New Dawg In Town – He’s Little But He Has a Big Dawg’s Heart.

hummingbird_579_600x450The pansies finally bit the dust. Like everything in Athens the pansies had a fighting spirit and lasted through the winter, and then some, but about a week ago they began to give up the ghost.

We took them down from a shepherd’s hook that’s tied to one of the posts on the deck and we replaced the pansies with a hummingbird feeder that has a bottle about the size of those old liquor bottles we used to call a fifth. Back then the bottles were all amber. This bottle is bright Bulldawg red.

So this hummingbird shows up and I did not realize, at first, that he owns the house. I quickly learned there was to be no mistake about ownership. He immediately took possession of the deck.

I’m always a little slow to catch on to the happenings around me. I thought he was an innocent little Ruby-Throated Hummingbird who was there for an occasional quaff of the sweet water I had poured in the red feeder bottle.

That was exactly why he was there but he did not come in peace. The trouble erupted in whiz-bang aerial warfare whenever another humming bird came anywhere near his air space. He has protected air space over his feeder and it is definitely a no-fly zone for other hummingbirds.

It was about this time that Katie Mae and I determined he was a Georgia Hummingdawg. He has a bright red throat and black sideburns all the way to the end of his tail. The only thing out of place is that bright iridescent green back but he can be forgiven that touch of unorthodoxy because there’s no doubt he is all Hummingdawg.

He fights like a Bulldawg. He is alert and will even give chase to errant leaves as they have begun falling. He reminds me of an excellent Georgia Bulldog defensive back.

He perches for long periods of time on the top arc of the shepherd’s hook and he is so small he looks like one of the ornamental leaves welded there. Katie Mae named him Little Russ (L.R.) in honor of Uga IX. It is a great joy to watch L.R. at war in the sky behind our house. I have not seen a single hummingbird be successful at getting a sip from that feeder since he took over and I think one of the birds who keeps trying is L.R.’s own poor wife.

It’s a bit disconcerting to think he won’t let his wife have a drink. They are supposed to double their weight before they head out over the Gulf of Mexico to go winter in Central America but maybe he has good reason.

I wish he would stay to cheer the Bulldogs on through this entire season but if he has to go I think I understand. I’m pretty sure I saw his wife walking to the Wal-Mart down the road a couple of times last winter and I’m guessing she had doubled her weight by a micro-ounce or more. If she had become to heavy to fly around the neighborhood then she most likely couldn’t make it to South America.

I think he and some of his pals like to get there and rest up for a few months so they can all be ready for Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. They are usually seen decorating the fruit-filled hat of the Samba Queen at Rio’s Carnival. He hates to miss Carnival two years in a row.

Katie Mae and I just watched L.R. run off three Tufted Titmouses (or is it Titmice?). Each of them was about five times bigger than him and a Titmouse is a small bird. l.R. couldn’t be any bigger than a small woman’s thumb.

I really wish L.R. would stay and help us pull the Dawgs through a perfect season. He could do it. He’s got homegrown Bulldog colors and he certainly fights like a Dawg.

Maybe he’ll stay. I’ve got a feeling Georgia’s football season is going to be a lot more fascinating and exciting than any Samba festival in South America.

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Georgia Survives Honey Boo-Boo. Read the Stats.

I know this is going to be hard to believe but there is a group out there named Public Policy Polling and the hard-to-believe part is they just polled 520 Georgians to find the percentage of folks with a favorable impression (or unfavorable impression) of Honey-Boo-Boo.

Part of the hard-to-believe of it all is that anyone would waste valuable time going around polling innocent bystanders with dumb questions about Honey-Boo-Boo but It’s a given that there are no smart questions about her so all the questions are mindless..

Now I know you can’t stand the suspense so I’ll go ahead and share with you that 8% of Georgians have a favorable impression of the show. I can just see someone asking a good-ole-boy from Georgia if he favors Honey-Boo-Boo and the first thing he says is, “Ahh, hell no, I don’t look nothing like her.” After being corrected on the meaning of the word favor, he and his wife or girlfriend is asked the question again and they both look at the ground for a minute, throw up their hands and say, “Well we reckon she’s all right as long as none of them git nekkid.” That’s about it for the “favorable impression” part.

