Wednesday, June 30, 2010


And we did "reune". (Back of the t-shirt.) All the families named are descendents of George and Emma Womack. BBBH is a Womack, but her brother "forgot" and did not attend (though we had a nice visit with him later); and thus there were no people there who now go by the Womack name.
The point of a reunion: reconnect with family members and visit
and eat!
The eldest attendee at 88 with her children. She and a daughter came from North Carolina, the other two from Alaska, and thus travelled farthest to attend.
Courageous young lady took a bunch of kids outside to play.
And, notwithstanding the meeting was in an air-conditioned hall, we had one who thought the dog was a family member. I'm a dog person (in fact a dog is lying under my left arm at this moment) but this creature was LOUD. And UNFRIENDLY. Growl (both me and the dog).

Then there was the guy who grabbed the mike and regaled the innocent and unsuspecting revellers with song. C & W. Who could have done such a thing?

So you think we are nuts? Look at the size of the group meeting outdoors. Heat index: 106.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Loonville Vingette 4 = Ouch

The Heton kids were suitable playmates for our children, and since all our children had free-rein of the neighborhood, yet all were confined to the neighborhood, anyones yard in the square block was playground.

One weekend, the Hetons had burned a stack of trash in the edge of the alley between our houses. The following day, the kids were all out to play, and our daughter, Ivy, in her excitement, in the heat of the game, so to speak, ran through the ashes where the fire had burned. Unfortunately, there were still hot embers beneath the subtly silent ashes. Her right foot was quite severely burned. We called our local doctor, about whom more will be related. But, as with every emergency we ever had, it seemed, the guy was out of town and unavailable. It was clear that medical attention was necessary, so I called an old sawbones in a neighboring town. He agreed to see us, so the fifteen minute trip with a hurting child was made. The doctor took us in at once. Now "old" was not a mistatement of fact. In truth the old practitioner took down his shingle and moved to Florida shortly after this incident.

The doctor seated himself in a chair and had me place the child on a stool in front of him. He lifted the foot and visually inspected it, then to the eight-year old child said, "Jesus Christ, Girl. What'd you do that for?"

Not all the loons live in Loonville.

The actual injury was worse than this picture indicates.
© 2010 David W. Lacy

Visit again tomorrow.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Coincidence and Architecture

I told you about the completely random event which connected us with grandkids while traveling a long way from home. Here we are visiting at Arby's. JoAnn and her great granddaughter, Mikayla.
Mikayla and Grandpa make paper "rings".

About thirty miles into the trip, we drove by a school where I taught back in the early sixties. Stopped to snap a shot. This typical late-fifties architecture has met the test of time. The building looks exactly as I remember it. It is still an educational facility, though now a parochial rather than public school.
While in Mt. Vernon we drove over to the Appellate Court House where I was able to get this night view of the proudly well-lighted building. This is a landmark in Jefferson County of which the locals are quite proud. The architecture is the Greek Revival style. The building was constructed in 1857. One claim to historical fame has Abraham Lincoln in the house in 1859, representing the Illinois Central Railroad in a tax case against the State of Illinois which the railroad won.
In 1888, Clara Barton supervised an emergency hospital which was set up in the building following the destruction wrought by a tornado in the community.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Downstate Illinois

We pulled off I-57 at Dix only to find that the antique shop no longer exists. Back on the road, up to speed, and two minutes later a white Explorer flies by in the passing lane. I noted a Purdue logo on the right rear quarter-panel, then espied a Texas license plate. "It's your granddaughter!" I shouted. Quickly overtook them, slowed again. As they passed the next time, honked and got their attention. Five minutes later, we pulled into Mt. Vernon where the five of us had a nice visit at Arby's. (The manager did not kick us out, but allowed that we were a little loud!)

They back on the road toward Texas, we checked into hotel. Looking forward to reunion tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Loonville Vingette 3 = Roots

This was the highpoint of life in Loonville. The Carnegie Library was built tall, literally, I believe, to tower over the smallness of the town. One ascended to the heights via a most impressive exterior stairway; but the rewards to be garnered therein were certainly worth the climb.

Since one had to make his or her own entertainment in this village, the library was a godsend to those who could read. No, don't talk to me about videotapes, music CDs and other such johnny-come-drive-the-books-off-the-shelves that have afflicted modern "libraries." Oh, yeah. And computer rooms and electronic card catalogs and how many other ways have we lost something once precious?

In addition to the books and magazines, this little haven of intellectual challenge had a collection of newspapers. No, not microfiche or microfilm or digitized data. It had local newspapers going back to 1868. This little place-too-small-to-make-a-dot-on-the-map actually had a newspaper in the nineteenth century. No more, of course, even at the time this tale reflects.

