Keys Dan interviews Haven: “What Makes You Famous?”

I would advise all of us to find a Keys Dan (Daniel) in our lives. Daniel has the gift of relating to people with interpersonal questions that search into your soul and open you to share without any inhibitions. You find yourself sharing some of the best things about yourself; the things God has gifted YOU with. The interview is over an hour long so just fast forward what you find boring.

The most intriguing thing is that Keys Dan will interview us regular folks who have something to offer humanity. Each one of us has a story, and each one of us is just as important as another. Notice his number 501-470-6386. I actually forgot that I had scheduled this interview LAST JUNE, so be prepared to wait a while; however, it’s worth it.

“Joy to the Earth” (TO build your schema…this blog entry IS NOT about Christmas)

Joy to the Earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and FLOODS, ROCKS, HILLS and plains
Repeat the sounding joy…

Once a day, we try to walk together as a family. We often discuss the topics of the day, but sometimes we all walk in silence for a few minutes before one of us, usually Sean or I, start a new conversation. Carter and Ammon had their yearly physical, well-exams yesterday. They both concurred this morning that they felt flat: They had two vaccinations. Sean and I researched their TDP vaccination, and it confirmed that it could cause the “flatness”. We decided that Ammon and Carter did not have to walk today because our walks are fast-paced for cardio endurance and heart health. In August, we four started a new route in the Enterprise South park, and I have been very anxious to jog it. It has two good-sized hills and one is quite the incline for at least a half mile. We looked at the radar (rain all afternoon), and we decided that we adults needed to exercise outside ASAP. It was an opportunity to jog my new route. I dressed and “made a bee-line” to the park.  

This is NOT Enterprise South.. just an awesome autumn likeness.

It was barely sprinkling, and I began my jog. I went up the Hidden Lake Road, turned on Boulder Point Road (I’m doing this for my Chattanooga folks who can , perhaps, visualize what I was doing), and I was winding down to Dogwood Ridge road. A few heavier drops of rain began to hit the oak trees that form the branch-awnings over Boulder, and acorns began pelting the ground. I took my shirt off (thank you, Jesus it was a warm rain), rolled it up and used it as a shield to fight any falling acorns. I kept jogging and smiling. By the time I was turning right on to Harrison Branch Road, it was a steady rain, and by the time I turned right on to Poe Run Road, it was pouring.

Enterprise South: Chattanooga, Tennessee

As you can imagine, there was NO ONE in sight. A blessed cedar tree awning gave me a 2-second umbrella of dryness. I thought, “There is a bunker up here on the right. If it is, by chance, open, I am stopping for a few minutes until this lets up!” The next thing that happened thoroughly surprised me. The Holy Spirit touched my spirit and shared, “Sing Joy to the World!” I did. Suddenly, the lyrics, “… while fields and FLOODS, ROCKS, HILLS, and plains repeat the sounding joy.” The rain drops, rocks, and hills enveloping me, were repeating the sounding joy (Joy to the world, the Lord, Jesus the Christ, is come). I kept jogging, and I sang to the top of my lungs while concentrating on less lung fatigue as well as using my diaphragm, “Joy to the world, the savior reigns….”. I was VERY SURPRISED  that the bunker was, indeed, open. It was still pouring. I stepped into the entrance of the dark bunker and the Spirit said, “Repeat the sounding joy!” I sang the verse again in the round bunker while the words echoed and repeated the “sounding joy”. Before I left, the Spirit reminded me of “Shower of Blessings”.

Showers of blessing,
  Showers of blessing we need;
Mercy-drops round us are falling,
    But for the showers we plead.

The sound of “Shower of Blessings” echoed as well. I smiled and began to praise God for the rain, the jog, Jesus Christ, and my family. By the end of my prayer, the constant rain had stopped with only a few, scattered droplets here and there.

Friends and family, you deserve or really NEED some alone time with God, Jesus, and the Spirit. I know your families, your jobs, your daily activities, so I understand how busy your lives are. Your moments do not have to be like I had today. Sometimes the moments happen during a quiet moment of cooking, cleaning, or doing some yard work, and, yes, I’ve even had them at work before. Look for the moment. Be in the Spirit. Thanks be to our risen Savior, Jesus the Christ, we have intimacy with the Holy Spirit in prayer or song. Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and don’t forget…God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24).

