Replacements

Do you remember your grandmother’s cherished pieces of Havilland China, Wallace silverware, Waterford crystal, silver candelabras, carnival glass, teacup and saucer collection, or being lured to her favorite crystal candy dish harboring mouth-watering sweets when it was OK to give sugar to children?   Do you wish to see, hold or own them again?

There is a vast collection of cast off memories in a museum/warehouse of great renown called Replacements, Ltd.  Simply take a trip to Greensboro, NC or if that isn’t possible visit www.replacements.com for a trip into nostalgia.  It is all there and for sale; all of your favored household memories and much more in over 400,000 square feet of space. Thousands of items are displayed throughout the showroom in specially designed or re-purposed glass and wooden cases that in themselves are worth eyeballing.  Plan your time, don’t be in a hurry. You will go from case exclaiming delight and discovery on every glance. 

If that isn’t enough, trek through the museum area in the back of the showroom.  These pieces are not for sale. They will serve as  guides through the long history of collectibles and the companies, inventers and designers who produced them. 

wedgewood shoes Armani Italy figurine, Harlequin

You may order replacements  for crystal, flatware and dinnerware to enhance your own patterns or send photos to the company for ID and appraisal or arrange to send items for restoration or for sale.

Now, if we could only garner replacements for the world situation, a "warehouse" full of Noah’s Dove and olive branch, handshakes and peace treaties, peace pipes, good manners, courtesy, law-abiding citizens,  good driving habits, common sense, tools of diplomacy obliterating rifles, guns, suicide bombers and human killing machines. 

Can we restore good work ethics, regard for authority, political acumen, belief in democratic ideals, throwing away our prejudices, make lasting peace agreements and stay diligent in working toward saving our environment, planet and future world for our children?  It is so easy to get carried away.

Ann Carol Goldberg

The Rocks in the River

What put that thought in my mind?  How often I ask myself when a stray memory or an unexpected detail from some obscure event stirs through my mind popping unannounced into my consciousness.   Thoughts flow through our minds as randomly as rocks appear in the river. 

The RIO GRANDE:  the river is impressive in its length, breadth, history and fame; covering more than 1800 miles in length.  It is the second longest river in North America, (the first is the Mississippi).  The river is dynamic, always changing in width, depth, current flow, water color and clarity.  It supports the flora and fauna; trees, shrubs, birds and wildlife, the  fisherman, recreational boaters, swimmers, and industry built along its banks. 

Find in its water a vast variety of human debris and detritus.  It is infamous for wetback smuggling and drug trafficking.  Endless battles have been fought over boundaries, water rights and depth control. The river has long been celebrated in song, prose and poetry.

I have had frequent encounters with the Rio Grande in the years that my husband and I have traveled via motor home. There are times that we have walked across her bridges to visit Mexican border towns, driven over the river in cars or by bus, been guided along her embankments by museum docents delving into history and guided by expert birders rousting out amazing birds living along her shores.  We have picnicked along her banks and studied her history in museums and books. 

On a recent paddle (canoe) under the tutelage of experienced birders, I was admonished to stay on the lookout for rocks and logs lying in waiting to impede our way.  That day the water level was low, controlled by the Falcon Dam adjacent to Falcon State park in Texas.  This admonishment was well advised.  There were many sudden surprises threatening our hull or holding us captive on a jutting rock.

IMG_3049

Encounters with massive shoals solidly packed with silt and sea shells scraped along our hull often sending my helmsman out of the canoe to walk on the mounds and manually guide our way clear.  Canoes were held captive on obscure rocks causing angst and meticulous navigational skills to avoid falling into the fast currents in the clear channel nearby.

My mind sprinted between glorious sightings of Ringed Kingfishers, Audubon’s Orioles, Yellow Rumped Warblers, White Pelicans, Green Jays and Neotropic Cormorants, or Cara Cara and Osprey in flight and the urgency in sighting hazardous rocks.  I can’t avoid turning these threats into a simile for obstacles placed in our daily lives; our plans gone astray, changed goals, thwarted expectations, or globally,  the plethora of hatred, brutality, injustice, fraud and fear in this world.  I must put that out of my mind for awhile, the only hindrance being the rocks in the river. 

