Have you ever seen a photo of a baobab tree? I first saw them in a college textbook about South African History and they are
magnificent. They sort of look like a tree turned upside down with its roots in the air and its foliage buried in the ground. To see one makes it hard to forget one.
Last winter my wife and I watched a police series that was filmed in Australia and something resembling baobab trees were a regular part of outdoor shots. After a little research, I discovered that there is only
I didn’t get near the photos and video I wanted but here’s what I did get. Mostly its video of the Doxie Derby, which I’m sure had the largest number of entrants in its history. To my wife and it has become a main attraction of the annual gathering. Thanks to Charlie Roman and his crew for making it happen.
It’s becoming more obvious that I’m enjoying mounting my cellphone to my minivan’s window and videoing my trips around the Greenfield, Ohio’s countryside. Just as obvious is that a sizable number of CGS’s visitors enjoy watching these postings. Most come to CGS from Facebook and will leave favorable remembrances in the groups they belong to.
By the way, this trip to Weaver’s produced a small basket of freestone Virginia peaches, a small bag of “candy” onions, several sweet banana peppers, one small zucchini, and some of the season’s last sweet corn. The sweet corn this year has been for the pits and this was no different.
In case you’ve never heard of six degrees of separation here a working definition:
Six degrees of separation is the theory that any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.
Over a recent weekend at a blues festival in Wheeling, WV I experienced a version of it on two occasions. When we first arrived my son, Mike, said to the couple in front of us, “Can we be your neighbors?” The man said certainly and introduced himself as Walt. I asked where he was from and the answer was Pittsburg. I told him I was from near Hillsboro and he immediately responded that he was very familiar with this area. Walt had been in the linoleum and flooring business and his customers included several Mennonite builders in this area. He rattled off a couple of names that I wasn’t familiar with and one of them had the surname of Weaver. I said I know a Weaver that owned a produce market and he said, “Oh yeah, Fred and Velma outside Rainsboro, I know them well.” Damn, how many degrees was that?
I recently posted on Facebook some photos of the area around our home. We live in thick woods surrounded by most plants and animals common to our area. That includes an abundance of poison ivy and other things that may make your skin itch.
One of the photos was of our wooden walk from the drive to the screened-in porch at the back of our home. Along the walk is a large tree with English Ivy growing up the trunk. Mixed in with the good stuff is a smattering of poison ivy and a plant named Virginia creeper. Some visitors to the posting seemed to not be able to identify the good from the nasty vegetation so I decided to do a little educating.
Most Americans know a little about the times America went to war with Great Britain. There was the War of Independence in 1776 and the War of 1812 in 1812. But how many know anything about the Pig War between America and the mother country?
Over the centuries America has had its problems resolving border disputes between itself and Britain and/or Canada. After all, the border is 5,525 miles long and not, as it seems, a straight line. In the Pacific Northwest, the boundary weaves its way through a large chain of islands and it has not always been sure just which island went with which nation.
One of my Amish neighbors just opened a harness shop and I was offered a tour. Afterward, I thought he’d be interested in knowing the history of E.L. McClain and his invention of a hinged collar and the manufacturer of collars and horse pads. He said he’d heard that Greenfield’s high school had been built by a millionaire but wasn’t aware of the source of the wealth. We both learned a little something and he sincerely enjoyed the story about McClain’s collars.
First of all, we’re not talking Austin Power’s shag here, we’re talking about popular dances! As a kid growing up in Greenfield, OH in the 1950s being able to jitterbug earned you just a little higher step on the socially desirable ladder. We waltzed, we foxtrotted, we twisted, we strolled, but those who were really cool jitterbugged and we jitterbugged differently than what we thought anyone else did.
You could, as we did, run home after school and catch American Bandstand and those Philadelphia kids just weren’t cool because they didn’t jitterbug as we did. Their steps just weren’t as smooth and crisp as ours and there wasn’t the refined coordination between partners like there was with us.
When I left Ohio for California in 1964 the old slogan was California or Bust! Since the 1840s California had been considered the land of golden opportunity and that’s pretty close to what I found there. I found immediate employment and access to affordable education. I also found this and more at a price that was within my economic means.
