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Nuts

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We got more nuts on the ground than are in Congress, including the crowd in the Oval Office. Our nuts are Acorns from our White Oak Tree. We waited on this tree for at least 10 years until the tree decided it was time to shower us with big Acorns. We got a yard full and then some and they sound like hail stones when they fall off and hit the house. Some squirrels will take the time to peel off the outer shell and expose the raw nut itself but then seem reluctant to eat it but will nibble on it and leave it to lay. Our patio looks like the factory floor of a nut factory with a scoop shovel full of nuts and nut debris. I sweep it into piles and threaten to do something with it but then my daughter, Melinda, said she would take them and feed her backyard squirrels who would welcome real acorns instead of corn on the cob.

A Snow Plow
By Abraham Lincoln

Our climate is changing and we are living through it. Remember the last time you saw sleds and ice skates at local stores—our climate changed just about the same time they disappeared.

I was old enough to ice skate on Main Street in Gordon, Ohio and some people pulled sleds down the street to pick up groceries at the grocery store. Main Street was hard-packed ice with ruts that were harder to steer out of than to steer into. There were fields, just outside of town, where water stood and froze solid.

When we came to Brookville in 1962, Bill Hubler ran a small hardware store behind Brookville National Bank. He did stock and sold sleds and ice skates the first time I walked into his store, but it was not long after we moved here that he stopped selling sleds.

Back in Gordon, when roads were packed hard enough to skate on, the girls were wearing long underwear like the boys. Some of the girls also wore snowsuits. I had never seen a snowsuit until Barbara Cawood wore one. She also wore mittens and the boys agreed mittens were for sissies. 

Boys wore cotton gloves without much protection from winter weather. Once your gloves got wet from making snowballs your protection was gone. Fingers did freeze and Miss Beatrice Brown thawed them out, when you got to school, by dunking them into a cold bucket of water. 

Roads were not plowed—I never saw a snow plow on a county truck. The intersections were covered with ashes and cinders—the driver would stop and use a scoop shovel to throw out a shovelful of ashes. You could stop on that but not on icy intersections. 

Road salt had not been used to keep roads clear. I never heard of salt used to melt ice when I was growing up. Some counties did use pea-size gravel for traction at intersections when they ran out of ashes and cinders.

School buses came through our town and picked up high school students. There were separate buses from each of the schools—Verona, Franklin-Monroe and Arcanum. Gordon kids had to walk the mile to school each morning and back each afternoon.

Walking to school was not easy when snowdrifts closed roads. Climbing through snowdrifts, higher than your head, was tiring, and you ended up getting soaked. Some kids climbed over rusty fences and walked across the wind-swept fields—it was easier than trying to walk on the road.

Boys showed off by doing flip-flops into the side ditches filled with snow. I could never do a flip-flop and gave up even trying by the time I was in the third or fourth grade.

The water we drank at school was pumped from a deep well. The pump was outside so it had to be primed (pouring water down the pump) in the winter, as the leather washer would freeze. Getting a drink was not easy. You had to be able to pick up the long iron handle and pull it down and push it up until the water began coming out of the spout. The water was ice cold.

Older kids tried telling little boys and girls that they shouldn’t touch the iron handle with their tongue because their tongue froze fast. More than one small child was heard screaming, tongue stuck to pump handle, and Miss Brown had to come out and pour water on the handle to unstick the stuck tongue. 

Carpe Diem
Abe Lincoln

By Abraham Lincoln

I can still remember the big, fat, yellow pencil I took to school that first day when I became a first grader at Gordon school. It was a big one and Miss Beatrice Brown had to sharpen it with her pen knife as the two pencil sharpeners mounted on opposite walls of the school house had no holes to sharpen big, fat, yellow pencils.

I can remember that I also had some problems learning how to draw letters or draw the numbers. My small hand had never tried to use such a big, fat, pencil. Mother had always allowed me to use regular hexagon pencils. She sharpened the lead until the point was like a needle and I used pencils to draw on craft paper cut out of grocery sacks.

In those days, Sears was named, Sears and Roebuck, and the company was located in Chicago. They mailed catalogs, as thick as our Bible, out to customers across the nation.

Sometimes we got one in the spring and then another in the fall because the clothes changes for spring, summer, fall and winter. Mother used old catalogs for toilet paper and one of the older catalogs was put in the outside toilet. Back then it was like us putting a new roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.

I did not buy one but I did see one of those big, fat, yellow pencils at WalMart yesterday. It wasn’t that expensive. I should have purchased one. I think It would have fit in the pencil sharpener I have that sharpens regular pencils and a larger hole is for sharpening crayons. I think the crayon hole might have sharpened the big, fat, yellow pencil.

The pencils I did buy were the Ticonderoga pencils and that was also the brand name on the big, fat, yellow pencil. I like the erasers on the Ticonderoga pencils because they do the job much like regular pencils and they do not leave a mess. Well, not much of a mess, anyway.

We have become so accustomed to the feel of sticky rubber finger grips on ball pointed pens that feeling the hexagon shape of a wooden pencil actually feels odd. But then it becomes satisfying after the first sentence or two.

I also bought a package of yellow pads. Not the legal size but the regular size. There is something about writing on yellow paper pads that is fascinating to me. Maybe it is because the paper is so familiar or I have a secret desire to be a lawyer—who does use the legal size yellow pads. 

The paper pad makers now make white paper pads that have the same lines as the yellow pads. They would make better scanned copies of things I do but I do not think I will be doing much that requires scanning on yellow pads or on which ones for that matter.

If you want to get yourself a neat Christmas gift that doesn’t cost much, buy a few Ticonderoga pencils. Or you can go to http://www.pencils.com and shop around. I can recommend California Republic Palomino HB in bright orange with a soft white eraser.

Shelled Peanuts

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These are the shelled peanuts that we buy and toss out for the crows and birds and squirrels to eat. There is a lot of nourishment in them so we try to make sure that any animal that is injured gets its share of this food.

Nowadays

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This is that baby girl Patty was holding. She is now grown and a RN (Registered Nurse) and she has a 14 year old daughter who is in high school.

Almost Unbelieveable

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This baby is now a Freshman in high school. Patty is now gray, and could not lift Audrey and hold her like that now.

Baltimore, Maryland

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Patty lived in Ohio with her folks while I finished my tour of duty in the Far East. I got home on leave for a week or two and then Patty, our new baby Angela and I had to move to Baltimore, Maryland where I was assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps. We lived on Dundalk Avenue, where this photo was taken, and I worked at Fort Holabird.

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