My first visit to the Valley

(originally posted Jul 15, 2005)

I hope that everyone will reminisce a bit.  It comes more naturally with age, but then so does forgetfulness. If you have fond memories, it might be best to write them down now.

My first trip to Jones Valley was when I was about eight years of age, as I recall. That’s been a while now.  I went with my grandparents, Guilford and Jeannette. My cousin Mike (Michael Merriman) was along and I think his sister Jeannette may also have been but I’m not sure. I do recall distinctly, and with some relief at the time, that my own sister, Janet, was not there. Continue reading

Sounds and sights of the forest

(originally posted Jul 1, 2006. This was a stop on the Valley for the reunion which was the start of a 3-week motorcycle trip through the Northwest and Western U.S. on the trusty R1100RT BMW, which I still have in 2017 as this blog is being re-posted on the new site)

Date of this writing: Saturday, July 01, 2006  7:16 AM
Riding date:    Day No.  2
Location:  Still in Jones Valley — on the occasion of the 85th family

Last night while all tucked snugly in the tent on top of the sleeping
bag (you see, it’s a down-filled mummybag that is rated to something
below 0!) I was surrounded by sounds and, even in the dark of the night,
sights. The rain fly was still safely tucked away in the bike trailer as
there was not even a hint of rain. Had it rained on me I would simply
have taken credit for bringing it in. Thus the “roof” of the tent was
open to the almost clear night sky and the stars were surrounded by the
sounds of locusts, crickets, small frogs, and occasionally the throaty
croak of a bullfrog.

For all I could see were the stars above and the only sounds were those
of the forest night. Moonless, the night allowed the stars their
resplendent glow.  The senses then wrapped those sounds around the stars
and I was immersed fully into it.

Not far away, just over at the dining hall, the “young people” (that
would be the 20 and 30 somethings) were getting reacquainted and making
the memories for the tails they will spin when they, like I, venture
into their 60’s.  I recall my own gatherings with cousins I hardly knew.
Those particular cousins I cannot now recall but new family
acquaintances have been made since my 39 year reunion hiatus which was
broken in 1998.  I still recall having arrived on a motorcycle (the 1998
Harley Wide Glide) and the wonderment by some of the family at this new
arrival, a motorcycle-riding judge! Huh? Incongruous they thought.

This morning started with a brisk walk of about two miles. It’s about
70, maybe even a little cooler. The sky is clear and the birds are in
full voice as the world slowly awakens. I walk by the family cemetery
and say a quiet thanks to those who have preceded us and who made this
wonderful place where we have gathered for 85 years. As I write, the
sounds and smells of bacon frying and the warm coffee in my cup tell me
the morning is moving toward the day. Hunger pangs strike when I let it.
Will the food never get done?

Testing the front-end blog entry

This is being entered from the home page without any detailed fiddling at all. Easy way for registered members to post a quick entry about your part of the family, your visit to the Valley, or anything else related to the Clingman-Jones family. To do a more detailed entry you have to go another route, and I’ll be glad to help with that.

Once you post, I get an email and have to approve it before it is visible on the blog page.


Joneses had a great time at the 87th Jones Valley Reunion

(originally posted July 9, 2008)

We Joneses Guilford (“Gil”) and Jennifer had a great time, especially since Jennifer’s son Lt. Matthew Andrews and his girlfriend and their friend James came for Saturday and Sunday. We left Wednesday morning (July 2) and in only 478 miles we were pulling into the familiar sign at the entrance. It was pretty quiet most of Thursday but by Friday a lot of cuzzins were flocking in from everywhere. Continue reading

Fall fishing on the Caddo

(originally posted Nov 2, 2008)

This blog covers two days of fishing with Larry Braswell who knows the Caddo River like the back of his hand. We had some good fishing and a good bit of excitement as well. The two days of fishing are covered here,with photos. Continue reading

Fall foliage in the Valley

(originally posted Nov 2, 2008)

(Updated 2008-11-03 14:10:07 for the sunrise trek to the ridge top)

Fall Foliage in the Valley


I knew about Jones Valley from a very early age. Guilford and Jeannette — my wonderful grandparents (“Mimi” and “DanDan”) — spoke of it often and brought me here twice at ages 8 and 14. It continued to be a frequent topic over the years. My grandfather died in 1969 and my grandmother lived another 20 years and “the Valley” remained a vivid image in her mind and memory imprinted upon her heart. Continue reading

Getting ready for ’09 reunion

(originally posted May 26, 2009)

As I said in a recent email to the list, I met Larry up here Friday the 22nd and we knocked out all of the work preliminary to
the final prep for the reunion. The kitchen is the biggest remaining
chore, I think, in addition to re-mowing. Lot’s of tick and chigger poison was put out. Timing was good for the spreading of the stuff which is activated by moisture as Larry spread it on Saturday and it rained all day and all night Sunday. Here’s a link to all of the photos taken on this trip. Continue reading

Spring greetings from the Valley

(originally posted Mar 16, 2010)

Bailiff (trusty canine companion) and I arrived yesterday about 6pm. Jim Bowman and Larry Braswell had already left, but in came Austin and Peaches and today Ryan and Sheila arrived. So it’s not lonely, but is very quiet. J.D. and his crew were completing the demolition of the Diffie cabin — Continue reading

Spring update #2 from the Valley

(originally posted Mar 18, 2010)

It’s Thursday. Larry came up last night and today we’ve been about various things. Did a little trash cleanup first (more on that here). We headed into Norman to the trash dump (see below)  but alas, it was closed. Larry then mentioned Melba’s Cafe right there in Norman and how about a cup of coffee. Well that sounded just peachy. Continue reading

Spring 2010 and the rock dragging

(originally posted Mar 19, 2010)

(updated April 24, 2010) Had another nice walk up the mountain today. Cool clear skies so Bailiff and I walked briskly to the solar house and back. The damp morning brings out the smells so she had her nose working overtime, periodically sensing something that led her off crashing through the brush. Continue reading