Forum Posts

John C Campbell
Sep 14, 2020
In Georgetown Stories
I was at the main door of mom’s Nursing Home to drop off some pink roses and candy for her. There were two sisters there also, with their husbands. The staff had called and asked them to come right over as the sister’s 93-year-old father appeared to be close to death. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, so the policy is two people go in at a time. While the sisters hurried in, I made conversation with their husbands. That’s how I found out about the father. It was only a few minutes later that both sisters came hurrying back out, sobbing uncontrollably. The only time I’ve heard lamentation in my sheltered life was on TV, so I didn’t get what I was listening to at first. I just knew they sounded viscerally sad. One sister cried out, “We didn’t get to see him. Our father’s already dead!” As they leaned into their husband’s embraces, their eyes were still dry with shock. So their husbands could comfort them, I gave my apologies and got out of there. As I drove home, I thought about what I’d just witnessed. It was at that point that I realized the two women had been lamenting. Tears weren’t good enough. Not being able to say goodbye to their father had shredded their hearts, and they were wailing in an absolute agony of grief. It’s September now, and I haven’t been able to see our mom since April. One of my greatest fears is that she will pass before I ever get a chance to give her another hug. There have been half a dozen cases of Covid-19 at the nursing home, but so far, they’ve managed to keep the virus under control. My mom is eighty-eight years old and bedridden, so even if she doesn’t get the virus, she probably doesn’t have much longer. All four kids talk to her once a week on a Zoom video chat, and they’ve let us start dropping off presents again. It’s the best we can do amid this global catastrophe. One day, maybe soon, I’ll get that same call from the nursing home. I can only pray that I will get there in time to tell my mother goodbye. PS> I am not posting this, so conspiracy theorists can mouth off. There are very few facts about Corona, and most of what we think we’ve figured out is proving suspect. That doesn’t seem to stop everyone from having an opinion. Please don’t assume another person’s pain gives you the right to express yours.
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John C Campbell
Apr 04, 2020
In Family & Friends
My brother Mark fell in love with cars when he was a teenager... Thirty-two years ago, he made his dreams come true, opening up Campbell's Classics on Highway 183 in North Austin. He specialized in British sportscar sales and repair. I remember a shop full of Triumphs and MGs. I was into muscle cars back then, but he'd let me take one home anytime I liked. I learned to downshift and hug corners, and quickly figured out their appeal. Then, construction made 183 a mess and he moved his business to I35 in Round Rock. A steady stream of gawkers hampered his ability to get work done, so Mark happily sold that location for a tidy profit and moved again. In Taylor, he found a large open building that had once housed the Boot Scoot bar. It became the new home for Classic Street in 2007, and he's been there ever since. Elvis used to perform at the Boot Scoot when he was stationed at Fort Hood back in '58. Mark claims that when he's working late at night, the wind can sound like Elvis crooning a love song. Maybe not so far fetched. I've heard Elvis loved cars as much as my brother does. Classic Street focuses on the '50s and '60s muscle cars and trucks, as well as every kind of classic. A one-of-its-kind, right-hand-drive prototype Triumph TR250 still sits next to his office. If he can stop restoring cars long enough, he may get it to England one day where it will command top dollar. The problem is he stays busy seven days a week, buying, selling, and restoring classic cars. It's a labor of love though. Everyone who works there suffers from OCD (Old Car Disease), the same as my brother does. It just looks like a field full of old vehicles to me, but his fellow enthusiasts show up and claim it's a gold yard. Mark Campbell's cell is 512-255-4556. He's happy to talk with fellow car nuts about his passion anytime, or you can check out www.classicstreet.com to see his collection of cars, trucks, and services.
