A Factoid Comes Home

I saw a statement recently that the typical American teenager sends around 3500 text messages a month. Being a little taken back at the number I decided to ask my teenage granddaughter if she fit that mold. The conversation went something like this:

  • Q – Harper, do you send anywhere close to 100 text a day?
  • A – Ah, well not when I’m home because we don’t have cell service.
  • Q – How about when you’re in town staying over with a friend?
  • A – (with a sly grin) Well, yeah.
  • Q – Okay, not let’s honest about this, has it ever happened that the person you were texting was in the same room with you?
  • A – (even slier grin and not looking me in the eye) Well, yeah.
  • Q – Okay, one more question and I want you to be brutally honest. Have you ever said to yourself, wow, this is really stupid?
  • A – (with a big smile and eyes wide open) Yes, and it really is stupid but it’s fun!

Like it or not, I have a perfectly normal granddaughter. Even though I have, at times, nicknamed her A.B. Normal!

Faces in the Greenfield Cemetery

In June of this year I traveled to Greenfield for a family reunion and to attend my brother Tom’s high school class reunion.

My wife is a native of Mexico and a descendant of the Aztecs. She was brought up raising sheep and goats in the Mountains north of Mexico City. At a young age she had plenty of time to study the lay of the land and cloud formations in the skies. Being very superstitious she was always looking for signs the might foretell coming events.

We’ve all done this, looked at a cloud and see a face or faces. Often people of deep religious faith see the faces of religious figures such as Mother Guadalupe or Christ Continue reading Faces in the Greenfield Cemetery

“You Have a Story for Everything”

My granddaughter, Hannah, just paid me one of the greatest compliments possible. She said, “Grandpa, you have a story for everything.” That is a comment I heard a number of times while teaching and it always made me smile large.

I have always loved real-life stories. I can remember my dad telling me stories about growing up in the South and about his favorite uncle, uncle Arthur. I remember back in the late 1940s my uncle Homer sitting with me on his back steps and teaching me to tell time and all about the moon and the stars.

I remember the old men and veterans who sat under the overhang at the Elliott Hotel telling stories about the World Wars and the countries they had visited and the sights they had witnessed. Continue reading “You Have a Story for Everything”

Angie Sheppard’s Chicken Story

Angie (Walls) Sheppard is a McClain grad and a writer for the Times Gazette newspaper. Every Wednesday she gets column space on the Op-Ed page and I try to never miss one of her pieces. This week the topic was chickens, turkeys, and other dumb creatures we could all learn some lessons from. By the way, this kid has talent!

Click HERE for Angie’s column.

Eugene Revisited

Eugene’s tombstone in the Sabina Cemetery. He was finally laid to rest in 1964.

Several years ago on the www.greenfield-ohio.com site I wrote a short piece about Sabina’s Eugene. The African-American man who was found dead along the 3C Highway outside of Sabina. Several people offered their own stories of having witnessed Eugene’s body at the Littleton Funeral Home in Sabina.

Most recent, Derek Myers, publisher of the Fayette Advocate, has written a piece about the subsequent history of Eugene. He contacted me about quoting my earlier piece but I forgot to tell him that just a month ago I discovered that it was my uncle, Homer Waterman, who may have been the person who found Eugene’s body back in 1928. I heard of the possible connection on Facebook and checked with Homer’s daughter, Alexa, who said she had memories of hearing that said when she was a young girl. Homer grew up in Washington Court House and would have been a teenager in the late 20s.

Click HERE for Derek’s article.

Foreigners in America

Myself and Mike Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant, now American citizen, I met while fishing in Florida. I doubt anyone born here is any better American than Mike. Both Mike and his brother Danny are veterans of the U.S. Marine Corps and received their citizenship after having served this nation.

There are few hotter topics in America today than immigration. However, just as throughout America’s history, immigrants play an enormous role in the day-to-day life of this nation.

Spend a few days in New York City and you’ll quickly discover that the city simply couldn’t function without a continuous flow of immigrants. They are everywhere and doing everything, much of it what native Americans refuse to do. They drive cabs, they wait tables, they labor in hot kitchens from fast food to haute cuisine. They are nannies, maids, laundresses, dish washers, gardeners, painters, and so much more.

Despite of all the arguments against immigration most American businessmen openly admit that consumer goods and services would be far more costly without them. Much of America’s food crops would simply rot in the fields and orchards if it weren’t for the immigrant labor force that brings in the crop. And it is not enough to argue that if welfare were slashed all those “lazy ass moochers” would be forced into the farms and fields. If every able bodied person in America were forced to pick peaches we still may not have enough people to meet our labor demands.

There is no denying it, America needs immigrants. Even in the military immigrants are relied on to keep the ranks filled. It is currently estimated that over 29,000 foreigners are Continue reading Foreigners in America

A Lesson Learned

As people age and grow, they are suppose to learn from their mistakes. Maybe as we become seniors, we are a little slower to learn than in our youth.

Today I learned a lesson which I will remember – and not repeat, hopefully.

