Independance Day 2011

July 4, 2011

All that follows in this post is plagiarized.  I’d include an appropriate footnote but don’t remember where it came from.  I occasionally save tidbits that I think may be useful later.  This is one of them.

In 1814, about a week after the city of Washington had been badly burned, British troops moved up to the primary port at Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in the Harbor on September 13th to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes who had been captured during the Washington raid. The two were detained on the ship so as not to warn the Americans while the Royal Navy attempted to bombard Fort McHenry. At dawn on the 14th, Key noted that the huge American flag, which now hangs in the Smithsonian’s American History Museum, was still waving and had not been removed in defeat. The sight inspired him to write a poem titled Defense of Fort McHenry. The poem was eventually set to music that had originally been written by English composer John Stafford Smith for a song titled “The Anacreontic Song”. The end result was the inspiring song now considered the national anthem of the United States of America. It was accepted as such by public demand for the next century or so, but became even more accepted as the national anthem during the World Series of Baseball in 1917 when it was sung in honor of the brave armed forces fighting in the Great War. The World Series performance moved everyone in attendance, and after that it was repeated for every game. Finally, on March 3, 1931, the American Congress proclaimed it as the national anthem, 116 years after it was first written.

You can listen to the music as you read the lyrics by clicking on one of the two versions below.

[cincopa AoDAGrqamyWk]

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave! 


Happy 4th of July.

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Motorhome Club Anniversary

June 23 -26, 2011 Lexana Va

Carolyn and Mann and friends Fred and Maxine Luxton hosted a weekend celebration of the 15th anniversary of Dogwood ( our motorhome club) for a group of about 40 friends at Rockahock in Lexana VA. Things turned out nice and as usual featured food and an abundance of activities with good friends.

[cincopa AMBAorqAmScd]


For anyone interested, more details on the weekend, pictures etc. can be found here or here.

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Duffs Campground

6/ 16 – 18
Friends Larry and Gerry Clark stopped for a nice visit for a couple of days as they traveled home to PA for the summer months. We hadn’t seen them since the fall of last year so we spent a couple of days catching up. Their motor home is a perfect fit at the end of our drive.

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May 2011

May has been a fairly busy month filled with the kind of activities that I didn’t have time to elaborate on. Problems with the website have had it up and down so it’s been down for maintenance. Here’s a summary:

May 29 – Dinner with Lore and Paul Williams

May 24 – 25 Power wash and stain the deck

May 12 -15 Rolex races at VIR with friends Bobby and Barbara Dyke

May 1 – Arts in the Park

May 1 – 31 – Spent spare time working on my Antique Motorcycle. It hasn’t run for the past 7 or 8 years. More on this later

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May Day

I recall as a kid of 10 or 11 years celebrating May at school with a fair.  My part in the celebration was dancing around that silly pole with a dozen or more other kids with ribbon in hand weaving in and out and round and round until the May pole was wrapped.  To this day, I have no idea what it was about other than obedience.  I did as I was told.  Now that I’ve got that rant out of the way, I’ll move on to whats new.

First on the list, Mann resigned his position of Webmaster for the Corvette Club of Richmond.  Of course, a lengthy 2 month notice was given and the intent is to resign the club when the notice is up.  After a couple of years of a variety of frustrations, Mann decided that he’s not a Corvette Club of Richmond kind of guy.  Oh well, our life is rich with a wide variety of other interests all of which are positive experiences so why let a bunch of negativity spoil the fun.

Speaking of fun, our motorhome club rallied at Fort Monroe the weekend of  April 14 -17.  As usual, we had a great time with this group.  For some reason, there’s always a huge emphasis on happy hours, eating and the socializing that goes along with these activities and this long weekend was no exception.  Mother Nature looked on us with favor when we were surrounded by storms spawning tornadoes but were spared.  Carolyn   handles communications for the club.  Read her account here if you’re interested.  You can also click on this image  for a few photos taken at the event.

We usually don’t spend a lot of time talking about things and stuff but every once in a while, something really special comes along.  The Duff household  finally replace the aged TV in the family room with a beautiful new 55″ LED / LCD TV.  Wow!  What a difference!  At the same time, Mann fired DirecTV  and hired Dish Network who provided us with a great high definition satellite setup that features a wonderful Digital Video Recorder.

Easter Sunday, we were blessed with a wonderful holiday meal and the presence of daughters  Amy and Katie, Amy’s husband Scott and Katie’s friend  Rachelle Rios.  Our life is filled with blessings for which we are hugely grateful.


There’s more.  The tires on our primary car, a Jeep Liberty, have grown more and more noisy over the past couple of years.  It’s one of those things that you have to experience to fully appreciate.  The noise level has grown to a point that you can hardly hear yourself think at any speed above 20 MPH.  There’s no hope for any meaningful conversation if the car is moving.  On the other side of all this deafening noise are two people that insist on not being wasteful.  Of course we don’t want to replace tires that aren’t worn out.  There’s still plenty of tread left to pass inspection for another year. On the othe side of this argument was the possibility that our marriage might be suffering because nonsense.  Reason overcame us and we bought new tires.  We didn’t just buy tires, we went nuts and bought 5 new tires never wanting to hear from the old ones again.  Elvis (we name all of our vehicles)  immediately went to the shop for a super duper 4 wheel thrust alignment to be as sure as we possible could that the new tires would remain smooth and silent.  Wow!  This is amazing.  The ride is so smooth and quiet; it’s almost mesmerizing.  It’s marital bliss.

Except for one thing, two days later, the tire monitor indicated low pressure.  It must be a bad sensor or a valve stem is leaking.  Check the photo.   It’s a 6 inch long nail sticking out of our brand new tire.  One step forward, two steps back.  can you imagine the disappointment?  Oh well, that’s why we spring for the road hazard warranty.  Back to the tire shop, repair the new tire and we’re back on the road.  Hopefully time will heal the hurt.

Coming up soon, we have Mothers Day in Portsmouth, a race weekend at Virgina International Raceway for the Rolex race and a visit from friends Larry and Gerry Clark.  More on these later.



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