Roger Merritt's Home Page
Christmas 2004: Our usual family Christmas activities at home went well. Two-days after Christmas we went on a trip to Baltimore, MD to visit Linda's sister, and a niece of ours from Berlin, Germany who is also living there. On the 28th, I went to Washington DC to visit the National Archives. I saw the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution on permanent display in their thick glass cases. After seeing the movie National Treasure recently, I just had to. The weather in the region was bitterly COLD on this day (contrary to the forecast), so I didn't feel like walking a lot. One unfortunate surprise was that my cousin Mike Merritt (from north of Chicago) was visiting DC on the same day as I (including the National Archives and other museums) and I didn't even know he was there until I'd driven back to Baltimore. What a missed opportunity to see him! Evidently, at home in Tennessee my Dad was trying to get in touch with me that morning to tell me Mike was in DC, but I (without thinking) had my cell phone off the whole time. What a pity...
October 30, 2004: We went to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga with my parents and my
sister, and niece. It was pretty amazing; the kids loved it, as much as a two-year-old and a
four-year-old can. We still got back home in time for Trick-or-Treating. Reanna was a witch again. The costume from last year still fits.
October 16, 2004: We went to Cheekwood Botanical
Gardens (located south of Nashville) with my parents to see the "Playhouses and Forts" exhibit. There were ten creative,
fantasy-like playhouses constructed for children to play in. We and Reanna had a wonderful time,
and took lots of pictures.
October 2004: Congratulations to the Red Sox! Maybe there's hope for the Cubs yet. I was
disappointed with the Chicago Cubs towards the end of the season. I really think they should
have won the wildcard, but they choked instead. Here is a poem I wrote to sum up my feelings.
Why? I'm a long-time Cubs fan. Need I say more?:
The Cubs choked again
No doubt about that
They should’ve won the Wildcard
But in the end they just went flat
There’s no joy in Wrigleyville
Or in Cubs nation
This is the consequence of over expectation!
They had so much talent at bat
And on the mound
But injuries and inconsistencies
Spoiled our dream of a crown
Zambrano and Maddux were the best pitchers they had
And Rusch wasn’t half-bad
But Clement never got any support
Prior and Wood did what they could
But, holy cow! Were they terrible!
The bullpen was sound, but when Borowski went down
Watching Farnsworth and Hawkins was unbearable!
Sosa’s back seized when he sneezed, and he was out for a month
Achilles was the reason Prior and Grudzielanek benched most of the season
And Nomar came to the Cubs already hurt
Momentum was still growing but then Ramirez pulled a groin
And one-run loses shot them in the foot
Patterson struck out too much, and to the umpire, Alou pouted a bunch
As Baker juggled the lineup
They signed Nomar at the deadline to improve defense and scoring
But instead they led the league in solo-homering
The schedule was easy at the end
But to our chagrin they couldn’t beat the Expos, Mets, and Reds
Even broadcasters Chip and “Stoney” vented regrets
The Cubs had egg on their heads!
There’s no joy in Wrigleyville
Or in Cubs nation
This is the consequence of over expectation!
September 14, 2004: Linda and I, including my parents, went to the U.S. Capitol Building
in Washington DC to attend unveiling of Senator Arthur Vandenberg's portrait in the Senate
Reception Room done by brother-in-law Shane Neal. Read all about it at
www.senate.gov. We saw Tennessee Senators Frist and Alexander, among a number of other Senators (including Edward Kennedy, and Hillary Clinton), and distinguished guests. We spent one night (the 13th) in Alexandria, VA, and had dinner in the Old Town. We rode the Metro
into DC and walked to the Capitol Building on the 14th, for the unveiling ceremony. I must say
my impression of DC, as our Nation's Capital and a place of culture, was improved by this trip.
This was my 5th visit to Washington DC, and it was a positive experience. Read my trip summary.
Labor Day, 2004: We went to the Bicentennial Mall Park in Nashville, with some friends.
We picnicked, and the kids played in the fountains. There was a pleasant atmosphere. I tried out
my new digital MP3 player in the car, and it worked ok through the car stereo. It's nice to
finally have one of these!
June 30 - July 21, 2004: We made a long-overdue trip to
London & Berlin for three weeks,
to visit six of Linda's sisters and their families; dozens of old friends, and two of the
greatest cities in the world. I slept in four beds, rented two cars, lived out of a carry-on
bag, took a zillion photos, saw many sights, and managed to stay fairly connected with home via
the Internet and email. For some strange reason, the Motlow site (and email) was inaccessible on
the Web in Germany, but, luckily, I had my home email account to fall back on.
June 25, 2004: A California cousin of mine named Greg, and his daughter came to visit us. I met Greg via the Internet about 1.5 years ago and we have kept in touch ever since. My great-grandmother (on my mother's side) was his great aunt. His ancesters moved west in the early 1900s, but he has a keen interest in the family history.
