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Down on the farm

Down on the farm
Out of the woods.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Old Grumpus

An ancient gopher tortoise was Billy dog's best friend. Old Grumpus had a burrow in a vacant lot and our daily walk always included a house call in which Billy would sniff the entrance and a tortoise head would emerge briefly in acknowledgement. Satisfied, Billy would continue his business walk.
When Grumpus visited our house he would appear through the shrubbery and as slow as only a tortoise could be he would make his way across the lawn. Billy would wait in the corner of the lanai watching his poky pal stump through the grass.
Through the screen wire, dog and tortoise nudged noses in greeting. Shoulder to shoulder they would walk to the far end of the lanai where the night blooming jasmine bush would block their progress. Billy would turn, sit and wait for Grumpus to make his much slower turn, then side by side at a tortoise' pace they would return to the meeting corner.
Swinging his reptillian head, Grumpus would continue around the side yard, Billy watching until he was out of sight.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

HIDE & SHRIEK

When hot summer evenings closed in the game of choice was hide and seek, the dusk making it more fun to hide beneath the old willow or behind the pillars or in the chimney ell. But playing at the funeral home was the best.
Although it was forbidden, we would slip one at a time into the house..."I need a drink"..."I have to use the bathroom" or any other excuse. And of course the grown ups aren't paying any attention, right? Right.
The rooms were full of shadows lit only from a front hall light left burning all the time. We hid beneath tables, behind sofas, in back of half open doors and jumped out to scare one another in lieu of being discovered. But when we discovered the best, most wonderful hidey place of all, we could hardly believe our good fortune. THE CASKET ROOM!
I suppose it was a normal, though good sized room, but in my memory it stretches on and on into forever, darkening into nothingness as it goes. Casket after casket stands on display, some open, some closed. Satiny wood finishes, gleaming metal handles cold to touch, the silky fabrics on the interiors. It took a dare to get me into the room and a friend's hand guiding mine to touch the objects....then it was game ON, and we ran, hooted, hollered, jumped, and laughed between, around, under and across the caskets.
Bobby was drumming on one of the caskets, when a moaning sound ululated from inside. We froze.
A pale hand lifted the casket lid. A moon face rose washed in the dim hall light and a maniacal laugh issued from the open mouth.
Screaming ourselves breathless, tangling feet and arms at the door, squirting out into the hallway we made a mad dash for the safety of our parents' presence.
Behind us, the shrill laughter lowered to a familiar tenor cackle as Uncle Harvey, short and round as a beach ball, levered himself up and out of Uncle Bill's very best casket.
Do you suppose it had to be sold as 'used'?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I scream for ice cream 1

In the years following WWII the hearse was the only ambulance the tiny town of Aurora, Missouri had. This meant the funeral director or an assistant was on call around the clock every day of the year. Now, calls were not necessarily coming in around the clock every day of the year, but if they did....well, you get the picture.
This meant that when we had a picnic or a gathering of any kind the huge concrete apron of the enormous garage housing the hearse became party central.
I don't mean partying. The hardest beverage available was iced tea. If we were lucky the kids got Kool Aid and home made cookies. If we weren't so lucky we got to share the iced tea.
But sometimes, just sometimes, there was home made ice cream in an old fashioned churn. 60 years later I can feel shivers of anticipation and the chill of sitting on the churn. The flavor might be whatever fresh local fruit was in season, but plain old vanilla was just as welcome. And I don't remember chocolate ever being an option.
At first we kids would turn the handle, but later the men would take turns as the mixture got thicker and harder. Eventually the paddles would begin rising as the bottom of the pail froze and pushed up. The smaller boys and girls would then take turns sitting on the churn while the men sweated the last crankings a few turns at a time as it got harder and harder.
Whoever was sitting on the crank when it was ready got the first lick of the extracted paddles. As hard as it was to sit still while your friends ran and played this was a glory moment. You usually only got one or two licks in before every kid gathered to share, but OH to be that first one!
Making ice cream was a long and arduous and expensive job that only happened once or twice a year, and was treasured for it's rarity. The ice cream from the drug store came in your choice of flavors, but the stuff we made on the apron of the funeral home garage tasted of summer and freedom, friends and reward. And in my memory my mom's curls catch fire as she turns in her lawn chair to smile at me, sitting in glory on the top of the churn.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

