Tag Archives: Birmingham AL

Like Stars that Cling to Fairies Wands, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“There is a Music of Immaculate love, That breathes within the virginal veins of Spring; And trillium blossoms, like stars that cling To Fairies wands…” ~ Madison Julius Cawein ~

backyard trillium april 2013

Immaculate love. You might be asking what is that exactly? Well, simply put it means love without stain or without blemish. You might go a step further and say it is unconditional love. Quite simply it is pure, perfect love.

In today’s world, it might be hard to imagine that kind of love. It’s so easy to be cynical and skeptical when we take a look around us and see what’s going on in the world. We see selfishness, cruelty, danger, bullies, arrogance and yes, even evil. For me pure evil is anyone that would harm an innocent child in any form or fashion. Over the last few years, here in the South it seems like even Mother Nature has turned her wrath upon us as we’ve been racked with one storm after another, one tornado after another, one hurricane after another. We’re not feeling much love coming our way when a F5 tornado is bearing down on us…

So, it would be easy to harden your heart…and erect walls around your heart for protection…

But, in doing so, what would you miss? Love, joy, wonder and those wonderful “ah ha” moments in life.

Tall & Handsome and I have gone through our fair share of trials over the years. It’s like my Aunt LaRue said to me on more than one occasion, “Honey, if you didn’t have bad luck, you wouldn’t have any luck at all.”

My health has declined as fast as a melting snowman on a hot day in July. T & H has seen his field of profession suffer through terrible downturns because of the economy and off-shoring of jobs. Personal finances have suffered like millions of others around the globe.

It is a tumultuous time for everyone in some form or fashion…

So, what sustains you? Gets you through?

Love…

And, yes, you can still find pure, simple love all around you.

There is nothing as sweet and pure and delightful as a child’s laugh. It delights me to hears my nieces’ laugh. A merry heart doeth good like medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22 Their laughter is like a big old dose of medicine for this smitten aunt. Any, laughter does my heart good…it is one of the things I love about T & H…we laugh…

I see love pure and simple when I look at my two Miniature Schnauzer, Watson and Baby Girl, and ask, “Do you want a biscuit?” If I ask, “Who wants a marshmallow?” well, the loving cup in overflowing. It is something we have discovered that delights our little rescued, damaged, and broken Baby Girl to the point of bravery and spastic delight. She would walk over hot coals for a marshmallow…

I’ve seen unconditional, pure, simple and lasting love between two people who have been married for over 60 years. They have been through tests and trials, seen history made and raised three daughters. Those three girls were raised during a time when most women were demanding equal rights yet, they were bewildered because they never had anything to be “delivered from”. They were raised to believe they could be anything that wanted to be. Those two people also raise the youngest special needs daughter for 50+ years at home with dedication and immaculate love. Why? Because, it is what you do. Those two people are my momma and daddy.

I see love in a man who chose to love a woman with so many health problems her medical history could be case study. Yet, he does not see her that way. He sees her as his “beautiful wife”. That is my T & H.

It is no secret I live to see the trillium bloom in the Spring. It is a privilege to see them in my own backyard. They usually grow in secluded forested areas, yet there they are in my own back yard. What a special gift! I can’t help but think: “Let the Heavens rejoice; let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” Psalm 96:11-12 NIV

So when I look back and I examine all the little bright spot in life, I pretty soon begin to realize that they all come together and are like those wonderful trillium blossoms. Yes, they are all there like bright stars clinging to the end of a fairy’s wand sprinkling stardust of love, relief, calm and comfort in our lives…

I can hardly wait to find more trilliums and more stars at the end of the wand…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

 

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Filed under Alabama, Birmingham AL, Central Alabama, Horticulture, Life, Love, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Tall & Handsome, Trilliums

Earth Laughs in Flowers, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

blooming vinca

We’ve just passed the Easter season. I hope everyone had a blessed holiday and spent it in a treasured way…making memories.

Everyone has traditions. They vary from season to season, holiday to holiday, ethnic background to ethnic background and family to family.

I always like to recall the traditions of Christmas because it amazes me the varying traditions around the world. Of particular interest to me are the different foods of Christmas because I also write about and blog about food.

Here in the South the standard fare is turkey and/or ham, sweet potatoes and pecan pie. Then, the menu varies from there, BUT there is a variety of different menus even here in the South. In the Northeastern US it’s not uncommon to find someone’s momma’s lasagna recipe at the Christmas table and in the Southwest Tall & Handsome assures me Posole will be found on most holiday tables.