Isn’t intimacy with the Spirit something awesome? Do you choose to experience it? Do you want to experience it? For Haven, my spirit communicating with the Holy Spirit is so uplifting and joyful especially in this crazy 2020. Are you tired, worried, fatigued with what is going on around you? Are you “thirsty” in your spiritual life? The Spirit is like a water tap, the more you turn open the flow, the more volume of water you get. Heck, God will even allow you to never open the water tap. Whatever your “Spirit feelings” may be, I challenge you to find your intimacy with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit and I sang several songs together today….

Joy to the Earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and FLOODS, ROCKS, HILLS and plains
Repeat the sounding joy…

Mesmerizing Maples

Sunday November 8, 2020: Sunrise. Two Maple buddies: the red maple to the left in the distance & the boxelder maple close right

My love of deciduous trees started with the onset of 10th Grade (1981-1982). Daddy had bought me Copper and Chief, my two beloved Black and Tan coonhounds in August, and we four were spending hours in the autumn-laden ridges of Varnell. As we would either walk up and down the ridges, talk, or listen to Chief and Copper begin their innate, melodious bawling, we would discuss the trees of our woods. We mostly spoke of the noble oaks, but, of course, the maples were embedded in the woods as well. As I write this entry which is dedicated to maples, our oak trees behind our house have burst forth with color. Seriously, on Friday November 6, 2020, the oaks were green as green can be. By Sunday the 8th, they had turned reds, yellows, & oranges!

My father, Copper, Chief, and I spent the whole winter tromping through the woods that later went bare, of course. Then, the spring of 1982 came with all the new green and rebirth of plants, trees, and flowers. My 10th grade biology teacher had assigned to us a final project where we were to complete a spring flower and leaf album of 25 plants and flowers we could find in our environment. I asked Daddy to help me. One evening, he and I walked the woods behind our house with Copper and Chief. Several days later, Daddy and I walked Nanny’s yard collecting leaves. It was May 15, 1982 (Nanny’s birthday and my dad had made her a birthday cake while I mowed Nanny’s yard.. it was Saturday.. we had a family celebration after I mowed). Thirteen days later, Friday May 28, Daddy was dead. I had to finish the album without him to turn in after Memorial Day, and Nanny came to the house with some old-timey botanical magazines (We had to have those Latin, botanical names written by those leaves, ya know!) that she had collected through the years to help me fumble through the finishing touches of the album. Well, I finished it, and, sadly,  I did not make a 100…. I made a 97. I think my teacher doubted some of the Latin names just between us readers; however, that love of studying and labeling flora has stuck with me.

As I wrote this past July, this COVID season has made me see things through my nature loving – Cherokee ( Yes, Pap Edwards…. Edwards Park Varnell , GA at Plainview…. Cleveland Road was my Cherokee ancestor to the Caylors… great-great-great grandfather) eyes. Walking with my family or jogging by myself on this land has tuned me in better to my surroundings, and I am very grateful that God’s spirit touches my spirit with the love and desire to research and share about my environment.

 I hope you enjoy our mesmerizing maples. I’ve placed a photo of the entire maple tree with a side-by-side photo of its autumn colored leaf/leaves. Also, Thanksgiving 2020 may be another 17 days away, but I do want to say an early “Happy Thanksgiving!” to you all. God is great. Peace / Shalom.

red maple (acer rubrum)

boxelder maple (acer negundo)

field maple (acer campestre)
sugar maple (acer saccharum)

Halloween 1930s Style

Autumn 1985: My Nanny (Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor) had been dead for a few months. I worked at Wilson’s Superette in Varnell, Georgia. The community still had dozens of people who were teenagers or youngsters with my Nanny and Nanny’s sisters, Madeline and Florence. As I have explained before, Nanny had been my friend and confidante even before my father’s untimely death in 1982. Three years later Nanny was gone as well. Work, church, and Dalton Junior College kept me busy, but every person over the age of 60 in Varnell reminded me of the family friend I was missing so terribly.

The late summer of 1985 into the autumn found me asking the Varnell “old-timers” if they could share anything about my Nanny, Madeline, Florence, or my Nanny Alexander. I did every job (bag groceries, carry groceries to vehicles, stock shelves, slice SOME meats, sweep, mop, pump gas, run the cash registers plus more) in the store except balance the money till and the books. From the time I had started working there in the summer of 1983, I had thoroughly enjoyed carrying groceries out to people’s cars especially the cars of my fellow Varnellians. There was an awesome lady named Annie Clayton Dyer. I knew she was from Varnell, but I wasn’t too sure if she had been a contemporary or shared a history with my family. She was such a kind and giving soul, and I always enjoyed chatting with her while helping her with her groceries. One day in the autumn of 1985 as I carried Annie’s groceries to her car we began a conversation.