UNCLE JOHNNEY'S STORY

Grandpa's older half brother Uncle Johnney Campbell was the son of Jerry Campbell and Mary Elizabeth the first.
He was a foreman at a lead mine in Aurora, MO when he and Henrietta helped to found the First Christian church, pillars of the community that they were. They adopted a boy from one of the orphan trains, but within a few years the boy ran off to Texas because they were so mean to him. Mom's words, not mine. My mother rarely spoke ill of anyone. Uncle Johnney was the sole exception.
In some kind of defense, Uncle Johnney suffered the usual side effects of lead mining and eventually was forced to retire. They moved back to Union and lived either with or near my grandparents. He medicated the pain with liquor.
Mom and her little sister, Girly would hide when they saw Johnney reeling on the seat of his wagon, whipping his horse through town. I heard that even Aunt Hazel and even the older boys did much the same. If he saw you he was as likely to use the whip on a human as on the horse. My guess would be that he had used that whip on the orphan boy who ran away, but it is only a guess. Lead poisoning creates a hell in the body and slowly destroys the brain.
He finally died, either of lead or booze poisoning, no one said. Etta lived long and prospered, honored aunt of the Campbell clan. Her "jewelry" and goods were left mainly to her namesake, Blanche Henrietta, my mother. To this day I have a delicately painted china cup known as "Uncle Johnney's cup", and this is a story to go with the cup.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Over-halls"

When I was little only the poorest of the poor wore what we called "over-halls"...the straps let them up and down for the next kid. They were always frayed, patched and faded, but never dirty.
Rarely did the child have shoes, never socks and at a guess, no underwear. The kids usually smelled bad, not from dirt, but malnutrition and bad teeth.
A boy sitting next to me in first grade could not be allowed to have crayons because he ate them as fast as he could get his hands on them. His father was a lead miner, out of work after the mine closed and they were starving.
Their home was a tar paper shack, literally. There was a light bulb hanging from the ceiling over an old wobbly dining room chair. In one corner was an old bed with broken metal springs and a threadbare quilt folded neatly at the bottom and one pillow at the head. A huddle of fabric scraps in another corner served as a bed for the baby and several children. In the place of honor, in the center of one wall was an ancient console radio. The light bulb over the chair had to be removed to plug in the radio. A pot bellied stove with 3 intact legs and a couple of bricks served for heat and cooking.
I know all this because my father took me along on 'pastoral calls' like this so he could say that "Judy wanted to stop in to say hello to her school friend." I had several of these friends, some I never knew at school as they were older or younger.
Most families were too proud and refused any help at all. But we got free milk for a lot of them because all the kids got it. Some wouldn't even accept it then. They didn't want to be beholden.
What a change to the welfare way of life. Today those kids would be fed, but would they ever understand the pride of a day's work? I can't judge about better or worse.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The ladies in the outhouse.

Judy,

One thing I remember is your mother, Girlie, and my mother all sneaking out to the outhouse at Grandmas to smoke!! My daughter was astounded when I told her that.That these grown up women had to sneak around to smoke and in the outhouse! I couldn't remember if your mother smoked, though. I knew Girlie and my Mom did.

Of course, they didn't all sneak out at the same time!
Love the stories.

Priscilla

To:
"priscilla lewedag"
Yes, my mom smoked at that time, too. Grandma C could be pretty fierce! Remember the story about her taking a couple of Aunt Maude's boys by the ears and making them pour their "hooch" down the drain? She told them she didn't allow that rotgut in her home!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Grandma and the Jameses

We were at Grandma & Grandpa Campbell's little house on St. Claire Road. All the uncles, even my dad, had gotten together to build the house above the Bourbouse River outside Union. It was a ramshackle place by today's standards, but Grandma was happier that we had ever seen her. A home of her very own, after all those years.
All the big people had wandered off, the men had gone fishing, The women were in the kitchen, or sitting on the porch drinking lemonade or iced tea. Grandma was glorying in the quiet, alone for a while in her own living room.
Several of the cousins were playing in the terraced front yard between the gardens. Flag stone walk ways and steps led up to the highway. At the corner of the house beside the summer kitchen was a whet stone run by pedal power. Grandma's cats and kits mewled under the porch, untouchable and unreachable.
A game of cowboys and Indians was in progress and as I slurped up a quick drink I announced to Grandma that I was going to join the game and be Jesse James.
Grandma went still as a pouncing cat. Her voice RANG in the quiet house.
Those Jameses! They're TRASH! NOTHING BUT OLD WHITE TRASH!
I'd never seen my grandma angry before and this sounded real personal. I think my mouth dropped open. I slipped out of the house and I am not sure she noticed right away.
We never talked about it again. But I never mentioned Jesse James in her presence, either. Probably should have. But she wouldn't have told me. You don't tell the kids.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Preacher Gray & Jesse James