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John C Campbell
Feb 22, 2020
In Georgetown Stories
My old air conditioner gave me seventeen good years, but as it neared the end of its life it was starting to have problems. I figured it might limp along for another year or two, but with my luck, it would kick the bucket about the same time my thermometer hit 103. It's still winter, so I wondered if I could find a good enough deal on a new system to make replacing the old one a no brainer. I called three different companies for bids and had three very different experiences. The first company came out, looked things over, and with a minimum of due diligence gave me a relatively high bid. The second company gave me a detailed pitch on why their company was the biggest, the best in the business, and so always the one to buy from. They ran their checks and covered my needs, but half their knowledge impart was FUD on the way to a sophisticated, semi-hard close. The third company was Green Leaf out of Round Rock. They chose a low key, service-oriented approach, and did a few things the other companies did not... In addition to actually sharing the details of their tonnage sizing data (which opened my eyes as to how much energy I’d been losing through my old single-pane windows), they did a complete air quality test for free. They explained a home is a contained environment that tends to hold in contaminates. They tested for high carbon dioxide and monoxide levels, particulates that might have fiberglass in them (because of the type of vents used), even relative humidity. The good news for me? Every result was in the Green. But, running those tests helped them make sure they could quote me an A/C system that would meet all my needs. On the way to providing a quote, Green Leaf dispelled the FUD that had been thrown at me and brought up an issue with my plenum (that I hadn't said anything about because the other two companies dissed me when I expressed my concerns). Their quote included replacing the plenum, installing a top of the line wi-fi thermostat, extra breakers sized specifically for the A/C, and a specialized surge protector to prolong the life of my new system. It also included the whole house purifier I've been wanting for years. Their competitors quoted 16 seer, single-speed on/off systems with the purifier. Green Leaf’s quote included a 700 increment variable-speed motor system that would make my home much more comfortable. Their quote wasn't significantly higher, but their system was 18 seer, and it was a Trane! They even threw in twenty-four-month financing at zero percent. So, was it worth buying in the winter? That's a big, fat YES! Since I was willing to engage in a little negotiating, it was just like buying a car last day of the month when the dealer still has quota left to meet. In the winter, air conditioning companies are trying to keep their good techs employed. In the summer, they are slammed, so there is little leverage for negotiation. I'd read that the most important day in an air conditioner's life is the day it's installed. Trane is very particular about who installs their systems and, even though it was a Friday and they were there from early morning till almost dark, I had three very experienced techs from Green Leaf spend their entire day getting my install just right. Here's Juan sealing the return cavity. It’s another “white gloves” service of Green Leaf’s not offered by their competitors. Their service manager Brent stopped by in the afternoon to quality check the install and spend a little time with a new customer. I've only had my new air conditioner system for a little more than a day, but my house is already noticeably more comfortable. My new system has lowered my humidity, cleaned my air, and is busy learning my personal preferences. Within the next couple of weeks, it will keep my home comfortable year around without me having to touch the dial. If you ever call Green Leaf, be sure and ask for Darwin. He’s one of the owners and he will take excellent care of you. He's a proud father, so be sure and ask about his four girls. https://www.greenleafhvac.net/ 512-636-9636
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John C Campbell
Jan 29, 2020
In Georgetown Stories
I love stories like this. The other day one of my neighbors told me about an ice cream shop in her Wisconsin home town. It used to be a dairy delivering all the milk for the town (back when that was a thing), but nowadays they sell ice cream. Whenever the mercury in the thermometer begins to freeze, they start giving away a scoop of ice cream to anyone willing to drop by their store. This sounds like an exercise in futility, doesn't it? Well, she said people line up out the door and down the street waiting for their free scoop. When she was a little girl, she says she was happy to do the same. I did a google search, and found a link that tells the rest of the story... https://thetakeout.com/wisconsin-store-free-ice-cream-below-20-degrees-1832159705
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John C Campbell
Jan 29, 2020
In Family & Friends
She's built a highly successful career while raising her kids. Mary Rose's love of real estate, her drive, and her ability to creatively bring more to the table than most remind me very much of my own father's real estate capabilities (and he became a millionaire : ). She has settled in Little Elm, Texas where she helps architect that city's meteoric growth by both developing and selling commercial and residential real estate. She is married to Matt Kirk Kent, a Director for the Dallas Cowboys. Mary Rose has an amazing intelligence that is always a pleasure to see in action and a smile like a blessing. She is my step-daughter, and has given me the chance to be a grandparent. I feel lucky to have her and her family in my life.
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John C Campbell
Jan 29, 2020
In Family & Friends
Kent is a big guy just like me, but he has always been very active. He even took himself off to Colorado for a year to support his snowboarding habit. Once he starts something, he sticks with it which makes him pretty good at everything he takes on. His heart is as big as he is, but his high IQ made parenting an always interesting challenge. Now that he's grown, I treasure every moment he spends with me. Kent has a natural engineering-oriented perspective. He can fix pretty much anything, so constantly gets calls for help from our big family. He responds willingly and never complains. He is my only child. I love him very much and am proud of the fact that he stands on his own two feet, and is a good man! ​Lately, my son has been busy getting his new van ready for the road. He's going to travel the US, delivering cargoes while he builds his Elemental Captures business, America's beauty as his canvas.
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John C Campbell
Jan 29, 2020
In The Arts
If you've never heard her sing, you've been missing one of the most beautiful voices to grace our modern world...and one of music's most tragic stories... "Over the Rainbow" is the song that made Eva famous half a decade after her death. ​ "Waly Waly" is my own favorite, but I have an audiophile's dream of a stereo system that lets me appreciate every wonderful nuance of her voice. ​ Here's the story of Eva Cassidy... Check out this Nightline Report ​ Once you've appreciated her voice, you may want to come back to this...It's one of the few poems I've scribed in recent times... Eva​ Single, small, shyly shining star You drifted through dark firmaments Here and then too soon gone, ​ but your voice ​Fresh as morning’s dew Beautiful as angel’s dreams, With seeming effortless perfection Crystal clear cascades of expression For all to hear, hold dear, keep near sings still and so Within your gentle genius Our soul’s caresses.
