All posts by Larry Chapman

A retired educator, historian, writer, blogger, teller of tales including the occasional lie, saltwater angler, traveler, political junkie, technology geek, optimist, pessimist, wanna' be chef, and lover of independent thinkers. 2011 recipient of the Professor Irwin Corey Foremost Authority Award and resident curmudgeon of Worley Mill Rd.

The Pelicans of Lake Erie. Lake Erie?

In the past sixty-years many things have changed about Ohio’s wildlife scene. Growing up in the 40s and 50s I have no memory of ever seeing a local deer, wild turkey, black bear, osprey, bald eagle, or sea-gull. Today, to a degree, these things are fairly common in our state.

The first Ohio deer I saw was in the fall of 1970 driving along Lower-Twin Rd running my morning school bus route. As I came around a curve there was a huge buck standing in the road and as soon as it saw the bus it bounded over a wire fence and headed for the nearest woods. I stopped the bus and sat there in awe.

Today we have deer grazing in the clearing in front Continue reading The Pelicans of Lake Erie. Lake Erie?

You Can All Go Fly a Kite!

I’m sitting on a deck at Holden Beach, NC watching my grandson fly a kite held aloft by a constant breeze rolling in from the Atlantic. As kids, every spring we’d take a few nickels to the Famous 5&10 store and buy a kite kit. The picture on the wrapping always displayed children having huge fun watching their assembled kites soar into the stratosphere.

That may have been my introduction to the world of false advertising. The directions didn’t seem that difficult and my completed kite always looked like the one in the directions but, it never flew very high and refused to stay airborne. Given what we know today about things made in China containing excessive lead, I’m pretty sure China is where my kite kits came from.  Continue reading You Can All Go Fly a Kite!

Mary Morter, South Salem’s Claim to the Throne

I began my teaching career in Ohio at Buckskin Elementary and Junior High School in South Salem. I spent five years teaching Special Education and in the process learned a lot about teaching and met some wonderful people, many who became life-long friends.

Recently a bunch of former “Skinners” got to swapping growing up in South Salem stories on Facebook. They talked about what some did behind the stone building during recess, playing dodge ball in the school gym and the welts they endured as a result, summers wading in Buckskin Creek, and a few things they may regret revealing. To me it sounded exactly like what life is growing up in a rural area and Continue reading Mary Morter, South Salem’s Claim to the Throne

Calabash’s Capt. Nance’s, Finally!

Took a fishing “head” boat out of Calabash today and my plan was to have lunch at Coleman’s “Original” Calabash Seafood. Earlier in the week we stopped there and a sign in the window declared they were only open from Thursday through Saturday. Discovered today they are not open for the lunch trade.

So, next door was Captain Nance’s Calabash Seafood and their parking lot was full and they were obviously interested in my food dollar. The Captain’s will be the third Calabash seafood joint I’ve eaten and the old adage, “third time’s a charm,” came true. Here’s the scoop on Nance’s.

First, the service was very fast and very friendly. Secondly, the hush puppies and sweet tea were on the table in a flash. The hush puppies were top shelf; fresh, hot, sweet and nice and crispy. The sweet tea was just what one would expect South of the Mason-Dixie, freshly brewed and enough sugar to keep your dentist employed.

My lunch consisted of adequate portions of fried shrimp and clam strips. Both were sweet, mild, tender, lightly battered and fried to perfection. The superb quality was certainly related to being able to look out the restaurant window and see the very boat the shrimp came in on and the mud flat the clams had until recently called home. I’ve never had better clams strips and it’s probably because I’ve never had fresh clam strips.

In true Southern style, the slaw was vinegar based and the acidity complemented and offset the sweetness of the seafood and hush puppies. I tasted something different, but good, in the slaw but couldn’t identify it. Should have ask but it slipped my mind.

The French fries were the one negative. They were simply run of the mill frozen sticks that are the stock in trade of American restaurants. Does anyone still slice, blanch, and fry potatoes?