Dick' grandfather was a Methodist circuit rider minister. He farmed outside of Allerton,IL and was also the editor of the local paper. He was not a young man when he married Orpha Jane and started a second family. But the exciting story is that he rode with Jesse James! Ha! a connection with my family! I was intrigued but like most of the family thought the story apocryphal.
It seems that Grandpa was driving the old wagon into town one day and saw a stranger along side the road. A battered saddle rested beside him, but no horse was in evidence. Grandpa offered him a ride into town and as they went, they talked. There is no record of the conversation, either by hearsay or guesstimate, but at some point a group of men overtook them on horseback.
"You need a ride, Jesse?" one of them asked.
"Nah, I'm doing OK, Frank" the man in the wagon replied.
And that is where the family story ended.
Fast forward to the mid 1990s. Son Geoff called one night all excited. He had been watching "Biography" on the History Channel and the subject was Jesse James. In an interview the great grandson told of Jesse's being "born again" after a wagon ride with a parson on a dusty old road in Illinois.
Fall back again to a Franklin County MO story that tells of my great grandfather and a group of neighbors building a church in the hills near the farm. A stranger stopped and offered to help. He worked hard, shared a meal and was gone. No one was sure who he was, but this was Union country and there were suspicions.
When my mother was a young girl a huge cavern was discovered across the road from her grandparent's farm. In the cave were artifact from the years following the Civil War including some things that were supposed to have belonged to a notorious outlaw.
I grew up visiting that cave, known across the country as Mermac Caverns, Jesse James hideout.
The wagon ride and the church raising fit nicely...and maybe they are true.

The Old Ice House.

Franklin County was a Union county. They didn't appreciate Jerry Campbell's Rebel sympathies but when push came to shove they took care of their own, even the adopted ones.
The Union needed cannon fodder and the foolish farm boys had quit signing up...probably because the previous "fodder" had come home on crutches, missing eyes, arms, or legs. Too many were not coming home ever, lost in a field or a ditch. Even the dreamiest eyed fool could see this was not the way to glory.
The fields were going untended without enough hands and feet to plow, plant and reap. A woman could plow, sow, reap, cook, wash, only as much as one woman could do. A child was help, but only help. A child could not go out and plow on her own until she was well grown. It wasn't the gender, it was the numbers. It wasn't lack of strength, it was lack of numbers. Farms require hands. So when the 'conscriptors' came to Franklin County looking for recruits, Grandma took the "boys" and hid them in the woods behind the old ice house in Union. She and the girls took baskets of food to them every day until the feds had gone and the boys could come back to the fields.
We, the family, don't remember the names of the boys or the girls, but we all know what Grandma did to save her family during the war.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jerry Reb

We were at a family funeral. I didn't get to attend many, living several states away, but this one coincided with a visit. It might have been Uncle Charley's or Aunt Maude Brown"s, but I am not sure. An elderly relative, seen seldom, known more through story than sight. There were cousins there I had not seen since childhood, others I had never met at all. All of Franklin County is related in some way. They were mostly my mother's cousins, many some degree of distance, second cousin, once removed. Most of my generation lived at a distance or were working.
We stood in the church talking family talk with those who remembered when. Always curious about family "secrets" I asked cousin Myron about Grandpa Jerry, my grandfather's father. No one has been able to trace his origins back any further than the Civil War when he arrived in Franklin County, a decidedly pro-Union county, with a wife, Mary Elizabeth and small children.
Now mind you, we were a family who knew our people. We KNEW Great Grandpa fought in the Revolution and got his plot of land in payment. We knew who married who and who moved where. We kept track of these things.
Well, not too long after they arrived Mary Elizabeth died. Saddled with young children, Jerry remarried soon changing wives but not names. Mary Elizabeth Gideon was his second bride.
And now the story gets guessy.
How did an incomer, a stranger, marry into one of the oldest families of Franklin County, an insular kind of a place to say the least? We know that with the war on there may have been a shortage of marriageable men. Maybe Grandpa Gideon needed help on the farm. Maybe ME the II was besot and determined. Nonetheless it seems a bit odd, viewing the information passed on by Mom's cousin Myron at the family funeral.
In true Franklin County style Myron remarked offhandedly, "Grandpa Jerry was a rebel, and the neighbors didn't like it much."
Matthew Nettle was my great grandfather. He was a farmer in Franklin Co. MO from about the time of the Civil War through WWI, I think. A man with a twinkle in his eye and a love for things that little boys are made of such as snips, and snails and puppy dog tails.
Mom (Blanche H. Campbell Downs) tells that Grandpa would come into the kitchen with his shirt rippling and a big grin on his face. He would pull out little green snakes or big black snakes, curling them around his arms and stroking them lovingly. Grandma Nettle was not fond of things that crawl, but her only admonishment would be a tiny shake of the head and a sad "Why, Matthew..." I suspect she had learned that a greater reaction brought larger incursions...in true little boy fashion. But we'll never know, now, will we?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In Memory of a Really Good Dog.