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John C Campbell
Dec 20, 2019
In Georgetown Stories
My son's mom's mom, his Grandma Bettie, passed gently into forever just before midnight last night, here in Georgetown, Texas. Her family are long-time Georgetown residents, growing with this city over the generations. She was in her home, with family and hospice attending her when she passed. Bettie Millar is survived by two daughters, five grandchildren, and a passel of great-grandchildren. All of them are smart, creative individuals and they all remember their grandma with love. Bettie loved to travel. She spent many happy years on the road, mostly visiting the western half of the United States. She particularly loved Colorado. She would travel with friends and family but also had no problem hooking up the Saturn behind her RV and taking off by herself for months at a time. Bettie was an old fashioned girl. She struggled a bit with the modern world but got every moment of joy out of her life that she could. When she could no longer travel, she volunteered almost every day at the Estrella Oaks Nursing and Rehab facility here in Georgetown. She brought a sweet smile and a cheerful attitude, spreading a little extra light with every visit. Bettie was great at games. No one could beat grandma. Her body gave out but her mind was sharp to the end, beating my son at Pente just a couple weeks before she passed. He is good at Pente, she had never played before. If, as a healer once said, the end of life is like "the taking off a tight shoe", when Bettie's end came, she did not suffer long. Today, she is free of all earthly cares, free of any pain, and my prayers are for her family. Her granddaughter, Mary Rose, wrote a poem to her grandmother a few days ago that well reflects how much she will be missed... The Southern bell isn’t ringing and her clocks are not chiming. The sun sets, wondering if a new day will be rising. The garden misses its keep. The granddaughter weeps. And soon comes the starry, undefinable sleep. For Bettie Millar, the woman who told me rhymes and bedtime stories, taught me how to be a lady, and shared her passion for plants with me. Don’t go..
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John C Campbell
Dec 09, 2019
In Georgetown Stories
There is so much to say that I can’t say it all. I feel like I have no words... but at the same time, I have 100,000 million things to say about Brittany. I have not one single thought or word that is negative, only happy, loving, and joyful, just as she was. I saw her last week and we had such a good visit and conversation. We had some serious talk, but we also had some really good laughs...as always. I’ve never been so impacted by a single person in my entire life. Besides being awkward and goofy, what we had most in common and connected over was that we both are positive and eternal optimists. On that note, I will not say anything about the pain of this grief, but only of the blessing that she was to me and everyone she crossed paths with. Thanks to our friendship, I’ve gained the love for fitness and understanding of what a gift it is to challenge my body and do hard things. I’ve gained the gratitude of life and health because honestly being young like we are we tend to think we are invincible. She taught us all that no matter what’s going on we are in control of how we react and choose to move forward. We can either feel sad and sorry for ourselves or we can put our foot down and say NOT TODAY SATAN! You can either feel crummy at home or go feel crummy and climb a mountain while experiencing God’s gift of each day in the midst of your struggles. She was honest, pure, real, and didn’t sugar coat any crud for social media. Cancer SUCKS and we need more answers...EFF CANCER! We also need to live like Britt with unconditional love, compassion, and strength like she did. We NEED GOD, we must put our absolute faith in him and let him carry our burdens. We will never ever understand why or how God uses the evil things that the devil created to positively impact others. God gave us Britt, she was and is a gift to us all. Most of us will never live with as much purpose in life as she did in the short time she was here on this earth. I’m so thankful for her, and the blessing that she has been. I’m sending so much love and prayers to all of her family and friends. She has changed our lives forever and we will absolutely live every day with purpose & faith in God. We all know her beautiful soul is in heaven without a doubt. Next time I see you, Britt, I’m gonna give you a big ‘ole hug, no more air hugs. You will never be prepared for grieving. There is no right or wrong way of doing it. I do want to say that Brittany left behind a legacy and a BIG part of that is that she wanted people to be AWARE of the symptoms of ovarian cancer! There is NO scan for Ovarian Cancer, but we are fighting to get more answers. Your annual pap does NOT detect Ovarian Cancer. You have to know your body and take action. Go to the doctor if these symptoms go on for more than a week: •pain in the abdomen or pelvis •bloating, change in bowel habits, indigestion, or nausea •abdominal fullness, fluid in the abdomen, or lump in the abdomen •fatigue or loss of appetite •weight loss I also want to say that if you have a friend or family member fighting cancer, give them all of your love. Let them be angry, happy, or sad. Let them be tough or hold them up in prayer when they are weak. Love on and encourage their family because they need that too. And for the love of God do not try to relate!!!!!!! Do not tell them you understand. Say, “I don’t know how you feel, but I love you and I am here for you.” “I am angry for you because this sucks and it’s unfair, but you are doing amazing with what you can control.” Don’t ask how you can help...just do things... . Send them funny texts with inappropriate jokes or gifs. . Have non-cancer-related conversations. Don’t ask how are you feeling, but say how is your day going? . Love, love, love them with all that you have. . Just be there. Cherub November 29 at 5:12 PM
