My Dad passed away in June 1955. He died about a month before Patty and I were married on July 12, 1955 so it is always easy to remember how long he has been gone. He was married at least 5 times to different women and lost a lot of money buying them cars and having their homes remodeled. He chewed Mail Pouch chewing tobacco.
The first Methodist Church built in Gordon, Ohio where I was born is now the town hall. In those days, Gordon had dirt streets and packs of prowling wolves. Mrs. Clark said the wolves were a real nuisance and at night would prowl the streets looking for an easy meal. The hitching rails around the church, where people tied their horse and buggy while they were in church, have long since disappeared.
During the Second World War the town hosted medicine shows and they were held in this building.
The shows came to town for a week. The people lived in homemade house trailers pulled by prewar automobiles parked on East Street. As a kid I rode my bike there just to look at the people who camped out on two empty lots (my father owned these lots when he died in 1955).
The people looked ‘ordinary’ to me and not like gypsies some said they were. They did smoke and laugh more than the rest of us. I guess we were glum and worried about the War and didn’t laugh much.
The town hall had benches made from a single walnut tree that was cut in 1848. They were hard but smooth-as-glass and I think they are still there.
We all sat on those hard benches and watched the greatest shows on earth.
The whole idea was to sell us medicine in bottles with new corks. And they always sold a lot of it to people in the audience. Old people bought more than one bottle and some stood up to describe the kinds of relief they got from the medicine they bought last year. By the time the show ended a lot of bottles were sold at $2.00 each.
There was a master of ceremonies who always asked someone to “pull the blinds” so people couldn’t stand on the outside and look in—they could come inside—the show was free. This announcer was dressed up in clothes I had never seen before or since—his sleeves sparkled. He did all the talking and sold the medicine and introduced the acts.
There was always a pretty lady whose conduct was close to erotic and much enjoyed by the old men in the audience whose eyes never left them—not even to spit tobacco juice. They wore outfits that made men act crazy, while they were performing, and the ladies snickered and looked at each other in disbelief.
The magician was pretty good at what he did, and some of the comedy acts were right out of the burlesque theater.
There was an intermission half-way through the evening and more medicine was sold to people who had been too embarrassed to buy it while the audience watched.
When intermission was over the master of ceremonies would remind everyone that he would offer his “patented” medicine again in about fifteen minutes. And they did. And suddenly the show was over and the people marched out with smiles on their faces and new medicine bottles in their pockets. They would all be back and see the same performances the next night.
© 20062015 – Abraham Lincoln. All rights reserved.
This is typical of Boxwood we had taken out Friday. It is thick and had to be removed now before the new mulch went down. We hired a man who works for a local nursery to do all of the work for us and it will be a big payday for him when he is finished.
This is the man finishing up on the large boxwood above. It is hard work to dig them up after cutting off all the limbs. Then on Saturday afternoon, he will begin bringing in a truckload of mulch at a time so that he will have covered all the plant areas with at least 3 inches of mulch.
You can see the first section that he finished putting mulch down. It is along the board fence and on the planting bed next to the shop/shed. It is a dark brown wood mulch. He went through the entire property and dug out some dirt as shown in this picture so the new mulch would not spill over into the grass. The area you are looking at will be covered with mulch.
I really do like hawks and I have thousands of photos of Cooper Hawks that were taken here where I live in Brookville, Ohio. The hawks came here daily because I had a bird feeder hanging under the white oak tree and that attracted a lot of birds. The hawk lived a block or two away or they stayed there in an old, extra tall tree and seemed to focus their attention on my backyard. When the time seemed right to them at least one would swoop down and snatch a terrorized bird trying to flee into a boxwood bush to escape the talons. Most did escape and the hawks missed as many birds as they caught. I have filmed the whole process and learned a lot about hawks–they do not use those long sharp talons to kill the birds but they are used like a cage and when the hawk grabs a bird that foot and those long curved talons become a cage the small bird never escapes from and is slowly suffocated by increased pressure around the smaller bird. It suffocates and only then does the hawk begin to strip off breast feathers and when enough are removed he or she will begin to use that sharp, hooked beak to tear away great chunks of fresh meat until there is noting left but the feet, ends of wings and the bird’s beak and skull.
Patty got me a brand new Dell desktop computer, keyboard, mouse and a Samsung 27” monitor. I have never had such a large monitor before and it takes some getting used to. The keyboard is different or feels different from my Mac keyboard. Getting used to a PC will take some doing-this one is super fast and there is so much real estate on this new monitor screen that it is really hard for me to take it all in. This is the latest version of Windows and is 8.1 and the person told me it will be updated automatically with Windows 10 when it comes out.
A 1939 Plymouth Business Coupe like my dad drove from #Gordon to work in Dayton for many years. I learned how to drive in it but did most practice driving in my best friend’s parent’s Dodge sedan with Fluid Drive–you didn’t have to shift gears but could if you wanted to. The Dodge car was the first passenger car with an automatic transmission that I ever got to drive. The cars were all rounded in those days and the fenders were made out of thick sheet metal; and of course the cars all had bumpers on the front and back. You could actually push a car that wouldn’t start using the bumper on your car and pushing on the bumper of the other car. I think this car was less than $300.00 when it was brand new but if you found one like it in this condition today, you would have to spend thousands of dollars to own it.
I am an old man. My love of this land is as old as I am. I came with nothing and lived with nothing from birth in 1934 through World War II and beyond. I have always felt a kinship with Nature, our environment and what’s on it. That I was able to somehow make a bow at 9 or 10 and knew I need Osage Orange is something I still think about and wonder at. I had no knowledge of trees or what was used as bow wood but knew that. I knew there was no arrow wood bushes around and no reeds that I could use for making arrows but I knew about the woods used to make arrows.
I have a way with animals and bushes and trees and flowers. I can see things and hear things and know things nobody around me seems to know or understand. I flaunt that and it helps me get the pictures I get and it helps me in other ways. I always touch the white oak tree and wish it well and remind it that its parent was an old white oak tree that I sat under and ate my grease sandwiches when I went to school. And that I expect it to grow as tall and produce as many nuts over the years as its momma did.
I would live with wolves if I could or near bears and elk and buffalo but I can’t. If I could I would go round the camp of Native Americans and listen to the children at play and hear old people talk about old times and watch the man flint napping. I would admire the horses and the camp dogs circling the meat hanging over the smoky fire. I would tremble in fear of running buffalo and be sad as they fell over a cliff but happy at heart for the meat and the skins and the bones would all be used and not much would go to waste.
I would tell them in tears that their lives would be wrecked, and that they would be slaughtered by people claiming to be Christlike, and that their homes and fields of corn would be parking lots for iron horses on rubber tires. That their great grandchildren would have great grandsons who would look out over a vast space of nothing they called home but the sign at the gate read, “Reservation.”The “Dreaming Time” would never end in another life like the People once had before the people from across the oceans arrived.
I have to look hard to see where the People once lived but I see them there and hear them and listen to their stories and smell the camp. I hear the dogs barking and hear the horses whinny. It is a good time to have ears.
This is a good letter, Bearboy. It will make some people think about where we are. I might borrow it and post it on my blog.
Stay in touch. Send me a message when you have time.