Lynda Having Fun with Benjamin

"Here Comes the Ball"

“Here Comes the Ball”


During Spring Break in 2007, Lynda and I went to Kansas City to see “the kids.”

Her time with Benjamin that trip is memorable.

Lynda recognized that active play was what Benjamin would enjoy.  Her encouraging this kind of play surely helped him to explore how things work.  Today he enjoys his Legos and can create most anything in a short amount of time.

Drawing on the same skills she used in the classroom, she looked for available things with which to engage Benjamin in play. Her choice one day was a cardboard tube and a Whiffle ball.

The ball fit nicely into the tube. They played “where’s the ball” for a long time. She’d put the ball in one end of the tube and roll it down to Benjamin.

His expressions tell the tale. I’d love to be able to play the audio of this play session. His shrieks were marvelous!


"Here It Comes"

“Watch Out…Here It Comes Again!”


These are favorite pictures of mine. They conjure up good memories of the moments Lynda spent interacting with Ben.

Benjamin turns ten in January! He’s very special and I’m quite proud of him.


Ben in 2014

Ben in 2014

Teacher as Babysitter


Lynda and Katarina

Lynda and Katarina


In recent days, I have had the need and opportunity to review many of the thousands of digital photos I have on my computer. That’s when I ran across this one.

If a picture tells a thousand words, then this one tells several thousand.

Lynda was always a multi-tasker. She never sat down just to watch television. She preferred working on lesson plans, grading papers or crocheting a baby afghans while listening to the television.

In this photo, she’s also multi-tasking.

She’s grading math papers…and caring for our less-than-two-year-old granddaughter, Katarina. Even though we lived more than 800 miles apart, Lynda made certain that every minute counted…even enlisting Katarina’s help on grading papers.

Note the concentration both have on the student’s math paper.

The photo shows the care that Lynda gave to both her teaching responsibilities and her role as grandmother

I love looking at this photo…and hope you do too.

Here’s Katarina a couple of months ago.

Katarina (2014)

Katarina (2014)


Next:  Lynda and Benjamin

The Season is Upon Us!

The rear of the sanctuary at St. Philips Episcopal Church

The rear of the sanctuary at St. Philips Episcopal Church


On Saturday, I went to the bookstore at St. Philip’s Episcopal Cathedral to pick up a couple of items. The Cathedral was hosting some sort of fall festival…many vendors selling crafts, clothing, and food.

After doing my shopping, I made my way through the large crowd to the cathedral’s sanctuary where it was quiet and I could sit alone. I spent time reflecting on the things for which I am most thankful.

It’s time, you know, when many in our culture do this kind of reflection for part of one day before going out early the next day to “shop until they drop.” My quiet reflections served as an antidote for this kind of behavior of our larger culture.

Not surprisingly, my reflections focused on four subject groupings for which I am very grateful this year.


Partially because we are approaching the anniversary of her death date, I thought about Lynda and our 43 years of marriage. I am grateful for her love, her hard work teaching school, and her creativity. I know I wouldn’t be a member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church without Lynda helping to lead the way. So as I sat in Atlanta’s Episcopal cathedral on Saturday. I thought of her.

I also reflected on our daughter. Elizabeth has thrilled me all of her life. Always a terrific student, she continues her excellence today in her seminary classes. Her professors send messages (that get passed on to me). I am proud! Read her blog at and you’ll see what I mean. She’s even better being a mother than she is as a student.

I’m also proud of my grandchildren. It’s hard to believe that in a couple of months, they will turn twelve (Katarina) and ten (Benjamin). Both are good students and outstanding citizens. I know you know many other proud grandparents. I want you to know that, when thinking of this grandfather, you can count me within this group.

I also thought of my parents (Wayne and LaVerne Buckner) and my grandparents (Wyman and Maude Buckner and Carl and Nina Lea Travis). They taught my parents about the values that I try to emulate in my family. I am fortunate to have known all four and spend much of my childhood, youth and young adulthood with them,

I am largely who I am today, because of this group of people. I am very grateful.


I’m convinced that there is no person that I know of that has a group of friends as terrific as I do.

