Tag Archives: LOCAL HISTORY

Ken Burns, Paycheck, Waylan, Shaver, & Others

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.

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The Blues Man Pickup Truck. Shades of the Wilsons

Sometime back in the ’70s or ’80s Dale Wilson and his son Kenny were building pickup trucks based on real-life semi-tractor trucks. I can’t recall now if they were full size of miniatures.

Anyway, in 2015 my grandson and I were in Clarksdale, MS at a blues festival and just happened across this full-sized monster that had been made into a pickup truck. Called the Blues Man it was driving around in a city appropriate for its name.

Hopefully, it will jog some memories and some of you may have some photos of Dale and Kenny’s creations to share with the group.

 

Remembering the 2004 Christmas Ice Storm

I was going through a backup hard drive today and came across a file of photos (see video below) I’d taken during the major ice storm that shut down Northern Kentucky and much of Southern Ohio in 2004. I’m sure you all have stories to tell as does my family.

Like everyone, we lost power and it caught us unprepared. We had a generator but no gasoline or oil. So, we did as well as we could by the light of the propane insert in our woodstove. The wiser thing would have been to take the insert out and revert to burning wood. In no time we could have had it 80 degrees or better in the downstairs of the house. Instead, it was just above 40 degrees.

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Mound City Group – National Historical Park

Back in the 1970s, I took my junior high school class to Mound City Group in Chillicothe. Even though I drive past the main site several times a year I haven’t stopped until just a few days ago. I had thrown my back out so I didn’t venture beyond the visitor center area but I got enough pictures and a short video to give one some idea of what is to be found there.

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Go West Young Man. Jiminy Cricket, No Thanks!

Maybe you saw a video on the news of the recent grasshopper invasion of Las Vegas (see below). Back in the 1960s, I had the fortune, good or otherwise, of experiencing such a thing in person. I can’t remember if it was grasshoppers or crickets but, as I learned later, such infestations are not uncommon in America’s West.

I was coming back to Ohio from California and had stopped for the night in a cheap motel in either Texas or Oklahoma. The entrance to my room had an actual screen door on it and when I had packed and was ready to leave I opened the main door and the screen door was alive with crawling insects. I literally held my breath long enough to run for the car and in doing so several hundred made it into the passenger compartment with me.

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Snooping Around Wilmington Air Park

I was coming home from Wilmington recently and came upon David’s Drive, a newer road that leads over to the north side of Wilmington Air Park. So, I turned right to see what I could see.

Once the road reaches the airpark it takes a hard right and parallels the facility for some distance. The first thing that caught my eye was a large plane sporting the words Prime Air sitting beside a large building bearing a number of Amazon phallic trademarks (Yeah, you’ve seen those boxes and thought the same thing, haven’t you?).

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Our Most Famous Locals

Somebody posted an article on Facebook listing the most famous person from each of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties. Going down the list I came across lost of familiar faces and stories. Rather than reprinting the entire article, I decided to cull out just those regarding Highland and surrounding counties. While there may be disagreement here’s the judge’s choices.

HIGHLAND COUNTY: Donald Eugene Lytle played bass and steel guitar for country legend George Jones. But he changed his name to “Johnny Paycheck” and struck out on his own for a successful solo career that included several top 40 hits. He was born in Greenfield.

FAYETTE COUNTY: Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter started all four years of his tenure with the Buckeyes, but is perhaps best known for throwing the pass that was intercepted by Clemson linebacker Charlie Bauman in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Buckeye coaching great Woody Hayes punched Bauman at the conclusion of that play, ending his career. Schlichter was drafted into the NFL by the Colts in 1982. But his career was cut short by legal and personal problems brought on by compulsive gambling. He was in and out of jails frequently between 1995 and 2006 on various fraud and forgery charges related to his gambling addiction. In 2012, a federal judge sentenced him to nearly 11 years in prison for scamming participants in a sports ticket scheme. He was born in Washington Court House.

ROSS COUNTY: Nancy Wilson released more than 70 albums spanning genres such as blues, jazz and soul, and won three Grammies throughout her career. Wilson was also an actor. She was born in Chillicothe in 1937.

Runners-up: Cartoonist Billy Ireland and Shawnee chief Blue Jacket

CLINTON COUNTY: Charles Murphy — who began his professional career as a sportswriter for the Cincinnati Enquirer — bought the Chicago Cubs in 1905 with a loan from Enquirer owner Charles Phelps Taft. He owned the franchise when it won its only two World Series championships in 1907 and 1908. Murphy was born in Wilmington in 1868.

Runner-up: General James W. Denver, for whom Denver, Colorado is named.

PIKE COUNTY: Branch Rickey is best known for helping to break baseball’s color barrier as an executive of the Brooklyn Dodgers by signing Jackie Robinson in the 1940s. Rickey’s career in Major League Baseball also earned him a place in the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame. He was born in Stockdale.