Easter traditions are much the same.

When my son was young, every year it was this momma’s goal to have the best Easter basket waiting on Easter morning. Then, of course there were always dyed eggs and the obligatory egg hunt (weather permitting of course, then if need be it moved indoors). For us, it also included Sunday morning worship service and gathering at the table making memories with the extended family.

It also usually signaled the official “I-can-take-a-deep-breath-and-smell-spring-in-the-air” time. Spring really was out of the starting gate come Easter.

And, that also meant the regrowth and budding of Nature. That glorious time of the year when everything awakens, puts on its best and presents a real Technicolor show to thrill our senses.

I absolutely love it!

Our spring the year has been, for lack of a better word retarded. No, I’m not being pejorative, but what I’m saying is that it has been slow and delayed in developing. Two weeks ago it appeared we were on the backstretch of winter headed for the sure thing…Spring was here!

But, then IT happened. The mother of all severe thunderstorms. I have lived through several tornadoes and even so, I have never seen anything like what hit us on the 18th. We were without power for almost 30 hours.

It was during that time as we stumbled through the house with flashlights and candles, I broke my big toe with a huge Maglite flashlight and the batteries on all our devices began to run down that I looked at T & H and said, “You know, electricity was a mighty and wonderful invention.”

We finally scavenged around, found the Uno cards and spent quite a bit of time playing Uno by candlelight…

After that the weather turned bitterly cold again. We even had a few snow flurries…yes, in March in the Deep South.

So, I was very concerned that all my freshly budding beauties that had awakened prior to the storm would be destroyed…my mint, my oregano and my lovelies with their gorgeous blooms.

Well, yesterday when we left to take the short drive to my folks’ house to break bread for Easter and make wonderful memories to recall in years to come, imagine my delight to see a kaleidoscope of color every where! Purple, pink, white…you pick the color. The air had that freshness to it, too.

Yes, Earth was laughing with flowers…everywhere and telling Old Man Winter, “so long, pal”…at least for a season…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Backyards, Birmingham AL, Easter, Flowers, Holidays, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Spring, Springville AL

It’s Back! by Beverly Hicks Burch

Last year about this time there was a lot of hoopla about the whooper super moon we were about to experience.

Supposedly the moon was going to be in the closest proximity to the Earth that it had been in 19 years. Pundits were predicting all sorts of calamities and disasters. When the mega-earthquake and tsunami hit Japan about a week before the so called super moon, well, the theory went viral. Never mind the timing was off…

So, Tall & Handsome and I waited with  baited breath for the arrival of this super moon. Noooo, not really…but, we were kind of curious as to what a super moon would look like. I had images of a big ol’ Moon Pie, a disc of Swiss cheese or something out of an H.G. Wells book. I just knew I’d finally see that man in the moon…

We happened to be in St. Augustine the night of the super moon. That, you would think would add a little extra “umph” and romance. Well, it didn’t…

Imagine our surprise when the super moon looked like a regular plain ol’ full moon…not that a full moon is ever “plain”. And, I have a particular fondness for the combination of T & H and full moons because he just happened to give me the moon back after a particularly difficult time in my life. He is the guy that lassoed the moon for me…

Anyway, this evening we were suppose to be gifted with yet another super moon…a supposedly less impressive version of last year’s mammer jammer moon.

Well, today T & H and I spent the better part of the day working in the yard trying to restore the beds and rid six years of neglect from our former tenant. My blood boils when I recall all of the wonderful landscaping, plants and work that swirled the drain while he lived here. To say I consider him a blight on the planet would be an understatement…just saying…

Now that we’ve just about completed restoring the inside of the house, our goal is to restore the outside. Let me tell you…in six years honeysuckle can become the nightmare on any street…

So, this evening we decide to step out onto our nice big front porch, admire our hard work, catch the gentle cool breeze in the air and enjoy the view of the of the mist caressing the mountain top across the way from us. We could hear frogs in the distance, probably from the creek that runs through the woods across the street.

T & H said, “It’s beautiful up here.”

