Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Uncle Cran's Farm . . . and a Brief Stop at Lake Norfork

I've finally got my own internet connection back. I had contacted my wife, who emailed the Korean fellow in Seoul who usually sorts out our linkage difficulties, and he came yesterday to fix the problem.

I've also received some more photographs and emails from my Ozark homeland. Here is an early email from Uncle Cran, which arrived late last Friday (shortly before my internet problems) and told of my wife and kids having reached the farm near Gepp, Arkansas, a sojourn that -- due to temporary illnesses -- turned out less adventuresome than originally planned:

This morning we drove to John's home and picked up Sun-Ae, Sa-Rah and En-Uk. John and Sandy have a beautiful home. We got there about 10:00 am, and motored back to our house. We drove a little more slowly than usual, as En-Uk said he gets car sick, but we made it ok. And Sa-Rah has an upset stomach, so Sun-Ae gave her some medicine. She has a low grade fever, about 1.5 F degrees above normal. Gay gave her a tylenol, and she is lying down. We hope she gets to feeling better.

En-Uk found the Calvin & Hobbes book he was reading last time, so he is absorbed in it.
Yes, totally absorbed:

He may be 'reading' for some time . . .
When he finishes and we eat our noon meal, we are either going to play Wii, or ride the ATV [all-terrain vehicle], whichever he prefers. Or both, when he decides what order he wants to do them. We plan to fish the pond later this afternoon.
They did all three. First, En-Uk and Uncle Cran face off on the Wii:

En-Uk wins, apparently, so they next test drive the ATV:

En-Uk soon steers, drives the cattle mad (prompting protests in Korea against ATV-tainted American Beef):

Then some fishing in the pond:

En-Uk lands a big perch:

Ever the sportsman, En-Uk salutes the fallen fish (in bucket) as Aunt Gay looks proudly on:

Two friendly dogs congratulate En-Uk on his fishing skills . . . as an 'aristocat' strolls nobly by:

Also in his email, Uncle Cran also posed a difficult hermeneutical query:
Sun-Ae said to tell you hello. I told her she could email you later if she wishes. She gave Linda a beautiful handbag, and gave me a miniature gold colored fan bookmark. It is beautiful, and has small flowers on it, and a neat green colored string attached.

As I looked at the Korean writing, I noticed some English letters, evidently an English transliteration of some Korean words. I will attempt to decipher the meaning, and here are the unreadable letters of the alphabet, so perhaps you can be of assistance. Here are the runic letters:
Hand Painted
Korean traditional pattern bookmark
Puts in a your valuable mind
A fan with spokes made of double slips of bamboo
There is another paragraph of four lines, but I won't burden you with them. The above mysterious letters probably convey a secret message, which my ancient mind is unable to decipher. Perhaps you can help.
I replied to Uncle Cran's query:
Like you with your Korean-made bookmark, I am constantly finding poems on Korean products. Let's look at yours:
Hand Painted
Korean traditional pattern bookmark
Puts in a your valuable mind
A fan with spokes made of double slips of bamboo
This looks a bit like haiku . . . but the syllables don't add up (and Koreans probably wouldn't use a Japanese poetic form anyway). Very mysterious, just like Korea.
Now that I've had time for reflection, I realize that this mysterious poem is similar to what in Japan is known as a Zen kōan (in Korean, Seon gong'an), a poetic expression whose meaning is inaccessible to the rational understanding, so I ask myself, "Why does Uncle Cran need help?"