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John C Campbell
Nov 09, 2019
In Georgetown Stories
Royanne Kelly says she has always wanted to be an actress, but it's been a lot more than talk and dreaming for this 12-year-old Georgetown girl. Back in third grade, the acting bug bit Royanne when she was picked to be in the play, The Elephant’s Child. A list of 12 or so plays followed, most at the Palace Theater. "After my first show, I knew I wanted to do this forever,” she said. She's played the lead, Belle, in Beauty and the Beast; Wendy in Peter Pan and the main characters in several others. She has also had parts in several productions at school. She was involved in the play, Rock of Ages just before school started. “I am amazed at how quickly she learns her lines and how animated she’s become in her roles,” said her mother Carol. Her parents have been very supportive of their daughter's dream, with dad, Bruce, building sets for some of her plays at Village Elementary School. “It’s been a great joy watching her grow into her dreams,” said Bruce. Carol, knowing how much her daughter loves the theater, along with her sister, and a cousin, decided to turn a room in their home into "The Hollywood Room". Royanne was not allowed to enter the room until it was completed. In June, a grand opening was held with friends and family attending. The room was fit for a star, including a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star with Royanne's name on it. This school year, the seventh-grader is in varsity theater classes and choir, setting the course for her entire future. "My goal in life is to be a famous actress on TV. I already have a college plan," she said. A member of Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ, she plans on majoring in Children's Ministries. She then wants to go to college in Dallas and earn a degree She knows her dreams can be achieved thanks to the devotion of her parents. "They always cheer me on, even when I have the smallest part. They tell me it's a learning experience. But, I know they will be really proud of me if I make it-no WHEN I make it!" she said. Life has given Royanne experiences that have helped her shape her future. Two years ago, she was a crossing guard at school when a pre-kindergarten student opened a car door and a ball fell out. The child was nearly hit when he climbed out of the car to retrieve the ball as it rolled in front of oncoming traffic. "I pulled him out of the way, grabbing him around the waist, "Royanne recalls. Another experience has helped her make the decision to get involved with the church youth. A speaker at a summer church camp spoke about bullying and the message hit home with Royanne. A few years back, three students were bullying her at school, making fun of her looks. The speaker’s message led to her decision to help other children. For now, Royanne is focusing on her school work, trying out and getting acting parts, and enjoying the room her family created for her to dream about her future. Story by Kathleen Holton
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John C Campbell
Sep 23, 2019
In Church of the Rational
When I was sixteen years old, I hawked popcorn in Texas Stadium during Dallas Cowboy games. I spent the first half of each game climbing flights of stairs and using my big voice, "Popcorn, get your Hot, Buttered Popcorn!" During the second half, I could either keep selling or find an open seat and watch the rest of the game. That was in 1973. The Cowboys were in one of their heydays, so I always cashed out and looked for the best seat I could find... ...And I got to see some pretty incredible games. Tom Landry was the thinking man's coach, and he always seemed to be one strategic step ahead of other coaches. Bob Lilly, Jethro Pugh, Too-Tall Jones, and Randy White were the "Doomsday Defense." Those big guys were exciting to watch as they regularly overwhelmed the opposing offensive lines during games. Most impressive of all was the Cowboy's quarterback, Roger "The Dodger" Staubach. He was always putting the stink on the other teams. An escape artist, he would end each wild backfield runabout with incredible throw after unbelievable throw. If the Cowboys were behind, a fourth-quarter comeback was always anticipated with great relish by the fans. If Roger didn't make one happen, it was usually because he had started into that home stretch three touchdowns behind, and there were still a few points to go when he ran out of time. Last night, I watched "A Football Life, Roger Staubach." I've always believed that winning football games is on the shoulders of the quarterback, and Roger Staubach was a shining blue and silver-clad superhero to me. He helped me fall in love with the game of football. That documentary did an excellent job of reflecting those magical times. It was almost like I was back in that stadium again, a youngster watching his hero save the day game after game. I remembered just how joyful it was to be in the audience and how sad I was when Roger retired. Heroes are still around, Thank God, but there was and always will be only one real-life Captain America.