Billy, gone 3 years now, is still so part of our lives we look around for him. Baby turns to look when we say his name and some days I swear she is searching for him. Or maybe just something to fill that blank space in the heart where he used to be.
On the other hand she now has toys of her own...Billy insisted they were ALL HIS!
One day after he died I picked up all the toys he had left around the house and placed them all in a basket in the bedroom. Baby watched the last toy go in, looked up at me, stalked over to a basket which is taller than she is...stood up, and tossed Billy's fave back onto the floor. She backed off, looked to see what I would do. (Nothing)
Over the next few days all the toys came back out and were placed on the bed...where they reside to this day. Twice a day at 3:30 p.m. for the kid who used to come home and play at that time, and at bedtime, she tosses and squeeks, then replaces them at the foot of the bed until tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Red Riding Hood woods

My mother was born in 1914, the 5th of 7 siblings. The Campbell family lived with Rebecca's parents on the farm near Stanton, MO.
The older children attended a one room school house up by the road about 3 miles along the driveway and south a bit. It is long gone, but if you know where to look you can find the ruins. It wasn't too far from where the boys killed a wolf one winter.
The fields all lay beyond the woods...Little Red Riding Hood woods. Big, dark and scary to 6 and 4 year old girls commissioned to take the stone jug of lemonade and the basket of food to the men in the field. The older girls and the women were cooking up supper for the field hands. Biscuits and pies in the oven, pots at the boil, babies can't be left alone, feet and hands must be useful. Even tiny fearful hands and feet.
My mother never forgot those trips. Her voice trembled when she talked about it at the ages of 40, 57, 78, and 84. The dire fear of not only knowing that her brothers had killed a wolf nearby, but the responsibility of her little sister never left her.
She did it. She survived. But the adventure was pretty much knocked out of her.
She didn't like storms, but I never knew it. She didn't like the dark, but I didn't know it. She hated surprises and anything new or different, but I never knew. I thought she was strong and unconquerable, but really, she was just stubborn...and the bravest person I ever knew. Because I never knew...not until she told me.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My great grandfather Matthew Nettle, owned the farm Uncle Orville purchased just before he retired from the St. Louis Post Office. He was an Anderson and Aunt Hazel (Campbell) was my mother's oldest sibling. Both families had and still do live in Franklin County, Missouri.
The farm is 500 acres that would probably double in size is you could iron it out. With hills, gullies, creeks, dry creek beds, forests, bluffs, caves and a few tiny fields and ponds, it is beautiful and more than a little dangerous. My uncles killed wolves in the woods above the house. Coyote dogs killed and ate a flock of ducks. Lambs and calves disappear entirely on occasion. The family pony, April wandered down the hill, never came home and was never found. The sheep kill rattlesnakes in the old barn every day.
But there has never been a smell like that of the cedar woods at any time, but especially after a rain. There's fresh washed odor with an ancient tang at the back of your head that says heaven is very near here and has been, forever.
The stone in the shelter of the towering cedars is carmel colored, and so smooth and beautiful you want to taste it like candy. A shelf of this stone forms part of the old road down to the cabin. Chips from horse shoes and cuts from iron wrapped wagon wheels can be seen when you know what you are looking for. Cool and smooth on the hottest, dustiest day, I think it must be God's footstool.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fine lines the timeline

