Friday, April 29, 2016

Flashback Friday

This is an odd little picture of Dad and the kids interacting.  Out of the picture, Mackenzie is looking at something, Brendan is showing me one of his Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I am clutching...anyway, it's not like I felt threatened at the moment, unless it was the picture taker.  

A couple things of note.  Firstly, the dresser in the background belonged to my grandparents in Seaton, Herb's folks.  It was in their garage and painted white.  This was refinished and is a nice looking piece.  It is about 8 feet away from me as I type this.  As an antique it is virtually worthless since there were handkerchief drawers on top and on either side,  that were gone when I acquired it.  But, sentimentally, it is something that links me to the past.  And stuff like that is usually priceless.  

Secondly, the couch we are sitting on was a thing of beauty.  It belonged to our Seaton neighbor, Arminta McKelvey, who lived just west of us.  Great neighbor, who never minded when we would break one of her windows playing ball in the giant field that straddled out houses.  We took a plate of food over every Christmas.  She was long widowed - her husband died of a heart attack in the back yard.  I can still hear his truck shift gears and back fire everytime he went to work.  Isn't that funny?  I couldn't have been more than 6 or 7.  I asked the Wombie if he remembered that truck and he said he did, too.  Funny, don't remember him but I remember that backfire.  Wonder if that gave me PTSD?  Arminta was a classy old girl who found love again late in life.  She married a guy named Archie Sheets from Aledo and because he couldn't see very well she would read him the newspaper.  He also couldn't hear so she would shout.  We could have stopped our subscription, she yelled the news all over the block.   

She called over to Marj one day and said she didn't have use of the couch anymore and would one of us like it.  This was when I was in G-Burg on Grove Street, a huge Victorian with no furniture budget and I said I would.  The absolute heaviest thing I'd ever try to wrestle into the house.  It was custom built and was a sleeper to boot.  There was enough iron in that thing to build a battleship.  Lasted forever; the cloth gave out before the mechanics.  Don't remember now who took it, but someone did.  Good luck, sucker.  

Anyway, that's enough of this picture.  I suppose the moral of the story is "Always watch your flank, and whatever else is important."       

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Oak Creek Covered Bridge

I was looking at the map around Warm Springs and noticed a covered bridge about 9 miles away.  It also wasn't one of those refab, fake ones like the Wolf Covered Bridge in Knoxville.  The original Wolf burned in 1994 and they should have just built a new bridge rather than foist a replica on us.  Who cares for brand new fake?   

Approaching this one, the Oak Creek Covered Bridge, one must pass through this iron structure to make sure you can fit on the bridge.  Yup, they actually allow traffic to cross; it is a real, working, old, covered bridge.  

This was built by slaves in 1840.  I'll wait a bit while all that sinks in.  Now let me add another layer:  the chief builder was a freed slave, Horace King.  Constructed on the "Town Lattice" design, the crisscrossing web of planks (at 45 to 60 degree angles) were joined together by 2500 wooden pegs, or trunnels.  King built many bridges in this part of Georgia, but this is the only surviving one of this design.

If the Little White House is a preserved time capsule, so is this slave-built 175 year old wooden bridge.  Amazing.  

While we were there a car came along and passed through the bridge.  Not to be outdone, I drove through it as  well.  

At 391 feet including the approaches, this is the oldest and longest covered bridge in Georgia.  

The above pictures are the wooden pegs that were used instead of nails.  They weren't small, either.  Probably a couple of inches wide  and 7 or 8 inches long.

I doubt that the creek has changed much.  The beauty of it makes it difficult to imagine the slave labor that enabled this bridge.  And of course the history it has seen.

Also of some note was the lack of graffiti.  Yes, there was some on the peripheral edges - love notes mostly.  A couple years ago I went to Wolf Covered Bridge with Pat and almost every inch of that bridge is covered in graffiti, not always very pleasant.  I wonder why?  Are Northlandia vandals less respectful?  Do Georgian youth have an inherent admiration of their history? 