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John C Campbell
Aug 28, 2019
In Church of the Rational
A decade ago most of my online purchases were from Ebay. Now, I buy from Amazon almost exclusively. There are several reasons for that but Amazon's customer service tops the list. I was recently reminded of the value of their good service when I was looking to buy a sling backpack. I had found a few on Amazon, then Ebay sent me a $5 certificate. I decided to see what they had to offer. I found one I liked on Ebay and went ahead and purchased it... A few days later I received a cheap looking sling that had a big, weird logo on it... It came from Amazon and included a note that said it was an Amazon gift. I remember thinking that "Free" was about what it was worth... But, I received a message that same day telling me the sling I had ordered from Ebay had also been delivered. I had only received the one sling from Amazon, so I was confused. One week, multiple emails to seller home-garden-and-beyond1 (unanswered for days at a time), even a call to Ebay customer service, and I am still in the dark. It is only a guess but my purchase from Ebay may have been fulfilled by Amazon and that seller sent me the wrong bag??? In the meantime, I went back and bought a sling from Amazon... Two thoughts motivated that decision. 1) My time is more valuable than to keep fooling with inefficient Ebay processes. 2) If I have any problem with my Amazon order, same as always, it can and will be resolved in a few minutes with a simple phone call. I do want to add that for a completely hassle-free experience, I've learned over the years to purchase only products with Prime Shipping. My Prime membership pays for itself in so many ways though that, that is not an issue. What about you? Do you prefer Ebay or Amazon or have other thoughts on the subject?
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John C Campbell
Aug 03, 2019
In Georgetown Stories
If this photo looks amazing, it is a reflection of all the hard work Skyler Taylor puts into her craft. She won first place for this Yellow Polka Dot Bikini dance, just one of the many competitions she has participated in with her Georgetown based dance school, Dance Empower. She is going into her third year of competition. Her dance routines are highly choreographed and Skyler is the youngest person on her team. There may be up to a dozen acts in any production. Skyler is typically in most of them. She dances fifteen hours a week in her classes, then comes home, creates her own routines, and dances all around the house. Her dad, Chase Taylor, says, "She's my little butterfly. She floats around our home and never stops dancing, which makes me happy because I know she is happy." Skyler has been dancing since she was three years old. She said, "Dancing makes me happy because I get to move my body. I am very wiggly and sitting still is boring." She she trains five days a week, for three hours at a time. Her dance classes include Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz, and the competition oriented Company Dance. Her favorite dances are the lyrical ones but she likes all dancing. Her main goal is to be on point (which means she wants to be a ballerina dancing on tiptoes) because, "It's really beautiful and I want to be an artist". Mom and dad both support their daughter. They are at every competition. Grandpa and grandma are usually right there with them. Her mom says Skyler has a lot of different dimensions to her personality, so she mainly works to help her enjoy her childhood. She does like that her daughter's own discipline and work ethic have given her so much confidence on the stage. Skyler is sixth generation Georgetonian. Her mom Cherub runs her own hair saloon, “Hair by Cherub” and her dad Chase spends his days hanging off the side of skyscrapers, as he installs or replaces large glass panels working for an Austin commercial glass company. Skyler's grandparents, Shawn and Donna Taylor, live the philosophy "It takes a village to raise a child." Their family of four boys, with daughter-in-laws, and a growing number of grandchildren are all frequent visitors. Only nine now, Skyler has never have needed anyone to push her. Instead, mom and dad work hard to keep her balanced between school and dance. She got all A’s in third grade, is reading a full grade ahead, and is going into Gifted and Talented this next school year. She loves to perform but also enjoys other sports, like volleyball and especially gymnastics. A very good singer, Skyler would love to act in shows where she can sing and dance. Dove Cameron from the Disney channel is her idol. I can't resist finishing with this photo. Skyler was a super-cute toddler and, with the help of her super-supportive family, is growing up living her dreams.