My Atlanta group of school teachers, Home Mission Board colleagues, and All Saints’ members have kept me in their lives and hearts for many, many months.

Add to that a new group of friends residing in Birmingham and you can see why I am beaming. Sheryl and I have greatly enjoyed introducing each other to “our friends.” Both among her WMU colleagues and her church congregation (Vestavia Hills Baptist) I’ve listen to many friends congratulate her upon our upcoming wedding. But they don’t stop there. They continue to tell her how very much she is loved by them. It makes me very proud…and I concur with their assessment of her.


Since the middle of September, Sheryl and I have traveled more than 5,000 miles with trips to her sister in Texas and my daughter in Missouri.

We both have loved this fall season. The late-afternoon light on the color-filled trees has often left me speechless.

The Texas landscape…the Missouri farmland…and Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes…all reflect a unique view of our natural world and taken my breath away.

I’m grateful to have visited so much of America’s Heartland this fall.


If you and I have talked about my own grief process since Lynda’s death, you would have heard me speak frequently about the role that great music played in helping me “cross to safety.”

My iPhone is filled with music that I listen to each night before going to sleep. Among favorites, are Il Trutina (a soprano solo in George Orff’s Carmina Burana) and Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. If you haven’t heard these recently, treat yourself to these classics.

This fall I’ve also been deeply moved by concerts by the Alabama Symphony Chorus and the Birmingham Chamber Singers. The latter group sang Dan Forrest’s relatively new Requiem for the Living. (see earlier blog). This work has become my current “favorite choral work.” Look on YouTube for it being performed by the Raleigh. North Carolina group, Bel Canto. You’ll love it!

There’s something about great music (even when done by rock and roll performers!) that touch my heart…so today I give thanks for the creativity of all the composers and performers who have greatly helped me through this grief process.

There you have it…the four BIG things that I’m very thankful for this Thanksgiving. I know there are others, (including YOU, reader) but these came easily to my mind during my quiet reflection at St. Philip’s.

What are you especially thankful for this year?


I’m working on a blogs about Lynda and her grandchildren.

I have a terrific photo of the “teacher Lynda” with Katarina. Look for it and some comments later this week.

And if possible, I’ll also do another one later in the week that features Benjamin.

Travel is in the cards for next week as Sheryl and I travel to her brother’s in Columbus, Ohio where we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day with his family.

I’ll get to meet not only her brother and his wife, but also their three daughters and their families. I’m sure you’ll get a blog about some of the happenings.

Have a terrific day!


During Lynda’s teaching tenure at Pleasantdale Elementary, Lynda composed a weekly newsletter that her students took home to their parents.  It summarized the week’s activities and alerted the parents to upcoming events.

Here’s one from thirteen years ago!

You’ll be reminded of what a terrific teacher Lynda was…and how she loved her students.

Weekly Words Nov 2001 Pg 1

Weekly Words Nov 2001 Pg 1


Weekly Words Nov 2001

Weekly Words Nov 2001 Pg. 2


All Saints’ Sunday and Requiem for the Living

Yesterday, as you probably know, was All Saints’ Sunday. It’s a day when Christians worldwide give thanks and remember their loved ones who have died…as well as people who died many, many years ago.

Yesterday was a day of remembrance for me.

I recalled my parents, grandparents, all the many relatives I have discovered in my genealogical research, Lynda, and friends who have died.

I am who I am because of the example and input from the lives of many, many people.

Yesterday afternoon I attended a concert by the 24-member Birmingham Chamber Chorus and orchestral ensemble. The performance was absolutely beautiful.   They sang Dan Forrest’s unbelievable Requiem for the Living. Forrest, a young 36-year-old composer, has written a piece for the living—a requiem that asks God for rest and peace for those who, though still in this life, experience pain and suffering.

And we all do.

If you have a minute, look on YouTube for “Dan Forrest Requiem for the Living” and you’ll find a video of a recording done last year by the Bel Canto Chorus in Raleigh, NC.  I was deeply moved by the  fourth movement—Sanctus. It brought tears to my eyes!  Perhaps it will for you too.