Haven: Mrs. Dyer, did you spend any time with the Alexander sisters when you were growing up? You know my grandmother, Naomi died recently.

Annie:   I sure am sorry about that. I was closest to Florence’s age, but Lord yes! ( I had known Annie for over 2 years, and she wasn’t a somber person, but her face absolutely LIT UP, and a huge grin went across her face. It was the happiest, most child-like smile I had seen on a 60 year-old in ages! Alexander Sisters’ memories were making Annie glow)

Annie, continues: Florence and Madeline had a Halloween Party one year.

Haven: Oh, my word! I’ve never heard of such. I didn’t think my Nanny Alexander would approve of such a thing.

I had to remind myself that by the time of this party Nanny was almost 20 years old and that especially Florence received a totally different childhood rearing than Nanny. I recalled how Nanny Alexander bent to the whims of her youngest daughter.

Annie: Oh, yeah, and let me tell you this real quick… The first time I saw Florence, she came into our classroom with those,.. how do I explain it? It was an aviator’s cap. Those with the goggles.

I stood dumbfounded. Nanny Alexander allowed Florence to go to school dressed like that? Oh, me!

Continuing with the Halloween story.

Annie: Oh, yeah, the Halloween party! (We both chuckle!) . The girls had punch, cookies, and candy, and I think they had some candied apples.

Haven: How fun!

Annie: The best part was how they had a created a dead corpse.

Haven: Do what?

Annie: Oh, yeah. It was like lying on a day bed. It was kind of like dressed scare-crow style, but lying down. They kept the room dark, and part of the spookiness, the whole effect was to not look at the body, but feel it. The face was the creepiest (Annie was still smiling with wide eyes).. they had like some wrinkled mask, and the eyes were grapes! – Annie laughed, I laughed- Oh, me , that was fun. Yeah, we had fun with the Alexander girls.

Haven: -tears welling up in my eyes- Mrs. Dyer, thank you for sharing. That is great! My Nanny had never shared such.

I am imagining that this Halloween party could have been 1936, 1937, or 1938. Nanny Alexander had added my granddaddy and my daddy to the household by Halloween of 1939, and I know how much time Nanny Alexander devoted to my father who had become her world. I doubt she hosted a Halloween party with a newborn in the house.

Why is it we think the here and now is the best of a holiday? Right down the road we have the elaborate “Haunted Barn” for Halloween with it’s 21st Century light shows, pop/ rock music blaring, people paying like $20/head to see and have the poo scared out of them, but…. In the late 1930s (over 80 years ago), two young sisters from Atlanta, Georgia who had settled in the little town of Varnell, Georgia rocked Varnell with an innovative and spooky Halloween party!

Madeline & Florence Alexander Summer 1936: Varnell Party Planners!

I thought I would share this family tale here in this topsy-turvy 2020 Halloween season. Thank you, Randa Murray, a childhood friend since 1972, from Varnell, GA who asked her sweet mama Annie’s maiden name.

Fall Break 2020

Our Fall Break excursion was a nostalgic “re-creation” of our Fall Break in 2012: Ellijay, Georgia and Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.

Hillcrest Orchards   (click for link) is perfect for families with children under 8 who want to pick their own apples then have some fun. Picking apples could be fun for children of all ages, but the playgrounds and activities are designed for younger family members. Carter and Ammon, as well as Sean and I, still had fun, but they could not “get our money’s worth” out of the playgrounds. The petting zoo was great, and the tractor ride was great. They have a mechanical, gargantuan catfish named Jaws who spits water from a pond. Jaws caught me off guard, and I forgot to snap his pic.

Hillcrest Orchards October 15, 2020-Thursday

Ellijay Scarecrow Invasion: Harrison Park-2020 instead of Downtown like 2012

Burt’s Pumpkin Farm : October 2012

Ammon & Carter amongst the Pumpkins: October 10, 2012

Burt’s Pumpkin Farm: October 2020

If we return to Burt’s next year, I plan to go in September to buy pumpkins for decorations. Just photos, some pumpkin bread, and an enjoyable hay ride this year.

