Family: May 2005 Archives

The little one is with her grandparents, so this evening my wife, my eight-year-old son, and I went to see "Revenge of the Sith" -- the second time for him, first time for us.

So we were in the van, leaving the movie theatre parking lot. I asked him if he noticed anything he missed the first time.


Did he notice any Biblical parallels, anything that reminded him of things in the Bible?

"Well, it's kind of like Tulsa."

(Not the path I was trying to go down, but all right....) How so?

"Bill LaFortune is like Senator Palpatine."

(A moment to suppress convulsive laughter....) He is? What do you mean?

"Everyone thought he'd be good at first, but then he made some bad choices, and then they finally found out he was on the wrong side."

A bit later: "And he's also like Senator Palpatine because he tells each person what they want to hear."

After assuring our lad that we weren't laughing at him -- we were laughing at the notion of Bill LaFortune as a shrewd, cunning Dark Lord of the Sith -- we did think of another parallel. In Episode II, there is a conversation between Anakin and Padme where he praises dictatorship as a way to bring order out of the chaos of democracy. The same theme recurs in Episode III. Here in Tulsa, we have a newspaper editorial board that consistently complains about the disorder of our City Council debates and seeks stability and order. They oppose every effort to give more power to the citizens to determine how we will be governed, and most recently one of their members has called for at-large members of the Council as a way of disconnecting the councilors from the citizens they were elected to represent. The stability and order the Whirled seeks is the stability of central control, a Council of Clones marching in lockstep to the drumbeat of their master.

Democracy and representative government can be a messy thing. Debate, dissent, and disagreement aren't pretty, but a government that is perfectly ordered and perfectly in agreement is one that has been turned to the Dark Side.

I don't think anyone ever took a picture of this, but I can still see it vividly in my mind.

It's morning in Mountain Home, Arkansas, and my grandfather is sitting in a metal lawn chair in the backyard at 529 East 6th Street, a cup of coffee beside him on the table. He's bent over, his elbows resting just above his knees, hands loosely clasped, a cigarette in one hand, looking intently at... what? A blade of grass? A point in mid-air?

I caught myself in just that position (sans cigarette) today.

I used to wonder what that was all about.

I'm pretty sure I understand now.

Eclectic lullabyes

| | Comments (1)

"He has the most eclectic taste in bedtime music," my wife just said. My eight-year-old son is drifting off to sleep to cries of "sit down, John!" from the original Broadway cast album of "1776". For the previous couple of weeks, it was the best of the Chieftains, which Rocky and Rainbow, the hermit crabs, seemed to enjoy. The beating of the bodhrán gets their claws a-clicking. A performance album by the Texas Boy Singers was a favorite for a while. Over the years he's cycled through several albums by Riders in the Sky and Trout Fishing in America, "No!" by They Might Be Giants (also the official soundtrack of last summer's family vacation), and John Rutter's "Three Musical Fables."

My daughter went through a long stretch falling asleep listening to Leonard Bernstein narrating and conducting "Peter and the Wolf" and "Carnival of the Animals." She often goes for more kid-oriented bedtime listening -- there's a CD about Elmo and the orchestra, a collection of Raffi songs performed by country singers, a couple of Wiggles CDs. There's a CD of an orchestra performing Irish tunes, and she asks me to sing "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral" along with the music, which always gets me a little choked up -- my mom used to sing that to me at bedtime, along with "Don't Fence Me In" and "South of the Border."

A long-time favorite CD of both kids -- both have been listening to it since they were babies -- is called "Love A Byes". They still request it from time to time. (It's out of print, sorry to say.)

There's almost always a sung lullabye, too. The boy always wants Mom to sing "Stay Awake," from Disney's "Mary Poppins." Dad is not allowed to substitute. The girl seems to prefer Dad's singing of late, and for a while she wanted songs about dreams, so I would sing "A Kiss to Build a Dream on," or that Everly Brothers tune.

Writing about this is making me a little drowsy....

NOTE: Entry started on May 16, 2005, extended and published on December 1, 2015. I may add to this.

Back in late May and early June 1994, my wife and I spent one week each in Scotland and Ulster. I wrote about our favorite places and where we stayed and posted it on Usenet. Nothing ever completely disappears from the Internet -- those articles can still be found at

Scotland: highlights of a recent visit

Trip to Northern Ireland

There was barely a World Wide Web when we took that trip, but now many of the accommodations and attractions are online. For example:

Leault Farm sheepdog demonstrations near Kingussie, Inverness-shire, Scotland.

Mr & Mrs McPherson B&B, Inveraray, Argyll.

Brownlees Guest House, St Andrews, Fife.

Ashdene House, B&B in Edinburgh.

The Hall Greene farmhouse accommodation near Lifford, Co. Donegal.

The Hall Greene was our favorite place to stay. Mervyn and Jean McKean are wonderful hosts. Active in the Ballylennon Presbyterian Church, they shared our interest in the history of Presbyterianism in Ulster, particularly the region in eastern Donegal called the Laggan, which had been home to my ancestors in the early 18th century. Jean is also a wonderful chef and baker, and we enjoyed all sorts of dainty treats with tea and conversation in the parlor.

We enjoyed our visit to Ulster so much we returned in fall 1995, spending several days at the Hall Greene and several more in Ardara and Narin on the west coast of County Donegal.

We worshipped at Fahan Presbyterian Church, where my ancestor Joseph Reagh had ministered from 1742-1769, before he emigrated to America. After the service, the Lamberton family invited us to Sunday lunch, and then we had dessert (strawberry-rhubarb crumble) with Mr and Mrs Jack Lamberton -- Jack, patriarch of the family, was clerk of the church's session.

One evening, the McKeans invited us along to a time of worship and fellowship at the Presbyterian Church in St. Johnstons. It was in connection with an evangelism outreach sponsored by several area churches.

During our time in and around Ardara, we started at the Bay View Country House, which was nice, but didn't really have a view of the bay. We moved to a very nice B&B called Roan Inish (or click here for another link) in Narin, looking out over a broad sandy beach. Ardara is a center of tweed production, and I bought a beautiful jacket at a ridiculously low price, one I still wear. During our stay we had lunch at the renowned pub known as Nancy's.

Our route back to Belfast took us along the northwest coast of Donegal, with a stop in Ramelton, and the church where Francis Makemie, the father of Presbyterianism in America, was once pastor. In Derry we made a quick visit to the library in search of genealogical information. The two places we'd stayed near Belfast the previous year were unavailable, so we wound up at a B&B near the airport in Templepatrick.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Family category from May 2005.

Family: April 2005 is the previous archive.

Family: June 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]