Going to Church on a Tuesday

An All Saints' Stained Glass Window

An All Saints’ Stained Glass Window


I went to church this morning.

This is an unusual thing for me to do on a Tuesday morning.

But I’m grateful that my circumstances allow me to do so this year.

A year ago, Lynda was beginning her downhill slide with a vengeance.

Here is my journal entry on CaringBridge a year ago today.  I am so grateful that many of you followed our journey so faithfully.


Monday, October 28, 2013

It’s been another quiet…calm…Monday at the condo today.This morning Lynda watched taped TV shows while Wally cleaned up the kitchen and did some computer work on his own life insurance.  This afternoon, Lynda took a SHORT nap and then we each had a cup of coffee and watched some more television.We tried to call Lynda’s mother, but she wasn’t home so we left a message.Tonight we plan to watch the 5th game of the World Series.Tomorrow Monique rejoins us on our weekly visits by the Visiting Angels.Lynda’s showing more energy and get-up-and-go…the farther you get from the infusions…I guess.  Our transfers from bed to toilet and back are much better now.  No risk for the firefighters in the last several days!Hope you are doing better.  We’re grateful for your love.
Sounds like one of our “good” days.
I can remember our nighttime calls to the DeKalb firefighters.  So very grateful that though highly embarrassed, Lynda never complained about the men coming into the house and helping her get back into bed.  Grateful not only for her…but for them and their service as well.
Lynda two years ago---on  October 21, 2012 at All Saints'

Lynda two years ago—on October 21, 2012 at All Saints’

I went to church today to deliver the check and the wording for the Sunday bulletin for the flowers that Elizabeth and I will give in Lynda’s memory on December 14th (the Sunday nearest Lynda’s death).

I promise a photo of the flowers on that date and more CaringBridge remembrances between now and then.




The Traveling Wedding Caps—2014 Friends and Family Tour (Part 2)

The second part of our Friends and Family Tour ended Wednesday when we returned to Birmingham after a trip of more than 2,500 miles.  We had lots of fun meeting friends and new family members.

As you can imagine, on a trip this long we took a lot of photos.  See where “THE CAPS” went on Part 2 of the Friends and Family Tour.


Crossing into Tennessee from Alabama on Friday, October 10th

First photo opportunity:  Wasn’t it nice of Tennessee to ‘welcome us’ on Friday, October 10?


A friend of Wally’s cousin owns  THE ARTS COMPANY  in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.  We needed help to get in!

At THE SOUTHERN FESTIVAL OF BOOKS---a more than 25-year tradition for Wally

We escaped briefly from our dry home in Wally’s car for this photo at the SOUTHERN FESTIVAL OF BOOKS.  This festival has been a favorite Buckner tradition for more than 25 years

On the Ohio River

At Paducah, Kentucky, we found a river (Ohio), some statues (representing the Lewis and Clark Expedition), and some quilts (behind closed doors).

At the National Quilt Museum in Paducah

We tried to get into the museum but it was not open yet so we just posed ourselves on this plaque

Visiting Wally's brother Mark and his wife, Kathy, in Arnold, Missouri

Our next visit was with Wally’s younger brother and his wife in Arnold, Missouri  After dinner they took Mark’s Brittany spaniel, Copper,  to Ted Drewes for a “doggie bowl” of frozen custard.  The humans had some too.


Frozen Custard from Ted Drewes, St. Louis, Missouri

Frozen Custard from Ted Drewes, St. Louis, Missouri…Yummmmmm!











The St. Louis Cathedral on October 13th

Wally put us here in the wind and pouring rain just to pose for this photo at the St. Louis’ cathedral



At the Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri where Winston Churchill gave his famous "iron curtain" speech

In the rain at Fulton, Missouri, we listened to Winston Churchill give his famous “iron curtain” speech.  We tried to follow his advice to “keep calm and carry on” (and dry!).


At the famous Blueberry Hill restaurant in St. Louis

At the Blueberry Hill restaurant, we watched Sheryl and Wally eat hamburgers, drink Fritz root beer, and play checkers using the little pink and yellow bags of fake sugar they found on the table.



