Cave Dwellings: March 2012
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Thursday, March 29, 2012


  We left Jefferson Monday AM and drove the 100 miles to Hope AR to stay at the Fairgrounds Park …and see the birthplace of William Jefferson Clinton…(yep, another history tour for the Cave Dwellers).   The Fair Park isn’t anything fancy, but it worked for us. We parked in the middle of a grassy area about 11AM and we were the only ones…but by 4PM, there were a couple others.




Just a big open area of grass…and mosquitos!!  We didn’t spend any time sitting outside feeding them, either!!



As it turns out, we drove right by Clinton’s birthplace and never knew it when we entered town…His home was just recently taken over by the National Park Service..and the tour is now free.  They give a tour every 30 minutes 9AM to 4PM…We arrived about 1PM, and we were the only ones there…and the only ones on the tour..I love it when I get a Park Ranger’s undivided attention!..


This home is completely surrounded by fence now and there is only one way into it… through the office and gift store.. It was a real blast from the past for McGyver and me…we are of the same ancient 1950’s vintage…


None of the furnishings are original..If they were, people would be wanting a piece of Clinton history to sell on Ebay..and the break-ins would abound.  Hey, we had that same kitchen sink when we moved into our house we live in now!


These are original letters actually written by the Bill Clinton (I think to his grandma) from college at Georgetown University. The photos are original…and trust me,  Ranger Rick didn’t let McGyver and me out of his sight!!



Virginia, his mother, was a very pretty lady….with her own interesting story.



This is President William Jefferson Clinton’s bedroom as a little boy. Note the Hopalong Cassidy bedspread.  His grandparents’ last name was Cassidy..Check out the picture on the right of “Hopalong Bill”, with a photo of his hero on his T-shirt!..God, I LOVE this photo!  You just cannot make this stuff up!



Left, his Mother’s room…and right are his Mother and Father.  His birth father, last name Blythe,  was killed in a car accident 3 months before he was born.     When he was killed, “Bill and his mother lived with her parents, James Eldridge Cassidy and Edith Grisham Cassidy in this house.  He spent the first 4 years of his life here in Hope.   They took care of him when his mother went to New Orleans to complete her training as a nurse anesthetist.  Although he went by the name of Clinton from the time his mother remarried, Roger Clinton never formally adopted him.  When Bill Clinton’s younger brother,  Roger Cassidy Clinton, started school, Bill Clinton legally changed his name.”( There is a 10 year difference in Bill and Roger’s age.)

  We really enjoyed the tour, and they had some great photos of him in the office and gift shop area..I love the middle photo below, and especially what it says……




I’m in my element…HISTORY!!!!(Thanks to “Ranger Rick” for taking our photo!)

“…my grandparents and my mother always made me feel I was the most important person in the world to them. Most children will make it if they have just one person who makes them feel that way. I had three.”

~President Bill Clinton.

As you may have guessed, we are back home in Sandwich, IL…On the way home, I got myself a new “smart” phone, as my contract with AT&T was expired…I got me a brand spankin’ new Samsung INFUSE 4G..I have NO idea how to use this thing, let alone how many migs, zigs and bytes it has…I DO know it only cost McGyver $1.00…(somehow I think that was the attractionSarcastic smile).

  I finally figured out how to answer and make calls.  My old “dumb” phone had to be “finger punched”…this “smart” one likes to be brushed lightly with my fingertips.(sounds somewhat voyeuristic, in my opinion).  At any rate, I finally got me a cell phone I can look up to…and I instantly loaded the app Zedge, so I could download some awesome ringtones…Hey!, that’s what it’s all about to me..ringtones!!..You can tell LOTS about a person from their ringtone.  My current ringtone is the NFL football music..but I also downloaded the creepy music from the movie “Halloween”…and the music from “Looneytunes”….See what I mean???

So, now that we are home, the blogs will be fairly mild…Wait a minute…Nothing I do can ever be considered mild, right?..I will try to keep you informed of any excitement in our family….Come to think of it, Easter weekend we will be having the entire family here for a “Cave-apalooza”..Trust me, those are never dull…  Also, McGyver turns 70 this Sunday…April Fool’s Day…and no, I am NOT joking about his age…April 1st IS his birthday!!!

…Soooo, I guess all of you who piled OUT of the GMC can jump in someone else’s..But you better stay tuned here, too!! You just never know what will happen!!

“I like my new telephone, my computer works just fine, my calculator is perfect, but Lord, I miss my mind!” ~Author Unknown

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Last Days At Lake O’ The Pines…and sad news.

  Tomorrow is our last day here at Jefferson and Lake O’ The Pines ..We sure have had a great trip. Tomorrow will consist of stashing, stowing, jamming (no, not that kind), tearing down and cleaning up.  Today was a wonderful sunny day,and I soaked up some of that so my dermatologist will have something to yell at me about.  McGyver and I took a ride into Jefferson one last time.  Actually, our ulterior motive was to stop at Auntie Skinners again.  We heard they were having a motorcycle rally and wanted to be in on “the action”…We were NOT disappointed!!






All the above photos were taken on the street in front of Auntie Skinners’ Riverboat Saloon…and ..of course we went inside for an adult beverage…That place was packed…It was wall to wall helmets, lots of food and beverages, and LOTS of women wearing some serious “bling”!!…We elbowed our way to the bar and had a couple cocktails.  You could hardly get through this place, and we may have been the oldest ones in there..well..McGyver certainly was close!!

