Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Clanton Days

Terry "Ike" Clanton is quite a character. He is a distant cousin of the original Ike Clanton who played a key roll in the events surrounding the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Terry has taken it upon himself to set the record straight about what happened that infamous day in Tombstone, Arizona.

Terry is an actor, announcer, and host of the Haunted Saloon. You can learn more about "Ike" here.

This year my husband and I attended the 18th Annual Clanton Days Rendezvous after a hiatus of three years. We didn't let our friends know we were coming and what fun it was to watch their faces especially since I now wear glasses.

We were only there one night so missed some of the festivities such as Terry's Tour of Tombstone, from the Clanton Point of View. The gunfight reenactment at the O.K. Corral itself. And dinner and liars and costume contests on Friday night.

We showed up at the Tombstone Livery on Saturday night. We dressed Western but not in costumes.  There were our old friends and some new friends to make. We had a chuck wagon style dinner with bean, salad, potatoes and dutch oven brisket. Yum.
Owner of the place, Cowboy Doug, entertained with stories, cowboy fashions and roping tricks.

Our friend, Susanne, sang "God Bless America" dressed as the Western heroine Annie Oakley.
Terry "Ike" Clanton (left) and Ben T. Traywick, retired town historian, answered questions about history and the Town Too Tough to Die.

Later Steven "Doc Holliday" Keith introduced us to his faro table at on Fifth Street and told us about the history of the legendary figure of "Doc."

A grand ol' time was had by all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Human Irritants

On one of my Yahoo groups we got on the subject of people we would like to give a wake-up call in some way. It got comical as one member wants a dart gun so she can shoot idiots on television, another wants a tank to run through certain areas of government or crowded stores and then they came up with those air horns they use at sports events for people who block doorways.

Some of us yell or make snide remarks or sometimes just move shyly away but we don't really do anything about it and then we have to decide if we are going to let it ruin our day (which is a whole different subject.)

What I really noticed about this conversation was that we all hate the same kinds of things, have had the same types of experiences and wish we could just stand up and do Something. Reading what others had to write and their suggestions on how to deal with the human irritants was therapeutic in itself. I actually found myself chuckling.

So here's a list of human irritants and a few ideas on how to deal with them. I hope you get a few chuckles.

1. People in a crowd of slowing traffic stop in front of a store door or whatever and cause everybody else to have to wait while they stand in the doorway and check their cell phone or decide which way they want to go.

2. People on cell phones in restaurants.
3. People in line, say at the post office, who don't pay attention when they are being called to the counter.

4. People moving chairs around in a coffee shop or similar and not picking them up so there is a huge screeching noise.

5. People who stand in line and when it's their turn to pay change their minds, or have to dig for five minutes in their bag for their money, or actually want to run and get one more thing.

6. In stores where there is one line and the cashiers don't pay any attention to the person in front of that line and instead wait on whomever might be standing in their space.

7. Cell phones ringing during talks and plays and even worse . . . the people who answer them.

8. People who talk on the phone (or sometimes in person) with a piece of hard candy or wad of gum in their mouth.

9. Standing in front of a display looking at something and somebody steps right in front of me to look at the same thing.

10. Texting or talking on the phone while driving, walking in parking lots, in a crowd, or while someone is trying to talk.

11. Tailgaters.

Well, I could come up with more and I'm sure you each have your own list.

I'm sure you have all heard the trick of when you have to get up in front of a crowd and are very nervous picture them in their underwear. So what I'm thinking is if we all have funny things to picture when these irritating people get in our way then it will help us smile and move on.

As I was driving around today I pictured a big train horn to get people to pay attention. Or carry around a chopstick to poke people in the ribs when they get in the way or cause problems. How about a fake hand to take the candy. Slapstick type things come to mind.

Of course, we couldn't or wouldn't do these things but I bet you will remember this post and perhaps smile a bit next time you meet up with a human irritant.

How would you deal with some of the human irritants out there?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let's make it 222.

I am always amazed and inspired by my writing friend c.b. wentworth. She in turn has been inspired by other bloggers including Cindy Archer. On the linked blogpost Cindy Archer listed 22 things she has done and then 22 things she has not done. Entertaining and thought provoking.

C. B. turned the list into 22 things she is thankful for in reference to Thanksgiving in the U.S. One of the comments mentioned getting 22 people to do the same and then why not 222 people. Sounds good to me.