It was in this town and partly with the help of this collection that I developed a sense of the meaning of "roots." I had been raised in a minister's home, and we had moved eight times by the time I left home and had lived in five different towns. Imagine the sense of wonder that crept slowly into my awareness when I would talk with an individual in the local drugstore or at the post office, then read that person's name in a newspaper from 1879 a few days later. Not just the family name, either, but the whole name just as it is carried by my acquaintance today.
I would read, for instance "Jim Griggs transported eight head of hog to the railhead Saturday." And now in the middle of the next century, Jim Griggs is proprietor of the biggest hog operation in the southern half of the county. "Marcus Wright traveled to Muncie this past week for the funeral of his brother, Frederick Wright, late of that community." Marcus Wright is the fifth grade teacher in the local elementary school today.

I could cite many other examples, but this will serve to help you understand how I came to an appreciation of people's "rootedness", how those who are attached to the land develop a sense of belonging and right of possession. It is small wonder that newcomers to rural communities and small towns are viewed with suspicion and have such difficulty establishing themselves, having to prove themselves on a daily basis.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Prophetstown State Park

Our camping club chose Prophetstown as the site of the June excursion. This park is the newest of Indiana's State Parks. It is located north of West Lafayette at the confluence of the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers. The goal is to restore a major portion of the park to the original tall grass type prairie that existed in western Indiana and much of Illinois before the incursion of agriculturally minded settlers. The effort is extending so far as the removal of species (trees, shrubs, flowers) that are not native to such a prairie and replacing them with the "correct" species.

My new socks.

Following several days of camping experiences and good fellowship at the park, a group of twenty of us went to Wolf Park near Battleground, Indiana. The maintenance, breeding and study of North American wild canid behaviors is carried on at this facility founded by Dr. Erich Klinghammer about forty years ago. The walk through the park and observing some of the creatures was an interesting way to spend a portion of our afternoon.

Monday sunset,
9:05 p.m. EDT.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Loonville Vingette 2 = Newcomers

These tales from Loonville are populated with real people, both living and dead. Some names have been modified or changed to suit my whim; the events are true, for filtering and sweetening may slightly alter details, but truth perseveres. The sun continues to shine on the just and on the unjust; and Loonville is ever only a memory away.

We rented a small two-story house on Water Street, two blocks from Main Street, less than three blocks from the general store and four blocks from the post office and the library. The landlord, Rusty, was also the local barber whose shop was at the corner of Main and Water. We got along very well, he a good landlord; and we were good tenants. The only time of true embarrassment between us was on a Saturday morning during our fifth year in Loonville. I was in the chair, Rusty was cutting my hair. For some reason which I couldn't put my finger on, I thought the barber was a bit ill at ease. The conversation was not flowing smoothly. As I paid him at the cash register, Rusty flushed with embarrasment, stammered something to the effect that "he hadn't seen the rent this month." With immediate embarrassment and a totally sinking feeling, I realized that for the first time in my life I had missed a payment when it was due, and I was now almost two weeks late with the rent.

Across the alley to the west of us lived the Hetons. This family, at the time we moved to town, had eight children; and when we moved away there were eleven kids. Chuck Heton was an over-the-road truck driver, and it was laughingly said around town that Chuck came home twice a year, once for the birth of a new child and once for fun. These people were good people, their children were well-behaved and we were in town long enough to see two of them graduate high school and go on to university.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Shortened Tale

"I had a bad experience a few weeks ago which drove home to me the point that I would need to give up my Blackberry in order to get back a life. It was an epiphany; and I have never regretted one moment since that I chose life."

So I heard one busy working mother state the other day. It drove me to think anew about my "addiction" to the internet. Every minute I spend surfing, blogging or reading newspapers is a minute in which I could DO something instead. I have put up over 600 posts. Much of the material was "original" in the sense that I wrote and/or photographed it. Some of the material was information I had garnered from researching something in which I was interested at the time. All of it piqued my interest. Other people, not so much. Within three months of my debut here, I had seventeen "followers." Now, well over a year and a half later, I have seventeen followers. Granted, there are those who drop by for a visit, or were caught up in a Google search that led them here.

I am going to curtail my activities on this site. On Tuesdays, I will continue to post the "Loonville Vignette" series. I will post from time to time as I feel compelled. For those of you who follow String Too Short to Tie, the posting notices will show up in your reader. The rest of you may read "LV" on Tuesdays, scroll down until you encounter the previous "Loonville" and you will surely find anything I might have put up.
This has been beaucoup fun, and I shall continue to have fun as I recall the days of yore in Loonville!

