Windows of an Era #13

My hometown’s Mobil gas station and lumberyard, on a cold, winter day, sometime in the thirties.  This was on the south side of the square.  Everybody in Chesterfield, population 300, had family ties–if you went back three or four generations.  This picture was from a former neighbor’s collection.  The Parker family will be featured in some photos.


It’s consistently warm now.  Summer is unofficially here on the Gulf Coast.  The bugs are back.  The latest generation is hungrier, more annoying than ever.

Twisted logic becomes more twisted everyday.  The latest version more twisted than the last.  Your nose assaulted the end of my fist.  Your parked car collided with mine.  The Civil War, was taught in the South, as Wars of Northern Aggression.

Events interpreted to fit agendas; portrayed one group of humans as less than human; shirked responsibilities.   Then it became more complicated.  Well maybe your ancestors did things that should never have been?  Maybe they did?  Maybe they didn’t?

If that were true–which ancestors should I blame?  Since I’m part English, Irish, German, Austrian, Dutch, and Native American.  Native Americans drew the shortest straw–in my opinion.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s either all or none.

Generations past wouldn’t understand any of this.  I have no right to judge them in the twenty-first century.  They were smarter than given credit for–lived through both World Wars.  Most of us wouldn’t have the gumption to endure their hardships.

Are humans more important in the broad scheme of the universe than mere insects?  Somehow, I doubt it.  There are a lot more insects on this planet than humans.  I need more insect repellant.


Does This Make Any Sense?

Perhaps some folks would like to relive their high school years.  Not me.  Introverted, anxiety-ridden–it’s better left in the past.

“Just order one,”  Came a shout from the kitchen.

“I know, they’re expensive as all heck,”  I answered.

“Would you like some popcorn?”

“Yes, Dear, that would be nice.”

Should past practices that are out of date be considered wastes of time?

What if someone were the best bloodletter in town?

“Last week I went to Cyrus because I was feeling a bit phlegmatic.  I didn’t feel a thing when he pricked my arm.”

It shouldn’t matter because no one knew any different back then.

People were accustomed to dealing with pain.

They were offered whiskey or a bullet to bite on–if they were lucky.

Some cultures still used horses and buggies.  It was part of their religious beliefs.  Did that make the practice a waste of time?

“Why did men always wear hats in the forties and fifties?”

“It was the style back then.  Haven’t you watched any old movies?”

“Your grandpa–my father wore a gray fedora hat.”

“If he were still here, his opinion would be, that people today dressed too casually.”

“He probably felt incomplete without his hat.”

For those of us with OCD tendencies, “whatever we do we’re never really through.”






On a pleasant country day

Isaac Newton and friends

Sought repose under a tree

Laden with ripe fruit

Apples fell from boughs above

Bounced off a couple of noggins

On their way to earth

Bright, red, delicious

Crispy apples–no doubt

They were more photogenic

Than green or yellow ones

How could these have been

the first apples that ever fell

And no one noticed–

dared to ask why–

except Sir Isaac Newton?

And that’s the way

We’ve been led to believe

Gravitational theory

Came to be




Last week I escaped from the internet for a few days.  It was a time for reflection, renewing friendships, visiting tourist traps and historic sites.  The cracked windshield from a rock on the return trip was insignificant.

There had to have been more shade trees in the front yard of the big, white, two-story apartment house on Chamberlain Ave. forty-eight years ago.  My stay in the downstairs apartment was brief.  I was selling door-to-door in East Ridge–a suburb of Chattanooga, TN.  A venture that ended unsuccessfully with a vow to find a better way to make a living.

Downtown changed for the better.  Modern, sophisticated, not trashy.  However, exploration was limited  by pouring rain.

Sales quotas, long working hours, put the kibosh on exploring local historical sites.  Lookout Mountain was on the agenda this time.  Moccasin Bend, Ruby Falls, Rock City, Chickamauga–names heard for years–never explored.

These sixty-seven year old eyes viewed old haunts from a different perspective.  The main difference, I find each day of life precious.  I’m no longer a risk taker.

How tough it must have been for Union soldiers to scramble up Lookout Mountain in summer heat under gunfire.  There were other tales–of sacrifices, successes and failures.

Some issues, from the long-ago War Between the States, still divide us.  Monuments from different state militias lie scattered over the verdant, rolling hills of Chickamauga battlefield.  I couldn’t help but feel that this was a sacred place.  I’ve never been privileged to visit Gettysburg–but imagined the reverence to be the same.

From there, to Ober Gatlinburg for Oktoberfest fun.  Bavarian dancers clad in lederhosengemütlichkeit, oom-pah-pah bands and polkas.

Did you know the Bush’s baked bean legacy started in a humble general store near Dandridge, TN?  The visitor’s center restaurant smelled like a restaurant should, leading to a satisfying piece of apple pie topped with ice cream and coffee.  I didn’t, however, have my picture taken with “Duke,” the Irish setter of Bush’s baked bean commercial fame.  That dog’s a marketing genius.  Free samples of a new product–Asian spiced baked beans were tasty–with hints of ginger and soy.