We walked a bit, drove through it, talked to some other visitors and then we left for other Georgian adventures.  I have to admit I'd not thought much about how almost everything of a historical nature at least 150 years old was most likely constructed with slave labor.  It gives one pause.  And then to be lucky enough to interact with this old bridge was thrilling.  I doubt that Mr. King could have imagined his engineering would survive this long.  I wonder how much longer it can last?  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesday Tidbits

There are "firsts" in life that after experiencing the first time can't ever be duplicated.  It is a lot like Roger Ebert's movie-going axiom, "You can only see a movie for the first time once."  

This weekend Norah went to the movies with the big screen.  She saw Jungle Book.  I can only imagine the wonder.


Here is our little tree frog friend who has made a home in our patio plants.


Bear skinning party at the cabin in the woods last Fall.  This Spring we'll be meeting to traipse through the woods in search of tasty morels and rhubarb.

We are about at the two week mark.  Mowing, biking, old car-ing, picture-taking, long walks on the beach (oops, wrong one for Northlandia), road trips in the new Jeep,  Midwest food, beer talk, plein air, tinkerin' in the garage, thrift shops, and laughing.  


Why Ayla is called Alfred.


Daddy and Norah at the pool on Sunday.  I wanted to do it, but Drew couldn't lift me.


I am most definitely NOT a commercial watcher.  But I do like the "Tarzan know where Tarzan go." and the "It's complicated.  She's just dropping off my stuff"  ads running on TV now.  


Poor Mrs. Wombie: she lost HBO but got the baseball package.  


Watching Olive Kittredge.  Not sure I'm getting it. 


Thanks K for pointing out the website.  


Monday, April 25, 2016

Dowdell's Knob

Dowdell's Knob is the highest spot in the Pine Mountain ridge near Warm Springs.  It is at the northern edge of the 10,000 acre Roosevelt State Park.  It was here that FDR built a brick grill that is still there.  It was at this spot that he would gaze out at the countryside and contemplate politics, the war and was his favorite outdoor spot.  He brought guests and dignitaries up here for cookouts.  

The grill has been filled in with cement in order to preserve it.  FDR and his guests would sit up here and have a casual cookout. 

Close by is a life-size statue of FDR looking out at the beautiful vista.  

FDR was up here on April 10, 1945 and asked his security detail to leave him alone at this spot.  It was apparent that the War was going to be won.  One can only imagine what he was thinking, most likely how to proceed from was-time to peace-time America.  He would die 2 days later at the Little White House. 

Addendum:  Not far from this spot is a memorial rock marking the spot where an army B-25 crashed on a rainy dark night killing 4 crew members and a passenger in 1953.    

Friday, April 22, 2016

Flashback Friday

Everything is temporary.  Even Polaroids.  Especially Polaroids.  This picture was taken while in college and we seem to be at a hotel.  I haven't the foggiest where but it may have been a fraternity gathering somewhere.  Since I was an officer I might have been forced into it.  But I honestly don't know.  Fraternity conventions were in the summer and we all seem to be dressed for winter.  Oh well, everything is temporary, including memory.  

The back of the head is Russ Foust.  I haven't heard from him in a couple years and my emails don't reach him so if you see this, Rascal, write and tell me how you are.  From left is Dave Dixon, the Brain.  Tom "Sandbag" Sandersfeld and yours truly.  I wasn't known to wear socks and here you can tell.  I didn't really start wearing them until I ran into a dress code at the Mary Davis Home. I got by for a while spray painting my feet, but I was caught and ever since I have worn socks.  Everything is temporary. 

As you can clearly see the table is full of beer, and the I wonder who took this picture.  It is likely to remain a mystery.  Also in full display is the degradation of the picture itself.  The intevening decades have no tbeen kind and I fear another amount of time and this will fog into obscurity.  Everything is temporary.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Pools

Before Jonas Salk formulated a cure, polio was a scourge of the young for thousands of years and in major outbreaks in Europe and the U.S.  When Franklin Roosevelt contracted the disease he searched for something that would make his legs work, as he was born in a family that expected great things from him.  He found Warm Springs, Georgia for its warm mineral waters.  He subsequently became a bit of a pied piper for other polio sufferers and put the area on the map.  He also fell in love with the secluded town and surrounding forests. 

