Tag Archive: family

Welcome, Jack Marshall!

Jack Marshall

Jack Marshall
photo by Kathryn Caddell Marshall

One of the reasons we headed to Washington DC last week was to see my niece, Katie, who was expecting her first child early September. Well, little Jack wouldn’t wait that long. So, welcome to the world, Jackson David Marshall, born August 20 at about 3:30. Mother and baby are doing great. Jack was 7lbs 2oz, 19.5 inches long at birth. I have shamelessly stolen these photos from Katie’s Facebook page.

Katie’s mom, Glynda, had just gotten back from DC, too. When Katie went into labor she had to make quick plans for a return trip, and I was going to drive her to the airport. When I pulled up to Glynda’s house, Jack had just been born, and Katie was on Facetime with her mom. I got to meet Jack mere moments after he entered this world, via telepresence.

Here’s a shot of the happy family…

Marshall Family

…and here’s a shot of Glynda with her new grandchild once she finally made it to DC…

Glynda and Jack

Glynda and I both joked that “Jack Marshall” sounds like the name of a character from a David Baldacci book – “Jack Marshall – CIA Operative”. Welcome to the world, Jack. Even if the CIA isn’t in your future, I’m sure that plenty of adventures await.

Fourth in Florida


Indian River Evening-002

Been a busy week. We headed down to Florida to Laura’s sister’s house for the Fourth holiday. The days at Amy’s have been spent on day trips, but mostly paddling out on the Indian River. I have fallen woefully behind on blogging. I’ve got a couple of ghost town reports and other write-ups to finish. Until then, here’s a slide show of what we’ve been doing over the past week or so…

Remembering John Ellenberg



Last night I got the call from my brother. Our first cousin, John Ellenberg, had been killed in a plane crash in Alaska on Friday. John was 74. He was flying with his fiance, Laurie Buckner, who was also killed in the crash. Here’s a link to the news report from one of the local television stations. A third person piloting the plane was also killed.

John was an entrepreneur, but was first and foremost an avid pilot. His background was in chemical engineering, so he hit it off with Laura. John was also an airplane broker buying and selling planes. I had the privilege of flying with him on several occasions.

I really didn’t get to know John until I was an adult.  John got to be very close with the Taylor side of the family. We considered him another brother, and he often came to our various family events.

Cynthia and John
John blowing out candles
Preparing for departure
Glynda John Tom
John and Mom

John had one daughter, Michele, and two grandkids. His loss is tragic and shocking. I could keep on recounting fun times we had, but right now I’m just trying to cope with his leaving us so suddenly.

John piloting

John’s favorite poem was “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee. Reagan read this poem after the Challenger disaster, and I think it’s especially appropriate here.

High Flight by John Magee

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunwards I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a thousand things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air,
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of god.

Goodbye, Cousin John. I trust you are soaring to even greater heights.

John on take off 2

Christmas Gear


Christmas 2012

This year we spent Christmas in Greenville. Instead of traveling to Florida like we usually do, Laura’s sister and mother came up to visit us. The foggy Christmas morning was spent opening gifts and relaxing.

Since I’ve been so obsessed with time-lapse lately, I decided to do one of our gift giving routine. Here’s a short video…

The entire video was created on an iPad 2. I used the iMotion app shot a 1 frame every five seconds. I used the Garage Band app and an Akai LPK25 keyboard to record the music, and I used the iMovie app to add titles and mix everything together. (more…)

A Virginia Wedding


Katie and Aaron

This weekend Laura and I traveled to Virginia to see our niece, Katie, get married. Katie and Aaron had dated on and off for ten years, and had decided on was better than off, and decided to make it permanent.

We left Friday afternoon and drove part of the way up, spending the night on the road in North Carolina. I had been fighting a cold all week and coughing badly. I let Laura drive a good bit of the way, and it was a good thing we stopped for the night.

Saturday we drove on into Roanoke and checked into the Hotel Roanoke. My brother, Stephen tapped my shoulder as we were checking in, and we made plans for lunch.

Hotel Roanoke (more…)

Missing Dad


Dad holding me 1961

Today would have been Dad’s 88th birthday. I thought I would be OK and brave it out on this first birthday without him, but that just didn’t happen. Everywhere around I see reminders, and it’s hit me harder than I would have thought.

I thought holidays would be bad – the first Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc. While we did miss him on those events, this is worse. Those holidays we have family and friends around to distract, and the emphasis is on other things. A birthday is focused on the individual, which makes their absence even more poignant.

Viewing the D. R. Hill materials yesterday didn’t help one bit. The old photos of schools reminded me of my father’s long career in education. It seemed like he was there at every turn.

Then there was Facebook this morning. The ubiquitous reminder popped up cheerfully stating that today is Houston Taylor’s birthday and reminding me to write on his wall. Several had already done that on his timeline. While I’m glad they have done that, it just made me feel weird, and I couldn’t do it. Writing here doesn’t have the same effect because this is my personal space.