How lucky I am to be floating down river, focusing on birds or trees (such as the endangered Mexican Cypress) endangered Mexican Cypress with all of nature surrounding me.  How lucky I am to have needs and wants mostly fulfilled.  How lucky to have loving family and friends and to be able to savor the joys of travel, agile, curious and energetic enough to seek adventure   Excuse me now, we are in a deep channel, no rocks in sight.  I am reaching for my binoculars.  There is a possible sighting of a rare roadside hawk.

Paliated CormorantA056

Ann Carol Goldberg

Rockport’s Legendary Bird Woman: 1886 – 1973

It was the strangest birding trail we have yet encountered named for Connie Hagar. It is not off in the woods or deep in a ravine, in a meadow or high on a mountain ridge; it follows a course literally along the main road, route 35, in the area of the Tule Creek restoration project in Fulton, Texas. Follow the 19 interpretive signs placed along the grassy trail to find your way to the ending at the Aransas Bay. IMG_2951

First, you may visit an observation deck along the marsh and then turn around and walk along the road for 1/3rd mile or so. The trail eventually turns right into a housing development across from the public trail. The signs meander a bit, past a small picnic area and the Rockport Cemetery down to the the final interpretive sign and the edge of the Aransas Bay littered with boats, yachts and restaurants. The Cemetery is old, with mature Live Oak and full of very colorful flowers and highly decorated gravesites in the manner of Hispanic ritual for remembering the dead. Connie Hagar is buried in the cemetery. IMG_2949

On our visit, we did not find many birds—deep into January of the coldest winter in recent records. But the sun was bright and the walk welcoming. I must say, we were alone along the trail.

What is the story behind this rather strange setting? I had to know.

The site is dedicated to Connie Hagar (Martha Conger Neblett) who was born on June 14, 1886 in Corsicana, Texas to Robert Scott and Mattie Yeater Neblett, the eldest of 3 children. Martha Conger Neblett (Connie) was brought up with the graces of becoming a lady, educated in music, art, literature, history and a given a high regard for nature and the state of Texas, very characteristic of the Victorian era in which she was raised.

It is recorded that "Connie was a tomboy" enjoying long walks with her father studying nature and enveloped by the sounds and sights of nature. She became knowledgeable in identifying trees, shrubs, wild flowers and the birds and wildlife they observed, capturing this young girl’s mind.

Soon grown up and married, Connie Hagar lived in a cottage (on the corner of South Church and First streets) in Rockport, with her husband Jack until her death in 1973. Beginning in 1935 she would make daily rounds studying the bird population and keeping meticulous records of her findings. Connie is credited with "changing the books about birds of the Coastal Bend and of Texas."

Their cottage was moved to another location soon after her death and is now privately owned. The cottage site was purchased in 1994 to ensure preservation of the land and Roger Tory Peterson helped dedicate the sanctuary to perpetuate Connie’s work. The trail we visited is in a separate location, on Route 35, in Fulton, Texas. It forms part of the Tule Creek restoration project, protecting land and wildlife so dear to Connie during her life.

There is so much more to know about the Coastal Bend area and Connie’s work, life and the era in which she lived. If you wish to to learn more and see photos of her life, visit the URL below. A visit to the Coastal Bend of Texas is perhaps, a well-kept secret, not as highly touted and advertised as other areas of Texas. It is worth visiting in The Rockport, Aransas, Goose Island areas. Seek out the endangered Whooping Cranes, Sand hill Cranes, and the many shorebirds, songbirds, birds of prey, alligators, snakes, tress, shrubs and flowers and so much more. What a boost it is to all of us, preserving precious natural sites in the name of a pioneer such as Connie Hagar.

References; http://www.birdrockport.com/connie_hagar.htm

Winter/Spring Visitor’s Guide, Rockport/Fulton, Texas