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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Remember Always & Act Often

As a retired, disabled retiree from the U.S. Army I grasp with some clarity both the magnitude captured and personal impact reflected in the following statistics:
  • An estimated 400,000 warriors suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • An estimated 320,000 warriors suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • Over 51,300 warriors suffer from physical injuries.
During  the Vietnam Conflict, with rapid improvements through out this war, the United States demonstrated a marked ability to stabilize our wounded warriors at the point of combat and then rapidly transport them to "in-theater" trauma centers.  As such, many Vietnam veterans owe their lives to the men and women who made this capability work.

Today the United States has a world wide medical reach that can evacuate a wounded solider from an on going point of combat and provide medical treatment during the flight to major medical centers located in the UK and the US.   Within hours from the point at which a solider is wounded, he/she is in a state side hospital in the hands of highly trained doctors armed with state of the art medical equipment and skills.  Because of the medical reach, many of our wounded warriors survive and return to loved ones and family almost in a blink of an eye.

On the one hand, this is a great blessing to those who survive sever wounds in battle but on the other, the rapid transport from the struggle of combat allows little time for a wounded warrior to transition.  One moment there is the great chaos of a pitched battle and the next moment our warrior awakes surrounded by medical devices in the pristine white of a state side hospital room.  No decompression, no after action comradeship, no time to process what has happened to him/her, no time for the adrenalin rush to subside.

As such the number shown above of soldiers dealing with PTSD is not surprising.

The point here is that I want to encourage you to become aware of the unique needs of our wounded soldiers as they work to re-enter civilian life.  Learn what PTSD and how it can reveal itself in our returning heroes.  Be open to supporting organization like The Wounded Warrior Project as well more local groups seeking to support these men and women.

Enough for now - more over time and latter.

Thanks for listening (reading)!
           .         
Dr. Bill Maloney, LTC, US Army Retired

Have a blessed Day. Betty Maloney
Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast
"A State of Mind, A Place of Grace, A Way of Life*"
* Taken from the book, How to be a Better Southerner by Carolyn Kent.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Discover Orienteering in Alabama

 
There are few things more enjoyable than heading out into the wilderness with friends to ramble away an afternoon or longer. The feeling of getting out onto the trails in Huntsville make for a superb way to keep fit, seeing the countryside and spending time with friends and family. Given the fact that Alabama has an arguably perfect environment for orienteering, it is well worth while getting to grips with some of the facts and information, with a view to getting into the wild and giving it a go.
 
Orienteering
Orienteering is especially good for children as it can teach many useful skills in addition to some useful techniques that could prove very useful in survival or difficult situations. For those on a budget in these financially challenging times, getting out into the wilderness provides a great day out in addition to offering an educational and fitness element. Depending upon the severity of trails you choose in Huntsville, navigating your way over state lines can be quite a testing workout. You must of course be fully prepared and have all the suitable equipment with you.
 
Equipment
Making sure you have all the equipment is always essential, even if you are walking the most straightforward trails, weather or an unexpected injury can turn into a problem if not properly equipped. Given the quite hot temperatures during the summer months it is crucial to remember to take sufficient fluids, which are best stowed in a backpack. Although it may be tempting it is not always best practice to drink from free flowing water due to the fact that it is often difficult to know what contaminants may lay up stream. In all cases using clothing layers is good idea when hiking as altitude and weather conditions can provide for a huge variety of temperatures and climate conditions. Most of the trails are marked well and there is a plethora of information online to guide those unfamiliar the area. For those looking to go off the beaten track there are many very rewarding and challenging routes to take, though they will require good traditional orienteering skills or a GPS computer. Sturdy walking boots are another great investment sure to provide you with many years of walking and outdoor enjoyment. These days there are many modern materials apart from leather that make for very reasonably priced and effective footwear. Ankle support is important in mountainous regions, as it could be a problem if an ankle injury was sustained at higher altitude. Good ankle support will mitigate against this to a large extent, but if an injury did prevent movement from an exposed area, then your equipment will become quickly important. For these reasons, even if it seems a little like overkill, it is sound advice to take the standard emergency provisions of a first aid kit, rudimentary camping provisions and of course the right basic equipment to start with.
 