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 12:33pm | Edit Note | Delete
I have always known that there was a fine line in a timeline, but only recently was told that it is two separate entities. No more gazing into the future, no more glances at the past. There is simply time and also line.
I want to go back to when I was quicker, stronger, slimmer, and time stretched out in front of me in an endless line. My past was short and my future long. I had an unbroken timeline.
But now, in the interest of saving time, I e mail instead of dropping a line. I use the saved time to line up appointments, then lose it in the grocery store line. I snap time saving digital photos and store them until I have time to line them up and weed them out. I get to the movie on time and wait in line. I fix time saving meals, then hurry back to work on line.
Some day there will be time to make scrapbooks and study geneology to find where we hang in the family line. Was ours a clothes line or a party line or a boundary line? The family lived just north of the Mason Dixon Line. The family farm has passed to another line, but theirs goes back to meet ours, not too long ago in the way of timelines.
My husband's line was measured in picas and they used california job cases. There was a typo here and a line dropped off the page there. They lived near the Illinois/Indiana line. Most of the lines are recorded in sepia tones and charcoal and local news clippings. Most have no date. No time. Just a line.

Travis drew a line in the dust at the Alamo and 179 men stepped into history's line. Caesar's most famous line "Et tu, Brute?" still rings, and Brutus steps out of time to "bury Caesar, not praise him".
I want to get a line on some more time. I need to stretch out that line of hours and make them last longer, work harder, do more.
Without the line, time gets away from me. Without the time I fell, hook, line and sinker. Do you remember the line "I had the time of my life.."? How many lines have you memorized? How much time did it take?
Broken, cut in half in the time of its life, a life line broken.

He's nice enough, but he's got quite a line. I haven't got time for that.
I have a line on something good, but haven't had the time to check it out.
These are laugh lines, not laughed at lines. Attitude lines and latitude lines, I'll wear them all on my face in time.
How much time do we have? Keep it in line.
How come the mouse has all the good lines?
Sam was walking Baby, a 10# Westie who is generally afraid of her shadow and/or yours.
Baby was getting into her excited mode, little woofs that indicate friends are coming to play. She did a little dance as 4 raccoons came out of the woods.
Bob, the12# white male cat who owns the Westie (according to him, anyway) had been hanging back, guarding the rear as he usually does. Like a streak he was beside Sam, back arched, hissing at the invading patrol. The coons hesitated, but another raccoon appeared on the far side of the road.
Four,The Bob could handle, but five was too many. Bob looked up at Sam, says "MEOUT!" and stretched out, racing toward home. A few yards down the way, The Bob stops, looks over his shoulder, and rowrs at Sam and Baby, and takes off again, stopping every few yards to hurry up the stragglers.
When his little troup was safely home, he stalked to the door and demanded to go back out.
Maybe he was going to have a talk with a group of raccoons. He is, after all, THE Bob.
We have a guest pooch this week while sister Kate is up north. Shaggy is a male yorkie who weighs about 6 pounds wringing wet. The rest of the cast you know.
This morning Dick was walking Baby and Shaggy. Sherry came around with Scooter (regulation size Airdale), who doesn't like male dogs.
Scooter went into attack mode and ol' Shaggy squared off with a dog about 50 times his size. He wasn't backing down either. He was going to have a tiny little piece of that monster!
Sherry was trying to control a crazy dog who probably matches her body weight and has a lot more muscle power.
Then Bob came flying out of the shrubbery, hackles raised, hissing like a live wire in water. Bob the Lion Heart, Protector of the tiny. Scooter didn't know which paw to use to bat the mosquitoes off! Bob probably aimed for the throat but I think he bounced off a knee.
Dick wrestled Baby and Shaggy back into the house with much cursing, barking and hissing. Scooter went on his way. A not so sure winner in the battle of the Bob.
Baby trying to bully Bobcat into playing.
Written about 7 months ago · Comment · LikeUnlike
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The Bear under the chair game. Add to the story.
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 12:49pm | Edit Note | Delete
"Grammers," said Sammers, "there's a bear in there."
"A Bear?" said Grammers, "in there where?"
and Sammers replied "He's under a chair!"
"Oh, Sammers could it be the chair by the stair?
Where its so cold, dark and drafty," Grammers declared
"Yes," Sammers said, "it has two eyes that glare!
And two ears, a nose, and claws that can tear
If anyone comes too close to his lair."
"Well, Sammers," said Grammers, "the harder I stare,
I see a nose, paws and tail, but absolutely no hair!"
"Grammers," said Sammers, "that bear there is bare!
He is red with embarrassment and blue with despair."
Grammers replied "A bald bear is rare!"
Updated about 7 months ago · Comment · LikeUnlike
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New Bob the Cat story
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Friday, July 3, 2009 at 8:45am | Edit Note | Delete
Dick was walking Baby (Westie) while Bob the cat alternately lounged road center or lurked in the swales. They met one of the early dog walkers, Jan with Peanut (medium adorable mutt). While the humans talked, the dogs nosed, nudged, circled and Bob lay watching just out of reach. Then Sherry turned the corner with Scooter (a tall sweet tempered, bouncy wire haired terrier...Airdale I think, runs about 100 pounds at a guess).
As they approached, Baby started out to meet her buddy Scooter. Bob circled the group and got between Peanut, Baby and the approaching Scooter.
Hackles raised, white fur upstanding and hissing madly Bob the 10 pound white American shorthair prepared to defend his Baby from the giant. We should rename him "David".