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John C Campbell
Aug 03, 2019
In For Love & Money
This is a follow up to my "A Case of Seller's Remorse" post... Selling my last CVO motorcycle may have been the proper thing to do to support my writer's journey, but it sure hurt. I finally figured I could salve my pain with a cheaper bike; one I could keep without feeling guilty. Then, I came across a real deal in Victoria, Texas and a rather complicated purchase became a nice, little adventure. Since my sister Cathy's home is between my house in Georgetown and Victoria, my son Kent and I decided to spend the weekend with her and her two sons, Nick and Eli. On the way, we stopped at Black's Barbecue in San Marcos. It was a nice place but truthfully we were not impressed and the chopped beef we took to Cathy's boys at $16.50 a pound was frankly horrible. Cathy fed us much better and her hospitality was a sweet reminder of just how good it is to have family. My son loves her couch and spent both nights sleeping on it. If he looks a little messy, you will be happy to know my sister cleaned him up before we left. Our grandpa cut hair in Huron, South Dakota for fifty years, so our mom cut all the kids hair while we were growing up. My sister inherited that well used equipment and even cuts her own hair with it now. fyi: That bib is the same one Grandpa used on us. It says, "Shave and a Haircut Two Bits". Cathy has a beautiful home in the country. The view from her porch is always peaceful. Her boys made good use of the pool while their cousin Kent was there. Monday morning, we headed to Victoria. We rented a U-Haul trailer once we got there but AJ, the bike's owner, was luckily a knowledgeable character. He told us that just trailering the bike wouldn't work, so we spent most of the afternoon finding a chock to hold the bike upright in the trailer and my son watched youtube videos (natch) to figure out how to properly tie the bike down for our trip back to Georgetown. We did explore the city some, before stopping for supper and heading to the hotel. For dinner, I had some of the finest fish, and definitely the best chips I've ever eaten at a place called the Bayside Seafood Restaurant. Both locals I asked recommended it specifically and they were right on. We spent the night at the Marriott. I talked with Billy, a lineman for the railroad while my son swam in the hotel pool with his kids. Billy spends his days on a ten-mile section of railroad track, switching cars between engines. Since he might have a string of cars at 170,000 pounds each, even at eight miles an hour, he told me he would have to lock the brakes for the length of the hotel to come to a complete stop. I didn't think to ask him if he wears earplugs when braking. The motorcycle I went on this adventure to buy was, of course, another CVO. CVO's are produced in very limited numbers on a separate line by the Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations engineering group. This one was a beautifully designed bike with a lot of attitude, but the title had been lost, so the bike was mostly sitting in storage for the last few years. It only had 6,550 miles on the odometer and, even though it wasn't being ridden much, the owner took meticulous care of it. Deal or not, I would have walked away from this one if I had been on my own. Luckily, my brother Mark owns a used car dealership, "Classicstreet.com" and knew exactly what to do. It was quite a process that, among other things, involved a trip to the Victoria Police Station to verify the VIN as I worked my way toward obtaining a bonded title. I do want to mention that I've never seen a finer, friendlier group of people than those police officers. They were busy hosting a youth camp for the middle schoolers of the city but took their time and some effort to help us, without any fee to boot. Bottom line, I ended up with a new bike but still had enough money in the bank from the sale of my old one to keep any "buyer's remorse" out of the purchase. My new CVO is even more fun to ride than my last one. I can see now why some Harley riders swear by the original "unbalanced" engine. I know one thing, I will not make the mistake of selling this motorcycle, no matter how long my writing journey lasts.
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John C Campbell
Jun 26, 2019
In Georgetown Stories
Bowman Outdoor Living is a family owned and operated business. Three generations, father, daughter, and granddaughter, all work together at this locally born company that has been creating beautiful exteriors for SUN City residents and the Georgetown area since 1995. When Charles Petru and his daughter Janice Bowman moved here, Georgetown was less than half the size it is today. They both fell in love with the city’s serenity and peacefulness, a far cry from their Houston stomping grounds where most of the family still resides. Father and daughter both built homes in Georgetown the same year they started their company. They joined and have been active at St. Helen's, a Catholic church at 2700 East University. Ms. Bowman’s three children, Brittney, Brandan, and Bailey attended elementary school at St. Helen's. Ms. Bowman said some of their longest, dearest friendships started there; their accountant, their administrative assistant, even the superintendent who brought them into Sun City are blessings from their many years in that congregation. Brittney Bowman is twenty-three now, with both entrepreneurship and accounting degrees. She joined the company in May, 2017, bringing the third generation of the family into their business. According to her mom and grandfather, she takes equally good care of the books and their customers. In 1995, there were no homes and it took a golf cart to get into Del Webb’s future Sun City development. Bowman Outdoor Living was hired in that early phase to do decking. Over the years, their expertise has grown to include wrought iron fencing and many types of masonry work, as well as landscaping. Their website, www.bowmanoutdoorliving.com shows examples of screened arbors, outdoor kitchens, patios, water fountains, fire-pits, and many other custom-built outdoor living projects. Ms. Bowman mentioned, “We also have highly experienced crews. Many of our employees have been with the company more than a decade. Some since the beginning.” Having grown up with Sun City, Bowman Outdoor Living is expert at custom building for the unique needs of its citizens. Most of their business comes through referrals and customers tend to become friends, bringing ‘thank you’ gifts by the office on a regular basis. Ms. Bowman said, “Over three-quarters of our projects are for Sun City and its residents.” Their headquarters, just east of the Sun City entrance on Williams Drive, keeps a large inventory onsite. They tend to make bulk buys that match the Sun City look they helped create. Mr. Petru claimed, “Our location and inventory are big advantages that help us quickly meet project needs, make supervision easier, and keep our prices under control.” Ms. Bowman explained, “Everything we do is focused on making the exterior of a home an extension of the interior living space. From the front door through the patio in back, we have the experience to blend our designs into one unique SUN City living experience.” Ms. Bowman added, “And every job is personal because our name is on it!”
