Followers

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

There’s more – Immeasurably more.

On the ocean, waves are generated by wind during storms at sea. They start out in different sizes, heights and lengths, and travel thousands of miles losing only a small amount of energy. Storms of life are often hard to handle, but God’s love for us stretches far beyond anything we can comprehend.

Ephesians 3:20 says "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"

'Exceedingly abundantly' means something immeasurable. God's love is immeasurable. A poem I found and published on my blog several years ago is worth repeating -

"We can only see a little of the ocean
Just a few miles distant from the rocky shore,
But out there – far beyond our eyes’ horizon,
There’s more – immeasurably more.

We can only see a little of God’s loving –
A few rich treasures from His mighty store;
But out there – far beyond our eyes’ horizon,
There’s more – immeasurably more.”

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Bill Asberry was a Most Valuable Player


Looking through the Clinton County News from back in the day brought back a lot of memories of watching the Clinton County greats who played softball, but the one player I was looking for Bill Asberry.

The 1976 Albany Men's Softball League ended with Brown and Polston defeating J's Discount of Burkesville to win the Division A championship. Had J's won, Brown and Polston would have ended the season tied with Albany RC and a playoff would have been necessary. J's opened with a big inning but Brown and Polston came up with a seven run inning later and cruised to a 16-9 victory.

It was the first time in several years that Albany RC had been denied a champion­ship. When the winning trophy was pre­sented to Brown and Polston manager John E. Polston, he held it high over his head and shook it at RC manager Dowell Wallace, yelling, "Look here, Dowell!" The crowd roared.

The division's Most Valuable Player Award went to Bill Asberry of Brown and Polston. A golden glove outfielder and solid hitter, Bill's clutch performance helped Brown-Polston win the decisive game. Bill was a solid all-around player on the softball field and very valuable to his team. He an all-star player during his career. Other teams he played for were Royster, Albany Merchants and Albany RC. All of the old softball players talk about how great of a player he was.

In 1968 he played on Dowell Wallace's Albany Independent team along with Wayne Ryan, Sherman York, Steve Bell, Gary Thomas, Gary Farley, Gary Davis, Kenneth Conner, Jackie Amonett, Jackie McWhorter, Ray Guffey, Don Stockton, Ernest Cross and Wendell Burchett.

The 1973 Albany RC team included Coach John E . Poison, manager Dowell Wallace and players Bill Asberry, Runt Lowhorn, Bill Brown, Randy Brown, Ricky Wallace, Steve Bell, Jimmy Parrigin, Kay Flowers, Ken Con­ner, Donnie Poore, Jimmy Brown, Ronnie Guthrie, Gary Basham and Gary Farley.

In 1980, Terry White Ford went undefeated in 21 games. Coached by Rob Stockton and managed by Kay Flowers, the team consisted of Flowers, Bill, Charles and David Asberry, Steve and Tim Bell, Rick Wallace, Jimmy K. Brown, Tom Thrasher and Steve Lowhorn.

Bill was all about softball and baseball. Usually his teams won. The 1963 Braves baseball team he was on won the Babe Ruth league. The players were Bill Asberry, Gary Guffey, Jackie McWhorter, Jimmy Vincent, Gary Thomas, Dale Tallent, Eddie Luttrell, Don Tallent, Gary Tallent, Shelby McWhorter, JD Cooksey, Keith Conner, Preston Cook, Wayne Ryan, Junior Polston and Rudy Thomas. J B. Burchett, James Cooksey and Keith Conner were the managers.

Those are a sample of the teams Bill Asberry played on. There were others. Great memories for a whole lot of people. I love reminiscing about them. So many stories to tell. I can't wait to hear yours.

The memories of the old Poverty Park that was out by the high school are dear to a lot of people like myself. While there may have been very little funds to keep it running, the place was rich with good times. Bill sure did his part to make them enjoyable. I saw him awhile back at the grocery store. I said "how about a game of softball?" He smiled and said, "those were great days." Indeed they were.

Blene and Dean Asberry raised a great family in their Christian home at Pikeview, with Johnny, Bill, Jimmy, Ada, Charles, Danny K., Mary Dean and David....all well-known and loved by everyone. Pray for his mom, his wife, Connie, their children and grandchildren, and for the rest of the family and his many friends and his co-workers at Gaddie Shamrock, where he worked what would have been 51 years this coming April.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Manhattan Project: Lyda Speck's Story

In her early years during the Great Depression, Lyda Speck, who held a college degree in chemistry, had been an elementary school teacher in Livingston, but when school attendance dropped she was let go and in May of 1941 became a rural mail carrier.