He built his own getaway and made dozens of trips here while serving as governor of New York and later, President.  He continued to use the pools although he was not cured by the waters, but he and the hundreds of other sufferers felt the buoyancy of the water relieved them of their disease, if only temporarily.  

The pools have survived in much the way they were when FDR was here.   

Here you can see FDR's stunted legs.  The power of the man made this a central hub for polio victims in the first half of the 20th century.  

The changing rooms.  

The only remaining springs gush into this receptacle.  You are free to splash around and wash your hands here.  The waters are a natural 88 degrees. 

It is not hard to imagine dozens of kids, young adults and therapists splashing about and having fun here at the pools.  They were united by a bond that included a President of the United States.  It is said that FDR was an enthusiastic bather who enjoyed the kids games that were played here.  

Today the place remains a somewhat haunting reminder of man's march toward better health.  It is also a reminder that regardless of one's standing in life, rich or poor, or the myriad other differences in oursleves, that there is always hope and the possibility that the guy hanging onto the rim of the pool next to you is the most powerful man in the world.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Warm Springs, Again

You may wonder why Warm Springs again when there were other options, like say, the Everglades which I have never explored.  The reason is two-fold.  I genuinely wanted to take it in again in a less rushed manner.  When I visited three years ago I was on my bike and heading North.  If you have ever travelled with me you know it is rush rush rush.  Can't seem to slow down, even when i know I need to back off.  Taking the current Mrs. Blythe would ensure taking it all in at a snail's pace.  

The other reason is that I wanted to have picture taking opportunities.  I am still experimenting and learning the ins-and-outs of a DSLR camera and a back roads trip was just the thing.

You can go back in my archive and hunt the Warm Springs trip before, and I hope you do. (If you are interested check out Existing in BFE on 7-31-13 and 8-1-13)   If not, here are just a very few shots to whet your appetite.  The Little White House was FDR's getaway, not only from the pressures of the Presidency, but also as a place to get therapy for his polio stricken legs.  It was the mineral spring pools that drew him here in 1924.  He was hoping for a cure in the 88 degree waters but,  while there was no cure, there was relief.   He built the Little White House in 1932 while Governor of New York and before his first inauguration as president.  He would return to Warm Springs some 30 times from that point to the day he died, here, while posing for a portrait.  

Above are the servant's and guest quarters.  The servants is on the left and the guest house is on the right.  beneath the servant's quarters was the garage FDR kept his cars.  

In kind of a nice touch, the flag on the grounds, between the guest houses is a 48 star flag. 

And the Little White House.  The really neat thing about the place is is authenticity.  We've all been to places that are basically replicas of what they represent.  The Lincoln Home has all been redone and the furniture is pretty much stuff they might have had or was common in those years.  But this place, it is as it was on the April 12, 1945.  Every stick of furniture, picture hanging, memento and knick knacks are as it was when FDR was here.  Same as the kitchen and china cabinets.  The ranger said Mrs. Roosevelt came in took his stuff from the dressers and other personal stuff and left everything.  It is truly a time capsule, down the toilet paper, and Fala's scratches on the door wanting out.  If you like history you don't want imitation, you want the real thing, and the Little White House is it.  

A long walkway with each state's native rock.  

Compare the two pictures above to see that this place is indeed the real thing.  

On the wall in the kitchen.  A poignant little historical keepsake that adds to the authenticity of the place.  

And this is Daisy Bonner.

All in all, the second visit was just as pleasant as the first.  What a wonderful place to get a feel for real history.  No fake stuff here, no replicas, or simulation.  And what's even better, it is so out of the way that there are no crowds.  When I was here the first time I was the only one touring the place.  This time there were probably 15 but probably no more.  It is a very much worth the back roads trip to find.  

Tomorrow the pools that brought FDR here in the first place.