorganized, she was made a supervisor. She works very hard at her job, and this vacation was a welcome break. In her personal life, she is known as “Grandma” these days…a job she doesn’t take lightly. Her grandchildren love gong to see her, and the oldest two, Ethan and Aurora Hadlock often spend Sunday afternoons with Grandma and Grandpa. It’s a great time for everyone, and they never get tired of it. They also have Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore to round of the crew. Adelaide lives here and they get to see her quite often too, but Mackenzie lives in North Carolina, so seeing her takes a bit of planning. Still, those trips are precious, and they all enjoy them, and when it comes to seeing those babies, try keeping the grandparents away for long. For them, family is, after all, the most important thing in their world.
Nevertheless, being a grandma isn’t the only part of being a couple that is important. This weekend is a rest and reconnect weekend. Since the resort is all inclusive and the only place they have to be is the places they want to be. There is nothing to do but relax and enjoy themselves, and I’m really happy that they get to do this, especially when it comes to getting away from the cold Wyoming Winter that is still rearing its ugly head around here right now. I think that for Allyn and Chris the sun, sand, surf, and palm trees is just what the doctor ordered…a weekend in Paradise. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great time on your weekend in Paradise!! We love you!!
Many people today believe that we, as a people, spend far too much time online, on the phone, and otherwise technologically engaged. They believe that the world would be better off without all the technology. I think they have not given enough thought to their idea. We can say. “Let’s get rid of the internet”, but then we would lose the ability to run most businesses. We can say, “Let’s get rid of the telephone”, but again most businesses rely on the phone. Yes, things like television, the internet, radio, and even cell phones are a source of entertainment, but that is not all they are. They keep us informed with important news and weather warnings. They keep us in touch with loved ones, they allow us to place orders for supplies to be brought to our stores, they allow us to provide care for our loved ones who are ill, and to be available to them and to nursing staff at the drop of a hat. So, let’s really explore what it might be like if all technology was gone.
On September 1, 1859, amateur astronomer Richard Carrington went up into his private observatory, which was attached to his country estate outside London. After cranking open the dome’s shutter to reveal the clear blue sky, he pointed his brass telescope toward the sun and began to sketch a cluster of enormous dark spots that freckled its surface. Remember that he couldn’t look online for pictures of what he was seeing, nor could he look online for an explanation of it. Nevertheless, he would soon know more about what he saw than he would ever have wanted to know. Suddenly, Carrington spotted what he described as “two patches of intensely bright and white light” erupting from the sunspots. Five minutes later the fireballs vanished, but within hours their impact would be felt across the globe.
There was not a lot of technology in existence when the largest solar storm on record, dubbed The Carrington Event occurred, but by that evening the ensuing anomaly would be know worldwide. It was not technology that would bring the world to a standstill…but rather the lack of technology. At that time, the greatest form of technology the world had was the telegraph. Other than letters, it was the world’s communication. And now it was gone. Sparks flew from the machines, and caught paper on fire that happened to be nearby. All over the planet, colorful auroras illuminated the nighttime skies, glowing so brightly that birds began to chirp and laborers started their daily chores, believing the sun had begun rising. Some thought the end of the world was upon them. In reality, it was a very large solar storm, and it could happen again. In fact, the Earth has had several close calls in 2012, 2013, and 2014. If one of these solar storms had made a direct hit on the Earth, electrical transformers would have burst into flames, power grids would have gone down and much of our technology would have been fried. Life as we know it would cease to exist…and we would be in that state for quite some time. Earth would be instantly plunged into the dark ages. These kinds of solar storms have hit the Earth many times before, and experts tell us that it will happen again someday.
I realize that many people disagree with my views on technology, and by the way I believe it is vital, including Facebook. Nevertheless, it really is impossible to have some technology without having the social media. People are just naturally inventive. It you invent one thing, someone will invent another. So the next time you decide that we should just get rid of technology, think about what it has done for the medical world, the information highway, and national security. And if that doesn’t make you change your mind, imagine not being able to fill up your car, and the fact that it wouldn’t run if you did. Imagine having no electricity, and no way to get the fuel to run a generator. Yes, there are people who are preparing for just such an event, but there really is no way to prepare for all that would be needed if every system known to man was fried. I believe that instead of doing away with technology, we each need to decide how much time we want to spend on things like Facebook, cell phone games, and television, and stick to our decisions. That part really is up to you.