Wildlife
The wildlife is fantastic reason in itself to venture out and see all that Alabama has to offer, being an education for both adults and children alike. It is of course worth noting that there are some poisonous animals indigenous to the area so some restraint/knowledge is useful. Again, wearing the correct shoes is a very good start as they will protect against anything in the undergrowth that you might inadvertently startle. When entering any area, use caution and although there are actually very few poisonous snakes in Huntsville it is always best to leave them alone. Snakes usually only become defensive if they feel threatened and cornered. Passing this information onto to children in a group before setting out for a hike is usually a good idea (without of course scarring them too much!).  
If anyone in the party is unfortunate enough to be bitten by a snake then you do need to seek medical attention immediately. Try and remember what the snake looked like and try and keep the victim calm and immobile. They should not be moved unless absolutely necessary.
 
A note on Alabama's Hunting Season
Hikers should also make themselves aware of the various hunting seasons when those using the trials or exploring the wilderness should wear orange. There is some very good general information available from the Alabama Hiking Trail Society which can give you detailed information about trails and points of interest and places to rest.
 
Enjoy!
In essence, although there are some sensible precautions to take and so long as the correct equipment is brought, anyone can have a fabulous time in the vast and beautiful landscape of Alabama. Be a safe, ethical hiker, and enjoy the delights of Alabama.




Have a blessed Day. Betty Maloney
Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast
"A State of Mind, A Place of Grace, A Way of Life*"
* Taken from the book, How to be a Better Southerner by Carolyn Kent.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Inaugeral Alabama State Bluegrass Championships

Stan Nelson & Hurricane Creek
We just finished the Rogersville (AL) Bluegrass Festival for 2013.  With Stan Nelson & Hurricane Creek as the headliner bluegrass band this year's event got off to a great start.  This year, in addition to great bluegrass bands playing, we kicked off the first year for which we officially named Alabama State Bluegrass Champions!

Earlier this year the Rogersville Bluegrass Festival was named as the home of the Alabama State Championships for five (5) of the bluegrass instruments.  By the end of this event state champions were named for the following instruments: Banjo, Dobro, Mandolin, Guitar (flat pick) and Guitar (Finger pick).  Champions were also named for the harmonica, fiddle and bluegrass band.

The 2013 Alabama State Champions and Runners-up are:

Kurt Stephens




Banjo - Champion: Kurt Stephenson (Dyersburg, TN)
             1st Runner Up: Weston Stewart (Anderson, AL)
             2nt Runner Up: Mike Broadway (Athens, AL)







John Boulware




           Mandolin - Champion: John Boulware (Kimball, TN)
             1st Runner Up: Matthew Taylor (Maryville, TN)
             2nt Runner Up: Rob Pearcy (Smyrna, TN) 




Johnny Bellar



Dobro - Champion: Johnny Bellar (Ashland, TN)
             1st Runner Up: Fred Duggin (Nashville, TN)
             2nt Runner Up: Rob Pearcy (Smyrna, TN) 




Allen Watkins  





 
Guitar (Finger Pick) - Champion: Allen Watkins (Hartselle, AL)
             1st Runner Up: Fred Duggin (Nashville, TN)
             2nt Runner Up: Rob Pearcy (Smyrna, TN) 






Matthew Taylor



Guitar (Flat Pick) - Champion: Matthew Taylor (Maryville, TN)
             1st Runner Up: John Boulware (Kimball, TN)
            2nt Runner Up: Fred Duggin (Nashville, TN)




Plans are already underway for the 2014 Championships.  With this in mind I ask y'all bluegrass instrument pickers/players that are from Alabama should take not only one Alabama State Champion for 2013 is actually from Alabama.  Even the Best Bluegrass Band was from TN!!

Look out TN -- AL will be looking to redeem itself next year!!



Have a blessed Day. Betty Maloney
Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast
"A State of Mind, A Place of Grace, A Way of Life*"
* Taken from the book, How to be a Better Southerner by Carolyn Kent.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Rogersville Bluegrass Festival - Now Home of 5 Alabama Music Championships

 

 Rogersville Alabama, Home of the Alabama Bluegrass Music Championship!!!! The Rogersville Bluegrass Festival is in it's 13th year and this year for the 1st time will host competitions in band, banjo, guitar (finger & flat picking), dobro & mandolin

Directions: Rogersville Recreation Park is the venue for the Friday night and Saturday Festival. The park is approx 1 mile north of the traffic light on highway 72, on Wheeler Street/Hwy 207.