68% of Georgians have an unfavorable impression of Honey-Boo-Boo. My guess, in this case, is that an unfavorable impression means those being asked the stupid question had serious gag reflex reactions. That means 353 and one-half people went to seriously gagging when questioned.

It must be tough as nails to be a pollster and have 353 and one-half people gagging in front of you. The article did not mention where the Public Policy Polling employees ate their noon day meal on that busy work day. My guess is they skipped lunch because they didn’t have much of an appetite.

The great news is that 125 people appeared to have no opinion at all and were not shown as respondents in the poll figures. Once again, I’m guessing, but I’ll bet you that 125 people either ignored or threatened to kill the pollsters. It was truly the worse day in US polling history, what with the poll employees being totally ignored or threatened with death plus being subjected to all that uncontrollable gagging.

This makes me proud to be a Georgian. Out of 520 people only 41 and one-half gave some glimmer of a favorable impression of the Honey-Boo-Boo show. I think that half-person was maybe extremely short.

The useful part of this poll, if there is anything useful at all about it, is you can use it to estimate the degree of personal danger you might encounter if you must be in a crowd.

Use this rule of thumb (in Georgia). If you are in a crowd of 100 people there will be only slightly more than eight fruitcakes you have to keep an eye on. These eight and a half nitwits do not have a suitable, generally favorable impression of real life as we know it. The one-half fruitcake is also to be watched, even more closely, because he is extremely short and you could easily overlook him.

Watch yourself out there.

 

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Athens, GA – The Great “Classic City” Bar-B-Q Festival

 

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Karen, Paul, Rebecca, Amanda, Ken, Mike “Big Dawg” Woods, Kay, Ben and Matt

Major Q’s Barbeque Team Comes to Athens.

There is always something going on in Athens but if you have stumbled head first past your seventh decade, it takes something really special to make you push up out of that broken-down old easy chair, try to clean up your head and face and step out the door to go downtown.

It was the Classic City Bar-B-Que Festival calling us and it was hosted by the fine folks at the Classic Center who along with many Athenians are always looking for a way to raise money for charity. I have never seen so many people so willing to give their money to a noble cause and it just makes living in Athens that much more fun.

We were graciously invited by Major Q’s Bar-B-Q team to come out Friday evening and we not only got to watch them set up for Saturday’s Bar-B-Q competion but we were invited to eat supper with them.

Major Q is Ken Holland, Major, USAF (Ret.) and he is one of the most, “In Charge” kind of guys I have ever met. Since he and his lovely wife, Karen, were so blessed with two very bright and beautiful daughters it only makes good sense that his Bar-B-Q team stalwarts consist of himself and a bevy of beautiful women. The pretty and intelligent daughters are Rebecca and Amanda.

Their back-ups are Matthew Wosotowsky who so capably won the hand of Ken and Karen’s youngest daughter, Amanda, in marriage a few years back and my son (Katy Mae actually had the most to do with him being, “My Son”) Paul who is Matthew’s good friend.

I still have a childlike fascination with gadgetry and Ken Holland had enough strange apparati (my word for apparatus) to keep somebody like me confused, confounded and puzzled for months.

All those cookers, smokers and grills could keep a pyromaniac happy for weeks. This was the first annual Barbeque Festival for Athens but if this is any indication of great things to come, there will be great things to come.

The facilities are excellent for such a festival. Major Ken had his truck drawn up close to an area he had covered in chairs and tents and tables and coolers and food and more food. His cooker and grill are an integral part of the trailer he had behind his truck and he even had nice cots to crash and burn in once the evening grew long. He never had to take more than a dozen steps to get his hands on the food, the drink and, once in a while, the utensils.

