Friday, October 14, 2011


Plans?  What are plans for? 

From the front porch in Vinemont, AL

So that one knows ahead of time what he/she is going to do.  Right?  "Plan ahead", we are told.  Another said, "Plan ahead - or Plan to Fail".  "Plan your work - Work your Plan!"  So we made plans for weeks ahead for our month-long trip to Florida.  I had an appointment with the eye doctor on the 3rd - and we were going to leave the next day!  However, as has often happened - for reasons too lengthy to explain - plans were changed at the last minute and we decided to take our vacation planned for the whole month of October and just relax here at home while taking some short trips to visit friends and family.  The word that has been a life-saver for me in ministry and in personal life is "flexibility".  So here we are at home again after spending last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights at my first cousin's home in Vinemont, Alabama - and an added change to that schedule of Saturday night at our friends' (Rob and Kathy D's) home near Athens, Alabama.  That was another impulsive change of plans, made two days before we traveled to Vinemont.  All-in-all we had a wonderful trip.

Costumed Dancing
My Beautiful Frances at the Ocktober-Fest

Terry and Trish welcomed us to their home on Lake George.  Next day we visited the Ocktober-Fest in Cullman where the city was having many activities show-casing their German ancestry.  Singing, playing music and dancing in the streets were all part of the activities. 

Terry and Trish's Home On Beautiful Lake George
Fred Alton and Terry Junius.  Can you guess which one is the old man?

For lunch, they took us to the top of the bank building to a special restaurant where we had an open view of the city and it's surroundings.  Sights of re-building from a deadly tornado that had ripped through the middle of town were easily identified.  After a great meal we returned to their front porch over-looking the peaceful lake.  Geese honked, flapped their wings, skidded across the water.  Little circles of waves made by bream and bass catching bugs and grasshoppers played along the shoreline in the cove.  Temperatures were ideal (in the high 60s to mid 70s) so Terry and I tried fishing a little.  He actually caught two bream right at the edge of his private, floating boat dock.  What fun we had.

From the top of the Bank
Trish, Terry, Frances in front of the Museum

Terry and Trish both have a huge organ with many bells and whistles!  They can make music too.  The night before we were to leave the next morning, Trish brought out a five-string banjo and gave it to me.  One stipulation for receiving this gift:  I must learn to play it!  I have never owned a banjo but have always admired the sounds that come from them by listening to blue-grass gospel singing.  Well - actually I enjoy any kind of country music which has a banjo and a fiddle in the band.  All-ri-iiii-ight then!  Yee-Hawwwww!

On Saturday Terry and Trish drove the thirty minutes to Athens, AL with us to meet Rob and Kathy and see their new business known as Bradley and Davis CPAs.  Our Friends have bought into this business and will be doing CPA stuff, like taxes.  I would urge any reader who lives near them and needs any assistance with book-keeping for business or for getting your income taxes completed by caring and honest people to check them out.

That night we had dinner with our friends at their home on 23 acres out in the country.  Saturday afternoon we went down to check out their small pond.  I could see several bass and several bream clearly swimming in the shallows.  No fish had been caught from this pond since they moved in about two or three years ago.  "Let's try!"  So - here were the results of the first five minutes of casting a dry black-fly into the water.

Rob and Frances Scan The Pond

Rob Holds The First Fish Caught From His Pond

The First Bass Caught From Rob's Pond


jack69 said...

Oh man, what a great entry. Loved it. And a Banjo? Wow! I wish I could play something, I know that you know the joy of playing music around camp fires in Africa and on the deck of a ship. I used to envy those guys who at night would get out a guitar and one banjo and make music. They would hardly finish one song until someone would yell, "Do you knowxxxx Off they would go again.

Beautiful picture of my girlfriend at the Ocktoberfest. That smile never ceases to give me joy.

So far the (varied) vacation seems to be a great idea. You two have made some wonderful friends and been good friends over the years. I know, for a fact, being around you guys boosts morale.

Love you two and hope the plans hold for FL in 2012. (Sorry to write a book, but I B Thru)

From the North end of the FL Turnpike,
Sherry & Jack

Ginny said...

All of this looks like much more fun than your planned Florida trip would have been! I hope the change in plans had nothing to do with health or your eye doctor appointment. We do need to be flexible to God's plans for us, he wanted you right where you were and let you know. I'm glad you went with the flow and still had a blast!

George said...

I'm glad you can be flexible. I've found through the years that the Lord uses my flexibility to bring about better things than I could plan for myself. It sounds as if something similar has happened to you. You had a marvelous vacation.

Joyful said...

I think it is important to make plans but sometimes the plan doesn't work and you have to "roll with it". I used to say that "flexibility" was my middle name, lol. I see it belongs to you too! Am so glad that you and Frances made the best use of your time. It sounds like you had some great visits.

Dar said...

Now that's my kind of vacation...good times with good friends and family, wetting a line and actually catching something, nice fish by the way, and, you really do need to learn to pick and grin. My Daddy built my lil TX sister a banjo complete with pearl inlay. It's a beautiful sound, the banjo. Have a great time learning and then strum us a tune.
BlessYourHearts~~~you two remind me of Jack and Sherry, so in love with each other and life. We are blessed. That's how I feel about my Bill.

Tabitha said...

Love seeing the pictures of the "vacation". Next year you can come spend the month of July in Upstate NY. I don't know if I can show you all of the treasures that my "new" home affords, but I could give it a go. We have ponds, fish, geese, mountains, beaches, live festivals and whatever sort of music your heart desires. We have museums and restuarants. And in July it might not even be snowing LOL! Please plan a trip to see us. I love you and miss you terribly.
Maybe Rob & Cathy or Terry & Trish will read this and convice you to do it.

Favorite One said...

So glad you were flexible & went with the flow. I believe you both had a great time and I know it thrilled, Trish, Junius, Rob & Kathy for you to visit.

It was as God planned it to be. So glad God allowed your "alternate" vacation plans to make it so that you were in town for Chloe's baptism. Ain't God GOOD!

JDS said...

Flexibility is a must, and it looks like you have had a grand October because of it. Really, what could be better than catching the first bass and bream from the pond? I do hope everything is good regarding that eye doctor visit, though - will be sending prayers your way.

BlueShell said...

Plans? What are plans for? I agree with you, sir.
Last year I had plans for vacations. Suddenly we had to change all those plans: my husband had cancer! That was terrible.
Now we take the time free to have some short trips.
I see you had a nice time with your friends. The lake is remarkable.

I hope everything is Ok, to you and to your nice and lovely wife.


BlueShell said...

Oh…You are learning Portuguese??? Very well…I’m learning some English too.
But using the prepositions and Writing correctly is still a problem.


About Me

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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