A Bob Cat Tale

We have a guest pooch this week while sister Kate is up north. Shaggy is a male yorkie who weighs about 6 pounds wringing wet. The rest of the cast you know.
This morning Dick was walking Baby and Shaggy. Sherry came around with Scooter (regulation size Airdale), who doesn't like male dogs.
Scooter went into attack mode and ol' Shaggy squared off with a dog about 50 times his size. He wasn't backing down either. He was going to have a tiny little piece of that monster!
Sherry was trying to control a crazy dog who probably matches her body weight and has a lot more muscle power.
Then Bob came flying out of the shrubbery, hackles raised, hissing like a live wire in water. Bob the Lion Heart, Protector of the tiny. Scooter didn't know which paw to use to bat the mosquitoes off! Bob probably aimed for the throat but I think he bounced off a knee.
Dick wrestled Baby and Shaggy back into the house with much cursing, barking and hissing. Scooter went on his way. A not so sure winner in the battle of the Bob.

Forgotten history

Those who came to America willingly and first, who moved here before there were ports and railroads, came here for the opportunity to worship God as they chose, in freedom. When these wise men wrote the constitution, their intent was to keep any church out of the government, not to keep God out.
They made some mistakes. They did not emancipate either slaves or women despite pleas for both.
Nonetheless they created a document that has served to keep us free and stable while other governments collapsed. For more than 200 years we have been the land of the free and the home of the brave, the land of milk and honey, with enough for everyone willing to work.
Each incoming group in turn was castigated and set apart, the Irish, the Jews, the Germans, the Swedes, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Africans, but they learned the language, they learned to be free, and became Americans. They brought their customs, traditions, morals, and ethics, but they added them to the mix and became Americans.
And all had the same desire. To work, raise a family and worship in freedom. They benefited from the wisdom of those who kept all churches out of the Government but kept God at it's heart. This is what is forgotten. That any government without God at the center will be a government such as we have today.
Have you seen the whitecaps in the toilets at the top of the John Hancock Building? Watched the lights come up in Lincoln Park and leap outward, burb by burb?
Ordered the most expensive drink in town just to watch the sun slide out of the sky from the 94th floor?
Suffered through another Taste of Chicago in Grant Park just for the barbeque?
Caught the bus in front of the Museum of Art to go to Wrigley Field?
Ridden the El in from O'Hare?
Can you get off the train and walk underground most of the way to Wacker Drive?
Catch a water taxi to the train?
Did you take a small child to see the Thorne Rooms and stay, salivating, long after the child lost interest?
Have you seen the boulder of jade at the Museum of Natural History?
Have you gone from blues to jazz to dixieland to Irish folk in an evening?
Toured a gallery on the Mile that has your name on the sign?
Have you been to the Loop?
Have you been to Chicago?

