Monday, August 16, 2021

Conversations with Random People --29

 Perfect afternoon for a bicycle ride and I was taking full advantage of it.  Probably the longest ride I've had this year.  I happened upon a Ram truck with a trailer in tow pulled over to the curb.  Gentleman was checking the straps and ties that secured an old pickup truck weather-worn and from another automotive era.  I stopped.

"Nice set of old wheels," I remarked.

"I see you are a Ford man," the gentleman replied.

"Indeed, I had one much like that.  Mine was a '52."

"This one," he informed me, is a '46 or '47, not sure which."

In a flash and without thinking about it I said, "Forty-seven."

"You're probably right."

(You see, without bidding it to happen I was suddenly my thirteen-year old self who would have instantly known the distinctions between the two years even though I had certainly not thought about that in the past seventy years.)

So I deliberately turned my attention to the windshield.  Yep, flat one-piece.  Confirmation, for I was certain for no reason that I can pinpoint that the '46 still used the prewar two-piece windshield.

"Where did you find this one?" I asked.

"Here.  Well, locally.  Elwood, I think.  I am hauling it to Ohio for my brother."

"That's cool."

He pointed out a few features of the old truck, I told him a bit about the one I had.  He slyly drew attention to his tow vehicle, secretly hoping, I suspect, that I would admire it, and I did.

"Welp, I'd better get along," the man told me.  "Thanks for stopping and visiting with me!"

"My pleasure!  Be safe."

(And if you are wondering, yes, as soon as I got home I used the interwebby thing to look at the '46 and the '47. 

 '47, one-piece; '46, two-piece.)

My '52 nearing completion.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Mid-America 47th Annual

 I made it to the Mid-America Threshing and Antique Tractor Show!  I look forward to this each August, make a sashay to the 4-H grounds, then it's over for another year.  For me.  There is yet one more day of festivities.

Things have been changed-up a good bit when compared to previous years, but the old machinery is still proudly presented.  As my bicycle and I arrived there was a on-grounds tractor parade in progress with announcer on PA identifying the machines and giving names of owners and operators.  I stopped and watched a few of them pass, then shot across the parade route and continued to the display of my beloved pop-and-spin engines.  Huge flaw.  I took several pictures but stupidly did so with the so-called smart phone and stupid me, I haven't yet mastered the simple task of transferring them to my blog.  Worse, all the shots I took were videos, unbeknownst to me, rather than stills.  The pictures I show here I took with the old reliable pocket Canon.

This combine was state-of-the-art when I was a young man. Today's combine could probably swallow this one up, chew it into bits and spit it out.

A major difference this year is that rather than displaying tractors in long, neat rows by make they were spread all over kingdom come with RV's interspersed here and there and kiddies playing in their "yards."  Also not only were people bringing their golf carts and zipping around, the promoters were providing carts for people who didn't bring their own.  A veritable battery powered rolling zoo to contend with.  I guess the thing has to move into the 21st century if it is to survive.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

High School, Demerits, and Soapy Water

I do have a high school diploma and this is a tiny bit of what I endured to get it.

Deal was this: infraction of rules or annoying the Dean could result in the issuing of demerits which were prominently posted on the bulletin board in the hallway opposite the office.  Accumulation of 20 or more demerits resulted in the loss of "social privileges" and that was a big deal, because social life was severely restricted in the first place and loss of what few privileges there were available meant, well, isolation from any activity other than going to classes.  During my junior year the Dean issued me twenty-five demerits for a single and honestly my first infraction in over two years.

The Dean and the school he represented were wrong, too, but how foolish of me to try to re-argue the case seventy years after the fact.  Well, he had the strict letter of the law on his side. 

However there was an escape clause.  By putting in hours of labor on campus each hour would erase one demerit.  I worked in the kitchen scrubbing the CEILING with soapy water and scrub brush.  Picture the dripping down on my head and the water running down my arms.  And thus I worked exactly six hours thereby changing the posting in the hallway to "19 demerits" and there it stood for the balance of the school year.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Conversations with Random People -28

 Enjoyed my repast, paid the ticket, and exited the restaurant.  As I went through the door approaching me in little half steps much like mine, was a tall gentleman about my height, white-hair, much like   "Looking for the party for Dan," he told me. It is to be at JD."  "This  is the place," I said.  Now knowing this celebration was in honor of Dan's 100th birthday and noting that the old man beside me was a bit creaky, I said, "Are you a contemporary of Dan's?"  "Uh, yes," he said, "I am 86."  "So am I!" I exclaimed. "But I'll be 87 tomorrow."