Last night we had yet another beautiful sunset….


….and I couldn’t believe my eyes this morning when I opened our shades….We had a Great Blue Heron cruising the shallows just down the hill…I crept outside quietly and he really could have cared less if I was there or not…




Either he has a bad “weave” or a bad attempt at a “comb over” going on with his “do”…Thanks, Mr. Heron, for making my morning!!

  We got some very disturbing and sad news from our daughter, Terrie.  You may remember that she and team of her friends “The Pink Lemon Ladies” are walking the Susan G. Komen walk for Breast Cancer this August..Well, Terrie told us that one of their “Pink Lemon Ladies”  group, Toni Jovanovic O’Donovan, passed away suddenly in her sleep… She was 35 years young, and they still don’t know what happened.  She leaves a  husband and children.…This was a terrible blow to the team, and they are all just overcome with grief…Toni will be missed by many….



Our daughter, Terrie, left….and Toni on the right…Prayers to her family…Terrie posted the following on her Facebook page…and I think this says it all.


Dennis and I will be “incommunicado” from Sunday evening until we get home…Thursday…..Thanks for riding along and I will post from home soon….

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Genealogy..What Does It Mean?

  OK, this is quite a stretch for me, to be serious about a topic for any length of time…I am quite taken with our family Genealogy and it occurs to me to wonder …WHY?..These people are the past..not the future.., many of them long gone, their time has passed.  Why, then, do we want to know MORE about our families?? We have our own families now, what does it matter who, when or where we came from?  I have a feeling there aren’t many of you out there who do not sit and wonder about  your ancestry…and the older we get , the more we find it important to leave a legacy to our current families about our lives.  I also think that the access to records being so available at our fingertips on the computer has created a new interest in Genealogy…it sure has for me….

graduating class 1898scan0014scan0015

Crystal Lake, IL HS Class of 1898, left. (My Grandma is back row standing left. Her waist is smaller than my leg.) Middle photo is Uncle Jr. with his Dad,(Den’s Grandpa), Clarence Bark…and right, is McGyver’s Mom and Dad’s wedding pic..Ben Campbell Cave and Katherine Bark..


My Dad, Don Ross, left. (why didn’t I inherit that musical talent?) My mom, Cora and my Dad, middle. Right is my Uncle Walt and Aunt Edie, ALCAN HWY 1948.

So…..When I found that we were only 40 miles from one of my elusive relatives, McGyver and I made it a point to drive the 40 miles and find his resting place…


I cannot begin to tell you my feelings here…I soooo want to know this man, Eyles Sylvester Harnish.  He was my grandmother’s brother’s son…(her nephew).  For some reason, I cannot find out very much about him. Fortunately, I do have many family pictures of him…Kudos to Grandma (Harnish) Ross for writing on the back of nearly every photo I have of her family!!

Eyle’s Grandfather (my Grandma Ross’s father) is another elusive soul..and how did Eyles and his wife end up buried here in Texas anyway?  Oh, don’t that I have gotten this far, his life will slowly unfold before me, and it is becoming my new “part time job”….Please! Everyone!  Remember to document, on the backs of photos, the dates and names, so your kids and grandkids know WHO the Heck, WHEN the Heck and WHERE the Heck!!…OK, enough said already, I’m getting waaaay too loud.

The rains have finally quit here and we have been reintroduced to the sun.  Hi Dude.   Long time, no see.  Wednesday evening we had our first campfire in 3 days…We were on “cozy cocktail hour” withdrawal..


I took my walk separate from Dennis today.  I take 2 steps to his one step and I swear I walk twice as far!! Plus, I take my camera and we wouldn’t want to compromise his walk time …Is he running in the Chicago Marathon this year??? ….Whatever.


Do you see how green it is here?  This means the mosquitos are quietly plotting.  They are sitting in their little green puddles of standing water as I write, just waiting for nightfall ….and a full frontal attack..And we, the evening campfire Cave Dwellers act like a Trojan Horse, unknowingly bringing the little varmints into the Hiker on our hair, body and clothing..even riding on the edge of our cocktail glasses…Deep Woods Off, you say?  That stuff is nasty and smells like a surgical unit at a hospital…Skin So Soft??? ..tried it…I smelled like a cheap Laundromat and still got bitten….No, McGyver and “moi” choose to sit close to the smoky fire, hoping they cough up a lung,  leaving us aloneFingers crossed.

I know they needed the rain down here though….Just look at these poor dead trees…  




This big tree was totally horizontal, and when the winds and rain came, it just got pulled out of the ground, roots and all…



This sign is posted in many places around the park.  In other words, “Do NOT hurt yourself trying to drag whole dead trees into your campsites for firewood.  We are not responsible for hauling your sorry asses out of the woods,  and do not even MENTION the word lawsuit!!!..”

We are slowly winding down to our last day here.  I took the Hummer feeder down, and also the hanging feeder…The Hummers are late arrivals to our party this year…(actually they were a “no show”)…and I also got tired of fighting the squirrel over sunflower seeds.  He’s not pushing me around any there!!

Thanks to all who read my blogs to the bottom…I understand that some of you are also getting tired of riding in the crowded back seat of the GMC….And to Kenny, who thinks something smells bad back there…NO MORE BEANS FOR YOU!!….

“My ancestors wandered lost in the wilderness for forty years because even in biblical times, men would not stop to ask for directions.”  ~Elayne Boosler