At Wally's alma mater, William Jewell College, on October 15th

Wally’s alma mater, William Jewell College, welcomed us to the stage after Wednesday morning chapel


At the Lewis and Clark Expedition statue in downtown Kansas City

We found Lewis and Clark…again.  From near this spot, they continued their trek up the Missouri River.  We wished them well!


At the renowned shuttlecock sculpture on the front lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City (sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen)

The shuttlecock sculpture on the front lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City (sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen) might be renowned, but we almost got squashed


At the fountain in the Plaza in Kansas City (water dyed blue in honor of the Kansas City Royals being in this year's World Series)

We sunned ourselves beside a fountain flowing with blue water in honor of the Kansas City Royals who earned their way into this year’s World Series


The journey was long between Kansas City and Murray, Kentucky.

At the Rend Lake rest stop in Illinois, we chatted with a woman practicing a routine on stilts.  But she was too tall for photos with us!

Rend Lake, Illinois

Rend Lake, Illinois

Dinner awaited everyone at Sheryl’s cousin’s house.  In Murray we rested while Sheryl and Wally toured Murray State University, recounted Churchill stories, saw former family homes and businesses, located tombstones…and ate catfish.

First Baptist Church, Murray. Kentucky

We lingered at First Baptist Church Murray, Kentucky where Churchills have worshipped for three generations


J. H. Churchill was Sheryl's grandfather

We hadn’t died but we wanted to see the sign at the J. H. Churchill Funeral Home—begun by Sheryl’s grandfather in 1886

The Baptist Student Center at Murray State University where Sheryl's father was the first student director

Since the students at Murray State University were in class no one bothered us.  We paused to remember that Sheryl’s father was the first student director here.


Enroute to another of Sheryl's cousins near Kuttawa, Kentucky

Fall colors and blue skies surrounded us as we traveled to visit Sheryl’s cousin in Eddyville, Kentucky

The Barkley Dam at Kentucky's Land Between the Lakes

We cuddled and romanced at the Barkley Dam, Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky

The KenLakes Resort Marina at the Land Between the Lakes

“Breakfast, Lunch, Pizza” were offered…but the restaurant didn’t serve caps!

An easy swing at the KenLakes State Resort Park

An easy swing at the KenLakes State Resort Park


We had a picnic and visit to the Meriwether Lewis burial site on the Natchez Trace parkway.

At the end of this fence was a yummy picnic…then a respectful visit to the Meriwether Lewis burial site on the Natchez Trace Parkway.


The Alabama Welcome Center near Huntsville on October 22nd

Although this Saturn rocket was stationary, we posed for a photo at the Alabama welcome center near Huntsville and moved on

Welcome back to the state where we started this leg of our journey

We dared ‘defend our right’ to have had a good time!


The miles we traveled…the farmland, fall colors and city sites we saw…the “recyclers” with whom we re-connected…the “newcomers” who became “keepers”…the PEOPLE who gave us their time and love encouraged us so very much.  Many thanks.

The third and final leg of the tour ends in Columbus, Ohio with a visit to Sheryl’s brother and his family for Thanksgiving.

Thanks for traveling with us!

Keep following THE CAPS!

The Traveling Wedding Caps—2014 Friends and Family Tour (Part 1)

About a month ago, Sheryl’s friend, Mary Helen, gave us our first wedding gift (see earlier blog with photo).  It was a sweet reminder of her love and affirmation of both of us.  We are very grateful.

On September 20, we began the 2014 Friends and Family Tour (Part 1) when we flew from Birmingham to Dallas/Fort Worth to see Sheryl’s sister and brother-in-law.  En route, we decided to let the caps tell the story of the more than 3,000 miles we flew and drove.  Follow the caps and they’ll show you where we went and some of the fun we had on the journey.

Thanks, Mary Helen!


Where the tour began.

Where the tour began

Our first stop.

Our first stop.