And then came Dec. 7, 1941. “I remember it distinctly,” she said of the day of the surprise attack from the Japanese Navy at the U. S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. “It was on a Sunday. Momma had just told us lunch was ready, and they broke into the news on the radio before we got to the dinner table. It was just unbelievable.” Suddenly there were jobs. The war brought the Depression to an end. As the men volunteered or were drafted for service overseas, the women stepped up to handle the jobs on the homefront. Lyda had felt the patriotism itch and in 1943 took a leave of absence from her mail route to join the Women’s Army Corps. She volunteered for anywhere in the world that she was needed. She thought her service would have something to do with the mail since that was what she did, but her high score on an Army intelligence test caught the eye of those involved in a top-secret project to produce the first atomic bomb.

After basic training, Lyda’s entire company of women awaited their orders. Eventually, they started shipping out her fellow soldiers more and more until Lyda was the only one left. She thought that perhaps she was the only woman that they can’t find anything for her to do. She was only told to await “special orders.” Soon, she was on a train bound for the Army base at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which was the point from which troops were sent overseas. But it was all a sham, a way to keep hidden the secret job that awaited her in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where she would serve as part of the Provisional Engineer Detachment. She was debriefed about what she could say or not say. The one thing missing was the truth. It took her a while to figure out what the “truth” was. She was actually going to help build a bomb.

I have written stories about how my aunt Mada Boles Allen had moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee in early 1944 to work at the Y-12 Electromagnetic Separation Plant, whose purpose was to make enriched uranium, and about she and the others had no clue what they were doing until after the fact. The Clinton County News reported in 2022 that Opal Talbott of Albany had celebrated her 101st birthday at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, where decades earlier she had worked on the Manhattan Project. She showed the media the silver pin they had given her for her work.

It seems strange to think that a woman from Livingston, Tennessee would end up working with materials that were sent to New Mexico from Oak Ridge, so close to her home, but Lyda's part in the process at Los Alamos involved day after day of being in a physics lab. She tried to tell her boss that the Army had been misinformed about her schooling, that her major had been chemistry, not physics, but she was told she would be taught what they wanted her to know.

While assisting physicists in the experimental physics group, she became the only woman to work with the Van de Graaff accelerator, whose initial motivation for development was as a source of high voltage to accelerate particles for nuclear physics experiments. Her job was to develop the photographic emulsions and make the thousands of measurements of tracks needed to determine neutron energy. Over the next couple of years she got to know her microscope extremely well. Measuring the tracks would help scientists perfect the explosion. It had to do with determining what size the bomb would have to be to go off. Her job was tedious and nerve-racking, and though no one ever said the word “bomb,” it became clear to Lyda that a devastating weapon was coming together.

Lyda also never said the word “bomb," but the thought that she was contributing to the creation of such a device was never far from the young sergeant’s mind as she pushed slide after slide through her microscope, carefully measuring between what looked like constellations amidst a starry sky, not that anyone ever confirmed her suspicion and not that she ever asked, but nothing was left to doubt on July 16, 1945 as she gazed into the New Mexico desert sky from her vantage point on “the hill” and was among the first to witness a level of explosive fury the world had yet to experience.

It was a blast so powerful it could destroy an entire city, with shock waves felt more than 100 miles away, erupting into a monstrous mushroom cloud and leaving a crater of jagged radioactive glass where once was sand. The first test shot detonation had confirmed for her that the two and a half years she had contributed to the top secret research and development endeavor known as the Manhattan Project had not been in vain.

"It was always referred to as a gadget by thscientists and everybody else. I never heard anyone mention that it was a bomb.”

After the war, Lyda returned home to Livingston. There was no hero’s welcome, not even a mention of her arrival in the local newspaper. Life resumed as it had been, back to her mail route, a job Lyda would hold for more than 30 years, but in her home was a reminder of her contribution to the war effort, a small bit of jagged glass enclosed in a globe, a momento of that day in the desert. “That first test shot had everybody so nervous,” she would say. “We didn’t know if it was going to work and when it happened, the view from the hill was amazing."