I make no secret about it…I love living on my little peaceful, quiet mountaintop…

Welcome to Burch’s Mountain…

Then, it dawned on us. Tonight was the super moon. We cast our eyes upward and there it was…the super moon, I don’t know if it was because we were home or because we were here on the mountain, but this super moon seemed superior than that sand trapped super moon of last year…making last year’s pale in comparison. The details and effects of tonight’s moon were awesome…

All I know is…there’s no place like home…and I love being home on my little mountain…Goodnight T & H…Goodnight Watson…Goodnight Moon…

supermoon 2012

T and H enjoying the supermoon

T & H taking in the super moon and the cool evening

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

 

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Filed under Alabama, Birmingham AL, Central Alabama, Photography, Picture of the Day, Supermoon, Tall & Handsome

Red Top, by Beverly Hicks Burch

I love the roof on this building. I took this picture last fall. This is one of the AT & T buildings in Birmingham. It may not be a “red rag top…” but it’s definitely a red top…for sure…

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Filed under Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham AL, Buildings, Photography, Picture of the Day, Roofs

Vulcan at Night, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Vulcan at night

The other evening we were out and about giving our out of town visitor a quick tour of the Magic City. We happened to stop for gas on the Southside of Birmingham. When we looked up there was Vulcan looking down on us as big as Dallas.

As someone who grew up in Birmingham, Vulcan is a regular sight. Some of us who have lived in the `Ham most of our lives are so accustomed to Vulcan we may even take him for granted…like a good pair of comfy shoes or a favorite granny.

But, to a newcomer, a big, tall half dressed Roman god who moons half of the city can make you do a double take…

Vulcan was the Roman god of the forge and fire. Our symbolizes Birmingham’s connection to its past as the “Pittsburg of the South” or as a giant in the steel industry pre-Jimmy Carter’s recession days and decline.

Our Vulcan statue standing, at 56 feet tall is the largest cast iron statue in the world and the 7th largest free standing statue in the US. He was displayed at the 1904 World’s Fair representing Birmingham.

When I was a young girl Vulcan was used to alert the city as to the status of traffic fatalities in the area. If his torch burnt green, we knew the roads had been safe, but if his torch blazed ominous red, we knew somewhere someone in the metropolitan area was no longer with us. Over the years, Vulcan has been revamped and refurbished. In  1999 – 2004 there was a large restoration and the torch was replaced with a spear.

Some things have changed, but one thing remains the same…Vulcan still stands watch over Birmingham…and visitors are still intrigued to see the big Roman guy standing atop Red Mountain. Birmingham is full of wonderful surprises my friends…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

 

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Filed under Birmingham, Birmingham AL, History, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, Travel, Vulcan

Here Comes Fall, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Here’s just a little reminder that fall is knocking at our door. Drag out your sweaters. This weekend the lows will be in the 40s…woohoo!

Here comes the fall

Here comes fall B

Here Come Fall C

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Filed under Alabama, Birmingham AL, Fall, Fall Color, Photography, Picture of the Day, South

No, Lee…My Heart Did Not Stop Beating, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Well, Lee came through on Labor Day and caused quite a stir. There’s good news and bad news.

The good news? It appears the horrible sticky hot days of summer are gone! Hallelujah! As a matter of fact I don’t think the temperatures got out of the 50s today which meant we had our first pot of green chile stew. Posole may be next!

Now for the bad news…first no, Lee, I did not die…my heart did not stop beating…you just caused my heart monitor to stop working…

Tropical Storm Lee brought with his bad self F3 tornado strength winds. There seems to have been at least one tornado reported in the area. As we sat at my folks house, the wind was blowing, trees were bending, raining was driving and lights were blinking off and on. Had it been Oct. 31st it would have been really good Halloween special effects. The lights stayed on at momma and daddy’s.

When we left and turned onto our street (about a quarter mile as the crow flies) it was scary, pitch black. Yep, the lights went out in Alabama…at least on our street…

Our power went out about 6 or 6:30 PM on Monday night. At 11:09 PM last night when I called the Alabama Power customer service number I was told our power would be back on quote “today”. Hummm, that gave them 51 minutes.

Well, we woke up nice and early this morning and it was still raining…and there was still no power. I called Alabama Power again and this time the automated recording had been updated. The new messaged told me my power would be on by 10:15PM Sept. 10th. Yes, hand to God that is exactly what they said…I called back twice just to make sure I heard correctly. I had.