Family of Custom Builders Brings Beauty to Sun City  content media
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John C Campbell
Jun 13, 2019
In For Love & Money
I sold my motorcycle to help finance my writing. Figured it was the right thing to do, but for the first time in my life I am experiencing seller's remorse. It was a fine motorcycle. I already miss it. I am focused on writing for a living. I even have a plan based on my understanding of search engines. The bike sale helps get me there. OK, I am doing what I believe is needed. It's like a test of my commitment. I sure do miss that motorcycle though. : ( : )
A Case of Seller's Remorse content media
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John C Campbell
Apr 21, 2019
In Family & Friends
It's Easter Sunday. Our family gathered for brunch, followed by key lime pie and mimosas. Afterwards, everyone hung out on the sofas talking and the subject "What is your earliest memory?" came up. One cousin remembered bouncing off the side of a moving car as she ran across the street without looking at age 5. Another watched her older sister fall down the stairs and break her collarbone when she was only 4. Mom said it was climbing into an ice truck that took off while she was eating the ice. She had to jump and ended up getting gravel dug out of her face and knees. My brother's fiancee grew up on a farm. Helping deliver calves, take care of chickens, and do other farm chores created a series of powerful early memories for her. My earliest memory is of climbing out of my crib one Christmas morning, toddling into a still dark living room, and navigating my way to the presents by the twinkling of the Christmas tree lights. I remember the colored balls making noises and popping around brightly inside the plastic dome as I pushed my new toy around and around the living room, until everyone else woke up and joined me. I had just turned 3. Great grandma Nain, who is a 103, had the coolest first memory of all. She was sitting on her 6'5" tall father's shoulders at age 4, watching a trainload of soldiers lean out the windows hooting and hollering for the large crowd had come to greet them, as they arrived back home at the end of World War I. The common thread? Everyone's first memory was an emotional one. Obvious once you think about it but delightful to discover as the stories unfolded. I couldn't think of a better way to spend an Easter day. Have an earliest memory you want to share? I am willing to bet it is one that still awakens feelings in you, no matter the intervening years.
What is Your Earliest Memory? content media
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John C Campbell
Apr 19, 2019
In Georgetown Stories
I originally wrote this one for the newspaper but it was just too much for them to handle as a single story. It is really three or four stories in one. Jon Weston had an amazing lacrosse career, he was a technology innovator who helped lay the first tracks for what would one day become The Internet, and his retirement includes both major weight loss and a new business here in Georgetown... Jon Weston has had a lifelong love affair with lacrosse. While still in high school, Mr Weston built a wind tunnel in his basement to do research on the aerodynamics of ground effects. At that time, the army was trying to figure out how to make helicopter blades quieter. His home-based experiments won one of the army’s highest academic awards, which led to a Maryland State Senatorial Scholarship, which in turn led Mr Weston to John Hopkins University. There he got hooked on the intensity of lacrosse and played on various teams throughout his college years. Native Americans invented lacrosse almost a thousand years ago. It was a form of symbolic warfare for them. They called it “the creator’s game”. In a two-to-three-day marathon match, up to a thousand warriors might play on a mile-long field from sunup to sundown. Winners brought glory and honor to themselves and their tribes. Today, lacrosse is Canada’s national sport. It spread from Canada into the Northeastern US, then into the Carolinas and even to Colorado. Lacrosse is now a Big Ten college sport. Anyone who has been to a modern lacrosse game knows that the spirit of combat is still alive and well. Mr Weston said it is a common joke among players that, “Lacrosse is a game where you can beat on someone with a big stick, but you don’t go to jail.” Lacrosse is also a very fluid game. Mr Weston said, “I can’t remember, in my 50+ lacrosse years, two lacrosse games being much alike.” Weighing 250 pounds, or being over six feet tall are actually drawbacks in lacrosse. It is a fast-moving game of throws, catches, plus lightning strikes at a hockey sized goalie net that favors agile, team-oriented speedsters. An active scoring, audience engaging sport, lacrosse elicits as much emotion from a stadium full of spectators as any UT football game. Mr Weston said, “The only sports that make money in their NCAA championships are football and lacrosse.” Lacrosse is perhaps more like soccer on steroids than football, but lacrosse’s top players evidence the same kind of fierce loyalty for their game seen in players of other intense sports. The ball is hard, a helmet is a player’s only real protection, and they sprint full out, mostly in lock step with the opposing team, sticks actively extending the effectiveness of both offense and defense for sixty fast paced, grueling minutes. Mr Weston spent nine years (1989-1998) as the lacrosse coach at Magruder High School, where his teams always had a winning record, including two county championships. He also spent seven years at Towson University, where he gained the title “The Goalieman”, producing two All-American goalies, while helping guide the team to the NCAA semifinals in 2001. Mr Weston was one of the organizers of and goalie for the first age 45+ USA team at the Lacrosse World Games in 1998. In 2014, he played in those same games in the over 60 division. His team’s slogan was, “Play until you can’t”. Mr Weston wrote the definitive book on goalies, “Lacrosse Goaltending II”, invented the “no rebound” goalie stick, and engineered a