Before: 2012/After: 2020

Summer Fruits

For me, this home quarantine experience has given me a new perspective and appreciation of God’s beauty around our house. Being the introverted-extrovert that I am, I haven ‘t minded being at home with my family and enjoying the nature that surrounds us. I want to share our fruit-bearing season of the beautiful yet humid Southeast Tennessee, especially here at our home.

We began walking up and down our 800 ft. driveway as a family late in March for family exercise. Until April, the majority of the trees were bare. The Bradford pear trees had bloomed and had some leaves, but that was about it. As the days went by, that “first green”, vibrant, light green donned our mountain. In a week, the whole mountain was “first green”. By my birthday on May 7, it was all “spring-summer” green with that rich, green, chlorophyll shroud. All the different grasses (Bermuda, fescue, crab grass, weeds, clover… LOL) blended together by June to make our summer carpet to match the green drapery of our trees that surrounded us. I also have to mention that our black walnut trees budded and unfurled their leaves the latest we had seen since our first spring here in 2005. The spring of 2020 our two black walnut trees had not budded by May 1, yet they had small leaves adorning their branches by my birthday six days later.

 

God isn’t finished with me yet when it comes to carpentry, gardening, or being a mechanic. He may bless me with the opportunities to learn those things quite soon. Who knows? Maybe never. However, I love watching vegetables and fruits grow. Last week, I was doing my weekly mowing on the tractor ( Oh, once again, our Brother in Christ, Lloyd Thieman, has been our tractor savior this year!!! ) , and I drove under some of the infamous privet hedges that are 10 feet tall. Dangling from the hedges were muscadine vines with muscadines!  Some were even turning purple! While dodging privet branches I yelled only to God , “Muscadines already?” , and I could hear God (Not God’s literal voice , of course… I’m not Pentecostal yet) saying, “Yes, Haven. ALREADY.” This thought gave me the theme of this entry. After I parked the tractor in the barn that evening, I took my phone and snapped photos of our muscadines, pears, and black walnuts.

 

 

 

As long as the earth will stand, God will give us our seasons. He shared that promise with Noah thousands of years ago. This isn’t an entry about the spiritual seasons of us Christians, but, of course it’s a parallel. Friends and family, stop and enjoy God’s seasonal surroundings. You won’t regret it.

Judy: The Blackberry Picking German Shepherd

shallow focus photography of berries

Photo by Thierry Fillieul on Pexels.com

 

 

Blackberry picking is a summer ritual for me just as catching lightening bugs, catching June bugs and sometimes trying to fly them on a string, listening to the katydids, and sitting somewhere under shelter while listening to a summer thunderstorm. I was mowing several weeks ago, and I hopped off the tractor to move a garden hose. Near our swimming pool fence where the hose lay were some blackberry bushes. I picked a blackberry, ate it,  and with its taste came 50 years of beautiful blackberry memories: Evenings when the whole family picked blackberries together, homemade blackberry cobblers, and my bud, Judy.

I love dogs, and I cannot remember life without them. My pet dogs are a part of my essence, and all of them hold a special place in my heart. I am not done with living yet, so I cannot say that Judy was .. THE ONE… that ONE CANINE SOUL MATE…. But she comes pretty close. Judy had many talents and gifts. Lord willing, I will expand on some of them in future blog entries, but this entry is dedicated to Judy the German Shepherd and her blackberry picking abilities.

 

Judy_Haven

Judy & Haven: July 1986

 

Have you ever had a dog that could/would pick any berry: strawberry, blackberry, blueberry (kinda high off the ground I reckon), a muscadine, or a grape? Well, my Judy would blackberry pick with me. I have no idea when she started nor do I have any recollection of her watching me. However, my Judy surprised me one summer evening while I was strolling through our yard.  On the edge our yard near a pine grove, there were some blackberry brambles (bushes). In case you are reading from another area of the United States or the world, the OVERWHELMING majority of our blackberry bushes grow on thorny stalks/brambles. As a blackberry grows on its bramble, it begins as green, then turns red, then turns “black” (deep purple). When it is black it is ready to pick and eat. Well, Judy had been walking by my side, and she stopped to watch me inspect and eat some blackberries. When I finished, she took her turn at finding a blackberry to eat. She sniffed, inspected the remaining, unripe, red blackberries, sniffed again, then ever so delicately (remember there are thorns everywhere) nibbled off a ripe blackberry. After she swallowed, she nipped another berry. I laughed, knelt down, and gave my girl a big ‘ol hug. “You stinker! You sure are smart!” , I said… and yes, she was very intelligent. That was all she wanted that evening. She would eat blackberries with me in later years, and it always amazed me.