The old gentleman patted me on the shoulder as though to say, "Don't patronize me; I know I am older than you."   Oops.  On second thought perhaps he was thinking, "No way; you've got to be much older than I."

Friday, May 21, 2021

Toad Song

 I was sitting in the sun room reading;all was quiet and peaceful. Then as the sun dropped lower in the sky I heard just the other side of the screen; Toad Song! Have had toads on the premises for years and I like to hear them sing.

For years I carried a twenty-two dollar flip phone. Had I not caved to the so-called "smart phone" craze, I could have pulled the flipper from my pocket, pushed a button and recorded the music for you. But with this over-priced glorified piece of junk I could only stare at a plethora of icons in frustration.
Oh, well; there is always YouTube.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Dream Big #T

It seems that everybody who is anybody is quoted on dreams.  For example, Walt Disney is quoted as having said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”  This is patently absurd, as a moment's thought will reveal.  Case in point, as a child I used to dream of being the conductor of a symphony orchestra.  There are so many things wrong with the notion that I will not go into it other than to state that I am basically bereft of musical talent.  I will come back to that presently.

Closer to my way of thinking is Eleanor Roosevelt who is reputed to have said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  This makes sense to me in a certain way.  In the previous example I recognized my lack of aptitude for fulfillment of the dream, but that does not mean that I did not entertain the dream to the extent that I recognized that one could achieve successes in the realms in which he was gifted. (This all took a long time.  We will not go into that.)

And now my dream, for this is a literal dream that I just had somewhere between one and five  this morning.

I have been invited to sing with a world-renowned choir consisting of 22 black singers whose repertoire is primarily spirituals and gospel songs.  I was flattered and excited, and supposed that I would get to stand somewhere in the shadows and contribute a few notes when I felt comfortable threading in a little harmony.  

 The performers filed onto the stage and took their stances.  The director placed me at the right end of the phalanx and one step in front of the group.  What? And it was not until the first chord of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" sounded and the director nodded at me that I  realized I was to sing the lead.  As I started I realized that the first word, "swing," had emerged from my vocal chords a bit weak so I reached into my lowest registry on "low" and gave it all I had and back into baritone as I sang the "sweet chariot" I heard the strains of the choir as the singers wove an astounding tapestry of trills and harmonies and as we went into the line "comin' for to carry me home" I noted the entire audience as one were looking, not at the performers, but at the ceiling as though their eyes were literally following the progress of the chariot as its wheels turned faster and faster and the two white stallions, nostrils flaring, approached us closer and closer.

I could sense the eyes of every member of the audience watching as I sang "A band of angels comin' after me."  They were seeing, I was sure, the angelic host as it formed around the chariot and the altos were painting in the fluttering of the wings and the flowing of the heavenly garments.  In her own angelic soprano, Sister Serena took the line "Well I'm sometimes up" and immediately Brother Brown in the basement sang "and I'm sometimes down," the choir created harmonies to carry everyone into the heavenly realm  and finally as we sang the tag line "Well now they're comin' for to carry me home" the audience burst into applause and shouting such that for a bit I thought perhaps I had indeed been carried home!

I awakened. I may in reality be at the very best a so-so singer but in my dreams. . . 


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

What does that look like?

 What does it look like

--to have true courage

--to be a racist (nonracist)

--to care for others

--to listen purposefully

--to be a true believer

--to be a Christian

--to love unconditionally

and on and on.  Why is it important to ask (and answer) the question What does it look like?  I actually had to hear it enough times that it truly grated on my sensibilities before I asked myself this question.  I hear it on newscasts; I hear it from the pulpit; I hear it in casual conversations, and I had wondered why people couldn't simply ask, "What is it like?"  Then it finally occurred to me that there is an answer to that question.

 We don't ask what is it like because we either don't really want to know, or we don't care what it is like.  But what we are interested in is the all-consuming concern everyone has to know what things look like.  Why?  Appearances are what matters.  Read that again.  In our society in this day appearances are what matters.  Reality exists only in the mind of the observer and is formed from the impressions we gain from appearances.  Truth is what we perceive it to be.  Please, Rev, don't tell me what I must be like to be a Christian.  Tell me what a Christian looks like and then I can decide whether or not I want others to see me looking like that.  Dr. Sociologist, don't tell me how to be nonracist, tell me what a nonracist looks like.  On and on.  

The crux of the matter is appearances matter.  

"Man," scripture says, "looks on outward appearances, but God looks on the heart."