I suppose when I get up to the Cabin it will be mild, melted and dirty. In about three weeks I will be arriving in Northlandia to babysit whilst the parents are cruising. It will not all be work, however. As usual, this Mercer County boy will be breathing in all the wonders of the North until I complete my own escape plans.
I've forgotten to post this since my last trip up. This is one of the landmarks going into K-Burg. The oft stolen, now permanently cemented stone of an old locomotive engineer. Whenever the folks would go to the Burg and take us with them that would be the thing we would first try to find as we whisked past the cemetery. The nest would be the taste freeze. No wonder we have a cemetery/ice cream addiction.
An historic footnote.
In the late 1880s, the body
of a 16-year-old girl was pulled from the Seine. She was apparently a suicide,
as her body showed no marks of violence, but her beauty and her enigmatic smile
led a Paris pathologist to order a plaster death mask of her face.
the romantic atmosphere of fin de siècle Europe
the girl’s face became an ideal of feminine beauty. The protagonist of Rainer
Maria Rilke’s 1910 novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge writes,
“The mouleur, whose shop I pass every day, has hung two plaster masks beside
his door. [One is] the face of the young drowned woman, which they took a cast
of in the morgue, because it was beautiful, because it smiled, because it
smiled so deceptively, as if it knew.”
in 1958 the anonymous girl’s features were used to model the first-aid
mannequin Rescue Annie, on which thousands of students have practiced CPR.
Though the girl’s identity remains a mystery, her face, it’s said, has become
“the most kissed face of all time.”
Adventures In Babysitting
"She may be wee, but she be fierce..."
A touching but brief act of fidelity between the girls.
It is time.
I don't even remember what the problem was.
Sunrise last week. My poor iPhone's puny sensor couldn't manage the brilliance.
My favorite breakfast place, the Sunrise Grill, had the heaters going and the flaps down on Saturday.
That journalist/reporter who kept asking Trump after he signed the MLK, Jr proclamation, "Mr. President, are you a racist?" should be fired/reassigned or sent back to journalism school. What an inane question, as if he'll admit to it. Unlike the prez, I respect the press, but stupidity like that has no place in the news media. Addendum after the above was written: Well, what do you know? He was asked the same question and he answered it by not only denying it but then adding he is the least racist person he knows. His ex and his daughter also chimed in saying he is not a racist so I guess that clears it all up.
++++++++++ A teacher recently put up on the board one of her puzzles for her students to ponder.
What was usually a pretty energetic and fun part of the day, a kid said, "death" which pretty much put an end to the fun while the rest of the students began thinking about it. As I understand it the teacher didn' have the heart to say that the real answer was "e".
++++++++++ Imagine being here...
...and wanting to be here.
I minimally understand the craft of writing. You think thoughts and apply it to paper (or more precisely Microsoft Word, or something like it). Painting is the application of a medium to paper or canvas. Pottery is the forming of clay and baking to hardness. All of the above could be done with varying degrees of skill by the unschooled. There is one artistry I cannot fathom: sculpting. So you stand in front of a block of rock. How do you go about the chipping of stone to form the contours of the human body? Is there a secret art? A formula? A blueprint? Are there measurements hat correspond to your particular rock? It baffles me how one goes about the process of sculpting, let alone the sheer talent of it. Without exacting inner measurements how many rocks have been discarded when an arm was carved that was too large for the rest of the body?
Proof positive politicians are lying sons-a-bitches: 4 senators in room when infamous "shit hole" remark is made, 2 say he didn't say it, 2 say he did. No wonder most of us say Congress is a shit hole. But you know what? We'll continue voting the bastards back in.
Back in the day, this is how they handled blizzards. They didn't blade snow off the roads, they rolled it.
And finally, while at the Morean Center for Clay in St. Pete this past weekend I saw something that I decided to purchase. I'm a sucker anyway for original art but a piece that features a flower sniffing dragon is one to keep. It is now mine.
Back in the G-Burg days of Friday Tiki nights and neighbor get-togethers, a funny thing happened. Like many things that entice, then are quickly cast aside for brighter, newer objects (like karaoke), the sport of bowling captivated some of us.
We actually went bowling a few times; beer, electronic scoring and Midnight Mist. A wicked one-two-three punch that clouded our minds and better judgments. I've heard it's happened to others: Mrs. Wombie still has her custom made bowling ball from earlier days. But I would never have thought I would succumb to the siren call of waxed lanes and clown shoes.