On Sept. 28, 1945, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Director of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, wrote Lyda a commendation, which said in part, "For the past twenty months you have worked as an assistant in our research laboratory making microscopic measurements which called for a great deal of judgements on your part. This work was extremely tedious and involved a good deal if nervous strain. Nevertheless you have performed your duties in a cheerful and diligent manner and it must be clear to you that you have made a real contribution to the success of the project."

Lyda Speck died at Livingston Regional Hospital in 2014. She was 100 years old. Her parents were Floyd Morgan and Narcissa Allred Speck. Her grandparents were Magness and Delia Looper Speck. She was the great-granddaughter of Morgan Speck, brother of my 3rd great-grandfather, Calvin.

From a story about Lyda Speck at ajlambert.com

Monday, January 1, 2024

Today is a New Day


Here we are in a new year. What we do with it is up to us. Put your best foot forward and make every day count. Of course, the best way to go about it is to put God first in your life. Where would we be without His guidance? 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Putting God first is the best way to proceed into 2024. That is the best advice one can receive. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote down some good advice in a letter he sent to his daughter, Ellen, on April 8, 1854. It was a father's guidance to his daughter about maintaining a positive attitude toward each new day. Over the years, it has been rewritten, editor rearranged, but in essence he said, "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays." Here is a prayer for the New Year from 1 Chronicles 4:10 - "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, 'Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me.'" God granted Jabez that which he requested. Try it and see what God has in store for you in 2024.

"Happy New Year!"

*Thanks to Crystal Thacker for allowing me use her beautiful photo!*

Over 138,000 people visited my blog in 2023, including 12,347 people in December. Overall, the visitor count was at 937,693 at the end of 2023.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Peg McKamey Bean Made it by God's Amazing Grace

Peg McKamey Bean went home to be with the Lord this morning (Tuesday). On Dec. 11th, the family said she had been admitted to the hospital with a stroke. (She underwent triple bypass surgery six years ago tomorrow, Wednesday).

Peg was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall Of Fame in 2016. "Known for her spirited style on stage, you knew when Peg took the stage with her white hanky that God was going to be honored,” said SGMA President, Arthur Rice.

The group was originally formed as a trio of sisters: Dora, Peg, and Carol McKamey, in 1954 in Clinton, Tennessee. Their father was a preacher. The group went on to become one of the most popular gospel groups ever. In 2018, they announced that they would end full-time touring in November of 2019. In 2021, Peg and her husband, Reuben's daughter, Connie Fortner, her husband, Roger, and their son, Eli, began performing as McKamey Legacy.

The McKamey's signature song, at least for Peg, was "God On The Mountain” written by Southern Gospel Song Hall of Fame member Tracy Dartt in 1973. It is one of the most well-known Southern Gospel songs ever and has been recorded over 200 times, but (in my opinion) no one will ever sing it like Peg did. The McKamey's released the song on their 1988 album "Gone to Meetin' Live" (MorningStar). It became their third of sixteen #1 hits.

The McKamey's sang at Holy Temple Separate Baptist Church in Clinton County on Sunday, Nov. 20, 1983. On Sunday, Oct. 21, 1984, they performed with the Lyles on the square at the Foothills Festival. Their song, "Who Put the Tears (In the Eyes of the Lamb?)," from the "Tennessee Live!" album, had just become their first #1 hit and because of their popularity, it would be the first time ever that a huge crowd would pack the square on a Sunday afternoon at the festival. (The festival stopped having Sunday events several years ago).

"So let me sing you one more song in case I leave
I know how I made it, I made it by God's amazing grace"
- "Made it by Grace" (Joy in the Journey/2011)


Friday, December 8, 2023

Ralph Cundiff: From County Agent to KIA in WW2

Ralph Cundiff had just begun what was expected to be a bright and promising career in agriculture until World War II came along. Born in 1911 and raised in the Faubush community of Pulaski County, he graduated from Berea college with a degree in agriculture in 1938. Later that year he became the assistant county agent in Wayne County, serving until March of 1939, at which time he was appointed county agent of Clinton County. A prominent and highly respected citizen, he was a Deacon at Albany First Baptist Church and was a leading member of the Albany Lions Club. He had married Hazel Dalton, daughter of Walter Dalton.

