Another Saturday Night Story: August 2006


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Gone, But Not Forgotten Artist

Fats Waller was the son of a preacher and learned to play the organ in church with his mother. In 1918 he won a talent contest playing James P. Johnson's Carolina Shout which he learned from watching a pianola play the song. He would later take piano lessons from Johnson. Fats began his recording career in 1922 and made a living playing rent parties, as an organist at movie theatres and as an accompanist for various vaudeville acts. In 1927 he co-wrote a couple of tunes with his old piano teacher James P. Johnson for his show "Keep Shufflin'". Two years later Waller wrote the score for the Broadway hit "Hot Chocolates" with lyrics supplied by his friend Andy Razaf. Fats' most famous song, "Ain't Misbehavin" was introduced in this show which featured Louis Armstrong. Fats Waller's big break occurred at a party given by George Gershwin in 1934, where he delighted the crowd with his piano playing and singing. An executive of Victor Records, who was at the party was so impressed that he arranged for Fats to record with the company. This arrangement would continue until Waller's death in 1943. Most of the records he made were released under the name of Fats Waller and his Rhythm. The group consisted of around half a dozen musicians who worked with him regularly, including Zutty Singleton. Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s Fats was a star of radio and nightclubs, and toured Europe. He unexpectedtly died on board a train near Kansas City, Missouri of pneumonia in 1943.
There is a wonderful website dedicated to "Fats" at the " Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University".
I probably have all of his music, but my favorite song is "I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter". Recorded in 1935.

In other news....
- I guess you heard that NASA has lost the original video footage of the 1969 Moon Landing. They have been looking for the footage for almost a year now. They have been following the paper trail(e-mail) back to where they last saw the footage. These are suppose to be our brightest, and most brilliant people that work at NASA. I will tell you what your Supervisor----- can not. "Turn your computer off, and take your fat ass down to archives, and start looking for it". Yes you will get dirty and have to sweat, yes you will be lifting boxes, and your back will be sore, if your lucky you will get a paper cut that doesn't go away easily. But don't report back to me until you-------------- FIND IT!!! All further launches have been cancelled until further notice!
- I heard from my sister Abigail today, she lives in New Orleans. With the current situation "Ernesto", it could be heading for NO, she has made her plans now. She sent a wonderful link for watching these hurricanes "CrownWeather". This is a great site, they have every image imaginable. Since when did we start giving hurricanes one of those hispanic names? I missed that!
- will be launching Sept. 1. ChaCha is a revolutionary new search engine that is "up close and personel". You can search by yourself, or you can search with a guide. This is very unique, and will set ChaCha way ahead of all the other search engines. My sister Debby is "Director of Quailty Assurance". Bless her heart, she has worked hard to get this site up and running. We love you!! I will be a part time guide for ChaCha. I can assure you that there is not anything on the internet that I can not find!
Have a wonderful week!

P.S. I have been corrected by Bestbud. The hurricane names can be English, French, and Spanish. Because those are the major lanquages that border the Atlantic Ocean where the storms occur. I will go sit in my corner now!!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Reuben and Caroline Rice

I recieved yesterday an old garden tool, handmade by Reuben Rice. It is probably post Civil War era. Thank you Jonnie.

This is the story of Reuben and Caroline Rice. Reuben was a Rice slave, which I assume he and his Daddy made the trip with Jonathan Rice, around 1835 to Polk County, Mo. In those days, it was customary for slaves to take on their master's surname. Reuben was born in 1825, KY, and his wife, Caroline, was born in 1845, KY. I have no record of when they were married, but in the 1880 Census, they list both of their parents born in Kentucky.

Gladys Rice McMehen wrote:
Slaves were very much a big part of life on a big farm. Both Jonathan and Elizabeth brought many slaves from Kentucky. From all accounts Jonathan was a very kind, indulgent master, some thought to a fault (as stated in his obituary). There was one young black male name Reuben, who had been a constant source of trouble for many years. Rather than physically punish Reuben, it became apparent the only solution was to sell him. A transfer was made with a Mr. Mckinley. who owned a large home just North of Walnut Grove, Mo.(known as the Wright place now, the old house, two story brick, slave made on the west end of the place, was torn down in about 1976.)

Mr. McKinley had quite a reputation of being a very brutal, mean master. (It has been said that slave footprints were on the front step, indented with heat--beatings were frequent. Another story, a slave was beaten unmercifully, his back open from the whippings and McKinley poured salt on the wounds. The pain was so intense and the beating so severe that the slave crawled to the front porch and died. McKinley was later killed by a slave who had taken all the brutality a man can. He killed McKinley, with an axe, as he sat upon his horse.) Reuben slipped away under the cover of night, and went to Jonathon Rice to plead his case. He promised if Rice would buy him back he would never again cause a problem. Mr. Rice went the next day and bought Reuben back from McKinley.