I, being the senior citizen, am the only one who came near to crashing and burning. Isn’t it inspiring to watch young people work and not get tired? One of the best parts was the nice bathroom facilities inside the Classic Center. I am getting old and bathroom facilities within limping distance are wonderful.

Major Ken had the girls working in such sisterly synchronism I was amazed. I had never seen sisters work that hard while being that close together without trying to kill each other. They never even raised their voices. They worked quietly (I know that’s hard to believe) and efficiently and their daddy worked in the same orderly fashion. He never raised his voice but he had the remarkable ability to hear practically everything that was going on around him.

I learned a few new things but I can’t share it all or he would have to kill me. There are many secrets in the barbeque festival competition and one team may be constantly trying to learn the other team’s secrets. They even have a name for this surreptitious eavesdropping. It’s called shigging. They innocently come around your cook site and try to learn all about your sauce secrets. It has to be done in a sneaky manner. They can’t just outright ask you. It has to be shady shigging.

I also did not know that you can take one of those machines that people use to package and seal food when they intend to freeze it and you can seal precooked meat in a marinade inside until you have let it marinate to your satisfaction and you’re ready to cook it. It makes good sense so that’s probably why I never thought of it.

This particular competition was sanctioned by The Kansas City Barbecue Society and your entries had to include chicken, brisket, ribs and pork butt. I understand the KSBS prefers an entry have a sweet taste so that’s what the Major Q Team was looking for and as far as I am concerned they found it right out there behind the Classic Center where Major Ken had his wagons circled.

One of the evening’s highlights was a visit from Mike “The Big Dawg” Woods. We had pictures made with him and he helped us call the Dawgs until we got it right.

Katie Mae and I had the best time we have had in a while. I didn’t stop eating the entire five or six hours I was there. When I was about to bust from the chicken wings in two different sauces and the chicken thighs stuffed with a spinach and cream cheese concoction, Major Ken broke out the really serious meat. He had a beef tenderloin so good I kept both hands on my plate the best I could because I was aware Paul and Matthew were in close proximity to my chair and they were like young wolves leering at my steak.

In a true team effort the Major Q Bar-B-Q team helped me get up from my chair and I managed to lumber to the car with Katie Mae towing me. I made my way home with the sweet girl of my dreams with a lingering thought that the best part of the evening was getting to share the Holland recipe for keeping a cool head and a civil tongue in that head to insure you stay cool.

They have a short phrase that goes like this. “Tone and Tude.” I’m not sure if they first coined the phrase or not but I’m giving them credit for it.

What it boils down to is (or how I interpret it) you always stay aware of the tone of voice you use and the attitude you are projecting when addressing others. You will find that things will always go much easier for you and those around you if you watch your “Tone and Tude!”

It reminds me of something a fellow said many years ago to a group of us in a meeting. He said, “There would be a lot less offense given if there were a lot less offense taken.”

 

The Kensley Report, 2013, Athens- Red and Black Soap

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Uncle Ben says this will be a hard work day because today we are going to make some special soap. We have made soap before but it was several years ago and it was in the shape of cute little spiral sea shells and he says it was all too girly because it smelled like the boudoir of a French woman of ill-repute.

I didn’t understand all that but he also said that the soap we made before was all green, blue and aqua girly soap and the soap we were going to make today would be loved by both men and women Bulldawg fans. We were going to make soap in UGA colors. We were going to make Red and Black soap.

He scared me at first because he began pulling all kinds of bags of soap making stuff out of drawers and cabinets in the carport and setting up a grill with gas rings for melting the soap. Then we went inside and he showed me where we really were going to work because we were doing it the easy way by using glycerin and we could melt the glycerin in the microwave. I thought that was great because the carport is not air conditioned.

Uncle Ben had shopped around and found a bunch of small soap molds in the shape of tiny women’s shoes, hand bags and flip flops. We put the glycerin in the microwave and melted it. After we had the glycerin melted we put coloring into the liquid.

It was pretty tough getting enough black dye in the soap to make the finished soap look totally black. Our second effort was much better than the first. The first batch looked a dark gray. The red was easy. We just eyeballed the color as we put it in the mix and we could easily tell when it was bloody Bulldawg red.