Have a blessed Day. Betty Maloney
Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast
"A State of Mind, A Place of Grace, A Way of Life*"
* Taken from the book, How to be a Better Southerner by Carolyn Kent.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Unexpected Benefits (Life in a Small Town)

Having a bed and Breakfast located in a small town has a few benefits.

First of all being located in a small town means that when one travels to your town chances are truly excellent that the visitor will visit your shop or store, frequent our eating establishments and staying with us become for a time, part of our town.

Second, you know all the other shop owners in town so there is almost always someone to watch your store for you.  Fact is you know almost everyone in town  - as well as their grandmothers.

Third, when your town is visited by a State Representative, chances are you will have the opportunity to meet, greet and just set and talk for a while.  This is exactly what happened tonight here in Rogersville, Alabama.

Representative Mo Brooks came to town tonight to hold a Small Town Town - Hall.  Prior to this larger meeting, members of Rogersville Retail (Business) Community had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Representative Brooks about the actual and expected impacts we, as small business owners, are feeling due to ObamaCare among other topics.

A group of 16 or 17 persons representing 5 or 6 small business sat down for dinner at Butler's Restaurant tonight.  The non-scripted round of questions and answers covered a wide array of topics.  If nothing else this exchange left those present with a better understanding of POLITICS at the Federal level.  It also left, I trust, Mo Brooks with a clear grasp of how the backbone of a small town economic community is being impacted by decisions made Washington D.C.  At any rate, this event provided a great face to face between our elected representative and a small slice of the American voting public!

I do not think the voices of our business community would be heard as well if we were just a part of a big city economy.  Like the title of this post suggests - An Unexpected Benefit    


Have a blessed Day.

Betty Maloney
Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast
"A State of Mind, A Place of Grace, A Way of Life*"
* Taken from the book, How to be a Better Southerner by Carolyn Kent.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Myths About Bed & Breakfast Inns

Longing For Home is a Diamond Collection Bed & Breakfast, one of only 400 in the world, 
for which non of the following hold true!!

Myths and Facts about B&Bs


B&Bs lack privacy.
While meeting the many wonderful innkeepers and inngoers are a big reason travelers choose B&Bs, most are also more than accommodating when it comes to guest privacy. With almost all B&Bs offering rooms with private bathrooms and many providing flexible dining hours and private or semi-private dining options, staying in a B&B provides an exceptional experience for guests seeking a relaxing weekend getaway. Guests respect one another’s privacy and innkeepers work hard to provide gracious hospitality and give you as much privacy as you need. Many B&Bs have private entrances, separate cottages or carriage houses, for those want an option to the main house.

B&B means sharing a bathroom with others.
Back in the day, B&Bs were practically defined as places where you could rent out a room quite affordably with shared bathroom facilities. However, today’s modern B&B industry has evolved to where nearly all B&Bs, inns, and boutique hotels offer rooms with private bathrooms. In fact, according to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, more than 97 percent of B&Bs offer private baths in some, if not all rooms. For those looking to economize on rates, a shared bath option is available in approximately 12 percent of B&Bs.

B&Bs are expensive and don’t offer hotel-like services.
Room rates for B&Bs vary widely, depending upon location, the property itself, and its amenities. B&Bs, however, are attractive to many travelers because of the great value for your dollar including such as free breakfast and other amenities, usually at no extra charge, like refreshments, Internet, onsite parking, afternoon teas, wine and cheese hours, and more. Many B&Bs also offer free Internet, flexible check-in, private pools, spas and spa services, bars, private balconies, luxury soaps/shampoos, high thread count linens, and much more, providing 5-star accommodations and service. Travelers are guaranteed to get these and other amenities at BedandBreakfast.com™ Diamond Collection™ properties, which are professionally inspected and maintain top consumer reviews.

Finally, B&Bs offer a level of personal customer service often unmatched by many other lodging alternatives. Innkeepers serve as not only managers, but as “personal concierges,” offering tips on restaurants, nearby attractions, and info only locals would know.