Since I already did a Thanksgiving list I'm going back to 22 Things About Me:

1. I've been working on my genealogy for about 30 years and have numerous colonial families.
2. I've never been East of the Mississippi.
3. I wrote the book "O.K. Corral Postscript: The Death of Ike Clanton"
4. I used to own a horse name Blaze.
5. I love sarsaparilla.
6. My favorite food is steamed snow crab.
7. I do "morning pages" almost every day.
8. I love wearing my boots, hat and buckskin fringed jacket.
9. I've seen Old Faithful, the giant redwoods, the Royal Gorge and the Grand Canyon.
10. I've accepted that I will never be able to read all the books that catch my interest.
11. I used to backpack into wilderness areas.
12. I have a nine room Victorian dollhouse.
13. I've been working on a book about my childhood for my daughter and it is taking way to long.
14. I enjoy learning new things.
15. I still have my first Barbie, Ken and Skipper.
16. I've never fired a gun.
17. I believe there is life besides here on Earth.
18. I never knew my dad.
19. I love Harry Potter and I'm currently going through all the movies, again.
20. I have lunch almost every Tuesday with a friend of 25+ years.
21. I hate cell phones in restaurants and bookstores.
22. I cherish all the keepsakes from family members who have passed away.

Make your own list of 22 things and link back to this post. Let's see if we can make it to 222 people.

p.s. Even if you don't share your list I found thinking about them made me really aware of how grateful I am for my life.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mandala Class

Over at Willowing and Friends Guadalupe Brizuela Cabal has started
a class in doing mandalas. You can find it here.

The class started last week but I haven't had much time to even watch
the videos until last night. Guadalupe gives us two templates to download.
I printed them on cardstock and the "kind-of" followed along with her
directions. I say "kind-of" because I always end up doing my own thing
with these classes.

Here's my mandala from the first template:

I used InkTense watercolor pencils which I love. This gave me a bit of a chance to practice blending but working on cardstock wasn't much fun.

So I tried my own design on watercolor paper and the pencils worked much better but it didn't fit on my scanner very well so the colors here aren't very good.

This has been fun and interesting. She used a compass and a triangle to get the designs and gives lots of information on "reference points" and "adding layers."

I look forward to learning a lot more from this workshop and want to send a special

If you haven't signed up go pay a visit. You will be amazed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Tiny Gratefulness

We spent the weekend in Tombstone, Arizona listening to boots on the boardwalk

and watching all the men in black frock coats (well, at least I did.)

Now I'm feeling a little brain dead.
It seemed the harder I tried to think of something special to write about this week the more the ideas eluded me.

Finally while waiting for my writing group to start today I had the idea I was looking for.

With Thanksgiving in the U.S. just two days away we are all thinking about family and turkey. It will just be the two of us and my husband is on call but I still look forward to the holiday. I am thankful for my family, my friends and his job but I wanted to go beyond that. So I decided to share five tiny things I'm thankful for:

1. Ladybugs that protect the garden and tickle my fingers.

2. Glitter that brightens a journal page, a card and a day.

3. Ice that makes my tea more refreshing.

4. Words that go together to make conversation, for communicating love and in the books I love to read.

5. Ink that swirls on the page to form the words and drawings to turn my journals into thought filled safes.

What are five tiny things you are thankful for?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Postcard Collections

What is it about postcards that attracts so many of us? Whether old or new, from places we've been or places we just want to go to, many people collect these wonderful bits of ephemera.

When my daughter was little we started collecting postcards for her. Where ever we went we came home with a handful of postcards. She still has that collection and now her son is starting his own. Every so often I send the boys each a postcard just for fun and to show them where I live. Arizona is far different than Washington and it is a bit hard for them to understand the distances but they enjoy the postcards.

A couple of weeks ago the leader of the day at my writing group used old postcards she had found at antique stores as prompts. We could write about the place shown or, even more fun, was reading the messages and writing as if we were the author or the recipient of those short bits of life.

I was reminded of the postcards my Granddad Covey collected. I ended up with a small envelope of them. It is so interesting to look through them.

Harold Cecil Covey was born in Harper, Kansas on October 14, 1899. His family were farmers and some of them are still in the area. I remember him as a very quiet, solemn, and stern man. He was a barber in a very small town up until he died.

Here's one of the postcards:

 The back says "Hello Cecil, Suppose you are having a fine time now as you don't have to go to school. Come out here and we will go swimming in the river. Harry" It is addressed to Master Cecil Covey, DuQuoin, Kansas and postmarked Jerome, April 1918.