Friends and family, I love it when you post your comments in response to my blog entries both here and on other social media. Please share the summer antics of a special member of your fur family: Either past or present. We need some heart-warming stories to make us smile this summer of 2020 and post some pics if you can.

blacberry-2020

July 8, 2020: While picking some blackberries for a smoothie, I snapped this pic in memory of Judy. 

Auschwitz: Eradicating History (Part 2)

 

I was glad we were at Auschwitz on a busy weekday. The crowds helped me keep the heaviness of “man’s inhumanity to man” at fast pace where there was very little time to reflect and be stirred in one’s soul.

Auschwitz_arbeit

The infamous gate “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes Free) are at Auschwitz (prison proper), but the stoic, railroad gates that are also associated with Auschwitz are several miles up the road at Birkenau. Auschwitz, the original prison, is quite small.

 

 

Auschwitz

 

Folks, there is nothing profound I can say. I want to strongly urge us all to not fool ourselves into thinking that concentration/extermination camps cannot happen again. It can. The seeds are being planted right here and right now. Have you noticed people screaming, cursing, and assaulting people simply because they DISAGREE WITH THEM? People have been beating business owners who have been trying to protect their businesses. People are being physically assaulted for walking down their own streets. People are being assaulted and sometimes killed for expressing peaceful, American constitutional rights of speaking and printing patriotic beliefs that are all inclusive for every citizen. The people assaulting innocent people are people (all colors, races, & creeds) with decent educations, plenty of money (who in the world has time to maraud and assault people instead of working like I have for 37 years?), cell phones, latest tennis shoes, boots, new helmets, masks, and bandanas?  They are not starving, oppressed peasants… land serfs… abused factory workers, etc. They are under-read, over-fed, feeble-minded entitled jerks!

Word Press wants me to pay over $100 /year so I can put videos on here. It used to be free. You can see the multiple videos I posted in the past when it was free. Please watch the videoI recorded while I was in Gdansk.

Gdansk_jews

Poles abusing their fellow citizens: Gdansk World War II museum

 

The video is very tame without anyone kicking people in the head (like multiple people have done marauding and assaulting here in the United States May/June 2020) or setting anyone on fire. The absolute atrocity here is the fact that it’s Polish citizens abusing Polish citizens….just so happens the Nazi Polish citizens are assaulting the Polish citizens who are Jewish. RIGHT HERE … RIGHT NOW… United States citizens are assaulting and sometimes killing their fellow citizens. In the name of Jesus the Christ, PLEASE STOP.

 

One thing I was talking to Sean about the other day was the Nazis took photos of the work prisoners (not exterminated prisoners… they went straight to the ovens with no photos) when they entered. They looked like us friends: healthy, “vibrant”. They kept records of their deaths, and most of the people in the photos were dead within a year. Most within a few months. They were literally worked to death. If I’m not mistaken, the museum at the Schindler Factory had the photos of the political, educational, and religious (Catholic priests) prisoners. Once again, the political opponents of the Nazis were the first to go to prisons/work camps. Some were even set free.

Auschwitz_scenes

 

The Auschwitz prison-proper had only one shower for the Zyklon B gas extermination with the two ovens you see in the middle. When the demonic Nazis decided they needed more camps with more showers and ovens for extermination, they built a secluded camp in fields of birch (Birkenau) trees. There the Nazis had multiple showers (4… the Nazis destroyed them before the Russians liberated the camp) with ovens.

& to close… once again.. please read and ponder…

Birkenau_Auschwitz

Auschwitz: Eradicating History (Part I)

Oświęcim is located outside of Krakow. It was the site of a Nazi Concentration-Extermination Camp. Over 1.1 million people, 1 million Jews, died there. The Caylor-Browns spent the afternoon of July 5, 2019 in this hallowed and somber locale in the Polish countryside. In 2019, you would… wait, what? You’ve never heard of this Nazi camp? Wait a second. Do I have the correct place? Well, yes, I do …. I guess perhaps you don’t know that the German Nazis enjoyed changing names of places as mental subjugation to those they conquered. It’s to subdue people into forgetting who they were. It was a way of erasing their existence: art, music, history, literature, the name of a town, their language …. You name it. Oświęcim is the Polish name for Auschwitz. The German Nazis renamed Oświęcim to Auschwitz.