The large farm was in need of a blacksmith, so Reuben was apprenticed to learn the trade. Reuben made a fine blacksmith and a loyal servant. (Mother has a baking oven she used to water chickens, fireplace tongs, and a flatiron that were handmade by Reuben.)

(After the slaves were freed, Reuben and his wife, Caroline, continued to stay with the Rice family. Reuben and Caroline Rice--customary for slaves to take master names--are buried at Buckley Cemetary, close to their earthly master and friend.)

Jonnie wrote today:
You got it!
Hand made by Reuben!
After receiving the pieces and parts of the flax wheel - we decided you needed a piece of family history that did not require so much work.
I'm so happy to share with you - that is a piece I had intended to share with the Walnut Grove Historical Society in the future.
Reuben was one of the slaves that JR Rice agreed to sell - he was big and unruly, down right mean, as the story goes - he was sold to a very mean man by the name of McKinley. (who was killed by the slaves as he sat on his horse) - anyway, Reuben got word back to JR Rice - if he would buy him back, he would be a faithful servant. JR did buy him back - and, Reuben and his wife, Caroline continued to stay with the Rice's after the Civil War. Reuben became the family blacksmith. He died on the property, and is buried as close as possible to JR. Evidently, the Rice burial plot had a stone fence around it - Reuben is buried outside the wall but as close to JR as possible.
After Elizabeth and JR died, my grandfather/mother continued to live and raise their family at the home place - which included the slave cabins. My Mother remembers Reuben and Caroline, coming to the house for meals. They were fed along with the family in their final years.

In other news this week.....
- John Mark Karr is a Kook! who looks like Lee Harvey Oswald! Unless they find his DNA at the crime scene, he is just a Kook, wanting 15 minutes of fame.
- Israel continues bombings, enforcing the UN agreement that Hezzbolah can not re-arm themselves. But Iran and Syria continue
to give them weapons. So the War goes on!
- They are revamping our Solar System. Pluto is not a planet anymore. There are now more important planets they have found. I grew up with the old SS, I'll stick with that one. I liked!
- Remember the story about Mahammed who was found to have 1000 Tracphones, later to be used as detonating devices. He told the FBI he was reselling them to put his brother through college. They
believed him, and they set him free. Geeeeezzzz!

Song of the Week
It's an old song from "Tears for Fears" called "Raoul and the King of Spain". I just love the way he sings RAAAAOOOOLLLLL!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Close Encounter

A rare and spectacular nacreous cloud (top) appears high in the stratosphere some 20km above Australia's Mawson station in Antartica, July 2006. Australian scientists have said they were studying what rare iridescent clouds over Antarctica can reveal about global climate change.

Close Encounter
I have a story to tell you about when my younger sister, Abigail, was born in Springfield, Mo., St. Johns Hospital, in 1962. There was a man name Max Rice, from Boliver, Mo., that ran into Dad at the hospital, they talked about this and that. They both said "yep...we are probably related". I think Dad knew that yes there were Rice's, around Boliver, but really did not put two and two together. I later found out that Max Rice was the son of Jonathan(Jack)Rice, our Boone Rice brother. My Dad and Max were first cousins. Last week I received a picture of a 1939 Rice reunion picture held at Jerd and Tressa Pybas house in Oklahoma City. There, in this picture is Max Rice, and his wife, then sitting down in front is my father at 16 years old. From this encounter in Springfield, they did not know they had met before. If, during there conversation one of them had said "Do you know Jerd and Tressa Pybas?", things probably would have clicked. But that did not happen. How bizarre, to first know of this story that happened 45 years ago. Then to see a picture with both of them there, at the same place, some 65 years ago. That is a close encounter of the real thing!

High Alert
Yes, we Americans were put on High Alert this week. My brother told me they were searching cars in the parking lot, looking for liquids I suppose, at the Tulsa Airport. I read they had some mothers taste testing baby food before they could board with the food. Yuk!!! Today Democrats have accused Bush of using the crisis for political gain in a election year. This is an ugly accusation, this would imply, they are a bunch of liar's, which we already know they are. Let's face it, this administration is not believable. I frankly, don't believe anything they say. They are minipulating Americans by only telling you what they want you to know.
Would it not be more sensible to put all international flights coming into the US on both the East and West Coast. Make those airports in Seattle and San Diego on the west coast, the only International Airports, and make New York and Miami on the East coast the only International Airports. Only foriegners would be allowed to enter the United States through these airports. That would mean the rest of us could fly around our own country without all the hassle. Oh yes, they would not be strip searching 80 year old ladies either.
I compare this cat and mouse game with the terrorist as that of shoplifting. They will hit you when you least expect it, and when you are not looking. It is enevitable we will be hit again. Would it not be nice that all the haters lived on one side of earth, and the rest of us lived on the other. I hate it when I stub my toe, or spill my coffee, or run out of gas on my way to work. I don't "hate people" because of there color or religion. I guess, I could hate them because they are so stupid, but then they have a right to believe what they want. But they can't hate me, because I don't believe what they believe.