Until recently, I had never given much thought to historic events concerning Alaska. It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested, but rather that other places occupied my mind. Nevertheless, with the recent trip Bob and I took, Alaska has found a place in my mind and heart. Does that mean I have the Alaska Bug…well maybe, because if you offered me a free trip, I would be there with bells on. That said, I noticed the fact that today is a hugely significant day in Alaska’s history. Alaska became a state on December 7, 1959, the 50th state, Hawaii joined the union on August 21, 1959. It is very strange to think that it took almost 172 years to acquire all 50 states, and the final two joined within my lifetime. In our minds, we rather expect that all the states would have been within the first hundred years of each other, but such was not the case at all. Nevertheless, all but two states were within the first 125 years, with only the last two joining 47 years later.
Alaska was first discovered in 1741 when a Russian expedition led by a Danish navigator named Vitus Bering sighted the Alaskan mainland. Before long Russian hunters were making trips into Alaska, and their presence wreaked havoc on the Aleutian people, who had been relatively disease free prior to their exposure to foreign diseases. The first permanent Russian colony in Alaska was established on Kodiak Island in 1784 by Grigory Sheliknov. Settlements spread across the west coast of North America during the 19th century, with the southernmost fort located near Bodega Bay in California. By the 1820’s, the Russians were spending less and less time in the new world, and the British and Americans were allowed to trade in Alaska…after a few diplomatic conflicts. By the 1860s, Russia was nearly bankrupt, and so they decided to offer Alaska for sale to the United States, because they had expressed an interest earlier. The purchase took place on March 30, 1867 when Secretary of State William H Seward…I wondered where some of the names came from…signed the agreement and the United States purchased Alaska for 7.2 million…which was about two cents an acre…quite a deal really. Nevertheless, the purchase was ridiculed by Congress and the place was called “Seward’s Folly”, “Seward’s Icebox”, and President Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden” for some time. Still, the Senate ratified the purchase of this vast land that measured one fifth of the size of the continental United States.
Settlement of the new territory was very slow. It seemed that people didn’t feel comfortable about this cold, desolate wilderness, where the sun didn’t act like it did in the rest of their world. Nevertheless, all their apprehension was quickly forgotten with the discovery of gold in 1898. People moved to Alaska in droves to try to make their fortune. In my travels to Alaska, I had the opportunity to watch a movie about the Klondike Gold Rush. While people did find gold, it came at a heavy price, and many people paid the ultimate price. This land was an unforgiving place. Those who were not prepared for it’s harshness, soon found out what it took to live there, and not everyone could do so. It didn’t make them less manly, it just wasn’t for everyone…gold or no gold.
Still, those people who came to Alaska and felt an instant connection, knew in their hearts that this harsh, vast wilderness had somehow gotten into their blood. That is how Alaskans feel about their state to this day. Not everyone is cut out for it, and they do have a tendency to laugh and joke a bit about the light weights who go home, but they also understand that the ones who stay are a bit of a rare breed. In years gone by, we would have called them Mountain Men, and I suppose that fits the early Alaskan people, but by the same token, they would not have made it either, had it not been for the wisdom of the Aleutian people concerning their health. There weren’t all kinds of things like antibiotics, and immune system boosters then. And fruits and such were not plentiful either. But the Aleutian people knew of ways to get vitamin C and other things to prevent disease. Even so, at that time, people did not stay permanently in Alaska. They summered there. Many people still do. They just don’t like the winters there. And yet, if you look, there are areas of Alaska…along the coast, like Anchorage that is actually warmer than places like Chicago. Of course, the interior just doesn’t fall into the warm category, with temperatures reported as low as -65° is some places. I think I might want to get out of there for the winter too. Nevertheless, Alaska is an amazing state, and one that I would love to visit again. Not only is it big in size, but everything there seems huge. The mountains are amazing, and the glaciers awe inspiring. If you ever get the chance to visit our 49th state, it is a trip you will never forget…believe me.