Birkenau_Auschwitz

I have to divide up The Caylor-Brown Polish Experience 2019 into two parts. It’s the best way to do Auschwitz and the importance of memorials justice.

Auschwitz

Birkenau Extermination Camp July 5, 2019

 

Several countries, Russia, Austria, and Germany (Nazis) have tried to erase Poland from the world: Literally. When people do this, they eradicate art (sculptures, STATUES), literature, music, and language. They wish to ERASE your identity …. your heritage. While we were at the Schindler Museum I took a photo of a photo where Nazis were toppling a provincial / national Polish statue attempting to erase history. Folks, since the dawn of civilization, groups have done unnecessary sometimes horrific atrocities. No person, city, state, nation, or empire is blameless. That doesn’t mean we erase the art, literature, and heritage from the past. Madame Marie Curie was born in Warsaw. Her birth home is now a museum which we toured. Poland / Warsaw was under the rule of the Russian Empire. When she was born in Warsaw in 1867, it was AGAINST THE LAW for her to read or write in Polish: Her family’s native language! How ridiculous , right? Who wants to erase languages in 2020? Y’all this rhetoric of deleting history and the social upheaval is happening right now here in 2020 in the United States. My birth-town, Dalton, Georgia is fighting to keep a statue of Confederate General Johnston who saved Dalton from being burned to the ground by General Sherman from being moved. As with the Nazis, appeasement is never the answer. It leads to removal/eradication.

Krakow-statue

Nazis remove history in Krakow.

Johnston

General Johnston’s statue in Dalton, GA

 

However, we know it’s just not in Dalton. It’s all around this country. We are the UNITED States of America, yet, since 2008, there has been an unfortunate movement to divide us. Get rid of George Washington, Elihu Yale, Christopher Columbus, Cervantes (once a slave to the Turks), Robert E. Lee!  Once again, a group of people trying to change/control another group of people to give up their existence isn’t new.

Allow me to use a one-sided,  abridged yet TRUTHFUL (proven time after time in history) monologue of how groups of people have controlled people during the past 100 years.  I could use Russians to Poles in 1800, but that is too distant from my understanding. However, I am using 20th Century Poland and the Nazis in Europe.  I have listened to and researched primary sources who lived through the Nazi time:  my grandparents, my Nanny who saw actual photographs of people wheeling the bodies of exterminated Jews in wheel barrows, I walked through Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, I actually heard live and in person, Eva Schloss, Anne Frank’s step sister, tell of the atrocities of Nazi extermination camps, I have trod the grounds of the infamous Auschwitz, and I have read the stories of Polish people from Warsaw, Gdansk, and Krakow Poland who experienced the horrors of intended extinction.

Nazis to Jews & yes, the Polish people as well:

You are not worth anything. You are the reason for our problems. We are better than you. You need to bow down to us. Everything you have erected as a group of people must be taken down. Surrender your armaments. You need to surrender your businesses. You need to surrender your riches. You need to surrender your freedom. You need to surrender your homes. We will provide you a home in certain areas. You try to escape from this area and you will be killed. We are taking you from this guarded area to a place where you can live at peace (a lie… concentration / extermination camps)…

FINAL INTENT: 
Continue reading

Kraków, Poland

As their historical readings for 4th grade, Sean, Carter, and Ammon had been reading multiple books from the Holocaust: The Hiding Place, Irina’s Children & Anne Frank. Sean had read Schindler’s List by himself then he paraphrased / abridged, then taught Ammon and Carter some events that had happened with Jews and the Polish people in Krakow, Poland. Shindler’s Factory is almost 2 miles from downtown Krakow. By the time we finished the logistics of our Polish Summer, we knew we wanted to spend the most of our time in Krakow. We also decided to save Krakow for the end of our Caylor-Brown Polish Experience 2019. It was not just the engaging history and charming Polish architecture we were looking forward to in Krakow, but the geographic region is very much like Southeast Tennessee too: rolling hills, low-lying mountains, and lots of summer-green.

