Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our Youngest Daughter (a.k.a. The Pet)

For those who know us it is no surprise that we call Tabitha "The Pet". In fact our girls have all given themselves aliases. Frankie, our first-born, calls herself "Number One". Ruthie gave herself the name "The Favrite One". And Tabitha thrives as "The Pet. Last week, out of the blue, Frances decided we were going to see "The Pet" and her children who moved to Watertown, NY just 11 months ago to pastor the "Relevant Church". Below is a record of that visit.

Frances seated in the Atlanta Shuttle, a 15 passenger van. These vans are run by Groome Transportation and make 18 trips daily from Chattanooga to the Atlanta Airport. They also make 18 trips daily from Chattanooga to Nashville.

Fred in the Van preparing to leave for Atlanta.

Inside the airport at the "Self Check-in Counter".

Looking out the window of the plane just before landing in Syracuse, NY revealed a beautiful lake and the color could be seen clearly in the trees. The airplane windows left much to be desired in getting a good photo.

Our "Pet" is no longer as young as she once was! This past Thursday her Mom (Frances) decided that she was now going to visit her child Tabitha and Tabitha's family. So in the afternoon we traveled down to Chattanooga, caught the shuttle bus and made our way to the Ramada Inn Conference Center Hotel. After resting for the night, we took the hotel shuttle to the Airport where we caught Delta Airlines for a great plane trip up to Syracuse, NY. The scenery was great and weather was good all the way up. However next morning we woke up to colder conditions. Temperatures were 15 to 20 degrees cooler than here in Tennessee. And it was misting rain. The leaves there were very pretty!

What a thrill to be with our Pastor son-in-law, our daughter, and our two grand-daughters, Hannah and Gracie for church on Sunday. We were also able to spend some time with their first-born daughter Rebecca, with new husband James. They are so in love!

One day while Memaw rested, I went with the daughter and two youngest grand-daughters to shop at Wal-mart. I wanted to get the little ones something to remember our visit with...something large and costly...but they requested "Bendaroos". I never heard of Bendaroos but since that is what they requested, O.K.! Next day I was picking up Bendaroos out of the floor, off of the bed, out of the bathroom, etc. - but the main thing was they got what they asked for. ☺☻☺

Here is Hannah and her Dad, Pastor Philip Jaycox.

We are so proud that the children are serving the Lord as Pastors of the "Relevant Church", a Church of God in Watertown, NY. They have wonderful people who seem to love our children. (Who wouldn't?) I feel so much better about them now that we have seen where they actually live and work.

Here is "The Pet" and her youngest, Gracie, with her Mom at dinner.

The oldest daughter (Rebecca) married a soldier. Since Watertown is the home of Fort Drum, an Army Post, I am not greatly surprised by those developments. James is a very personable and polite young man and I feel really cares for our grand-daughter.

James seems to have won the heart of all three of the Jaycox daughters.

Me with grand-daughter Rebecca and her new husband.

Since this was her first major trip out since her heart surgery a year and a half ago, I was quite concerned about Frances health. That's why we chose to spend one night going and one night returning at the Ramada Inn near the Atlanta Airport. She really did remarkably well. Thank God and thanks to all our friends who have been praying for Frances. Other than catching sinusitis and bronchitis, she did good. Her feet did swell and she did need much extra rest with feet elevated, but overall, she managed very well. I took her to the doctor today for two shots, a breathing treatment and two prescriptions. Hopefully we caught it early enough and she'll be over it in just a few short days.

We are safely home, clothes have been washed, dried, folded and put away. I have been to the hardware store to purchase a few shelf brackets for the book-cases. Once I get them back together maybe I can get the things back in place that had to be moved for the painting done before we left here.

This is Hannah and Gracie. Wouldn't you know they would both decide to stick their fingers up behind each other's heads just as I snapped the photo?

This picture shows the church in front, and the parsonage attached at the back. It is very convenient, as they just open a door from the entry hallway and step immediately into the sanctuary. The children are blessed to have this place to live and a gracious congregation to work with.

Pastor's wife, Tabitha, a.k.a. "the pet", working with the children!

Pastor Philip Jaycox, addressing his congregation.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our "Nairobi Daughter" and "Mama Frankie"

Our good friend, Kathy, having coffee during the house painting.

Bookcases were emptied and moved in order to paint the wall behind them.

Chairs and tables moved out of place, ladders in the way, wat-nots askew, getting ready to paint.

Of course this painter uses only "Premium" paint!

And knows how to measure each and every space to accurately figure needs before starting.

The formal dining room table serves as a temporary storage space.

Another view of the living/dining space.

Taping begins!

And painting Begins!