Since I was a kid, my eyes have been very sensitive to bright sunlight. I learned to wear sunglasses at a rather young age and as an adult, I continue to wear them. Looking back, I recall a time when my Mom had a really bad headache, and I gave her my sunglasses. Her headache went away. That was proof positive to me that some people are more light sensitive than others, because I know a lot of people who never bother with sunglasses, while others must have them.
Kids are no different, of course, they just have a way of showing it that is a little bit more funny, like the time our family took a trip through Beartooth Pass. It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day, and we stopped at the top. As you all know, picture taking in sunglasses is not the way to see the face of the subject. Nevertheless, picture taking without the needed sunglasses, is not always easy…nor does it always have the desired outcome. Still, it can be quite funny. I have looked at this picture many times, but never really paid close attention to Amy’s face in it. She, on the other hand, caught it the minute I showed it to her. There she was, face all scrunched up in a serious squint, while Corrie and I managed to keep our eyes open. Her comment to the whole thing was, “It was just too bright, I guess.” And so it was. Looking at the beautiful view with the sun at our backs worked very well, but facing into the bright sunlight for the picture…not so much.
Bob had the same problem when he was a little kid, and his mom was taking a picture of him and his two older sisters, Marlyce and Debbie. While the girls had no easy time of keeping their eyes open, Bob found it to be an impossible task. Nevertheless, he did manage a smile, even with his scrunched up eyes. Really, I think those scrunched up smiles are just a cute as they can be, and it shows that the child is really trying to smile, but some things, like opening your eyes in the bright sunlight, are just impossible. And most of us can totally relate, because it always seems to me that the minute they get the pose right, someone isn’t looking at the camera, or smiling, or their hair is in their face. By the time everyone is ready, your eyes are watering, and your are having trouble seeing anything, because of the bright sunlight that has been shining in your eyes for far too long.
Babies are by far the funniest though, because you can’t convince them to keep looking at you, and they don’t mind letting you know just what they think of you making them look into the bright sunlight. Nevertheless, they will look over at you again, every time you call their name, and then look away immediately. That was Bob’s little sister, Jennifer’s problem in this picture. She tried several times to look at the camera, as is evidenced by the fact that there are several pictures taken at the same time, but she was doomed to fail, or simply close her eyes, because it was just too bright outside that day. It’s funny, when you think about it, that we always try to take pictures where the subject is facing into the sun, but mostly all we get are scrunched up faces. Maybe we should opt for a spot that is just a little less bright. Hmmmmmm!!
So often, we don’t realize what our parents did for us until they are gone. It isn’t the big, notable things that hit us that way, but rather the subtle things they did. And when you think about it, you realize that it was the subtle things that mattered the most. My dad was the kind of person who held himself to a standard all his life. It was a standard that he imposed on himself. It involved things like kindness, decency, morality, and honesty. Dad was a gentleman, and you always knew he would be. You could count on it, even when you felt that it wasn’t warranted or deserved by the receiver. That’s just how Dad was. He chose to be kind and understanding even when the receiver should have been chewed out without mercy. I know this is all true, because I have been on the receiving end of his acts of kindness, and I have been told that I needed to act that way toward others…which wasn’t something that usually excited me much. It rubbed me the wrong way to give mercy for injustice, but through the years Dad’s lessons soaked in a little, and I think I do find it easier now to be forgiving, whether people deserve it or not. I can tell you, however, the journey to that place has not always been without a few rocky places in the road. Nevertheless, my dad mellowed my temper with his ways, and while I’m not as successful at the mercy for injustice thing, I try to follow his example to this day.