 Wilburn, Nov. 1919. "Dear Cousin, How would you like to be run over by this big roller. I am well. How are you? Herbert" Wilburn was a tiny town near Fowler where my grandma lived. They were married January 22, 1922. I never heard how they met. It's fun to speculate.

This one is dated Fowler, June 27, 1909 and is also from Herbert. I wonder how Herbert chose to send this card to Cecil or if he even really looked at it. Cecil was only 11.

Here's a few others from the same time period.

Do you have a postcard collection? Are you drawn to these wonderful bits of history?

Just as these kitties are traveling as your visit family members during the holidays ask about their postcard collections. You might come up with some surprises in your family history.

(p.s. You can click on the postcards and print them out to use in your artwork.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Sharing Creativity

My husband often rides his mountain bike in the desert North of Phoenix. In the summer he rides at night with friends but since the temps have dropped he can ride during the day and see new and different things that are outside his flashlight beam.

Saturday he found trash art. There may be an official name for taking whatever is found in the desert and making it in to something but I don't know what it is.

This one has tires, metal, shotgun shells painted red, beer cans, bricks and wood.

 This one has dumped stone and brick, and topped off with a chair and lots of beer cans.
This is all on city land so he hopes some bureaucrats doesn't take it upon
themselves to tear these down.

A friend in Northern Arizona sent me this link:


The art is amazing but most of all I love that this guy just does it. No recognition needed. He just wants to spread the "word" of how he feels about the demise of our libraries and some of his own creativity.

The greatest part, perhaps, is that this happens in Scotland and the newspaper asked if people wanted to know who the artist is and the majority said no. Sadly, they mention this probably couldn't happen in America and I agree.

One of my points with all of this is mentioned in one of the blog comments. These artists are showing "unconditional love." They are sharing their thoughts, passion, time and creativity in a non-promoting manner.

For quite some time now I've wanted to make rocks to spread my thoughts to the world. They won't be anything like these sculptures but I hope they brighten someones day.

How could you spread the "word?"

Friday, November 4, 2011


I find inspiration all over the Internet through blogs, classes, workshops and all the wonderful people who share their own inspiration and warm hearts.

One of the blogs I look forward to reading is by Carmen at A Playground of Imagination, Beauty and Love. Carmen has a way with words and images and a truly wonderful view of the world.

A few weeks ago she shared a video of a vintage postcard book she made. You can see it here. I love it and commented that I would have to look for some postcards to make one of my own. Carmen answered and offered to send me a few to get started. As somebody who loves "stuff" I gladly accepted and pledged to send a package in return.

Well, Carmen's package arrived today and I was stunned, speechless and ecstatic.

See why?
This was the first layer, so to speak. As I opened all those little packages I kept finding more and more treasures. Including an old key. Something I had mentioned that I have been looking for.

Lots of amazing postcards for my own book.

Some amazing photos. Isn't that baby in the bowl wonderful?

I'm having trouble putting in words what I want to say. I'm touched that somebody I have only met on the Internet could be so generous. (She even sent a birthday card making it all a birthday present.)
I've been touched by many of her posts and look forward to her posts and now I can see how she really does make a difference by being her.
I hope one day we can share a hug but for now I just want to say

Thank you, Carmen.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: A Wee Bit Irish

As a family historian with a wee bit of Irish in the genealogy I was excited to learn about a new research library being built at the Irish Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix.
Here's the artist rendition from the center's Web site. http://www.azirish.org/
 The small cottage on the left has been there for a long time and is built to show what an Irish cottage looked like. I went down there a few years ago to find out exactly what peat for the fireplace would look like. The library and reading rooms will be in the Medieval building in the back.

To the right is the hall where we met last night in a reception for Irish Ambassador Michael Collins.
Here he is being presented a paving stone by one of the Center leaders. He talked about the 500,000 Arizonans with Irish connections and how these Centers bring our past and our present together in pride of being Irish. He talked about his country coming out ahead after three years of tough times. He was most pleasant and made my wee bit of Irish perk right up and feel that pride.
I haven't looked at my genealogy charts in a long time and the only name I can remember right now is McFerran. This family came to America during Colonial Times and left their mark during the Revolution and in various ways since. Now I'm anxious to dig my papers out and re-acquaint myself with my Irish roots.

These are some of the costumes hanging in the hall. The Center hosts many events throughout the year including dances, concerts and dinners.  

This quilt was made by one of the ladies present and will be auctioned off as a fund raiser for the library.

I know I haven't paid enough attention to my Irish ancestors and hope to learn more as time permits. Are you just a wee bit Irish? Have you learned about your Irish background?