Thank you, Dear Reader.

succumb to an all-electronic existence.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


You may say take it to the bank, or take it on the chin; take it away! or take five. Take me out to the ballgame. Take your time; take a letter, or take a picture. Take it easy, take me home. Take the A-train, take me to Rio. Take me out to dinner or take me out of the game.

I brought you into the world and I can take you out (Mama said). Take it off! Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Misumena Vatia

A beautiful evening. The temperature had moderated to a comfortable eighty degrees, the humidity had eased off a bit. BBBH and I, along with Cookie, sat on the garden bench enjoying the breeze as it soughed softly through the austrees behind us.

As we were leaving, BBBH suggested that I pick a bouquet for her, so I took trusty knife from my pocket and clipped a nice grouping of shasta daisies and white yarrow. She took them in, placed them in a vase. We went about our normal evening. At eleven p.m. I went to the kitchen to set up the coffee maker in prepartion for morning. As I filled my container, imagine my surprise when I spotted a lovely white spider in the sink. Great surprise, for I had never before seen a white spider. A brief research on the web taught me that that was largely due to failure to be truly observant, for I discovered that such creatures are virtually ubiquitous, occuring in gardens worldwide.

I snapped these photos with a point-and-shoot. I have added the picture of the spider on the lavender flower which I borrowed from the web, so that you can see what the little gal looks like when properly photographed with proper equipment.

Can you see her there?

Oh, there she is!

Encouraged her to walk over to a black surface.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Frederick I Barbarrosa,

Holy Roman Emperor, born 1122, died June 10, 1190.

Frederick was leading his forces, participating in the Third Crusade, when they camped at the Saleph River as they approached Antioch. Frederick went to the river to bathe, was swept away by the current and drowned.

According to legend, Frederick is not dead, but sleeps in a cave in Thuringia, or perhaps in Bavaria. When the ravens cease to fly around the mountain, he will awaken and restore Germany to its ancient glory. As he waits these many years, his magnificent red beard has grown through the table where he sits. Though he is in a state of sleep, from time to time he raises his hand to signal a boy to take a look-see to determine if the ravens yet fly.

Another legend, more earthy and probably not suitable for publication in this family journal, has to do with the revenge that Barbarrosa exacted upon the citizens of Milan who had insulted his wife, the Empress Beatrice. It is said that his revenge required an unpleasant task followed by the announcement, "Ecco la fica."*

String Too Short to Tie is a wondrous resource for arcane information you would never have sought.
Congratulations, Blackhawks! Stanley Cup Champions, 2010!
*A seven-volume dictionary of slang and colloquial English: Abridged by Farmer and Henley, p. 158, on-line version.
Image: Wikipedia

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Love Your Blog

Chuck on his Secondary Roads has declared "game on" again. He has given me this great award. I am so happy that he likes my blog. And I certainly reciprocate the sentiment. Mutual admiration society, don't you know. I am to state ten things that I love, then pass the award along to ten whose blogs I love.

Ten Things I Love
1. I love the Lord Jesus Christ who is my savior.
2. I love my wife whom you have met as "BBBH".
3. I love my family which has become so large and so widely extended that it is a challenge as I age to remember all their names. ;>)
4. I love being 75 years old. It's sort of a testimony to perserverance. Too, I will soon be 76! and who knows how far one can go from there!
5. I love the community in which we live. It is not "Perfect" in spite of the fact that I have referred to it in that way on the blog; but it is the best place in which I've ever lived, and that's saying something.
6. For the most part, I love blogging, both writing my own and reading others. I have tried to quit, really I have; but BBBH says I'm addicted. There are worse addictions.
7. I love political cartoons and comic strips and their creators. I don't read them all, just half-dozen of the former and dozen of the latter. I love to laugh; and laughing at the nonsense of politicians and the foibles of our fellow-man keeps us from going nuts.
8. I love Coffee.
9. I love Texas. Admittedly I have never been there between May and September. But, subtext 9a. I love the ocean and 9b. I love the desert. Texas has plenty of both.
10. I love living green things. This was my answer to the question, "Why did you ever choose to move to Indiana?"
And now I am privileged to pass this award to
1. Lin, a very funny lady, and very perceptive. She always has something interesting to share.
2. Lidian, who keeps us up-to-date on the out-of-date. Old advertisements and clever and creative interpretations of them.
3. Grace, perspectives on life in Philadelphia. Fun read.
4. Andrea, a prayer warrior who keeps us posted on prayer needs as well as the beauties in her world.
5. Marydon, an artist and artisan who shows us the world through her talented eye.
6. Matt, a teacher and pastor sharing his outlook on faith in our times.
7. Jason, a Christ-following believer who shares his doubts as well as his faith.
8. Leigh, a harried mother of young children who is willing to share the vicissitudes of life in a humorous manner.
9. Jana, another young mother who bills herself as "the meanest Mom." Hilarity abounds.
10. Bob and Jan, seeing the country via their vintage truck/home and sharing the adventure.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vignettes from Loonville