One thing about my dad that has always stayed in my head, and I’m quite certain that is because he had to pound it in there, is forgiveness. Dad was one to say that you should “never let the sun go down on your wrath” and he took that very literally. We were allowed to argue with each other pretty much to our hearts content, provided it didn’t get to the point of driving our parents insane. We were even allowed to argue, or as I called it, debate with our parents to a degree…one which my sisters will tell you, I took much further than they ever dared. No matter how the fight ended, you always knew that at some point Dad was going to come to you and say that you had to make up with your sister or mom. You didn’t have to say the other was right…just that you loved them too much to let those differences of opinion come between you and carry into the next day. And, Dad held himself to that same standard. It never failed. After he finally got done with my…debating…and finally told me that was enough…and I knew it was, too, he would still come to me after he had cooled down, and told me that he loved me and didn’t want us to “let the sun go down on our wrath” so we needed to make up. It was very comforting to know that no matter what you did, or how mad it made him, before the day was over, things would be ok again, and always before bedtime. That is something that has stayed with me all my life, although I can’t say that I have been as perfect at it as my dad was. It is a process, and you just have to work at it. No one is perfect at policing themselves all the time.
The lessons my dad taught to his girls, are what have formed us into the people we are today. And yes, my mom taught us many lessons over the years too that have stayed with us throughout our lives, but that is a story for another day. When I think of my dad, I see a soft spoken man, who never promoted himself, but rather lifted up those around him. He was a man who assured you that everything was going to be ok. You knew that no matter what the problem was, Dad would always love you. You couldn’t do anything bad enough to change that. To him, that was just being a dad. And that knowledge has made all the difference. If Dad were still with us, he would be 89 years old today. Happy birthday in Heaven Dad. While we miss you terribly, we are so thankful that we know where you are, and that you are having the time of your life. We will see you again someday. We love you more than words can ever express.
Through these past few years, I have been looking through my family’s old pictures, and while many are still of unknown people, many have now been named. The funny thing is that while some were completely unknown, some were ones I was sure were my dad and his siblings. This one in particular, was one I had thought was my Uncle Bill, my Aunt Ruth, and my dad, but my sister, Cheryl didn’t think so. Then when she looked again,she realized that it was. Neither Cheryl nor my cousin, Shirley was sure of all the people at first, but then realized it was.
I have been looking at that picture for a while now, and wanting to write about these 3 little kids who were so cute and looked so much like my aunt, uncle and my dad, but without the identities of the children for sure, I couldn’t write about it. The picture is taken in front of what appears to me to be a one room schoolhouse. I think that mostly because of the difference in the ages of the three children, and the friends who were in it before I cropped it.
My dad is the younger boy and the one who, while trying to smile, seems to be the most bothered by the sun in his face. Most of us try to smile without squinting, but little kids have more trouble with such things…or maybe it is a boy thing, since my Aunt Ruth doesn’t seem to be having a problem.
I am excited at this find, as I am about all old pictures of my family and especially my dad. I feel a closeness to my dad and my past every time I come across these pictures. I loved school, and so the one room schoolhouse is especially interesting to me. I have often wondered what it would have been like to attend such a school, and I think it is very cool that my dad did. I guess the past isn’t so far back as it seems sometimes.
As much as I dislike snow, and the inevitable wind that always seems to come with it, there are times when, if I have just a moment of free time, and if I stop long enough, I can look at the snow and possibly see something beautiful. It’s hard to do that though…slow down…look around…stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Everything in life these days demands a hectic schedule. Every day I try to cram everything I need to do into a day that doesn’t have enough moments in it, let alone hours.
I had just such a moment on New Years Eve. I had the day off, and Bob had to work. I still had my caregiving duties, but I had a little bit of quiet time late in the morning. I took a look outside, and there it was. The wind had quit. The snow was a little bit windblown, but smooth in many ways. The sun had come out and was shining brightly on the snow. The air was cold…frigid really, but it didn’t matter. I stepped outside, and looked at the snow. The sun was so bright, it made my eyes water, but I still couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
The snow was beautiful, but looking deeper I saw what the snow tries to hide from those who just casually glance at it. So often we miss the deep inner beauty of the snow. There in front of my eyes I saw the riches of the snow…the gems that it had been hiding…snow diamonds. “What”, you might ask, “are snow diamonds?” Well, they are not just ice crystals sparkling in the sunshine. They are much more than that. They are the little glimmer of hope that no matter how heavy our burdens are…no matter how tough our job or our life is…there are still beautiful things around us that can lift our spirits, brighten our days, soothe our souls, and mend the brokenness that comes from a life that is lived far too often in a hurry.