We poured it in the little molds and put them in the refrigerator. Later we wound up with about 30 pieces of soap that I divided and placed into small cellophane bags that Aunt Kay had bought along with some really neat tulle I used to make bows at the tops of the bags as I packaged the soap.

Now we had ten bags of red and black soap in the shape of little handbags, shoes and flip flops. There were shoes to please the women and red and black colors to please both men and women. It was beautiful soap. Uncle Ben says the final test is when we find out if anybody else liked the soap as much as we liked it.

We spent the rest of the evening watching three hours of Honey Boo Boo. Paul had come over and he said he didn’t want anybody knowing he had watched Honey-Boo-Boo for three hours. He said he had never seen over three minutes of Honey-Boo-Boo and this prolonged exposure to such idiocy had seriously deteriorated any viable brain cells he might have had remaining.

Uncle Ben stood up and fell over in a swoon. He said he went to the bathroom three times so he could gag privately. He also said something about he would rather watch boar hogs mating in a deep swamp quagmire for 24 straight hours rather than ever see Honey-Boo-Boo again. I’m not sure what that means either but I’m pretty sure you won’t ever be able to catch the Honey-Boo-Boo show at Uncle Ben’s house.

Aunt Kay was more graceful about the whole thing. She slept through it the entire three hours. I think it made her really tired.

Shoes, purses and flip flops for the Red and Black!

Shoes, purses and flip flops for the Red and Black!

Kensley Report #4, 2013 – Who Brought the Dawgs In!

Where is Caesar Dawgustus? This is the most important question you will hear today in downtown Athens. The famous Bulldog statue all decked out in his resplendent Roman imperial trappings is no longer solidly occupying the corner of College Avenue and Broad Street in beautiful downtown Athens.

Where has he gone? Did some of those nutty kids from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina or Auburn abscond with him?

Do you know how many thousands of fine upstanding rock-like students and fans of the University of Georgia have posed with Caesar Dawgustus? You can’t just toss off losing Georgia’s favorite bulldog statue with total silence. Don’t you know he was a bigger attraction for Georgia fans than the sacred arches? Athens had no greater visitor attraction than Caesar Dawgustus.

Rumor had it that the big Dog had to go. There were too many people falling over him. Even sober people were getting tripped up in the masses who rushed to his side for the ultimate UGA photo op. Then there are the big drinkers. There’s no telling how many boys and girls wound up with bad sprains after having one too many and then posing for pictures while unsteadily wobbling on the poor Dog’s back.

Another rumor that surfaced concerns the liability the City of Athens might have for creating what Uncle Ben said used to be called an “attractive nuisance” right in the middle of one of the town’s busiest corners. If you create the attraction that causes injuries to others even though they were the ones acting the fool, you might have to pay for the damages.

Kensley and Caesar Dawgustus

Uncle Ben says you could alleviate that problem by stationing a large policeman on the corner with the Bulldog and have him lightly tap the drunks with a billy club. Then the cop could always claim the drunk attacked him. Uncle Ben says a little clubbing never hurt a drunk and it teaches them how to better comport themselves when out in public.

Uncle Ben has strange ideas and talks funny like that sometimes. That’s why Aunt Kay and I did not take him with us when we went to town looking for the Bulldog statues.

Uncle Ben did share with us the story that is probably the closest to the truth about the thinning out of the Bulldog statues. He said the statues were actually put in place about ten years ago by The Athens-Oconee Junior Woman’s Club. It was a big fund raising effort for the club and they called it, “Who Let the Dawgs Out.”

They ended the project in 2010 and some of the statues were sold to the highest bidders. Their auction raised in excess of $20,000.00 for AIDS Athens.

Uncle Ben said he read that 36 Bulldogs were originally placed in spots around Athens and when they were moved about 40 dogs were relocated but quite a few are still around Athens. You have to go looking for them.