Roanoke, Texas---home of Sheryl's sister and brother-in-law

Roanoke, Texas—home of Sheryl’s sister and brother-in-law

At the Texas Welcome Center en route to Fort Smith, AR to see 40-year friends---"keepers"

At the Texas Welcome Center en route to Fort Smith, Arkansas to see 40-year friends—“keepers”

Where Sheryl soaked up "being home" once again

Where Sheryl soaked up “being home” once again

At Arkansas Welcome Center outside Fort Smith

At Arkansas Welcome Center outside Fort Smith

At the Oklahoma Welcome Center

Entering Oklahoma

Denison, Texas---birthplace of Dwight Eisenhower

Denison, Texas—birthplace of Dwight Eisenhower

At THE Texas State Fair

At THE State Fair of Texas

Outside Bridgeport, Texas en route to Graham, Texas

Outside Bridgeport, Texas en route to Graham, Texas

Entering Graham, Texas

Entering Graham, Texas

Outside Graham, Texas

En route to First Baptist Church, Graham, Texas

At First Baptist Church, Graham, Texas, to visit with a long-time friend of Sheryl's and her family (pastor of this church)

At First Baptist Church, Graham, Texas, to visit with a long-time friend of Sheryl’s and her family.  Her husband is pastor of this church.


We spent Tuesday morning in Fort Worth visiting Sheryl’s old haunts before meeting friends from Lubbock, Texas for lunch.

At the Fort Worth Stockyards

At the Fort Worth Stockyards

Hoofprints at the Fort Worth Stockyards

Hoofprints at the Fort Worth Stockyards

The Cattle Pens at the Fort Worth Stockyards

The Cattle Pens at the Fort Worth Stockyards

Caps in a Tree Sheryl climbed as a child at her home on the campus of Southwestern Seminary

Caps in a Tree Sheryl climbed as a child at her home on the campus of Southwestern Seminary

Travis Avenue Baptist Church where Sheryl attended as a child and young woman

Travis Avenue Baptist Church where Sheryl attended as a child and young woman

At Paschall High School where Sheryl attended

At Paschall High School where Sheryl graduated

At the Woodshed Smokehouse Restaurant where three friends from Lubbock, Texas met us for lunch---AMAZING!

At the Woodshed Smokehouse Restaurant where three friends from Lubbock, Texas met us for lunch—AMAZING!


We spent our last night in Frisco, TX with Wally’s brother-in-law and his family but no “Caps Only” photos were taken!  Why?  In Wally’s excitement to take the photo of the caps with the mesquite wood pile, he walked off and left them behind!  After exploring a delivery company pickup, he decided to return the next day to the restaurant to retrieve them.  Sorry, Frisco!

Where the tour began...and ended

Where the tour began…and ended

Dinner Wednesday night after returning from Texas---at the Irondale Cafe

Dinner Wednesday night after returning from Texas—at the Irondale Cafe outside Birmingham

The miles we traveled…the West Texas vistas we saw…the “recyclers” with whom we re-connected…the “newcomers” who became “keepers”…the PEOPLE who gave us their time and love encouraged us so very much.  Many thanks.

The second half of the tour begins next Friday when we head to Franklin, Tennessee…St. Louis…Kansas City…and Murray, Kentucky.

Then we “rest” until Thanksgiving when the TOUR ends in Columbus, Ohio with a visit to Sheryl’s brother and his family.

Thanks for going along on the ride with us!  Keep following THE CAPS!




Wedding Caps Arrive at DFW

After departing EARLY Saturday morning, THE CAPS (and the two heads they reside on) arrived at the DFW airport.

We both received a warm welcome from Sheryl’s sister and brother-in-law. They are taking us to a BBQ dinner tonight with their Sunday School class.

Further updates forthcoming….




One of Sheryl’s best friends took her to lunch last week. After a very good visit and a delicious lunch, she presented Sheryl with a gift—our first wedding gift—a gift for both of us.

Now, we are not expecting wedding gifts. In fact we are talking about how to combine two households into one.

But I thought this gift was so cute and novel that I had to share it!

We’re off to Dallas/Ft. Worth on Saturday to meet with and visit Sheryl’s sister and brother-in-law. Our 2014 Friends and Family Tour starts with this trip.

Watch for more coming soon!