Streets Lite

*My theory is that the developer of this area was so cheap he bought up all the prisoners' mistakes, giving us such as Cannolot Blvd. Of course it could be a tribute to great grandma's preserves. Alborado Road might be a misspelling of EL Dorado, but what about Decorore Drive?
*Damfiwill and Damfino as street names are amusing but can't you just hear a judge asking for your address?
Saying you live on Damfiwill  just might get you thirty days!
*Is Cazenovia a lover who cannot spell his own name? Did the same person name Randyparr Street and Notson Terrace? If he is not your son why did you name a street for him? Drude Court could be a contraction of Rude Dude and may have been named by the person who chose Taunt Court.
*Malarky Lane, Glee Avenue, Bacchus Road and Revell Lane are on the party side of town. Doe Street and Lark Drive, Minnow Way, Dog Court are rather prosaic compared to Catspaw Drive. Is Dobell Terrace something you answer or a jingly thing around Bambi Terrace?
*Most would avoid Abrade Avenue, but might be curious about Antofagasta street or Condmn (not MY misspelling) Point. Couples longing to be parents may want to live on Concepcion Drive, but would you buy on Pessoa Street or Mamora Drive? Sandspur Street is every street in town! Sandrala Drive and Santarem Circle have appeal, but Winding Vail doesn't and isn't.
*Bail Court, Bank Court, and Bar Court are truthful, but Bill Court is waiting for a vote. Someone living on Cockpit Lane probably wants to be in the pilot's seat of Cessna Court, but Confound Road is hard to follow.
*There's Ebb Road, Ebb Avenue, Ebb Circle, Bayswater Road and Edgewater Drive. Most of the them are signed with flood warnings. Hopefully they are close to Afloat Drive and Barge Lane. Beaver Lane, Beaverhead Ave, and Beavertone Ave are nowhere near the woods.
*In a nod to elevator music we have Bee Gee street. Authors are honored with Cervantes. Pirates give us Blackbeard and Captain Kidd. Those are neither streets, boulevards, avenues, nor lanes, and they avoid courts!
*Yule Street, Silverbell Drive and Wassail Lane take care of Christmas and for class we have Duchess Avenue and Duke Lane.
*Empire Street, Factory Avenue and Enterprise Avenue pay homage to industry along with Edsel Drive and Cadillac Avenue and plain old Car Street.
*I walk my dogs along Windswept, by Winning Way and Wonder Win, follow Barksdale around to Corfell and down Rickardway Avenue. How can it be both a way and an avenue?
*Aback street is, well, alone.
*Happy Hollow would be a fun place; It is probably near Kidon street and Omie Avenue. For more fun you could visit Carousel Lane and or Drive.
*Cattle Dock Point and Road sound earthy, but would you live at Slipshod Manor?
*There's Hesta Misty Court, Robat Terrace and Silage Circle. We've no Alpha Street, but there is an Omega Lane which brings us to Ycolt and Zorn Streets.
*The streets could be named A, B, C or 1, 2, 3 but wouldn't that be boring?

The Doggie Gazette

My dogs have always been better reporters than I. They have no compunction about getting down to the nitty gritty filth of it all. They revel in it, and as a team they are incredible.
Billy, the slightly scrufty older reporter has seen it all, mostly twice. He never met a bone he couldn't worry down to the marrow or a smell he couldn't put a name to. Cautious and slow to make decisions, he waddles with all glacial speed down the block.
Baby leads at the end of her tether. She appears to be a mini sled dog, tugging and pulling along to the next sniff, the next and better story. I am stopped short by 20 pounds of stalled Westie male newshound and jerked forward by 11 pounds of Westie girl reporter.
Baby bounds ahead. Cat, cat, cat, racketycoons, dog, cat, cat, BOBCAT! Dog, dog, turkle. SNAKEHOLE! Bounce, bounce, bounce, tug.
One sniff at a time, Billy follows, accessing the facts. Mommy and 2 kittens, family of racoons. Bad dog, stay away. The old tortoise, cat, Elisabeth's cat, Billy's own Bob the cat. Mozart, and Rascal are good dogs, friends. Our old friend Grampus the turtle whose tunnel must be visited each and every day. Stay away from the snake hole. Slow down!
The owl hoots in the 11 acre jungle across the road. It is growing dark and I can barely see him in the top of the tree. Both reporters become wary. Billy in front, on guard, he'll take on anyone or anything that threatens his story or his family. Baby slides behind me, taking on the better part of valor. She will let the big dogs handle the big stuff.
Billy swells to an amazing size. His shoulders widen as he plants his front feet in warrior fashion. His usually placid face takes on a ferocious grin. He has gained 15 pounds of sheer attitude. I don't think the owl is impressed, but I am. Billy can handle it. He is Baby's hero. We proceed along the street, Billy slowly subsiding to normal size. We walk on into the dark.
At the corner Billy stops to peer down the dark road. He parks his backside and makes it clear that he is not going down that path.
Wisdom says not to go where Billy does not want to go. We turn back toward the lights at the far end of the woods. Home, with stories to report for the doggie gazette.