How many of you have friends that would come into your home and paint for you just because they want to do something nice for you as well as spend time together with you? Frances and I are very fortunate to have such friends in Kathy and her husband Rob. Kathy came alone this time, arriving on Sunday night, intent on painting "Mama Frankie's" den, kitchen and hallway. I knew the best thing I could do for Frances and her "Nairobi Daughter" was to get out from underfoot, so I disappeared to the cabin. I'm hanging around today - but they don't want me to interfere.

Let me explain. In 1989 we moved from East Tennessee to Nairobi, Kenya to live and work. We arrived within a very few short days of Rob and Kathy Davis and their three children. When they heard the piano playing in our apartment, Kathy said, "I don't know who those people are - but they have been to Lee College. That's the same way my Mom plays the piano and she learned it at Lee!" Over "Tea" we learned that her mother's brother was converted in a meeting where my maternal grandmother was the evangelist, preaching in a tent, on Gasparilla Island, Florida. When we later visited Kathy's Mom, she brought out one of those old black and white photos of a crowd in front of the tabernacle at Wimauma, Florida, a Church of God campground. Standing next to Kathy's Mom in the picture was my Mom at the age of 15 - just the year before my Mom and Dad were married. What can I say? We "bonded" then and have been friends ever since 1989. Rob and Kathy were there to work for Compassion International. He was a CPA and gave a large amount of his spare time helping us with our book-keeping for the National Church which I had been sent to Kenya to supervise. It was one of those "God things". God knew that both of our families needed the friendship and encouragement lent to each other. The bond has grown over those 21 years. Since we have moved to Cleveland we have been delighted to have them and their three children continue to visit us from time to time. They feel like part of our family.

A word of explanation about "Mama". In Kenya, and most other countries in Africa, people will call parents of their friends "Mama" - together with the name of either their oldest child, or, if they know a younger child more intimately, they will use that name - but always preceded by "Mama". Our first-born was Frances whom we always called Frankie. Hence "Mama Frankie". It's a way of showing respect to the elders. For some reason I was always known by the respectful term "Baba" (Father) Fred. Another thing to note - Africans will call a lady shop-keeper "Mama" as a term of respect. Whether they know the lady or not "Mama" is used like we in the South used to say "Ma'am."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Horseback Riding

From the bluff looking across a valley I zoomed in on a few homes. The haze in the air made it difficult to see everything clearly.

The color in the trees captured my attention as I looked back at two stragglers who were trying to catch up to the rest of us.

Having reached the trail's end at Edwards Pointe, we dis-mounted and tied the horses up while we sat down on the bluff to take in the spectacular view over-looking the Tennessee River near to Moccasin Bend.

The red in the trees caught my eye from the resting point. This is a popular hiking and horseback riding destination.

Looking down the river

This morning I'm very much alive. And it hurts! But oh what fun I had getting this way. ☻ If you saw yesterday's post, you know it was a beautiful day on Signal Mountain. I had a great day out there at the Annual Church of God in Tennessee Minister's Retreat. Our church owns about 80 acres out here which joins the Forest. The retreat started on Tuesday and will be finished today after lunch-time - but we retired men are allowed to go out for any or all of the retreat and enjoy all of the events we can stand! So my long-time and close minister friend Ed and I went out for the day. I regret I did not get any pictures of the pistol competition nor of the skeet shooting contest. I was enjoying the pistol event too much to think "camera". Ha. I did get some very poor video but don't plan to post it. There were golfing events, go-carts to ride, horse-shoes to pitch, musicians playing instruments and great quality and amounts of food to eat!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Horseback Riding

This very spirited black horse was ridden by the owner of all the horses used on this trip. Sam is a skilled rider.

The only mule in the bunch. My friend Bill said he was the best "horse" here.

My close friend, Ed, stood by the mule while trying to make up his mind if he should consider going on this trail ride. I'm so glad he decided to go.

The preacher standing by me who rode this mule today has been a friend since he was 16. He's now 80. What a great time of reminiscing.

Today, my friend Ed Williams and I drove over to Signal Mountain to the Annual "Ministers Retreat" to visit with friends we have known over the years. Also we had the opportunity to make a few new friends. So many new young men are now pastors of our churches. At one time I could name all 300 pastors in the state. Now I doubt if I can name more than 50 to 60 of them.

While we were there, we participated in a trail ride with six other men. Three of us were 72-plus years of age. One man was 82, one was 80 and I came in third place at 72! I told Frances this evening, "It is great to feel so alive! And it HURTS too!" Anyone out there have any horse liniment for my aching joints?

We then had lunch. After lunch a little target practice with pistols. Later there was the skeet shoot with shot-guns! We watched the skeet shooting and watched as a brother patiently caught fish out of the pond. The venue for this retreat is always our Church's 80 acres on Edward's Pointe near Signal Mountain!

About Me

My photo
Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton