Berlin, Germany Summer 2019 (History Repeats itself: Uneasy feeling in Germany).

Sorry Germany lovers, the Caylor-Browns will not be returning to Germany.   If you would like to recall our first unpleasant experience with Germany or read for the first time what happened to us in Munich in 2012,  please read:

Don’t Eat at Woerner’s 

In 2012, I honestly thought it was the warm weather and hundreds of extra tourists that made the Germans edgy: There are other turbulent currents under the sea of migratory change in Germany.

The pleasant photos you will view were the onset of our arrival and the celebratory feeling of returning to Europe on Friday June 21. Three weeks later we returned to the Berlin travel hub to fly back to the United States after a wonderful and engaging Central European vacation. On Tuesday July 9 around 10 AM, Berlin Train Nazis entered the train we were on, violated us, and made us pay 120 Euros for not having inner-city train tickets. We asked the “train police” to escort us off the train and help us buy a ticket. They refused! They told us they would call the police and turn us in at the Train Station stop. Carter and Ammon were SCARED TO DEATH especially after studying then visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and seeing what Germans did to Europeans nearly 100 years ago. The train Nazis first told us that it was 60 Euros each (240) we did not have that much! We did not have a ticket because no one else bought a ticket all morning on neither the bus nor the train. We asked them to 1) Please escort us to an ATM, or 2) Escort us to the Ticket kiosk and explain what we needed to do. “No, it’s either 120 Euros for you two adults or we call the police!”  Earlier in the morning we had tried to read the kiosk, and it was very confusing. Three weeks earlier we had walked everywhere without the train/bus system. Thanks be to God, combined, Sean and I had EXACTLY 120 Euros!!  We will not travel to Germany again. The whole time in Berlin we felt oppressed and troubled spiritually… much like foreign travelers felt traveling in Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s. The German authority figures are bullies using “terrorist tactics” (we are calling the police, they said) to manhandle their citizens and foreign travelers.

So, we finally “shook off” the scare of the Berlin police imprisoning Daddy H and Daddy S (what would have happened to Carter & Ammon!!), finished the day, and prepared to go home. The following day at the Berlin , Tegel, Airport was horrific. We were there 2 hours ahead of time, but there was AWFUL and EXTENDED bag check in and security check lines.

As soon as we stepped up to the passport counter Sean and I were targeted. The “gentleman” scowled at us. Hours before, all our liquids had been placed in zip-bags and the beverage bottles had been thrown away. All my pockets had been cleaned out and the items placed in my backpack, but at one point in the security line Sean had asked me about the taxi receipt we had just gotten from our ride from the Novotel Tiergarten to the airport. I took the wallet out of my backpack and read the time we had arrived at the airport.  In haste and out of habit, I placed my wallet back in my pants pocket. So, in the security line, I went last in our family of four. Sean had gone through the bag search with Carter, and I had helped Ammon who went into a panic when she thought she might have food in her backpack. The little, middle-aged, militant (short haircut and uniform) security lady said in English with her militant, German accent, “Any food?” “No, I hope not”, I said in an exasperated tone. “Anything in your pockets. Everything out of your pockets!” My verbal reaction was “No!” She looked at my pocket and saw my wallet that I had absentmindedly placed back in my front pocket. In an elevated voice she repeated, “Everything out of your pockets!”, I was more mad at myself than her. With a look of disgust, I took out my wallet and tossed it in the bin. THAT WAS IT for the little security Nazi. She immediately lifted her hand to a female protégée on the other side of the X-ray machine, and I knew I was “in for it” … As I walked through the metal detector (stripped of everything metal and had CLEANLY passed through ALL the airports from Atlanta to Berlin, to Budapest, to Krakow) I began walking to the protégée, and I did, indeed, beep. The male security man began man-handling me. I did not know that they had done the exact thing to Sean who had also “argued about some food”. Carter went to the woman and said, “I would like to complain that you all are searching my dads’ private parts, and that isn’t right.” Another Nazi lady said, “This is the security check. We can!” …. It was awful, folks.

I will repeat, we will not be returning to Germany. HOWEVER, I did want to share these photos from our pleasant days.

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Brandenburg Gate (Happy Beginnings June 21, 2019: The dark cloud of the day was a Palestinian parade near Alexanderplatz shouting about racist Jews )

 

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Ruins of the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie.

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The Berlin Cathedral.

 

 

Better Hurry to Dollywood! Its sensational 2018 season is ending: 3 Links to Dollywood & its attractions!

 

I would venture to say that Dollywood’s 2018 Season was a Caylor-Brown favorite. Nothing is ever perfect, but our experiences there were pretty close to perfect.

