As far back as the early 1960s, I heard about Amish barn raisings. Where an entire community of church members would come together to build or repair a member’s barn. The women would spend the morning preparing a large meal for the men and the men would divide into teams with each assigned a task to get done before sunset.
While I’ve seen many of the results it wasn’t until recently that I actually was able to witness the real deal. I was even invited to lunch but unfortunately, wasn’t able to match my schedule up with that.
Texas has brisket, the Carolinas have whole hog, and Lousiana has crawfish. They are famous for these regional foods and people from all over the world come to partake. So, what does Ohio have? I’ve often asked that question and finally decided, well hell, we have Cincinnati chili and it’s unlike chili anyplace else in America, maybe the world! It’s unique, it’s flavorful, and it comes five-ways, which is something Texas doesn’t give you with brisket.
I recently found myself in the area that was once the location of the McClain Mansion and decided to snap a few photos of what remains still exists. When I was a kid in the late ’40s and ’50s all that remained was the iron fencing along Washington Street, the entrance steps, the exposed basement, and some sidewalks. Off of 4th Street, there was the wooden home of the McClain’s chauffer and an attached multi-car garage.
I had coffee with a fellow Greenfielder recently and he mentioned a person who ran a mailorder business selling hunting dog equipment and remarked how this guy was ahead of his time. The company was Boatman’s and for several decades it sold, among many other things, a powerful flashlight, Dynalite, specifically aimed at coon hunters.
Several years ago we attended a performance at Southern State Community Collins featuring the author and actor, Susan G. Banyas presenting her play, The Hillsboro Story.
The story recounts the efforts of a group of African American mothers, The Marching Mothers, going to war with the town’s all-white school board with the goal of forcing the board to comply with the decision made in the earlier, 1954 Brown v. Topeka desegregation case.
I was an early convert to folk music back in the 1950s and one of the first songs I learned to play on my cheap Harmony guitar was Freight Train. Like so many folk songs I just assumed the author was long gone and long forgotten.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered Elizabeth Cotton, the very old and very talented lady who on her cheap Sears & Roebuck guitar, wrote the folk classic, Freight Train.
I don’t know if I ever shared this but several years ago I got interested in making primitive stringed instruments from mostly found objects like cigar boxes and tin cans.
When Blake’s Coffee Shop was demolished I scavenged through the debris looking for pieces I could incorporate into primitive stringed instruments. I ended up making three instruments from what I found, a one-string diddley bow, three-string lap steel, and six-string lap steel. I kept the six-stringed lap steel but gave the others away. One may have gone to the Greenfield Historical Society.
I’m really not sure but I think these photos are from the first McClain All-Class Reunion that was held during the summer of 1999. The Clyburns permitted the temporary conversion of their restaurant into a make-shift Penny’s and it quickly became a major gathering place during the weekend. The Penn family loaned the
Jerry Falconer had told me of the plans to begin demolishing the old building that for decades sat on the corner of routes 753 and 138. Over the years the building was home to many things but for most people, it is remembered as being the original home of Charlie Beechler’s Market.
I went to town yesterday to video some of the project and parked in the lot at Smitty’s Auto Sales. The video is about an hour long and I realize that is too much for most people. However, I was going to watch as much as time permitted so it mattered not that my camera was running.
So, watch some or watch all but, I’m betting most of you will have some emotional moment while watching it. Lots of Greenfield’s memories are tied to that building.
I saw this map online and it makes clear how much Highland County (one of the red counties), and many of its neighbors, have been overlooked by both government, industry, and business. We are among the poorest counties in the state and we are among the most solidly conservative and Republican. We desperately need change but we refuse to accept change. We are the victims of poor and expensive health care, we are the victims of poor jobs, low wages, and few fringe benefits. We have little to no systems for
A friend recently posted an audio recording of country music performer, and Greenfield native, Brad Martin performing the hit record, Before I Knew Better, he cut back in the early 2000s. I dug a little deeper and found a video of Brad being introduced to a Grand Ole Opry crowd by Little Jimmy Dickens.
If you don’t know who George Orwellwas, he was the author of what is arguably the greatest book ever about big brother and the abuse and distortion of truth by the government, Nineteen Eighty-Four. His words about the threats toward the truth have never been greater.
Recently someone posted a YouTube video on Facebook of a 1909 Patterson automobile being taken for a test drive. The video was posted by the Saratoga (NY) Automobile Museum and many wondered if it was a long-sought survivor of the C.R. Patterson Company of Greenfield, OH.
C.R. Patterson was the first, and only, African American manufacturer of automobiles in America and there are no known survivors of their motorized vehicles. The Greenfield Historical Association does own a couple of examples of the horsedrawn wagons the company made before going into the automobile, and later bus, business.
Lots of you watched the Ken Burns film, Country Music, and remarked on what you thought was omitted. My number one pick was the omission of anything to do with Johnny Paycheck.
At the recent Oktoberfest, I was talking with Gary Adams, who played guitar for Paycheck, and he agreed. Gary, arguably, felt there was too much given over to Johnny Cash. But, given that someone as inconsequential as Kinky Friedman at least got his name mentioned, why wasn’t Paycheck mentioned? Also, in the scheme of outlaws and Texas songwriters, why didn’t Billy Joe Shaver get a mention.