As I stood there in the crisp cold air, looking once more at the beauty that had been pointed out to me by my Lord, in an effort to show me the things He has made that I might have missed, I felt a warmth inside me…a smile that started in my heart and after making a brief stop in my consciousness, it came to rest on my face. I closed my eyes so I could fix the image in my memory. With their beauty, the snow diamonds had completed their appointed work. They had lifted this caregiver’s spirit…brightened my day…and made me feel like I could breathe again.
Today, my niece, Toni will marry her best friend, Dave. I am so happy for both of them. They will be married on a beach in Kauai, Hawaii, in the warm sun, with temperatures around the 80’s. The day will be as beautiful as the couple standing on that beach dedicating their lives to one another for the rest of their lives.
The road to Hawaii has been a road Toni and Dave have traveled over the past several years. I have watched their relationship grow and blossom during that time. They just seemed to click from the start. I have never seen Toni look happier. My beautiful niece literally glowed with happiness. I didn’t know Dave very well then, but I could see how good he was to Toni…how good he was for her, and I liked him immediately. Dave always looked so happy around Toni, and I could tell that she was changing his life forever…they were changing each others lives forever.
So, today is the day…the moment that they will say “I do” and become husband and wife. The excitement travels through the air from Hawaii to Wyoming, because while we are not there on that beach with them physically, our hearts are sharing in the joyous event that is taking place on that beautiful beach so far away. Our minds will wonder if the event has taken place yet, because while we know the day, we do not know the time of the wedding. We look forward to seeing the pictures they will take, and their glowing faces, and then they will go forward as a married couple to spend time seeing the sights and then home to begin their married life together. We pray God’s greatest blessings over their marriage and their little family, and wish for them all the best. Congratulations to you Mr. and Mrs. Chase on this your wedding day. Have a lovely honeymoon. We all love you very much!!
I love looking at my family’s old pictures. It makes me wonder about the way things were in years past. One of the things that stands out to me is the clothing. Kids of all generations think that the clothes they wear are totally new fashion, and I suppose some of it was, but like it or not, there really is no new thing under the sun. The styles of today, were once the styles of yesteryear. Everything from long skirts, to pants, to mini skirts, to shorts has been worn before. It is so strange to look back, and see styles that girls have worn in the very recent past or even today, showing up in the 1800’s or the early 1900’s. In fact, I was amazed to see girls in either a mini skirt or a skirted bathing suit, with heels on. Now is the 1800’s, there would have been a name for girls like that, but in the 1920’s, after World War I ended, and the flapper came into being, the attitude in this country was so festive, that things were allowed that had not been very acceptable in times past.
When I think back on my own fashion statements as a kid, the jeans went from straight legged to bells, to big bells. They went from tight, to skinny, to bells that started at the top of the tight. We also went from Capri’s to shorts, to never wearing shorts, and from never wearing plaid to plaid was totally in style. Skirts went from long to midi to mini. And with each change, we were certain that we had started a totally new trend. Even some of the really outlandish trends of today are not originals. The really low cut pants the boys wear today, were actually started in men’s prisons, to let the other prisoners know that the convict was “open for business” if you can believe it. That in itself would make me refuse to wear that style…how about you? And of course, what girl hasn’t been told that she needs to leave something to the imagination, and yet in some of the eras of the past, showing more than half of the bosom was not only accepted, but the only fashion there was for women to wear!!
So, would we be shocked if someone came into a room is a style from the past, or would we not even notice, because they fit right in. I like to think that showing half of the bosom would shock us, but then we are used to men showing half of the butt these days. So, would we be surprised? I think we might not. In my opinion, the only thing that might surprise anyone, would be if the person was dressed up too much, not how much they were showing. A girl in high school wearing a lacy dress, with a high collar, and mid-length skirt would undoubtedly bring stares from all those around her. Styles do change, and we must change with them to a degree, or at the very least, learn to live with the latest fashion statements that each new generations is bound to come up with…or resurrect.