Enjoy Sean’s , Carter’s & Ammon’s (Ammon’s is a preview for the 2019 Season!) blogs for Dollywood.

 

My Experience at Miss Lillian’s Buffet at Dollywood (Caylor-Brown favorite place to Eat)

 

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Spring 2019!

Wildwood Grove in Dollywood 2019

 

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(Thanks for the drawings, Dollywood!)

 

2018 Smoky Mountain Christmas Memories

 

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Squanto (Español)

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Hay personas en la historia a quienes Dios ha bendecido y usado con alegría y de ellas surgieron eventos maravillosos y positivos. Disfruto inmensamente la historia de Squanto, el nativo americano que se hizo amigo de los peregrinos. Vivió desde 1590 hasta 1622.

Era un contemporáneo de John Smith, el famoso amigo inglés de Pocahontas, e incluso lo conoció en 1614. No fue el honorable John Smith quien engañó y secuestró a Squanto (Tisquantum) y lo llevó a Europa, sino un capitán de mar inglés llamado Thomas Hunt. Hunt se llevó a Squanto a Málaga, España, y lo vendió como esclavo, pero por la gracia de Dios, Squanto terminó con sacerdotes cristianos que lo liberaron y lo enviaron a Inglaterra. En 1619 regresaba a Nueva Inglaterra con la ayuda de otro marinero, Thomas Derer. Desafortunadamente, los habitantes (incluida la esposa de Squanto, sus hijos y sus padres) de la aldea de Squanto habían sido casi erradicados por enfermedades europeas.

Squanto se convirtió en un “prisionero” de otra tribu de nativos americanos, los Pokanoket, cuyo líder era Massasoit. Squanto fue bien tratado, y Massasoit vio la importancia de sus habilidades de interpretación en inglés. Squanto fue finalmente liberado. Fue Squanto junto con otro nativo americano, Samoset, quien el 22 de marzo de 1621 entró en Plymouth para ayudar a los peregrinos con su nueva tierra. Squanto enseñó a los peregrinos a cazar mejor y, lo que es más importante, cómo criar y cuidar el maíz, los frijoles y la calabaza. Squanto, junto con los otros nativos americanos Pokanoket y los peregrinos, celebraron el primer Día de Acción de Gracias en octubre de 1621. La mayoría de los estudiosos dicen que duró dos semanas.

Nadie es perfecto, pero gracias a Squanto y su visión de la paz y la hermandad de diferentes razas y culturas, tenemos el maravilloso ejemplo de cómo las personas que son diferentes pueden entrelazar sus vidas en una existencia pacífica.

“Give me the Roses”

Give me the Roses

 

 

One of my heroic parent figures, Claudelle Kubin, had her leg amputated the second week of August 2018. Her eldest daughter, my childhood friend, and now Facebook friend, Michelle Kubin Robins, is my dear friend. Mrs. Kubin’s husband died while Michelle and I were in the 8thgrade. It was a shock and a tragedy. Mrs. Kubin single-handedly raised Michelle and Michelle’s 3 siblings. All four turned out to be responsible, awesome adults.

As most of you all know, I live in Chattanooga, but I work in Dalton. After the amputation surgery, Mrs. Kubin was undergoing rehabilitation in Dalton . Michelle lives in Houston, Texas. I let Michelle know that if her Dalton siblings needed me to do something in Dalton for Mrs. Kubin to please let me know. Michelle said, “Thanks, Haven”

For several days, I kept telling myself, “After school, I’ve GOT to go see Mrs. Kubin.” … get up in the AM, drive to school, go home…. Exercise with my family, grade papers, get ready for bed, get to bed, get up and do it all again….. no visiting Mrs. Kubin. She passed on August 22, 2018, and I had not visited that sweet, precious lady. I was very upset with myself. I probably rarely came into Mrs. Kubin’s mind, but she was in MY MIND. I loved her and appreciated her, but I didn’t tell her. She wasn’t blood -family, but she was my sister in Christ and a wonderful parent figure to me.

I prayed and prayed for my heart -hurt to be healed, and God and the Spirit opened my heart to one of my favorite, gospel Blue-grass songs that I know: Give me the Roses while I live

 

Give Me The Roses While I Live

Wonderful things of folks are said
When they have passed away
Roses adorn the narrow bed
Over the sleeping clay

   Give me the roses while I live
   Trying to cheer me on
   Useless are flowers that you give
   After the soul is gone

Kind words are useless when folks lie
Cold in a narrow bed
Don’t wait till death to speak kind words
Now should the words be said

Let us not wait to do good deeds
Till they have passed away
Now is the time to sow good seeds
While here on earth we stay

I knew I could not give Mrs. Kubin her flowers while she lived, but  1) I could send Michelle a memory garden in her mother’s honor and 2) I could find and share with my other childhood parent figures how I felt about them. I had Michelle and her family a memory garden delivered to their home in Houston, and Michelle sent me a beautiful thank you message via Facebook. Now….