B&Bs are mostly older inns in rural areas.
Hardly! Many B&Bs are beautiful Victorian homes and/or listed on the National Register of Historic Places (many impeccably restored) – providing unmatched charm and elegance.

At the same time, however, there are ├╝ber-modern inns located in large cities. You can find everything at BedandBreakfast.com – from beachside B&B cottages and quaint mountaintop inns to boutique B&Bs in the wine country and rustic ranch lodges. Many offer spas, restaurants, and other services suited for the local area, such as hiking, horseback riding, or skiing.

Have a blessed Day.

Betty Maloney
Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast
"A State of Mind, A Place of Grace, A Way of Life*"
* Taken from the book, How to be a Better Southerner by Carolyn Kent.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

 It is official!!!!

The Rogersville Bluegrass Festival, by action of the Alabama Legislature, has been deemed the Home of the Alabama Bluegrass Music Championship in banjo, dobro, mandolin and guitar!!! Special thanks to Senator Tammy Irons and House Representative Lynn Greer for helping push thru the resolution. Thanks too, to our own local National Champion banjo player Weston Stewart whose idea a year ago has brought us to this new place. Thanks to Barry Bedingfield who has worked tirelessly to keep things moving along.

We are excitedly planning for the upcoming festival and look forward to what's ahead. Stan Nelson and Hurricane Creek will be performing Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. We welcome all jammers!!!! The bluegrass planning committee is committed to improving our shade tree area for jammers. We plan to turn the volume down and reposition the speakers so the shade tree jammers can pick and jam without the disturbance from the stage.


Have a blessed Day. Betty Maloney
Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast
"A State of Mind, A Place of Grace, A Way of Life*"
* Taken from the book, How to be a Better Southerner by Carolyn Kent.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Late March Special For Our Past Guests Extended

Here is an opportunity you just can't miss!!

Late March Special For Our Past Guests

Have a blessed Day.Betty Maloney
Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast
"A State of Mind, A Place of Grace, A Way of Life*"
* Taken from the book, How to be a Better Southerner by Carolyn Kent.

Coming Events in the Florence Alabama Area


The following are just a few of the events happening in the Florence Alabama area over the next couple of weeks.  Come out and stay with Longing For Home while you enjoy these great events.
  • WALNUT STREET HISTORIC DISTRICT WALKING TOUR is 10:00 a.m., Saturday, April 20.  The Walnut Street Historic District boasts tree-lined sidewalks, diverse architecture, and elegant homes.  The tour will begin in the UNA Tennis Courts parking lot at Walnut Street and Hermitage Drive.  You will walk by 29 beautifully restored houses that originally comprised the Walnut Street Historic District and were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.  Free Admission.  Parking is available at the UNA Tennis Courts on Hermitage Drive.  Contact: Florence/Lauderdale Tourism, 256-740-4141.
  • The Natchez Trace Parkway Association is sponsoring their first full-length, 444 mile Natchez Trace Parkway event, the EXPEDITION NATCHEZ 1813:  BECOMING OLD HICKORY, "FROM NATCHEZ UNDER THE HILL TO THE HERMITAGE."  On this memorable 200th anniversary, they expect to reach more than 2,000 students, along with the general public, sharing the most important and spectacular stories the parkway was built to interpret.  Events will run from April 12 through April 21.  Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to be part of the bicentennial of the historical Natchez Trace story and our American history!  For details of the event, visit natcheztracetravel.com/festivals-events/details/283-expedition.
  • POPE'S TAVERN HISTORICAL MARKER DEDICATION
    • The Florence Historical Board and City Officials will dedicate the Historical Marker for POPE'S TAVERN, Corner of Hermitage Drive and Seminary Street, at 11:00 a.m., Friday, April 26.  The public is invited to attend and learn about the rich history of this wonderful City museum.
     
  • LINCOLN AT THE LIBRARY - EXHIBIT, LECTURE, & FILM SERIES - APRIL & MAY
    • In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Florence-Lauderdale Public Library will host an exhibit called Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War and a series of related events.  The exhibit will be on display at the Library, located at 350 North Wood Avenue, from April 14 through May 5. This project includes the exhibit, lectures, and a series of films on former President Lincoln.  Special presentation of "Lincoln, Slave Narratives and the Abolitionist Movement," by Dr. Lisa G. Minor, will be on Sunday, April 21, at 2:00 p.m.  A different event each week!  Visit the Library web site flpl.org for more information.  
     