June 10, 2004: My drive to-and-from-work today was made interesting by the 3rd annual
Bonnaroo Music Festival near Manchester, TN. Read my anthropology
report. If you don't have a clue what Bonnaroo is about, think Woodstock (1969).
May 23-26, 2004: Like last year in late May, we made a short visit to Linda's sister in
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. We also visited one of her cousins in
Waterloo, about 50 miles NW of Hamilton. The whole trip was over 1,700 miles total, and went
extremely well. We crossed the border at the Detroit-Windsor Ambassador Bridge crossing. I wish
we had more time to spend visiting Canada!
May 8, 2004: This was quite a full day! I went to two graduations and a funeral. I got to
hear two Tennessee Governor's speak: Phil Bredesen at the Motlow graduation, and former Gov.
Winfield Dunn at the Lipscomb graduation. Plus, we went to the funeral of a long-time friend of
the family in Murfreesboro (between the two graduations). What an unusual day.
May 1, 2004: We went on a daytrip to Helen, GA; a decent attempt at replicating an Alpine
village in scenic North Georgia, and to Amicalola Falls, near the start of the Appalachian
April 17, 2004: Brother-in-law Shane Neal was invited to the christening of a brand new
Navy battleship, the USS Nitze in Bath, Maine. He was invited because he painted a
portrait of Paul H. Nitze a couple of years ago for the Nitze School of International Studies
at Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC.
March - April 2004: We celebrated Reanna's birthday at the Rainforest Cafe at Opry Mills Mall.
Plus, we went on some nice hikes to local scenic spots on a couple of Saturdays, plus some
interesting places in the Cumberland Mountains, and went to Lookout Mountain on April 3rd,
and rode the Incline.
February 15, 2004: We had a better than expected snow of about 4 inches. It was
Reanna's first real experience playing in the white fluffy stuff!
She had a great time and I went overboard taking pictures.
February 7, 2004: I went to the El Greco to Picasso exhibit at the Frist Center for
the Visual Arts in Nashville with my brother-in-law Shane. The exhibit is from the Phillips
Collection in Washington DC and it was wonderful. www.fristcenter.org
December 29-31, 2003: We traveled almost 500 miles to Natchez, Mississippi to
tour three antebellum homes (Longwood, Dunleith, and Rosalie). On the way back to Tennessee we
drove through Oxford, MS, and went to Elvis Presley's birthplace in Tupelo. The
trip went very well, and the weather was gorgeous the second and third day.
November 2003: I decided to become a notebook computer nerd. Got a Dell Inspiron 5100,
and love it. I'm a nerd because I still call it a laptop!
October 2003: Roger experienced a traumatic case of Chicago Cubs fever during the
MLB playoffs (even worse than 1984 and 1989), but is trying to be philosophical about it. He's
practically convinced the curse is real.
August 8, 2003: My dad, Reanna and I visited the
Huntsville Botanical Gardens. It was exceptionally well-tended
and landscaped. There was a treehouse exhibit, which we all found entertaining.
June - July 2003: We visited Trinidad. This was our first trip to Trinidad in five years,
and Reanna's first ever. Read my travelogue at Trinidad #2.
May 25-28, 2003: We made a short, but enjoyable trip to Hamilton, Ontario,
Canada to visit Linda's sister, and some other family relations. This
was our first visit to Canada, and it went very well. The weather was good; the conditions were
like early-spring all over again, and I was quite impressed with Hamilton.
April 29, 2003: Linda and I woke up at 4:00am when we felt a tremor caused by an earthquake
in NE Alabama. It registered 4.9 on the Richter scale and was felt from south Alabama all the way
to Kentucky, and from South Carolina to Mississippi. Pretty amazing considering no significant
damage was reported.
April 4, 2003: Attended Tennessee Library Association conference in Chattanooga, TN.
March 13, 2003: Reanna turned 3 years old and had a birthday party with friends and
February 8, 2003: My sister and her family moved to Nashville,TN.
January 3, 2003: How about that Fiesta Bowl! My dad was very happy Ohio State won. He was
teaching there the last time they won the national championship (1968).
December 2002: I had a rough Christmas break recovering from a tonsillectomy.
November 2002: The remodeling of our kitchen is complete, after a long wait for the
cabinets to be made. We like the end result.
August 2002: I have discovered the joys of audio books on my commute to work.
July 2002: I recently became 1/4 owner of a pickup truck. My Dad is the primary owner,
but I have never had one before, and my knowledge of pickup trucks has grown by leaps!
June 2002: I enjoyed watching the Soccer World Cup on TV. I followed it more closely
than ever before (thank goodness for ESPN2). I really got a kick out of it, despite the big time
differential, being played in Korea and Japan!