Like I said earlier, and related to the cashier on the way out, it took three swings at Calabash before getting a plate of food worthy of a smile.



You Call That a Dirty Joke?

If you’re younger than I you may have never heard of Rusty Warren or Redd Foxx. Even if you know of Redd Foxx it’s probably from his role as Fred G. Sandford of television fame. But long before Sandford and Son, Foxx was known as the king of dirty jokes while Warren was the queen.

In the 1950s people secretly listened to Redd Foxx and Rusty Warren on long-play, 33 1/3 r.p.m., vinyl record albums which society in general viewed as extremely raunchy humor. Everyone owned a couple of these albums, or had a friend who did. Adults routinely held house parties with a part of the evening’s entertainment consisting of sitting around the record player listening to the latest album from one of these comedians.

Rusty Warren was, and still is, considered by many a major figure in the sexual revolution Continue reading You Call That a Dirty Joke?

Nothing New About the Tea Party

Speaking at a luncheon prior to the dedication of the MLK, Jr. monument in Washington, DC, Jessie Jackson made the statement that the Tea Party was nothing new, “It’s just a new name for an old game.”

The old game Jackson referenced is the argument for state’s rights. When historians examine the causes of the American Civil War they often cite issues involving state’s rights as a major reason Continue reading Nothing New About the Tea Party

Finally, Oktoberfest & a Biergarten

Fifteen years ago I was drawn into a discussion between members of the local historical association. The topics were how to attract more members and get more community people to attend their programs and activities.

I wasn’t a member at the time but was asked for comments anyway. Maybe without thinking I answered the first question saying they needed to shake their publicly perceived image of being an elitist group trying to hold on to their claim of having descended from the town’s founders. I didn’t say this was a fair or exact image but lots of people believed it, nevertheless.

The second idea I offered was they should make their events mo’ better fun! A food event needed to be more than cheap boiled hot dogs and brownies from a mix. Continue reading Finally, Oktoberfest & a Biergarten

The Camera, Never Leave Home Without One

Sally Turner Kennedy is one of those I wish I could model myself after. She possesses an eye for the unusual, almost always has a camera near by, and remembers to use the damned thing when something catches her eye.

My daughter Jennifer is like that, as is Linda Fugate. Both are known to grab a camera and head into the world just to see what’s worth spending some pixels on. I saw Linda and her husband recently and their purpose for being away from home was to take pictures and check out yard sales. Both worthy of time.

Jennifer will grab her camera and go searching for fields of grain, wild flowers, cloud formations, sun rises, Continue reading The Camera, Never Leave Home Without One

North MS Blues is Alive

Most people you run into at a blues festival are only familiar with the big names in the genre. They’re all familiar with Muddy, B.B., and Buddy but they get a perplexed twist on their faces when the names R.L., Junior, or Mississippi Fred are mentioned.

R.L. is R.L. Burnside, Junior is Junior Kimbrough, Continue reading North MS Blues is Alive

Life South of the Haimish Line

A few days ago I read an editorial column in the New York Times by a favorite columnists, David Brooks. Brooks is a moderate conservative and I sometimes find myself in agreements with his social and fiscal thoughts.

On this occasion he was not writing about politics or economics, just some meaningful thoughts about quality of life. He discussed taking his family on a trip to Africa and how much more comfortable he found Continue reading Life South of the Haimish Line

Columbus Taco Trucks & More

Earlier this summer I had my first taco from a taco wagon in Cincinnati. Since then I’ve become aware of the mobile restaurant industry that’s exploding in America’s cities.

The Cooking Channel has a program called Eat Street that each week visits various food trucks around the country. Seems if you can think it, someone is selling it out the side of an old bread truck or converted Airstream travel trailer. On just one-day and in just one downtown Cincinnati parking lot, I observed a mobile taco van, mobile wood-fired pizza trailer, mobile bbq pit, mobile pretzel truck, mobile espresso wagon, and mobile Cajun food truck. Cincinnati is a big place so who knows what was taking place elsewhere in the city.  Continue reading Columbus Taco Trucks & More