I’ll make it through the day, and there will be plenty of distractions at work to keep me occupied, but I’m sure it will still sneak up on me when I least expect it. Tomorrow I’ll get to see my mother, brothers and sisters and I’m sure there will be a time of remembrance then, too.

So, Happy Birthday, Dad. Wish you were here with us to go on another of those infamous rambling explorations. We miss you.

Goodbye, Oregon Storm Watcher


Uncle Larry

Monday we learned that Laura’s uncle, Larry Plews, had lost his battle with kidney cancer. Uncle Larry was an aerospace engineer, having worked at NASA during the 1960’s, and eventually working at Edwards Air Force Base as a civilian contractor. Larry authored several books on aerospace design and testing.

Upon retiring from Edwards AFB, Uncle Larry and Aunt Ellen sold their house in the Mojave Desert, bought an RV, and spent many years just touring the United States. Larry and Ellen eventually made it to the Southeast, where they were able to spend some time with us, then time with Amy in Florida.

Larry and Ellen eventually settled down in Coos Bay, Oregon. I never saw Larry again, but maintained a close contact with him online. Larry went by the moniker “Oregon Storm Watcher” and his Facebook posts were a fresh dose of progressive thought in the vast sea of conservatism.

Larry enjoyed fishing, walking his dogs on the beach, and even discovered a shipwreck on the beach during one of his walks. I am truly sorry I never got out to Oregon for a visit, but I am happy for the little bit of time I got to spend with him, and the continued interchanges online. Larry was one of a kind, and will truly be missed.

The Unknown Tongue


Speaking in Tongs

A weird chain of events led to an interesting investigation into history tangentially related to my family. This morning I participated in a webinar on the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program, sponsored, in part, by the University of South Carolina Libraries. One of the presenters mentioned the possibility of doing genealogy research using the archive. I decided to try a few search terms associated with my family history to see what I found. I actually didn’t find much about my family, but I did find another tale, full of conflict, misunderstandings, racism, and corruption.

The newspaper archives are hosted on the Library of Congress website as part of their Chronicling America series. The newspapers cover all states from 1836 – 1922. Any family search would have to be within those target dates.

I decided to start with my grandfather, Rev. O. E. Taylor, since he would fit within the tail end of that time frame. I restricted my search to issues of the Laurens Advertiser. Unfortunately, his name didn’t return any hits, even when I expanded it to all newspapers in the state. It did return a Rev. E. O. Taylor, who was an episcopal bishop in the state at the same time.

I changed tactics and started searching for churches where I knew my grandfather had preached, and there I hit pay dirt. The first term I tried was “Long Branch.” I grew up in Long Branch Pentecostal Church, which was founded by my grandfather and which my father later pastored. My grandmother taught at Long Branch School, and I have lots of other relatives in the area. The term returned several hits in The Laurens Advertiser, almost all of them relating to an issue of religion being taught at the public Long Branch School. (more…)

Brothers Retreat at Jocassee – Part Four


Jocassee from Bad Creek Overlook

And so it was only two of us left. Chip had to get back to family, and Stephen had to get back to church. Houston and I got up, had a quick breakfast, then packed up the mountain of remaining food and gear into our trucks. At the Devil’s Fork State Park store we checked out and each bought souvenirs. We both bought copies of Claudia Hembree’s “Jocassee Valley” book, and I bought two more stickers for my kayak.

Sometimes after weekend like this it’s nice to step back and do an overview. We decided to do that quite literally. We left the park and headed up Highway 130 toward the Bad Creek Project. We had taken Laura’s mom up here for a picnic sometime back, and it has fantastic views of Lake Jocassee. This time, on our way up, we encountered a family of turkeys.

Wild Turkeys

At the overlook itself we had clear views of the places we had paddled the day before. We could see where the Whitewater River enters the lake, and even had a view of the Lower Falls. We could also see where we had stopped for lunch and other places along our paddle route.

Jocassee Panorama 2 (more…)

Brothers Retreat at Jocassee – Part Three


Chip, Houston, and Stephen

As we suspected, after our long haul we were not going to be up for a late-night trip. Our nephew, Chip, joined us after work, and we set about the task of putting together dinner. It seems that each of us had brought enough snacks for all of us. There was more food than the four of us could possibly eat. Stephen had prepared venison spaghetti for us, and we followed that up sitting out on the deck of the villa telling family tales and enjoying the evening in general.

The next morning we took our time getting started. We fixed a huge breakfast with grits, eggs, bacon, toast, and more venison, this time in sausage format. It looked a little off-putting, but tasted fine.


Sausage or something else??

With such a gluttonous start, it was hard to imagine another paddling trip, but we headed out anyway. Stephen, Houston, and I walked down to where our boats were chained and set out. We would meet Chip at the boat ramp, where he would have his boat and the rest of our gear for the day. (more…)

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