Blog Pally Lin refers to her village as "Weirdville." A few nights ago when Morpheus declined to visit me, I got to thinking about the strange people and behaviors in my neighborhood. I realized that none of that was happening in the town of Perfect where we live. In Perfect, all the realtors, car salesmen and preachers are honest. The women are all comely; and just as in Lake Wobegon, the children are all above average.

But wait! I thought. Though it is ancient history, I did live for six years in Loonville. And my memory is quite good for details of experiences forty or fifty years ago. (Just don't depend on me to remember my dental appointment, or where I put the car keys.) And thus for the rest of the night I "wrote" the story of Loonville. I hope to share it with you in dribs and drabs from time to time. How do Tuesdays sound? I think I'll do it on Tuesdays. So excited was I about this that I had to grab my steno pad and write the first installment before the computer was booted up.

The next one won't be handwritten. Stick with me.
© 2010 David W. Lacy

Monday, June 7, 2010

Honesty, Integrity and the Colonel

My friend, Bob, keeps up with everything that is anything on the internet and frequently shares his best finds with me. I received this one from him via email. There was no attribution, so I can only say, "Thanks, Bob!"

Our teacher asked us what our favorite animal was, and I said, "Fried chicken." She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, everyone else in the class laughed.

My parents told me to always be truthful and honest, and I am. Fried chicken is my favorite animal. I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love animals very much. I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef.

Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office. I told him what happened, and he laughed too. Then he told me not to do it again. The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was. I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, just like she'd asked the other children. So I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken. She sent me back to the principal's office again. He laughed, and told me not to do it again.

I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am. Today, my teacher asked us to tell her what famous person we admire most.

I told her, "Colonel Sanders".

Guess where I am now...

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Cornus Drummondii

About four years ago, a little tree sprang up volunteer in our wild flower garden. Though BBBH demands that I obliterate the walnut trees that come up quite often (yes, squirrels) I persuaded her to let this little plant survive.

It has thrived and is now about eight feet tall. This is the beautiful June display it adds to the garden. Appears to be a rough-leaf dogwood. I think it meets the definition of "wildflower." But if it gets so big as to shade the entire plot, I suspect it will have to go.

For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.--Luke 6:44

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wizard of Westwood

There is probably no one in the state of Indiana over the age of eight who does not know who John Wooden was. Championship high school basketball star, All-American, Purdue University.
Wooden's life was devoted to the game, but more importantly to the teaching of ethics and proper living.

As head coach at UCLA, Wooden led the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships, of which seven were in consecutive years. He coached for 27 years and at one point had 88 consecutive wins!

Family man, teacher, coach, author, Wooden is held up by parents as the kind of man they want their sons to grow up to be. Story here:

John Wooden October 14, 1910 - June 4, 2010 RIP

Scroll down for today's regular post.

Double Dog Dare

Last evening, BBBH and I took a ride around our county. We were 3.7 miles from home when we ran out of fuel. Vehicle gets 75 mpg and we ran out of gas? True. But Beautiful was prepared-- she had her phone. A call to friend Richard, a twenty minute wait, and we were back on the road again. Thank you, Richard. Cornfield views are toward three of the four cardinal points of the compass. The fourth view looked much the same. That's my size eleven at the base of the corn plant. "Knee-high by the Fourth of July" is such an outdated saying. This corn lacked four inches reaching my waist. I'm six foot three.
Game on. Go to picture collection; go to eighth folder, then post eighth picture in the folder.

This is it. No lie, no cheating. Trust me, I so wanted not to choose this one.

Taken Christmas 2006. If I really looked this old three and one-half years ago, and pictures don't lie, I shudder to think what a picture today would look like. Well, I'll just keep the shutter closed.

Growl: This is what I get for participating in these blogger challenges. Do you dare to risk it?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Third Grade

Washington School, Canon City: Grades 3 & 4. Building no longer exists, only the bell.

Oh, Frabjeous Day! School's out, teacher's let the monkeys out. "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks."

But short-lived, and all too soon September returns again. The boy is going to a "new" school this year. That is to say, to the building where is housed grades three through five. I don't know why this structure, I just report, you decide. The main change in the school day routine is that now instead of walking half-mile to the north, The Boy must walk half-mile south.

