This is sunset at Rajabhakti Park in Hua Hin, Thailand, just this month. To learn more about the park and what sparked my interest in it, click here.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Keeping Up With The Times

M. Watt Espy in his office at the Capital Punishment Research Project, Headland, Alabama. On the walls are portraits of death row inmates. (Courtesy M. Watt Espy Collection, University at Albany Libraries) - source

Click here for the latest on the M. Watt Espy Collection at UAlbany.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Top Ten

I am posting some of my favorite images from our recent trip to Thailand.   After you have enjoyed perusing them, click here for my travel blog Ballyhoo, where all this new content is going.  I am barely halfway into posting, so just check back when you can.  And like with this blog, don't forget to click Older Posts at the bottom of each page to continue. The first post I made was of a turtle Kade's sister rescued in Bangkok. Once I get caught up, my plan is to return to Tomfoolery and add some vintage scans of Kade - her school years, family trips and other goodies.    

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Big Man at Best Buy

A few years ago when I was shopping at Best Buy in Asheville, I noticed a very tall figure out of the corner of my eye.  I looked over.  This guy was 15 feet away and heading for the door, when I asked in a semi-loud voice, "Hey, aren't you Brad Daugherty?"  He smiled a tad and nodded his head yes.  I maybe gave him a thumbs up, then he walked on.   After telling this story to a relative, I got this surprise card in the mail, from that very relative!

I always thought that I saw Daugherty in the NCAA tourney back in the '80s, when they were playing Auburn in Birmingham.  I was with my dad.  It was definitely a Tar Heels team, but might have been a year after Daugherty left.  I need to check.  But no doubt, in the '80s and early '90s, when I really enjoyed watching NBA games on TV, the Cavaliers were a lot of fun to watch.  Mark Price & Brad Daugherty were quite the duo!

I did just discover, thanks to Google, that Brad Daugherty played high school in nearby Black Mountain, NC, only 15 minutes from Asheville.  This explains a lot!  I guess he was home visiting, or is back living here.

Congratulations North Carolina Tar Heels - 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions

Friday, April 7, 2017

Nice Little Surprise

This is one of the items I got from Mother's estate.  She loved birds!  It's a tray of some kind - maybe for mail, keys and various small items.  I almost took it to Goodwill until I found a business logo on back that indicated it was made in Asheville, NC.  I have a photo of the back, somewhere, and will upload it here later.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Old Church Directory

First Baptist Church
Headland, Alabama

I obviously only scanned a selection of pages.  Whenever I can scan more, I will add them.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

All-Star Snapshot

One of my cousins on his all-star baseball team in 1960.  

Dale Ezzell
parents were Oscar Ezzell and Emily (Vann) Ezzell

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Oyette Taylor Magic

I remember going to Oyette Taylor's, which was the expression I used -and I guess others did too - for going to get my hair cut at Taylor's Barber Shop.  When I was a child, my dad would take me there. Oyette would get out the horse booster seat (Is this where "Get off your high horse came from"?), and I would hop up on it.Oyette would ask Dad how I wanted it cut, and Dad would say, "He wants his granddaddy's haircut." My face would get beet red, and I would always say, "No."  When Oyette was nearly done, he would spin the chair so that you could get a view in the mirror, and then ask you how you liked it.  I never had complaints. Best part came later: When I got off the chair and stood on the floor, he would give me some bubblegum.  As I grew older, and as malls in Dothan, AL became my primary place to go for haircuts, I would still pop in from time-to-time and let Oyette work his magic. The Taylor Barber Shop was intriguing, and there were many jokes and tales that bounced off the walls and often went over my head.  It was a gathering place for the locals - men only.

In middle school, my cousin Jeff and I were playing basketball outside at his home.  In that day, the cool thing for boys to do was carry a small comb in their jeans back pocket.  I had a comb, and I'm sure Jeff did, too. One of us had one we bought at the Taylor Barber Shop!  There we were, shooting some hoops.  And just as one of us hit a big bucket while the other defended, a comb fell out of a pocket and landed smack on the driveway, right at our feet, below the basketball goal. We looked at the comb, then each other, mouths open, eyes wide, surprised expressions on our faces.  One of us proclaimed, "Oyette Taylor Maaagg." Maaagg = Magic.  We laughed hysterically, and that comb - and certainly the event - entertained us for years. The comb had magical powers!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Special Touch

I gave this lady statue and the Asian planter to a friend of mine who's a gardening enthusiast and landscaping guru, and she turned them into something special.