I may have a different perspective on “friendship” than others, but when someone I know dies, it saddens me for the loss. Death is inevitable in this life on earth, but I always FEEL for the family of the deceased. The family goes through a grieving process for the Continue reading A Lesson Learned

Killer Toys, Soft Kids and a Sobering Realization

We’ve all gone soft. There’s no doubt about it. I know I’ve written about The Wussification of America before, but come on, this is getting out of hand. Hell, I came across a softball game on TV last night and the players had on helmets with facemasks. And they were playing in the infield. Sweet Mother of God. Really? That’s what gloves are for, damn it. For Babe’s sake, the hitters in the Major Leagues look like Robocop with all the armor they’re wearing. Jeebus, man up.

I can think of several things that have changed since I was a kid back in the ’60s and early ’70s. Here are just a few off the top of my head:For one thing, the rules of riding in a car were completely different. The first thing Dad did when he bought a new car was cut the seat belts out. Couldn’t have those damn things getting in the way. Shoot, I rode from southern Ohio to Colorado in the back window of a ’72 Pontiac Catalina Brougham. You know, up above the back seats. Just for kicks, Dad used to hit the breaks Continue reading Killer Toys, Soft Kids and a Sobering Realization

The Elm Street Pirates

It was a rare treat to go to Elm Street and climb on the rope net. We played tag and pretended it was a ship and we were pirates. Don’t touch the ground. It was water you know. There were sharks. I always liked the park, but I am not sure if it was because it was a delicacy. When I think of parks in Washington Court House, I think Eyman. The fact that there was ponds, a pool, and several more slides and toys drew me there. I just didn’t want you to think I forgot you. The rope burns were plenty, the splinters the same.

You did have a stigma though. There were rumors about a girl named Simone that sacrificed animals and drank people’s blood back in the woods. She was supposed to be a Satanist, but it was probably propaganda so people wouldn’t disturb your slumber. Or Continue reading The Elm Street Pirates

Tales from the Classroom, Part VIII: The Bathroom Arsonist

So I was minding my own business, just relaxing and watching a riveting episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County Criminal Minds when I remembered this nugget from my early days of teaching.  It involves arson, 13-year old girls and toilets, so it’s a can’t miss blog, amirite or amirite? Let us proceed . . .

It was my second year of teaching and I was full of vim, vigor and the blind belief that I was in it for the kids.  By the way, what the hell is vim? Something akin to vigor I presume? Whatever, I’m using it this year when I coach. “Let’s see some vim out there today boys!” Yeah, maybe not. Anyway, don’t get me wrong, I’m still in it for the kids but on the odd day I sometimes lack the vigor and, uh, vim.  Am I even close to the point of this blog yet? The answer is no. Focus, Shoe, focus.  OK, my point is I was young and very idealistic. Keep that in mind as I recount the following anecdote.

As I still do today, I told my students that they could come to me about anything if they needed help and I would help them anyway I could. I also told them I would do it Continue reading Tales from the Classroom, Part VIII: The Bathroom Arsonist

Smiling Faces are Missing

Throughout my recent travels through the Southeast I came to notice that the omnipresent smiling face of the Wal-Mart greeter was missing. First couple of times I considered it to be just coincidence or I had simply missed seeing them. Then it became obvious they just weren’t there anymore.

At first I decided that maybe this was a Southern thing but back home I’ve been in two different Wal-Mart stores and no sign of a greeter was to be found.

Obviously, since I noticed this, the Wal-Mart greeter was somehow important to me. It probably cost the corporation a ton of money to have someone standing at each entrance, ready with a smile, a shopping cart, and directions to the toad food section. I once thought that after retirement from teaching being a Wal-Mart greeter would be a fun job. I even once inquired but quickly found out it would require showing up on time and keeping to a work schedule. Borrowing a line from my granddaughter, that’s just not the way I roll these days.

The Grandfather of Eyman Park

I’m sorry to see your new tattoo. Your days are numbered, but I will not forget you. I know that you have seen us all grow up, braving the big slide alone for the first time, jumping out of the swings, and bending the spring on the chicken as far as it will go. I still swing in the arms of your shadow. You remind me of a great childhood. That time filled with merry-go-rounds and an excer-swing. It took a long time to master that thing, but you watched me progress. Even you wondered what that thing they made out of tires was. It was great at collecting rainwater and turning our clothes black. I’m sure you laughed when our moms saw our clothes.

I can’t believe you are not going to be around for my kids. You watched my dad. You Continue reading The Grandfather of Eyman Park

It’s a Hairy World for Some

Ron Coffey recently posted a photo about an Indian fellow who claims to  be sporting the world’s longest mustache. The subject reminded me of seeing something on TV a couple of years ago about extreme facial hair. So, I did a little searching online and came up with these examples.

Continue reading It’s a Hairy World for Some

It’s Only Frozen Water

Saturday afternoon, the doorway to my laundry room knew how I felt. And I felt much better afterwards! Next month, I hope I feel even better.

A little over a year ago, my ice maker stopped working because the plastic line that feeds the water to it, broke. The copper tubing runs from the kitchen sink to the plastic tubing at the bottom of the refrigerator. Then the clear plastic tubing runs up the back of the freezer section into the ice maker. It broke at that connection and I have not been able to afford to get it fixed. The refrigerator is out of warranty and the Sears repairman bill was just out of the question.

I have been buying a small bag of ice every two or three weeks to manually fill the ice bin when I run out of ice tray ice. I like ice in my glass of water, and in my various drinks like Sunny D, apple juice, or pop (which I only have on occasion now).  Continue reading It’s Only Frozen Water