The ringleader and Svengali for this pursuit and perhaps the best of us was John (Bob). The worst of us was very likely me, your loyal blogger, Bob. You could see the former glory of the current Mrs. Blythe (Bob). And the smooth mellifluous grace of John (Bob). The competitor Dave (Bob) and the give-a-shit-who-fucking-cares of Tarasa (Bob).
As you have realized now, we were bowlers, so we were Bob. We got matching bowling shirts, all with Bob on them. We got high on the strikes, and sniffed out the rolling fog they created at the witching hour like dogs on the scent of 10 day old rabbit.
Life was good, and Fridays became the gateway drug to the bowling culture. We began spending more time finding the perfect ball than hailing a round of beers. We actually began pumping our fists when the strike or the spare were struck. We'd place our hands over the jet blow like the pros. And then, one by one, we fell into the dark side of bowling.
I ate Alley food. Exercise consisted only of lifting my ball up to my chin, then releasing it in a flurry of smoothness that was like a human concerto. I was Bob, complete with laurel wreath on one arm and a tribute tat to Earl Anthony on the other. The Midnight Fog was no longer an entertaining sidelight, it was a call to arms. I succumbed to the dark Forces. I had lost my way. Tiki no longer was a quiet calm event of chatting with a small group of friends. It was the thing that kept me from my mistress, the lanes. Yeah, I yelled "Push", and was courteous to a fault to the guy in the adjacent lane. I was this close to getting my own ball at Sears. Then the intervention. My friends took me and made me Mike again. They whispered to me like Moe whispered "Cheese" to Curly. They gave me coffee and bacon roll-ups and, eventually, I came back from the abyss. Since those days I have not bowled again. I haven't even felt a slight pull when driving by a sign that has either Bowling or Lanes, or, God help me, both. I was saved. Believe it or not, I still have my shirt name with Bob on it. It is cardinal red with two black strips around the shoulders. And, even to this day, if I awake around 11:55 pm, I can still see those lights dim and that fog floating across my world. (Most of the above is true except what isn't.)
This is a landmark round barn just outside Seaton where we grew up. It has been featured before on this blog, but today we aren't focusing on the barn itself, although we could and should. You can find a lot of info on Wiki if you want to go browsing.
On my last trip to Northlandia in November I made a point to stop by the owners of this farm, Mr. and Mrs. George Ewing for a picture, a single picture of something inside.
The snowy pic is one I found that was taken a couple years ago by someone, not me. It's a great pic because of the fence shadow. The one above I took in November. When I knocked on the door I was greeted by them and ushered into the front room where we chatted for an hour or so.
We talked of the past, our families, the barn and the Internet. George was one of the older kids when I was growing up but always a nice guy. His brother is Ivan of the infamous Buster Board gutter incident when we were in high school.
They can't get Internet out there because Hughes, the biggest rural provider, came as far north as the stop sign then decided anymore wouldn't be economically feasible. They tried a dish but signals are impenetrable with that house of theirs. Apparently it is a mystery.
Finally, we went out to the barn. It needs some work after the last few big blows, as you can see on the right, but it remains basically unchanged since the last haying of the livestock many, many, decades ago. But that's not why I'm here.
The livestock would amble on the outside area here, and the hay would be dropped from the middle. It was assumed to be more efficient. Other forces would put the round barn industry out of business after about 20 years. Rectangular and standard would reign supreme.
But that's not why I'm here.
There was one thought that round became popular so the devil couldn't hide in the corners. But in Illinois, the popularity was due in large part to the University of Illinois. The agricultural department began building them and many farmers subscribed to their farming journal. Although Mrs. Ewing mentioned Amish influences, I couldn't find any references to them. It would appear that it was simply a more efficient means to feed the cows - gravity. But that's not why I'm here.
I climb the somewhat rickety ladder to the hay loft. But I stop when I get my picture. When you get older nostalgia is just as powerful as salmon who swim upstream. When we were in high school we'd come out here on winter weekends and play basketball. We were oblivious to the cold. None of us were that good, but it wasn't about the win, or the ability. It was the fun. The backboard and hoop are still here. Waiting like an abandoned sentry. Waiting in silence except for the swirling winds that seek entrance and exit. Waiting for resumption of games that ended years ago, when firmly cloaked in youth. There are not many places, as we age, that we can return which remain unchanged. This is one. I can still hear the bouncing basketball, the contact under the net, the retrieving an errant toss, the visible breaths in the cold, the laughs. It is rare to find a place where time does not pass. That's why I'm here.