In addition to his email, Uncle Cran also posted a blog-entry comment about the same farm stay, providing a brief sketch. Here's Uncle Cran's blog-comment report:
As soon as Sun-Ae gets her latest photos delivered to Jeffery, and Jeffery sorts out hers and mine, which contain both pics from her camera and mine, he will have some neat pics of their stay with Uncle Cran and Aunt Gay.
That moment has arrived! Already arrived . . . as you've seen. Now for Uncle Cran's insights:
Jeffery is correct. His wife is a sweet and wonderful person. This says a lot about her patience with dealing with my nephew.
Yes, it likely does say that -- but her putting up with me prepared her for dealing with my at least favorite uncle. More insights from Uncle Cran:
En-Uk has a keen mind, and is a powerful opponent on the Wii games. Sa-Rah is a marvellous pianist and guitarist. She is also a good Wii player, and in addition, mastered the ATV.
Keep in mind that Uncle Cran was competing with children -- and we can know for sure only that Uncle Cran didn't win, or he'd be crowing about it. Much as I'd like to think my children sufficiently precocious to defeat a real adult, let's recall that they merely defeated Uncle Cran, whom my wife characterizes as being "as young as En-Uk" (see her message further below). Anyway, here are more pictures, but devoted to Sa-Rah this time. First, she takes on the Wii:

And competes to defeat a seated, apparently bloody-nosed En-Uk?

Successful or not, she then turns to driving the ATV:

Having made rapid progress, she gives her mother a ride:

Later, out in the field, two lonely head of cattle notice far-away Sa-Rah on the distant ATV:

The cattle approach her for some nonexistent food, and one of them leaves the other somewhere far behind:

Sa-Rah faces off against one head of cattle:

But she then makes her escape through a sargasso sea:

Yet seems to get stuck in the sargasso seaweed:

En-Uk and Uncle Cran come to the rescue with . . . "Cattle Drive Breeder Cubes"?

Let's cut to something more family oriented. Uncle Cran tells me that Sa-Rah seems to have recovered well, and the photos confirm this, but the weather refused to cooperate for swimming at Lake Norfork's Henderson Park:
We drove to Lake Norfork, but it was steadily raining before we got there, and only Sa-Rah had the fortitude to go wading in the lake for about 15 minutes.
We see that En-Uk also contemplated wading:

Sa-Rah, however, enters the lake first:

En-Uk tries as well . . . but chickens out:

Leaving Sa-Rah to wade into victory:

"Raindrops keep falling on my head . . ."

This is a weird Ozark summer, what with its cool weather and frequent rains! Anyway, they went home a day early:
Sun-Ae wanted to return to nephew John's house at Salem so they could attend church there tomorrow. Ironically, thirty minutes after we dropped them off there, the rain stopped and the sun has shone ever since. But we had a good visit, and maybe before they finish their vacation, we can have them back and swim in the lake. And at that time, nephew Jeffery can say with all sincerity, "Uncle Cran, go jump in the lake!"
Glad to oblige, Uncle Cran. Just let me know when.

Later, an email arrived from Sun-Ae covering much the same territory:
Now is Sunday evening around 6:00, and John and Sandy went to church for [the] evening service. I and [the] kids stayed home, and finally I have some time to write you again about what we're doing.

You have got already some pictures from Uncle Cran and heard most about our stay at Uncle Cran's place. Uncle Cran was very nice [about] entertaining En-Uk and Sa-Rah. Especially, he played long the Wii-game with En-Uk, [and they were] competing [with] each other. He is 70, but his spirit is as young as En-Uk's. [See, I told you that my wife said this!] Gay cooked for us a nice Mexican meal and as dessert the blackberry cobbler with ice cream[, much to Cousin Bill's dismay], which I and Sa-Rah liked a lot. En-Uk naturally never likes berries or any kind of fruit, so he had just ice cream.

I felt quite comfortable with them and at their place, so I could even work [on my translation article]. Sa-Rah wanted to stay longer but I thought that we should not burden [them] too much . . . . Anyway, I wanted to treat them for lunch on Saturday, but they said that we are the guests, and when they come to visit us in Korea, we should treat them. They are going to Germany in September to see James' family in Heidelberg, and Gay is excited as well as worried because it's her first oversea trip. If she has good time, then she might try to come to Korea some time?
Colonel James Hodges, as you'll recall from earlier reports, is in charge of NATO operations in Europe. You may have heard from the mainstream media that some general or other is in charge of NATO. Not true. Cousin James is running things. Anyway, I reckon that we're obliged to have Uncle Cran and Aunt Gay over to our place in Seoul since they nursed our two kids to health and showed them a good time on the farm.