I then called Alabama Power and punched through the IVR or the automated menu from hell we get on sometimes…you know how those things work…we punch and punch and soon feel like we’re on hamster wheels in Hades. My persistence paid off and I got a voice. I told Ms Voice I was on a heart monitor and there was an urgent need to have my power restored. Ms Voice informed me Alabama Power no longer does priority restores and she advised me to relocate or go to a shelter. Wow, good thing I wasn’t in an iron lung or anything

This morning we learned on one of the major routes up the mountain there were quite a few trees down and with them power lines. And, just to sweeten the pie, some bozo in a Jeep thought he was infallible (of course a Jeep is like a Humvee or tank) and tried to drive over the downed power lines. End result? Looks like the Jeep is hung on one of those kinky sex swing things and in my humble opinion just what a numb nut like the driver of this Jeep deserves…

And just to prove idiots like this really exist, here are the picture to prove idiots walk among us

WARNING: do not try this…please!!

can you count the rings

Clearing begins…kinda…

wait til you see whats around the corner

Wait till you see what’s around the corner…

 

yes you ARE seeing what you think you are B

Yes, you ARE seeing what you think you are

 

looks like a crime to me too B

Looks like a crime scene to me…

this is what stupid looks like up close B 

This is what stupid looks like up close (I used a modesty patch over the tag…but, then again…really?!

lost cause for now B

Yep, a lost cause…

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham AL, Central Alabama, Humor, Idiots in Jeeps, Labor Day, Photography, Picture of the Day, Sept. 5, 2011 Storm damage in AL, South, Storms, Tornado, Tropical Storm Lee damage, Weather

Horticulture Cocktail, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Horticulture cocktail

I snapped this picture the other day over at Mom’s…our certified “yard putterer”. Mom comes by it naturally from her daddy who got it from his momma. Guess it’s a family thing and kind of passed down to me when I took horticulture in college.

I just thought this was a sweet little “horticulture cocktail” at the corner of her house. It’s a combo of shrub, annuals and perennials…a gardener’s delight…

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Alabama, Birmingham AL, Horticulture, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants

Sweet Home Alabama, by Beverly Hicks Burch

April Tornado Damage 2011

As you and your family celebrate the 4th this year, I ask you to keep my home State Alabama in your thoughts and prayers. This photo was taken not too far from my house…and the home remains in this condition today.

If you have been spared the devastation of the April storms that tore through Alabama and other storms this spring that hit towns with names like Joplin, MO and Ringgold, GA, then consider yourself among the very, very lucky this weekend.

I’m just grateful all I have to do is put a new roof on my house because of the storms…

There’s still a lot of recovery going on in Alabama and other states.

God bless you, Sweet Home, Alabama…

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Alabama, Alabama Tornado Outbreak 4-27-2011, Birmingham, Birmingham AL, Home, Storms, Tornado, Weather

The Wonders of Modern Technology, The Horrors of Mother Nature, by Beverly Hicks Burch

 I lived through the 1973 tornado that devastated Brent, AL and then came up through Center Point, AL I also acutely remember the 1974 Tornado Super Outbreak and a horrific F5 tornado that carved a path through Birmingham on April 8, 1998.

Yes, those were scary times for my home state. They were innocent times and maybe that innocence made them seem even more scary. The thought of something so destructive baring down on you that you couldn’t see and in those days had very little forewarning of was terrorizing. It could just reach down out of the sky, zap everything around you, devastate you life and be gone in a matter of seconds.

The 1974 Super Outbreak was considered a historical event.

It pains me to say history has been repeated and surpassed. On April 27, 2011 my home state was absolutely ravaged by severe weather. As I write this as least 170+ people have lost there lives. In Tuscaloosa, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide, at least 600 people have been hospitalized. Other places…names like Birmingham…Hackleburg…Fultondale…Cullman…Moody and other places held dear to me suffered all day long under the blunt of severe weather.

T & H and I happened to be out of state at the time. The moment I heard what was happening, I grabbed my cell phone and began calling loved ones. Some I could reach…some I couldn’t. I’m still waiting to hear how our home fared through the storm.

We have the technology now that not only warns us of the impending danger, but also let’s us see the monster knocking at our doors. I don’t know which is the scariest…the days of innocence when we were clueless to the lurking danger, or the days of now when we know everything and can see it all in real time…

You can decide for yourself…

I know one thing. Suffering is suffering anytime, anywhere, any place. Please keep the people of Alabama, my people, in your thoughts and prayers…

 

 

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Filed under Alabama, Alabama Tornado Outbreak 4-27-2011, Birmingham, Birmingham AL, Cullman AL, Hackleburg AL, Moody AL, Weather