I got these items from my mom's things.  She'd be happy knowing they are still bringing joy.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Name Plate Keepsake

Several years ago my cousin Jeff found Granddad Major's desk name plate, and gave it to me.  I really appreciated it.  And the one my dad had on his desk, I actually gave to him on his birthday or for Father's Day, back in the '80s.  I remember buying it at a gift shop at Wiregrass Commons Mall in Dothan.  You can see that plate here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Aunt Marilyn Interview

In 2012 I sat down "Oprah style" and interviewed Marilyn Elaine (Espy) McClendon, my dad's sister and one of "the encouragers" who helped me build momentum in developing this blog.  The content and stories would be a lot less interesting without Aunt Marilyn, no doubt.  She had the seen the videos I had made after Uncle Watty had died and said she really liked them, and that he would have loved them.  Of course, that made me happy.  Then I started thinking about the Old Espy Home movie - and I mean the old stuff.  I got the idea from movie dvd special features that I could do a "Director's Commentary" with Aunt Marilyn, giving her a chance to explain the film as it went along. Two things happened, though:  The movie was in hi-speed and there's no way to keep up with it and talk though things coherently.  It would have been crazy!  And then Aunt Marilyn informed me that weekend at her house that her DVD player was not working. That's when we said, "Let's just set up the camcorder and do a casual Q&A."  Uncle Don left for the farm to give us the space and Kade stayed with me to be the camera assistant!  The questions were unrehearsed (as you likely can tell), and at times we were getting a bit brain-dead.  Her coffee kept me going, however.  It was always good!  In all, there's close to 3 hours of footage.  Starting in early April, I will edit it down to the essentials, and go from there.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Major's Rocking Chair

Major Watt Espy (Sr.)
Headland, Alabama
circa 1909

Here I am, in the same chair.  1972

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dinah Jen Grace, a portrait montage

You gotta wonder how long it took at the studio to get these precious poses?!?!

I'm winding down my blog Tomfoolery for the rest of the year, and will very likely put it aside - at least new posts anyway - until next Spring or Summer.  I started Tomfoolery in 2007, my very first post being Lake Espy on December 13 of that year.  But as with a lot of my posts, Lake Espy was a work in progress.  Over time, I revised the layout, rewrote some things, added more content, encouraged family to contribute, then introduced YouTube videos.  Tomfoolery has 1167 posts (now 1168!).  My goal, though, is to shrink it down to the essentials and really work on consolidating blog posts of similar content.  Incidentally, Tomfoolery and the name of my travel blog (Ballyhoo) both came from the same scene in one of my all-time favorite movies, Good Will Hunting.  It's when Will visits the very first psychiatrist.  Try to Google that one.

My YouTube channel, Major Allen Espy, was started the summer of 2008.  My first video was simply titled Dad with Horses.  And back then I simply used whatever digital camera I had - low pixels, pretty shaky, no frills.  Now I use a nice camcorder for a lot of my work.  Both the blog and YouTube channel have been fun, but to get them where they are now, it just took doing it over and over and being willing to learn and be creative. There's nothing really magical.  The ingredient, though, that stirs all this is passion.  I hope that's evident.  And, too, almost every blog post I've created has been touched or influenced by someone else. Maybe they simply gave me the inspiration.  In some cases, they collaborated with me by supplying facts and history or agreeing to edit what I put together.  Sometimes I even got bigger participation - showing me homes, agreeing to an interview or video project, handing over family photos for me to scan, or like with the image above, just getting a text today from my sister after she discovered this portrait and other treasures in an antique trunk that belonged to my grandmother.  It appeared, and I posted it!  Simple as that.  I bid you all adieu until 2017. If you want to get up with me before then, see my email address in the right sidebar. Ta ta!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Jeanette Grace Hayes

 Jeanette Grace Hayes is with her brother Paul Grace (right), and her son Charles Thomas Hayes, Jr. (left).
Jeanette and Paul are two of my grandfather's (Victor Grace) siblings.  As I gather more info and photos on Aunt Jeanette, I will add it to this blog post.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

One of Those

The San Francisco Glacier at El Morado Natural Monument National Park - Chile
What can I say about Chile?  I think I summed it up best in a text to an Atlanta friend:  "Some countries are fortunate enough to have a little bit of everything. Chile is one of those."

I will share something that really "tickled" Kade. As our guide Sebastian was driving us to the national park, I asked him if he could guess where Kade is from.  He said, "Somewhere in Asia?" That was pretty easy. When I said Thailand, his face lit up. I asked if he had been there.  He said he hadn't, but a number of his friends had. I asked what they thought of Thailand. He said very quickly, "They all want to live there." Kade, of course, smiled big.  But that statement says a lot. If somebody from Chile mentions a country being beautiful or intriguing, take them at their word.  They know what it means.  And I would say, likewise, someone from Thailand (or the USA) will be very impressed with Chile.

We also spent time in Buenos Aires (Argentina).  All I can say is world-class.  Think of any of the top tier cities in the world (Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, New York), Buenos Aires is right in there.

Click here for my travel blog, Ballyhoo.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

John Espy To Wed Ozark Belle

The Wiregrass Sifting
Dec. 17, 1901

Thanks to Judy Fay West for finding and sharing this!

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Big One

Today marks (Mark's) a half century!  
And a nice little play on words!

Kade hugging Mark after an amazing party in Asheville!