Actually, Uncle Cran, we'd be happy to have you and Aunt Gay visit us in Korea.

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At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seeing photos of your family playing Wii brought up memories of my two youngest brothers, both in their thirties, ferociously punching the air as their avatars battled on screen. I have no interest in trying Wii. Have you tried it, Jeffery?


At 6:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Did you really write this nice blog?

Maybe your time alone has mellowed you, as there are only a couple of sly digs at your partially favorite uncle.

Someone has said, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," so your being lonesome for your wife and kids has possibly caused an attitude adjustment.

Then, of course, having your computer working properly has made you happy, even contented.

Anyway, we did have a good time, and maybe we can take them to the lake before they finish their visit with kith and kin.

Bill, we even have a couple of packets of frozen blackberries left in the freezer.



At 6:54 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sonagi, I may have played a bit in February 2008, when I visited Uncle Cran, but I recall only that Sa-Rah and En-Uk played a lot. I'm not really interested in it for my entertainment. My game is blogging.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

"Bill, we even have a couple of packets of frozen blackberries left in the freezer."

Yeah, but those'll disappear with my kids' next visit.

Uncle Cran, wasn't I sufficiently ironic? I can always revise and edit if necessary. Except that I have other things to do . . . but if you insist.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Ah, the family's having a good time-Cousin John's (fishing, mowing, turtling), Elephant Rocks (climbing, exploring) and Johnson's Shut-Ins (sliding, wading) and Uncle Cran's (fishing, ATVing, cattle feeding, dog petting, and aauugghh-Blackberry Cobbler Eating).
And after Cran's advisement of two frozen BB packages remaining, I see you're now encouraging gluttony (comments, "Yeah, but those'll disappear with my kids' next visit.'').
Salivating cousin Bill

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Just keep salivating like Pavlov's hound-dog, Cousin Bill, 'cause that's the closest you'll ever come to tasting that blackberry cobbler.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Doggone it!
Pavlov Bill

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Gone, anyway, dog or no dog.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You may have heard from the mainstream media that some general or other is in charge of NATO. Not true. Cousin James is running things."

Using my vast knowledge of electronics I think I've a surprise for you. I "tapped" Cran's internet link.

"Cousin James" receives "coded messages" from Cran and it is actually Cran who is in command of NATO.

Oh, Cran?

Don't interpret that "valuable mind" text on that bookmark to be referring to you.


At 9:01 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK wrote:

"it is actually Cran who is in command of NATO."


Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:32 PM, Blogger Deplorably Bonnie Blue said...

Wow, more fun for the kids! I am so jealous.

Uncle Cran, can I come visit too? I have visited a friend in Fayetteville twice (which I loved) but she didn't have any cows.

Even though I seldom comment, I try to visit often, if for no other reason, than to read the banter between the two of you.


At 5:05 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Banter? Banter?! We don't got to show you no stinkin' banter! We're entirely serious.

But thanks for visiting.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You probably know the reason for the unusually cool and wet Ozark summer: the amplified jet stream. Instead of a fairly straight line over the upper US, it dips down sharply at the Rockies, bringing cool arctic air to the midwest and northeast, leaving the normally cool Pacific Northwest with record heat. We've been enjoying our share of cooler temperatures, too, but it will end next week when a heat wave moves in. My montly utilities bill has been averaging $35 without the need for AC.


At 9:09 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sonagi, I vaguely knew that el nino had influenced the jet stream, bringing cooler weather . . . but I hadn't checked the details.

Thanks for doing my homework.

Jeffery Hodges

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