"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."....Gloria Steinem

Song of the Week
Many of you don't remember the Disco era of music, it was a fun time, and alot of artist came on the scene. The Gap Band has done many, many great songs over the years, but "Double Dutch Bus", was one of the favorites. Get Grandma and the kids out on the patio, and start dancin!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My Fathers name was "Pete"

Although my fathers name was Kenneth W. Rice. Everyone called him Pete. We have all wondered where he got this name. It obviously started with his immediate family. But it was this week, it became very clear. This week, I recieved this book of writings on the Rice and McMehen families. It is extensive, about 80 pages. Thank you Jonnie McMehen Wells. Here is an excerpt:
Felicia (Pus, a customary nickname for the oldest daughter of a Southern Family) was raised by a black mammy. It has been said that she was pampered and spoiled by the entire family and could not comb her hair or dress herself completely at the age of seventeen without the help of her black mammy. She was invited to a Gala Ball in Bolivar and it took four people and four horses to transport her to the party in grand fashion, not to mention the preparation prior to the journey.
Boone Chastain (Pete, a customary nickname for the oldest son of a Southern family) was raised in the grand tradition of the old south. It was customary to educate the oldest son to the finest fashion, to make certain he was well schooled in proper manners and etiqette and to prepare him for the responsibilty of his inheritance. (Aunt Nell Perry McMehen said Pete could preside at the table as a very capable host and gentleman, regardless of what was being served.)

So there you have it. My fathers Grandfather, Boone Rice, was named "Pete", and the name was then passed to my Father. Knowing my Pappy, he wanted to throw the old Southern tradition a curve, and named his youngest son "Pete", instead of the oldest son.

Employees Unionize at Chinese Wal-Mart

How does this work, Trade Unions in a Communist country. This process would leave many questions. Does the government tell Walmart what benefits the employee's get, or do the employees really get to vote on the benefits. I thought voting was not allowed. Do the employee's know how to vote? From a management point of view, one way to break the Union, would be to allow one of those communist forbidden benefits. What do the employees or Government do then? Maybe paid vacation is forbidden. I didn't know Chinese people get vacations.
You heard that Walmart sold all their Europeon stores. They, the Europeons, didn't like greeter's at the door, and did not like the smiles, and cashiers chanting "come back and shop walmart, have a good day". This culture, in all of Europe, is why there has been no modernation since World War II. They have never caught on to the phrase, "earlybird gets the worm".

Mel Smell's
Poor Mel Gibson said the wrong thing at the wrong time. He makes a statement about "all War's being started by Jew's", which we know is partially right. Even so, If he had not been drunk, and have not used the "F" word, he may have been ok. If he would have said this in a workplace, he would have been crucified. Yes, this is America, freedom of speech........well careful what you say, or pay the consequences. I always found it easier to talk slow, so you can think about what your saying. So you don't say the wrong thing to offend others.............well except after a few Jim Beam's!!!

Fidel Castro is a man to be respected, especially now, he is in poor health, and may be close to his death. He has outlived eight U.S. Presidents. He brought the most powerful country, and the most powerful men in the world, to their knees in 1962. Cuba ranks third in the world to the most Doctors per capita, 530 doctors to every 100,000 people. Cuba has the finest cigars in the world. Castro has fought for over fifty years to keep the Cuban culture to which he grew up as a young man. After becoming a Lawyer, he put together a small Army to overthrow the old Batista Regime, and kick the old American Mafia and Casinos out of Cuba. I read in the news, like a bunch of rabid dogs, our Government is chomping at the bit to get back in there with our own culture and influence, and of course American Casino's.....ViVa Fidel!!!

The changing face of travel to Cuba

Eight wonders of Cuba

Reality Shows
I am sick of the reality shows. Not the concept, but the content. All of the shows are either singing or dancing. How bout: So you think your a fisherman? I might qualify. How bout: So you think you can cook a hamburger?. The one's with the meat, of course. Bridge Player Bonanza: The Brink's play Bridge.....let's get the camera out and see who win's. How bout singing in the shower, or Road Rage starring Mel Gibson as Mad Max. So you think you can manage a Dollar General Store? It is somewhat like Chess, thinking 10 moves ahead. There is alot of talent out there that is not being recognized. I for one am a pretty good singer in the shower.

Song of the Week
Listen to this going to work, and when you get there, you will be standing on your tiptoes ready for "High Fives".
New Radicals, "You Get What You Give".