May 12 - 18, 2002: We went on a trip to visit Linda's sister in Baltimore, MD. We did some
sightseeing in Baltimore, Annapolis, and Philadelphia. One of the highlights of the trip was
visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was exceptionally good. And, in Baltimore,
I/we explored for the first time, the historic districts of Bolton Hill, and Fell's Point;
two lovely neighborhoods with 18th and 19th century houses.
May 2002: I finally finished my course work in Mass Communication at MTSU, and graduated
on the 11th.
March 13, 2002: Reanna turned 2 years old and got some neat toys.
January 2002: I replaced several photographs on the site that were originally scanned
poorly, or that contained a lot of bytes with better ones.
December, 2001: My sister Melanie gave birth to
Baptist Hospital in Nashville, TN.
December 2001: I passed my comprehensive exams at MTSU.
September 3, 2001: We went to the Nashville Zoo on Labor Day with my Dad and some friends.
Reanna had a great time, and we all enjoyed the day.
July 28 - 31, 2001: Linda's mother, two sisters (Veronica and Victoria), and two nieces
(Susan and Kati) came to visit us. All but Victoria came from abroad. It was the first time
her mother has been able to visit the U.S.A., let alone Tennessee, so it was a very special
time for all of us.
June 24, 2001: The three of us, and my Dad went to the Air Show at Tullahoma
Airport for the 50th anniversary tribute for Arnold Engineering and Development Center
(AEDC), which is located near Tullahoma. We saw the Thunderbirds perform in the sky
(Air Force fighter jets) among others. There was quite an exciting atmosphere at the
show, which was truly special, considering it was in our own home town!
May 2001: We went on a much needed vacation, the 20th - 25th, to visit Linda's
sister in Baltimore, MD. On the way we visited Monticello, near Charlottesville, VA.
Unfortunately, it was a rainy day. The next day was much improved, and I went to
Annapolis, MD, on my own. It is a beautifully maintained historic town; the capitol of
Maryland, and the home of the U.S. Naval Academy. On Wednesday the 23rd, I went to
Mt. Vernon, and Washington D.C. The weather was spectacular on this day, and
I saw some sights I have not seen before: the Lincoln memorial, Vietnam memorial, and the
Library of Congress. Overall, we had a great trip, just too short.
March 2001 Update: My parents moved into their new house in Tullahoma on the 16th,
as planned. They have a lot of work to do to get settled. And, Reanna was one year old
on the 13th! We are glad to have Reanna's Grandparents living one mile away, instead of
375 miles, for a change.
March 2001: The contract on my parent's new house in Tullahoma has finalized, and
they plan to move in on March 16th. They are returning to middle Tennessee after living
in other states for the past 40 years.
January 7, 2001: I was very sad to see the Tennessee Titans lose to the Baltimore
Ravens in the NFL playoffs, on television. :-(
The Titans had a fantastic season though, no doubt about it. And I'm glad the Ravens won the
Christmas 2000: We stayed close to home this year for Christmas. Mom and Dad stayed
with us for about two weeks. Melanie and Shane came to spend Christmas night, and we had a
good exchange of gifts. Mom and Dad began house hunting on the 26th, and much to our surprise,
they found a house. The contract is pending. If all goes well, they should begin moving in
December 2000: My dad, Floyd Merritt, retired after 38 years of teaching on the college
level (speech communications). He finished teaching his last semester of classes at Eastern
Illinois University, where he taught for 30 years. He now plans to pursue some of his interests,
such as traveling, and RVing around the country. Mom and Dad want to eventually move back to
August 15, 2000: We (plus my sister and Dad) went to visit Cheekwood Botanical Garden
and Museum of Art, in Nashville, TN. The
landscaping is excellent! The art museum is decent,
consisting of a
variety of paintings, photographs, furniture, plus silver and porcelain
objects. There is a lot to see at Cheekwood--we were impressed.
May 23, 2000: We went on a mini-vacation to Callaway Gardens in
Georgia. It was Reanna's
first long trip, and she handled it ok. It was
not too crowded on a Tuesday, so we had a
pleasurable experience. To
read more about Callaway
go to their web site.
March 13, 2000: Today Reanna was born at 1:27pm, and
weighed 7 lbs. and 1 oz., and was almost 20 inches long. We are very relieved and excited to
February 14, 2000: Today Linda is eight months pregnant, and we are moving into the last
month. According to the doctor, our baby weighs 5.8 pounds right now. By-the-way, the name we
have picked out is Reanna Louise.
January 1, 2000: This news will be old real fast, but I'd better
get it in while I can.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 2000!!! Yeah, yeah, I know.