I’m sharing what I did not to “toot my own horn” but to encourage you all to “give them [whomever you love & appreciate] their roses” . 

I knew I had to send flowers to Mike and Sandra Lyle and Ellen Durham. These people helped raise me. Mike and Sandra’s daughter are the parents of my dear friend, Kim Lyle Schelegel, and Ellen is the mother of my faithful and awesome friend, Scot Durham. These parents allowed me into their homes, fed me, took me to places where we had fun, chaperoned,  excursions, and most of all they loved me and gave me untimely advice. When I was 16, my father died. I KNEW that if I needed them, they would have dropped everything to come to side. Praise the Lord, I never needed to call on them, but I knew they loved me and supported me.

I got on the phone to order flowers from my favorite, Dalton Florists, Ruth & Doyles. However, that is where Ellen Durham works! LOL I had no idea how I was going to pull it off. Guess what??!! God had it handled. Ellen was off that day! Woot Woot! I ordered the flowers, and I had them delivered. They delivered them that very day.

By the next week, I had received two very kind yet unnecessary Thank you cards. Yes, they were from, Mike and Sandra and Ellen. My heart soared! I am so blessed to still have them, and I still know they would help me in a heart beat if I needed them.

Y’all the flowers/roses DO NOT have to be literal flowers/roses. They can be kind words, kind deeds , or other gifts to the people you appreciate. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you let them know!  Happy Saturday everyone. –Haven

Train Whistles & Granddaddy Alexander

Train Whistles & Granddaddy Alexander

(Like Wikipedia, I welcome people to add names & pics… I will add things as I find them).

 

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(Thanks, TVA for the pic.. this is a restored, 1904 engine that ran on Southern Railway!) 

William Oliver Alexander : May 15, 1875 – June 29, 1935. Southern Railroad Locomotive Engineer.

Friday evening September 28, 2018 location = Collegedale, Tennessee, Collegedale Greenway 

I was jogging beside the railroad track headed toward’s Collegdale’s Southern University, and I heard a train coming: Sometimes it’s a CSX train, and sometimes it’s a Norfolk Southern train. Traveling at about 35-40 MPH a Norfolk Southern diesel locomotive comes barreling into the clear. I smiled, kept jogging, and I waved. Of course, trains blow their whistles at the crossings, and the engineer had just passed the College Station Crossing. I had no idea if my waves would illicit a friendly blow, but THEY DID …. “Toot, Toot…. toot ,  toooooot”: I smiled from ear to ear and continued jogging. Granddaddy Alexander whom I never met (he died 31 years before I was born) immediately came to mind…. However….

Join me  the summer of 1988.

My dear friend of  mine, Loraine Morgan Hammontree (February 2, 1913- May 13, 1989) , and I had been cultivating our awesome, Varnell friendship, and she had said, “Uh, Haven, would you like to visit my sister (Ralph Morgan, I’m tracking you down for her name! LOL) in Dalton. She can tell us some stuff about Varnell from our childhood.”  Loraine’s sister was several years older than Loraine and she couldn’t drive, and neither could Loraine who had heart failure. I rearranged some of my busy, summer schedule (I was in town for the weekend from Lipscomb University Summer Semester where I was just about to finish my last year) , and we drove to Dalton. Loraine’s, sister was so hospitable and so sweet, and charming. I fell in love with her lovely demeanor immediately.

 

Loraine: Haven, I was just a kid and I don’t remember, but my sister remembers living in the Alexander’s house in Varnell. (Turning to her sister) Tell Haven about living there and Mr. Alexander.  Mr. Alexander was Haven’s great-grandfather.

Loraine’s sister: (With a huge smile). I didn’t know that! Let me tell you.  You know , Mr. Alexander had a fixed schedule, and we always kind of knew he was coming. He would begin tooting the whistle as he entered Varnell, and we would run down to the track. The train went right in front of the Alexander house, and he was going slow. Depending on what he had, he would toss it out to us kids. Sometimes, it was candy wrapped in sacks and sometimes it was bags of coal we needed for our coal-burning stove. It was like having Santa Claus!

Loraine: (Turning to me with a huge smile.) Yeah, just like Santa Claus, that’s just what I was thinking.