And that is exactly what Aunt Kay and I did. We rode around town until we had found 14 of the big boys and she took my picture with every one of them.

The great news is Caesar Dawgustus is still with us. You can find him out on the Atlanta Highway in the showroom of Phil Hughes Honda and boy is he pampered. I’ll bet not one drunk has fallen over him since he has been in his new home.

Now if Uncle Ben can figure out how to get Caesar’s picture (with me of course) on this blog, you too can see him.

The Kensley Report #3, 2013-UGA Days,Uptown Athens

I think Uncle Ben is really starting to feel his years. He used to be able to sleep past noon and now he wakes up around 8:30 in the morning. That makes it tough on me because I’m used to sleeping past noon. Anyhow, Aunt Kay said we were going into town to check on new students arriving.

She wanted me to see all the hustle and bustle as school begins. She said it would be more fun than a circus coming to town. She was right. Athens streets looked like Chinatown during a New Year’s festival with people weaving in and out on the sidewalks like huge paper dragons. It was amazing to watch. Many of them seemed lost. Uncle Ben said they seemed that way because they were actually lost.

We went into shops selling UGA souvenirs. Aunt Kay and I spent a lot of time looking at all things UGA and Uncle Ben spent a lot of time walking in circles outside the store. He had met a homeless man walking in circles on the sidewalk so he walked with him for a while. Uncle Ben says there are a lot of homeless people in Athens and he told me to avoid looking into the eyes of the homeless because a number of them are mentally unbalanced and we can’t help them much but some of them can hurt us a lot.

As we drove by and parked by the Arches we saw a lot of people taking photographs beneath them. Some of them looked like slobs and some were well dressed. One nice looking well-dressed older guy ran out in front of our car but he stopped and ran back before Uncle Ben could hit him.

When I asked Uncle Ben if he tried to run the man down he said that the arrival of a new school year at UGA does strange things to guys about the age of the man in the street. He said they become suicidal and have death wishes. One death wish is born from the desire to be a young man back in college again (with all those pretty girls around) and another is created by the stark realization of how much college is going to cost a middle-aged man with two children at UGA.

Uncle Ben said he was just going to give the man a little bump with the car and make him appreciate his present existence more. Kind of like a warm and fuzzy reality check he said.

Aunt Kay wanted to take my picture beneath the Arches but I was a little bit shy about getting out and mixing with all those strange people. Uncle Ben said he would get a fire hose out and thin the crowd for me but I was still a bit wary of standing with so many people I didn’t know.

We went down to the BB&T Bank where one of the Bulldog statues is still standing guard over Broad Street and Aunt Kay took my picture with old Number 1 Bulldawg. He has on a leather helmet and they haven’t used those since the late forties so I know he must be in his eighties by now but he still looks like the youngest toughest Bulldog that ever lived. Uncle Ben says that all the young people walking by patting his back and rubbing his head keep him looking young.

We ate a late lunch at the East West Bistro. Aunt Kay went for the All-American Bistro Burger. Uncle Ben had a piece of pork that had been considerably spruced up with spices and garnishes. He said it was an excellent piece of meat. I had the EWB grilled cheese sandwich and I know it’s hard to believe but my grilled cheese sandwich had sliced tomatoes in it. Not only did it have a blend of sharp cheddar and fontina cheeses but it actually had tomatoes.

Uncle Ben said I am the only girl he knows who can eat over ten pounds of tomatoes at one meal as a side dish.

Since Uncle Ben has to have a nap after he eats we decided to go back home.

The last thing I remember hearing him say that evening was he always knew he would turn into a good Christian one day because there was absolutely no way he could have ever been a Muslim.

He says, for one thing,  he loves ,adores and worships women and the second good reason is he will never get over his maddening craving for Brunswick stew, bar-b-cued ribs and pickled-pigs-feet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kensley Report #2 – 2013, Our Lazy Day in Athens.

We didn’t do anything constructive on Thursday after our wild plane ride with Uncle Mel the night before. Actually we had it pretty easy flying up there but we flew on the spur of the moment. That’s why we got there so late and the airport was locked down tight for the night.