  •  LITTLE CYPRESS NATIVE PLANT GARDEN TOURJoin the open garden tour of the LITTLE CYPRESS NATIVE PLANT GARDEN while it is in full bloom on Saturdays, April 13, 20, and 27.  The Garden is located at 4970 County Road 41, Florence. Free Admission. Contact:  Harry Wallace, 256-766-0537.
Have a blessed Day. Betty Maloney
Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast
"A State of Mind, A Place of Grace, A Way of Life*"
* Taken from the book, How to be a Better Southerner by Carolyn Kent.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The American Queen - Great way to celebrate your Anniversery!

Celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary
Greetings once again from Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast!

Betty and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in February.  It truly seems only yesterday that we joined our lives together out in the west-Texas town of El Paso.




Great Experience Aboard the American Queen
The AQ's paddlewheel











To make this anniversary extra special we booked a 7-day cruise aboard the American Queen.  This boat (not ship) is the largest steam powered paddle wheel ever built and provides an outstanding experience for those seeking something uniquely different, quite romantic and geared to adults. 
 


Early Evening on
the Mississippi




Moon glow
as we cruised
As the American Queen cruised along what is known as the "brown waters" of the Mississippi,  we were treated to magnificent views of the expanse of the lower Mississippi river.  At times greater than a mile across, we saw great variations of wildlife and changing shorelines as we moved along at a breathtaking 6-8 miles per hour.  The view of the river is breathtaking at all times - day and night.



The staff of the American Queen is simply unmatched in our traveling experience.  With room and turn-down service each day, we were truly treated to a top-notch experience throughout our cruise.   

Best dining ever
A big part of that experience was the service provided during each evening's dinner.  Choosing among the options offered during these four-course gourmet dinning experiences was the hardest part of our day. 


A 4-course meal each night!!
During these meals, our waiters made sure our every need was fully satisfied!  Our "singing-waiter" truly made our evening meals quite memorable.

Great service by the staff





The Mark Twain Room
During the day we also had choices to make.  Focusing on the rich history and unique character of the Mississippi communities that we visited during our cruise, multiple shore excursion options were offered at each port of call.  We could, and did, opt to stay on board during several of these stops.  During these days, we shaped our own day's activities.  We enjoyed walks along (or sitting upon) the American Queen's decks where we took in life on the Mississippi.  We also found that the boat's Mark Twain gallery provided a great place to meet and make new friends or to curl up with that book I've wanted to read.  We were also drawn into the many stories told by the boat's own river lorian - both informative and highly entertaining.     

A great place to relax

Music by Phil
With each day well spent and our dining experience completed there was still more to enjoy.  In the Grand Saloon, each night, the American Queen welcomed us to "Broadway show" style performances that caught us up and carried us down memory lane to many of the greatest hits of years past.  In addition we enjoyed the big band sounds of the Glenn Miller Band, the Marty Shaw Band and the Platters among other well known groups.  We even met Samuel Clemens himself.

Outstand - Professional Entertainment

What more could you ask?  There was also Phil who provided a piano accompanied medley each night featuring many of our favorite songs.  Then, as the evening ripened, we found ourselves drawn to the unique setting of the Engine Room Bar that is situated just forward of the boats mighty paddlewheel and just above the American Queen engine room.  Once there we enjoyed dancing to sounds of the 60's, 70's and 80's. 

All this adds up to an absolutely great experience!! It is one that we highly recommend and one that we will repeat.  Fact is, we booked a second cruise aboard the American Queen shortly after our New Year Eve cruise. 

If this blog entry peeks your interest visit the American Queen website or for great personal attentions contact Patty Horst with USA River Cruises at 1-800-578-1479.  She will take care of all the travel details for you!


Have a blessed Day.

Betty Maloney
Longing For Home Bed and Breakfast
"A State of Mind, A Place of Grace, A Way of Life*"
* Taken from the book, How to be a Better Southerner by Carolyn Kent.