The visit was perfect, and I had spoken with someone who knew Granddaddy Alexander personally. I took Loraine home with a full heart and lots of joy.

Before I finish this Santa Claus tale of  Granddaddy Alexander, I ‘ve got to share one more thing (I could be dead tomorrow, and I want Carter & Ammon to know) LOL ….

Trains (Steam engines in the 1900s – 1930s) were steam engines and so different from the powerful diesels of today. The trains stopped at every “pig trail” in those days. Granddaddy Alexander’s route took him from Atlanta to Chattanooga. When stopping at the “pig trails”, boys from the local area would bring stuff (nuts, berries, live animals such as baby squirrels or baby opossums) to sell to him. He would buy whatever for a few pennies. On up the line, while stopping for water, coal, or passengers, he would let the animals go free. He sometimes would even take a baby squirrel or a baby opossum back to his house in Atlanta for Nanny, Madeline, and Florence to play with!  In a few weeks he would put them back in his pocket, take them to Inman Yard where his engine was then carry them back up towards Chattanooga where he would set them free.

Back to September 28, 2018-

As I turned around to face my jogging destination, I was overcome with emotion, and tears came unexpectedly into my eyes as I started sobbing  with happiness about Granddaddy Alexander as I trotted onward.

No one is ever perfect, but William Oliver Alexander was a good, caring human with a wonderful heart.  His girls (Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor, Gloria Madeline Alexander Kirk, and Florence L. Alexander Sheeley) adored him. Nanny always shared how he loved life, loved to joke, and loved nature.

With my memories and the wonderful avenue of the Internet and/or writing journals, I can keep Granddaddy Alexander and his story “alive”.

-Happy Saturday to all- Haven

5 Seconds of Summer (yes this title is from the Pop music group)

I wish I would have saved the date from this past spring, but one day as Sean, Carter, Ammon, and I traveled home from church the song “Want you Back” by the pop group 5 Seconds of Summer was playing on the car radio ( I REALLY like “Want you Back” ) . Ammon loves pop music, and she has practically a photographic memory of recording artists and what they sing.

I was driving and concentrating on the winding, country road that leads to our house, when Ammon asks Sean,

“So what does ‘5 Seconds of Summer’ mean, do you think?” It only took a few seconds for Sean to say, “Well, think about it like this…. What does the school year seem like when it comes to time during a year? “

Ammon: How long is a school year again?

Sean: 9 months… 36 weeks.

Ammon: How long for summer break?

Sean: Right at 10 weeks.

Ammon: The school years seems SO LONG

Sean: Does the summer seem to fly by?

Ammon: Yes!

Sean: I think that is the answer: the summer flies by, and this group randomly chose 5 seconds to show how quick it is.

We were practically to our driveway, and I said out loud, “Yep, I agree!”

How true, “5 seconds of summer!”

 

Haven’s Summer 2018 Time line:

May 25 = Dalton High has graduation

June 1 = Post Planning ends & my “summer” officially begins

June 6 = 1 Day Dollywood

June 20-22 = Gatlinburg, Dollywood

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July 8 – July 20 = Disney World, Daytona, Florida, & Savannah

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July 31 – Last Day of Haven’s Summer break

 

Our 2 week vacation really took a big chunk of summer vacation, but I want to add that I had 4 doctor’s appointments which took a lot of time as well. Out of the 4 appointments, I had an infamous colonoscopy which was a SUMMER DREAD & if you’ve had a colonoscopy , you know the process is 2 days and not just one because of the prep before the procedure. Other appointments were 1)dentist 2)prostate/urologist 3)dermatologist (another squamous scare that was just an inflamed scar) & 4) 6 month check up for when I changed internists last January and he wanted to check if my blood pressure was normal after 6 months of medication.

A blink lasts a little less than 1 second. So, from June 1, 2018 to July 31, 2018 I “blinked 5 times”, and my summer was over = “5 Seconds of Summer”

Now, for the blessings: I have good health, a good mind, and I have a job which I truly enjoy that begins again tomorrow. I am so blessed to be able to work and support my family. God is great, and “to every thing there is a season” . My blessed summer season is over. It’s time to move on to the next season of blessings…. Mmmmm perhaps, “30 seconds of a school year” for a new music group title?

 

Family Travel with Young Ones

 

It’s Summer Vacation!

 

 

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“Parenting Strategies on the Go” was a joy to write, and it can help any parent to teach their children as they travel.

 

Decide your venue then decide

 

  1. What to wear
  2. What foods will be eaten
  3. What types of educational souvenirs can be bought
  4. How can you involve your child to have input and self-efficacy in helping to plan your family trip