Then came his induction into the U.S. Army in October 1942. He was assigned to Unit I Company, 330th Infantry Regiment of the 83rd Division, commanded by Major General Robert C. Macon. News correspondents nicknamed the 83rd "The Rag-Tag Circus" due to the resourcefulness of Major General Macon, who would order the supplementing of the division's transport with anything that moved with an attitude of "no questions asked."

The 83rd arrived in England on April 16, 1944 with its first divisional headquarters at Keele Hall in Staffordshire. After training in Wales, the division, took part in the Allied invasion of Normandy, landing at Omaha Beach on June 18th 1944. Nine days later they entered the hedgerow struggle south of Carentan.

"Mrs. Ralph Cundiff has been notified by the War Department of the death of her husband, SSgt. Ralph Cundiff, on July 6, 1944 in France."

He was 33.

The Allied forces' hard-won foothold on the bloody beaches of Normandy on D-Day was only the beginning of what would become a costly, foot-slogging effort to retake, field by field, town by town and house by house, all French ground the Germans had occupied since 1940. By the beginning of July the Allied invasion of Normandy, was not progressing as rapidly as anticipated.

The British Second Army had yet to secure one of its primary objectives, the pivotal crossroads city of Caen, effectively halting its advance on Paris before it began. To block the advancement the Germans deployed a staggering force of tanks and armored fighting vehicles along a tight 20-mile front. The most formidable obstruction was the countryside itself, dotted with small farms or orchards, each bordered by thick hedgerows that ranged anywhere from 4 to 15 feet in height. The Germans did not defend every hedgerow, but no one knew without stepping out into the spotlight which ones he did defend. As GIs emerged from the rows they became easy targets for German artillery and nested machine guns. The fighting continued for two days, ending with the Germans in retreat, but the battle was costly, as there were more than 15,000 American casualties.

Six other soldiers from Cundiff's company were also killed that day. He was awarded a Purple Heart, the WWII Victory Medal and a Combat Infantryman Badge. He is buried at Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France. His widow later married John Dorris Jr. She died in 1975 and is buried at Goodlettsville. Ralph Cundiff's name is on two monuments, the War Veterans Monument located outside the Clinton County Courthouse and on a monument outside the Pulaski County Courthouse.

By the way, Cundiff's replacement as Clinton County Agricultural Extension Agent was D.E. Salisbury, who moved from assistant county agent in Wayne County to county agent in Clinton County at the beginning of 1943.



Thursday, December 7, 2023

Honoring our Soldiers

On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, killing 2,403 service members and wounding 1,178 more. One of the 19 U.S. Navy ships to be completely destroyed was the battleship U.S.S. Arizona. Half of those who died in the attack were on that ship, including Storekeeper 3rd Class Clay Cooper Rector, who was the son of Wendell and Lela Cooper Rector of Albany, Kentucky.

The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

Today, we honor all 35 Clinton County, Kentucky hero soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice during the war. Their names are listed on the War Veterans Monument located in the court­house yard. I encourage you to visit the monument if you haven't.

They are Juland Archie Aaron, Gleason Asberry, Chester H. Beaty, Garvin G Brown, Herman Brown, Lambert F Burchett, Alvin Wilber Butler, James Earl Butler, Jerry Wendell Combest, Johnie R. Cooksey, John L. Cooper,Johnnie Delmer Cope, Ralph Cundiff, Marvin W. Foster, John Paul Grider Jr., Thompsie Joe Guffey, Clyde Beaty Guthrie, Hugh Edward Irwin, John E. Mason, Floyd Willard Neal, Bobbie Braxton, Bill Ray Pennycuff, Edward Frank Perdue, Norman J. Pierce, Earl C. Polston, Clay Cooper Rector, Calvin Sidwell, Rosco L. Simpson, Wendell Fred Smith, Nathan Tallent, Willie Randell Taylor, James Roger Tuggle, James Curtis Witham, Phillip A. Wright and Marvin T. York.

I spent all of this mornings hours visiting each one's page on findagrave, reading their information, looking at their faces. Not everyone came back. They are our heroes, just like all veterans are our heroes.

God bless them and (You) today and every day.

Clay Cooper Rector's chaplain was Captain William A. Maguire. He said "Don't say we buried with sor­row. Say we buried with con­viction. Our men died manfully and we will wipe out that treach­ery come what may. The spirit of these men lives on."

There’s more – Immeasurably more.

On the ocean, waves are generated by wind during storms at sea. They start out in different sizes, heights and lengths, and travel thousands...