We first decided we couldn’t fly because of the bad weather and then the weather cleared and we took off for the Dawson airport. We called Aunt Kay and said we would be there in one hour.

Aunt Kay and Paul and Uncle Ben had just sat down to eat in the Outback restaurant across Athens from the airport. They had to tell the waiter they couldn’t order because they had to leave and meet us at the airport.

After all that hustling around, we did not get to the Athens Airport and unload our baggage until 10:30 PM. It was too late to order from a restaurant so we grabbed a bag of Wendy’s burgers and took them back to the house.

We had no trouble getting back to the house. It was Uncle Mel, Momma and Cason who had all the problems because once they left the Athens Airport to fly back to Dawson the weather got worse. That’s why they had to spend the night in Dothan, Alabama and land in a cow pasture the next morning near Leesburg, Georgia because, once again, they were denied access to the Dawson airport.

It was such a severe strain on me and Uncle Ben for each of us to have to eat three hamburgers and three orders of fries so late at night that it took us all a long time to get to bed. The next morning Paul got up to go to work and Aunt Kay and Uncle Ben got up to drink coffee with him and see him off. I chose to sleep another seven hours because I was still tired and I didn’t want to spoil my first day in Athens. It would have been a disaster if I had exhausted myself two days in a row.

Aunt Kay finally woke me to see if I wanted to ride over to the campus area with Uncle Ben. Miss Anna had called and asked if Uncle Ben could meet a furniture delivery truck and sign for bedding being delivered to a student’s apartment for a friend.

Uncle Ben says it is much easier to find an address you are unfamiliar with if there is another person in the car helping you spot the address. He says you have to drive without running over brand-new UGA students who are all totally lost and, at the same time, you must avoid auto collisions with the rest of them who have been here a while. According to him, the ones who have been here a few months don’t know how to drive without tail-gating your car and having a cell phone permanently stuck in their stone-deaf ears.

He says I wasn’t much help because every time we passed a Volkswagen Beetle I would hit him in the arm and yell, “Punch Buggy!” It took us a while to find the place because he kept hitting me in the arm and yelling, “What’s the address on that house?” I kept punching him in the arm and yelling, “Punch Buggy.”

He said the last time he punched a girl in the nose he was five years old but I came as close to “Punch Nosy” as you can get on that trip.

Luckily I got back into his good graces by reminding him (about the time we got back to the house) that he was supposed to pick up Arnett’s meal and tomatoes and cucumbers for Aunt Kay. We had to turn around and go to a flea market for tomatoes and we could only find Arnett’s Meal at Piggly Wiggly.

The fancy, hoity-toity grocery stores do not carry Arnett’s meal because only old country people , the ones who really know how to fry fish, understand you have to have Arnett’s meal for frying fish. Anyhow that’s what Uncle Ben declares.

Uncle Ben told the ladies at the flea market that I loved tomatoes more than any youngster he had ever met and he wanted to know if they could bring in about two forty pound boxes of tomatoes the next day for me so we could be sure I didn’t feel deprived of one of my favorite foods during my Athens stay. He said their tomatoes came from Thomasville, Georgia and while they were really good tomatoes, the very best tomatoes came from Albany, Georgia. They frowned at him a little but they couldn’t say anything to such a good tomato customer.

Aunt Kay had made one of my favorite soups from Lima beans, sausage, corn and whatever else she puts in it. My Daddy loves it as much as I do. She also made, “to kill for,” lacy edged cornbread and we all ate enough soup and cornbread to kill half a dozen number one pigs. I don’t know what that means. Uncle Ben said that.

Unfortunately, my Daddy was not here to share in the soup and cornbread so, feeling sorry for him, I occasionally snapped a picture of the soup and the cornbread and e-mailed them to him.

After a while he sent me a message back that said, “That’s not funny. Cut it out!” I guess some people just don’t appreciate it when you you make a small thoughtful gesture of kindness to them.

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