I haven’t been in the Golden State since 1970 but I’ve kept tabs on what the years have brought. Mostly time has brought more people, more traffic, and the cost of living that is becoming increasingly less affordable for working class people. In 1968 a nice two-bedroom starter home could be had for around $40,000. Ten years later that same home was selling for over $100,000. A quick Google of current prices indicates it would take a half a million, or more. The same home in Greenfield, OH can be had for around $80,000.
I’ve recently been scouring through things I’ve written over the years since retiring from teaching. I came across the following that I penned as I neared my sixtieth birthday. Well, In a few days I’ll turn seventy-seven and I decided to reprise this list of seventeen years ago.
As my sixtieth birthday approached I began thinking about what being sixty meant. If anything it certainly means you’ve lived long enough to have reached a few conclusions or truths about life, people, places, government, etc. With this in mind, I took a tape
This story came out of a chain of events. On Facebook, several of us were talking about the late Mac Wiseman and how his voice was so unique and that led me to think about Texas songwriter Guy Clark, who also had a unique and warm voice. I then went to YouTube and came upon a video of Clark singing “The Cape.” The lyrics of Clark’s song brought back a memory of Tom Rambo and several of us neighborhood kids reenacting something we’d seen in a movie serial.
There was a Saturday matinee serial featuring some guys who flew around in phony looking spaceships wearing something that resembled a two-gallon bucket on their heads and capes that attached to their necks and ran down their backs attaching to the wrists and ankles. When they saw something bad happening on the ground they zoom down in their rocket, open the side door, and leap into the air with their arms and legs spread out akin to a flying squirrel. They’d then swoop onto the bad guys, subdue them, and save the day.
A fellow I know solicited input on Facebook about area builders who do pole barns. Several suggested contractors were named and I suggested a local Amish contractor who I know to be hardworking, honest, and dependable.
The very next response was from a person claiming that, “the amish [sic] charge double of what anyone else would. And the money you pay them doesnt [sic] go back into our infrustructure [sic]. So keep that in mind when you hit a pothole on your way to work.” The next post after that was, “…sometimes they are cheaper because alot [sic] of them have 10-12 year old working and they don’t pay workers comp insurance or into social security. And they fill up the waiting rooms everywhere they are offering free health services eye exams or dental care.”
Several things immediately came to mind. First, neither have mastered basic punctuation, spelling, and the rules for capitalization. Secondly, both are obviously prejudiced and biased against the Amish and I’ll assume the Mennonites as well. And lastly, they are both just plain ignorant of reality. Continue reading Amish Reality; There’s Just No Shortage of Ignorance→
I recently received a news feed that I found interesting. Not important, just interesting. The Axios-Harris Poll did a study of what companies are preferred most by Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.
For example, Democrats for whatever reasons prefer buying products made by Kraft-Heinz while the favorite GOP product is Chick-fil-A. I can only suppose that the John Kerry connection to Heinz explains the Democratic choice and the Chick’s opposition to all things same-sex draws the loyalty of the moral high ground crowd.
Over the weekend my wife and I watched a PBS special titled, Talking Black in America. It dealt with the untold number of African American dialects spoken in America and how it all came to be. I was especially impressed with how important language is in black history and culture and how versatile many are in switching back and forth between standard-English and African American English.
It reminded me of a time I was in a fast food line near the Mexican border and how the clerk had was so adept at switching between English and Spanish. My brain has never been that flexible.
For some reason, I got to thinking about old barbershops while washing my hair this morning. When I was a kid the thing was to wash your hair and then splash on a ton of hair oil or tonic before combing. When you got a haircut the barber did the same. Before running a comb through your hair he’d splash on a generous dose of some very sweet smelling oil. The wet head certainly wasn’t dead in the 1950s.
One fad during that era was the flattop and it too had its own petroleum-based product, Butch Wax. The barber would meticulously get your top hairs short and level and then to hold it all upright, in defiance of gravity, he’d slap on a large glob of some gooey gel that your mother would play hell getting washed out of the pillowcases. Continue reading The Olde Barbershop of Yore!→