Christmas 1999: Like last year, Linda and I went to Baltimore to
visit Linda's sister
Victoria. On the 26th, I went to Washington D.C.
and went to the National Portrait
American Art Museum for the first time. These were very interesting,
and will be closed soon for about two years of renovation work. I also
went to the National
Gallery of Art for the second year in a row. There were
some fascinating exhibitions there.
On the 27th, we went to Longwood
Gardens again to enjoy the wonderful conservatory.
Thanksgiving 1999: My Mom and Dad came down to visit from Illinois
for the week of
November 20-23, 1999: Pete and Dulcie Hodge visited us. They
were co-workers of mine
in London, from 1991-1994, and are English,
but are now serving as missionaries in Albania.
October 27, 1999: Linda and I found out that we are going to
have a girl. The expected
arrival time is in mid-March 2000.
Late September, 1999: I updated some of my travel pages.
September 19, 1999: This is my parent's 40th wedding anniversary!
August 14, 1999: Linda's sister Veronica, and her daughter Kati
came to visit us.
They live in Berlin, Germany.
May-June 1999: We have been doing some landscaping in our backyard
that has involved
an arbor, building a lattice fence and pathway, and
building flower beds, etc. It has taken
a lot of hours, toil, and learning
to use power tools again. My father helped a lot while he
was visiting. Here
are two examples of the work.
May 16, 1999: We went to Biltmore Estate, near Asheville, NC.
We have wanted
to go there for a long time and finally did. The weather was perfect, and the house and
grounds were every bit as
breathtaking as I imagined they would be. Our friends, Charles
Sandra Johnson went with us, and made very good travel companions. On
the way back home,
on the 17th, we drove through the Blue Ridge Parkway
--almost heaven, in my opinion--and
stopped in Cherokee, and went through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. I wish we
had more time for the Smokey's, but we never seem to have enough time for them. We got a good
deal on a van rental, which made the trip more comfortable.
April 30, 1999: I attended the Tennessee Library Association
Nashville, TN. The TLA meets in Nashville every two
years, and this was the third time I
have been to it. I listened to
presentations about online databases, which index periodicals
newspapers, and heard the latest about legal cases involving the
January 11, 1999: My Grandmother, Mattie Ree Hix died, aged 89.
She was born January 6,
1910, in Raus, TN, and died in the same house
she was born in. She was my last living
grandparent, and had a large
influence on me all my life. She attended Middle Tenn. State
College from 1930-1931, and taught school during the depression years
She raised a family of three children (my mother was the
middle child) with my grandfather,
Runa Duggan Hix (1908-1990), who also
was a schoolteacher, and then she substitute taught
some later. She
had a strong faith in God, and always attended church, even twice the
before she died. She will be missed, and now the old house on the
farm is empty.
December 1998: Visited Linda's sister Victoria for Christmas. She
lives in Baltimore,
Maryland. We left on the 23rd, and drove for 12 hours
through freezing rain before stopping
to spend the night in Lexington, VA.
While we were on our way, Tullahoma was getting the
worst ice storm in
many decades, and was to be without power for 4-6 nights, depending on
you live. On Christmas Day Linda, Victoria and I went to Longwood
Philadelphia, to eat, and walk around the outdoor gardens
and conservatory. Longwood was built
by Pierre DuPont in the early 1900's,
and is considered to be one of the finest botanical
gardens in North America.
To read more about
Gardens go to their very detailed website.
On the 26th, I went to Washington D.C.,
where I was hoping to get into the
Van Gogh Exhibit at the National Gallery, but it was
not to be, for
they ran out of passes after I'd stood in line for three hours. This was
disappointing, but I cheered up when I went in to look at the permanent
paintings. The collection was pretty good, and even contained
about five Van Gogh's, as well
as a lot of the master's of art. I bought
some souvenirs at the official Van Gogh gift shop.
At least I can say that
I have already seen a lot of Van Gogh's paintings in London and
The rest of the day I spent visiting the Ford's Theatre, where Abraham
assassinated, and the Holocaust Museum. These were very
interesting, and I did not get
to spend as much time as I would have desired.
The weather was cold in the low thirties, and
I drove back to Baltimore that
August 1998: Visited Trinidad, July 31 - August 14. Linda and
I made a much-anticipated
trip to her home country. It was my first
visit there, and Linda's first in over six years.
Trinidad is a culturally
diverse country of 1.3 million people in the southern Caribbean
Trinidad has a lot of unspoiled tropical forests, with hilly-to-mountainous
and some flat-to-swampy farmlands. Trinidad is also one of the
more industrialized of the
Caribbean Islands with manufacturing, oil
Read more about our
trip to Trinidad.
January 1998: I was officially appointed as Librarian at Motlow's
Library. Also, started graduate school at MTSU in
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