line of tensioned, high pocket sticks. His sticks are still considered by many high-performance players to be the most accurate, best catching and throwing sticks for lacrosse. He continues to contribute to the game through video and private instruction. It was Mr Weston’s extraordinary programming background that allowed him to co-create the first “Moneyball” system for lacrosse. The same as for baseball, it used statistical analysis to track and improve players performance. It was in college, where Mr Weston was a volunteer operator for the school’s computer center, that he found he had a real affinity for programming. Programming was a relatively new discipline needed for the big magnetic tape driven mainframes of that day. He ended up teaching programming to the other students until he graduated in 1968, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. After graduation, Mr Weston went to work for General Electric on what were then, bleeding-edge computer projects. The time share products he helped develop eerily foreshadowed today’s services-based enterprise environments. “High Availability”, “Clustering”, and “Virtualization” were all born in the GE “Information Services” division he helped grow during the 70s. In 1981, Mr Weston became the Operations Director for Telnet, which today is Sprintnet. He ran product planning for the first real national network. Using a precursor of the modern Internet Protocol, he helped create products that enabled computers to talk to each other over distances. After that, Mr Weston became involved in a number of startup projects for various companies where he says, “I had a lot of fun with some pretty unique challenges”. His projects included helping IBM computers communicate with each other over the military’s new DARPAnet, the forerunner of today’s Internet. After that he got involved in all kinds of technical consulting for the government, private corporations, and even “disadvantaged” small businesses. Mr Weston helped standardize Department of the Interior leases of oil rights in the Gulf of Mexico. He also helped design and implement the Army’s first “just in time” Standard Acquisition and Contracting System, which ended up saving the army millions every year. In 1993, Mr Weston became the VP of Solution Architecture for CACI, a unique company that focuses on improving government services and enhancing military efficiencies. CACI grew from 3,500 to 17,000 employees during his 25 years there, while he continued to spearhead interesting projects, like modernizing an outdated South Carolina DMV in the 1990s and updating the US Air Force computer systems to help manage their bases nationwide. Mr Weston finally retired in August of this year, at 71 years of age. In December of 2014, Mr Weston and his wife Karen moved from Maryland to Georgetown, Texas. Their two boys are in the Austin area with their families. A swimming pool for the grandkids was the one non-negotiable requirement of their new home search and those grandchildren are now a permanent fixture at the Weston’s home during summer weekends. When the coach for Southwestern University found out Mr Weston had moved to Georgetown, he immediately recruited him. Mr Weston helped with their lacrosse program for the next three years. A couple years ago, his daughter-in-law, Michelle Weston, who runs a successful acupuncture and herbalist clinic in South Austin, talked him into taking on a specific weight loss strategy. Mr Weston completely got rid of all sugars, no matter whether artificial or natural, eliminated dairy, carbs and anything fried, consumed three small vegetable-oriented meals, and drank a minimum of 60 ounces of water. He also added an exercise program meant to keep his heart rate elevated and his cardiovascular system working efficiently. It included runs and bike rides. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in eight ounces of water at 8pm every night, with no food after, was his key metabolism improvement trick. Mr Weston lost over eighty pounds, going from 268 pounds down to 186 pounds. When Mr Weston was a young man, he repaired lawn mowers to help put himself through school. Never one to sit still, he revived that early passion immediately after he retired, starting Weston Refurb to buy, refurbish, and sell used lawn mowers. He has already purchased over 150 lawn mowers of all types and was delighted to discuss how he found them, as well as details of his repairs, which were obviously done with an eye to selling quality products. Mr Weston even puts a 90-day warranty on each used lawn mower he sells. When asked why he wanted to start such a new and different venture at his age, Mr Weston said, “I’m having a lot of fun meeting and helping both my buyers and sellers. Besides, when you’ve been solving problems all your life, then you don’t have any problems to solve, you have to find something new to focus on.” I would be remiss if I did not include his contact info for lawn mower deal hunters: Jon Weston – 443-418-5613 PS. I dearly love seeing comments from my readers. : )
Lacrosse, Lawn Mowers, High Tech, and a Man Named Weston content media
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John C Campbell
Apr 17, 2019
In Family & Friends
Took our old slides, scanned them into my computer, and color corrected as best I could. Here are a few of the many...
Blasts from the Past content media
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John C Campbell
Mar 11, 2019
In Church of the Rational
The episode is beautifully constructed. It makes a complex subject accessible to everyone. Darn good storytelling. What I got out of the show is: 1) Quantum Entanglement has been proven (and Einstein was wrong for once) 2) Entanglement over distances means we still don't understand the basic nature of reality. I don't quite agree with the "Universe is a Hologram" hypothesis though. 3) The Chinese are way ahead of us when it comes to practical Quantum applications.
Did anyone see the Nova episode, "Einstein's Quantum Riddle"? content media
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John C Campbell

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