ADAMS COUNTY: Jack Roush is the chairman of the board of the engineering firm Roush Industries, but most readers probably know him as the owner of NASCAR team Roush Fenway Racing. He’s known as “The Cat in the Hat” because he is rarely without his trademark Panama Hat. Roush was born in Kentucky but grew up in Manchester, Ohio.

Runner-up: Cowboy Copas, the country singer who died in the plane crash that killed Patsy Cline

 

The Festival I Wish We Had

I don’t know when the Greene Countrie Towne Festival first began but the 2019 edition will visit us on July 19th through the 21st. What will arrive with it will include hot, humid, and possibly rainy weather, a block or more of out of town food vendors, flea market crap sellers, a few organizations promoting themselves, and a few local organizations trying to earn some funds by selling food and beverage. There will be some local bands playing mostly country music and any number of lip-syncing type events that nobody attends except parents and grandmas.

Yeah, I know it sounds like I’m badmouthing all the hard work and effort that lots of people put into this annual affair. Well, In some ways I am but mostly I’m not. Whatever our festival is, lots of people love it and find plenty of reason to brave the heat and potential hail storms and leave their air-conditioned homes to come and take part.

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Clyde Beatty – Bainbridge’s King of the Big Top!

NOTE: I originally published this collection of memories on February 12, 2004. It mostly consists of input from people who knew or knew of Clyde Beatty. 

NOTE X 2: I mentioned on Facebook that I’d recently observed a Clyde Beatty Exhibit or Museum in a Bainbridge storefront. A friend sent me this link to the exhibit and its hours of operation. Click HERE.

Bainbridge’s Clyde Beatty

My wife is a black and white game show addict. During the night, when she can’t sleep, she often watches old reruns of What’s My Line, I’ve Got A Secret, etc. When she sees something that I may be interested in, she will frequently record it for me. Last night she was watching a rerun of What’s My Line and the featured “Mr. X” turned out to be Bainbridge’s own Clyde Beatty. If you’re too young to remember Clyde, he was a renowned animal trainer who appeared in several movies and with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus for many years. I did a little Internet snooping and came up with the following information:

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The Skill & Art of Flintknapping

The first time I heard of flintknapping was in a college course I took on Western American History. Flintknapping, by the way, is the art and craft of making arrowheads and other stone tools.

If you aren’t aware, the hobby of searching for and collecting Native American artifacts is huge and can be practiced in about any area of the United States. It’s a complex topic that involves periods of time, type of materials used, manufacturing techniques, styles, and the trading of information and materials among the many native tribes.

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America Is Not A Theocracy – We Have a Constitution

Recently someone I know on Facebook posted the following meme. At first, I wanted to call them ugly names and lob obscenities at them. After a little cooling off I decided to use it as a teaching moment.
After the person posted the meme a discussion followed in which the poster stated:
 
“but does it not say in the constitution that Muslim are not aloud [sic] to keep office or was it the declaration vant [sic] remember will have to look that one up again. Plus I’ve had someone else on here state this fact to. Just not sure who right now. But if ur an American citizen they should swear on the bible and stand in front of the American flag.”

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Capt. Rambo the Cape Crusader!

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.

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Happy Birthday to the WWW

It was in March of 1989 that some in the world became aware of what is now a part of most people’s world, the World Wide Web. The joining together of millions of computers all over the world to facilitate the exchange of information. Its effects have been enormous ranging from vast social changes to revolutions in how we learn, how we spend our free time, how medicine is practiced,  how business is conducted, and so very much more. Just think, thirty-years ago there wasn’t an app for anything! Today, in this era of omnipresent smartphones, there is hardly a person who doesn’t have the WWW at the swipe or tap of a finger or two.

The Charity Newsies?

I’ve been cleaning junk drawers and came across three envelopes, each containing a money folder and a crisp new “Christmas Dollar.” Apparently, they were a money making project of a newspaper related charity out of Columbus called, Charity Newsies.  It seems that the Big Bear chain of groceries, which I think is now defunct, had something to do with sponsorship.

It appears the deal was to take a factory fresh dollar bill and paste the face of Santa over George’s. Wrap it all in a nice bundle and sell it for more than a dollar.

We have no recollection of when or where we acquired these but maybe some of you can shed light on it.

CHARITY NEWIES’ CHRISTMAS DOLLARS

Ham Radio is Still on the Air

When I was a very young child a railroad conductor gave my dad a copy of his QSL card to give to me. This is a special postcard that contains all the personal information about a licensed amateur radio operator, better known as a ham. It has his name, address, and most importantly, his call sign.

From the moment dad gave me this man’s QSL I became interested in international communications. The idea of listening to and maybe talking with people around the world fascinated me. The easiest and cheapest way to get started was by making your own crystal radio set out of some telephone wire and an oatmeal tube. The next step was saving your paper route money and buying a shortwave receiver kit from Allied Electronics in Chicago.

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