Total report on inside-the-classroom for this year: 1) The Boy got his knuckles whacked once for something or other, and 2) he could not tell you the name of the teacher if his life literally depended upon it.

On the playground, the little guy found his metier, so to speak. For his father had taught him the correct method of shooting marbles. He was virtually undefeatable. The favorite game was a "golf" style game played with a rectangular array of holes in the dirt, with a fifth hole in the center. Plenty of marbles were thrown into a ring, too, and The Boy could knock the dickens out of them. There was, however, a small problem attendant to this exercise, which was The Boy, son of a preacher man, was not allowed, in fact was taught it was wrong, to play for "keeps." He could have been the richest marble miser on the East Slope of the Rockies, if only.

Yet another entertainment, almost as important as the playing of marbles itself, was the trading of marbles. The kids had them all categorized and had developed some sort of table of values in their heads, a virtual Kelly Blue Book of marbledom. The Boy specialized in the collection of "cons" (he lived in a prison town.) This required shrewd dealing, because cons* were worth three or four, or even more glassies.

Oooh, how The Boy hated to hear the bell that ended recess. Ended life, really it did, until the next time they were released to the playground.

*Cons were basic white marbles with gray striping. Get it?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Delbert

Today is the birthday of my third-born, my first son, Delbert. He is a loving husband, father and grandfather. He goes to his job daily to keep our community supplied with clean, safe drinking water.
Top row: A one-year old; Delbert's sixth birthday; his Mom and Dad; toddlin' around.
Center: Delbert with wife, son & daughter-in-law and grandchildren; his daughter; his younger son; Delbert and the love of his life.
Bottom: Three months old; with his maternal grandfather; his Mom is in this picture with her parents and her siblings; oops, how did that get in here twice?
Happy Birthday, Delbert!
We love you.
The frame of the collage is the exact silver of the birthday boy's hair.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lou Gehrig

Henry Louis Gehrig was born on June 19, 1902. On June 2, 1925, Yankee manager Miller Huggins put Gehrig in the lineup as first baseman. This was the first game of a record-setting run for the young ballplayer. He played in 2130 consecutive games. He was the first major league player to hit four homeruns in a single game, June 3, 1932. He holds the record for the most career grand slams.

The "Iron Horse" died on June 2, 1941 of ALS, which has become known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."

Image: Wikipedia

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Second Grade

..................Jefferson School, Canon City, Colorado: Grades 1 and 2

Back in January and February, I related a couple of experiences of The Boy as a first grade student here and here. Yesterday I visited the local elementary school for a while, realizing that next week summer vacation begins and I had not yet visited my youngest grandson's class this year. The little redheaded rascal studiously pretended I wasn't present until I called him on it. He whispered into my ear, "That girl next to me doesn't know who you are." Thanks, Brayt. And apparently you don't want her to know, either.

So, preamble. Now the point. This reminded me that I had said earlier that I might go through my own school experiences grade by grade. I've been thinking about that. Which brings us to second grade. You may recall from first grade that The Boy was attending a primary school which consisted of grades one and two. Now as this new school year begins, The Boy is a part of the "big kid" group; and of course, since last-year's second graders have moved on, there can be no payback, thus we pay it forward by perpetrating the same meanness on the first graders that was bestowed on us the previous year. And thus it has always been. "King of the Hill" syndrome always afflicts those at the highest grade level in a building. Second-graders if the school is K-2; fifth-graders in a K-5 setting or 6th graders. Okay you get the drift.

But this isn't really about the social pecking order. It is supposed to be about the memories of The Boy as a seven-year old. Here it is. The teacher's name was Miss Cain. No idea whether it was Miss or Mrs. But I do know it was not Ms., which may have been an abbreviation for "manuscript." But The Boy did not know that.

As the class was learning cursive "penmanship" they got a lot of instruction in the use of pen and paper. Yes, pen and inkwell into which the pen was dipped. The frustration attendant to the learning of the Palmer Method was intense. It even may have affected the instructor, for the lad too well remembers the grasping of the elbow and the attempt on Miss Cain's part to get the arm to swing freely as it made the unending /////////// or OOOOOOOOO. (Imagine these are connected, cursive style.) She could have been gentler.

One other memory is the "hygiene" chart kept on the bulletin board right next to the classroom door. On it was recorded daily the physical cleanliness of each student. Teeth brushed? Fingernails clean? Washed behind the ears? Hair combed? Stars or no stars, you know. Sheeeeesh.

That, no lie, is the sum total of The Boy's memory of second grade. Well, that and the "walking twelve miles through the snow waist deep" to get there.