The 21st Century high-tech Polish passenger trained had taken 4 hours to get from Gdansk to Krakow. We had been anticipating Krakow for 2 weeks. The greenery of the Polish fields and the demure mountains of southern Poland pulled us like a magnet into the Krakow-Glowny Railway Station.

train_krakow
One of those adventurous, engaging European train rides from Gdansk to Krakow- July 3, 2019

By taxi, we found our wonderful apartment (full apartment – huge Great Room -living room/dining area/kitchen , hallway, bathroom w/clothes washer, and huge bedroom … like $75/night). The Caylor-Browns were neither disappointed with the apartment nor the city of Krakow.

Krakow_kitchen
You can tell by the size of the full kitchen kitchen how large the apartment is.

Milk Bar (s)– large cities in Poland have popular restaurants called Milk Bars. It’s cafeteria style and sells the same foods (perhaps a SLIGHT CHANGE of menu taking out some breakfast foods around noonish) all day long starting at 8 AM. If you find yourself at a Milk Bar in Poland be ready for lots of potatoes, beets, peas & carrots

I think we ate here at least once a day for 7 days.. well, almost. My most memorable moment was when, I think, a native Krakow couple was eating at this Milk Bar. The mentally disabled gentleman of the couple walked up to our table, grabbed a fork, and ate my remaining potatoes from off my plate!

The City of Krakow (associate the paragraph with the below photos)

I am really looking forward to returning to the St. Mary’s Basilica. It has been my favorite building of worship in Europe since I started traveling in 1984. I’ve only felt this spiritual connection one other time at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland, but I was only there for an hour. I was in Krakow for a week. Each morning after my morning jog (finishing up around gulp!….. 6:30 AM!! Sunrise was about 5AM), I entered the basilica, knelt, and prayed. They weren’t just rote-memorized prayers, but Spirit-lead… everything from my family, to distant friends, to the Polish people, to world peace, to Milk Bars! LOL I really felt a spiritual connection while in the basilica. Wawel Castle is on a hill overlooking the Vistula River. The castle (begun sometime around 1038) sits over rock caverns one of which was the home of the legendary Wawel Dragon. The bronze, fire-breathing dragon is a leviathan of enjoyment. It breathes fire about every 5-10 minutes.

 
 

There was a lot to do in Krakow proper, but I want to venture to some nearby attractions with you all: The Wieliczka Salt Mines and the Oskar Schindler Factory (Krakow Museum). The salt mine has 26 subterranean caverns. One of which is a chapel to worship. All the walls and sculptures in the salt mine are made of salt. If you go to Krakow for any length of time, you must take a tour of this mine: Well worth the money.

Huge Chapel in salt mine

From 1939 to 1944 Oskar Schindler, an official member of the Nazi Party, had an enamel factory in Krakow. Between the Krakow Ghetto ( walking distance to the Factory) and the Plaszow Work Camp, Mr. Schindler saved 1,200 Jews from extermination. In 1962, he was declared a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem, Israel’s official agency for remembering the Holocaust. According to his wishes, he was buried on Mt. Zion , Jerusalem. Thanks be to God for such human beings as Oskar Schindler.

Schindler’s Desk & Schindler’s Secretary’s Desk . One of only 2 preserved 1940 rooms of the museum.
 

Two more things:

Nazis topple Krakow/Polish History

1) There is an underground museum in the Market Square. It commemorates Middle Ages Krakow. We were not allowed to take photos, so I will allow Trip Advisor to give you all a tour. 

2) Several countries, Russia, Austria, and Germany (Nazis) have tried to erase Poland from the world: Literally. When people do this, they eradicate art (sculptures, STATUES), literature, music, and language. They wish to ERASE your identity …. your heritage. While we were at the Schindler Museum I took a photo of a photo where Nazis were toppling a provincial / national Polish statue attempting to erase history. Folks, since the dawn of civilization, groups have done unnecessary sometimes horrific atrocities. No person, city, state, nation, or empire is blameless. That doesn’t mean we erase the art, literature, and heritage from the past. We simply need not repeat man’s inhumanity to man. 

I hope you have enjoyed this Krakow blog. If you happen to be following chronologically, you are approaching my final blog of Poland. It will be a blog covering our trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau. As I write the final words of this blog, I am already very emotional in my soul with its preparation. I am praying that I will do the experience of Auschwitz justice and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.