Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Century Ago

A few days ago, I took this volume from the bookcase. I have been enjoying the perusal of the children's reading material, 1909. A mere one hundred years ago, ten and eleven year old tykes were reading this. The heroes were such as the gentleman pictured in the frontispiece. I found no mention of "Power Rangers" or Harry Potter.
If you can magnify this preface, you might read a statement of the aims of the compilers for the youngsters who were exposed to this. I'll assist you a bit. The penultimate paragraph says,
"As the best literature makes a distinct moral appeal to the reader, it is evident that the subtle influence of such selections as this book contains will help boys and girls to live more happily and helpfully." (Double click on the image to enlarge.)
As there are nearly 400 pages in the book and since there are about 100 authors represented, it would be too tedious to list the contents, but a suggestion thereof might be made by listing just a few of the authors represented. Some of them are Robert Browning; Edward Everett Hale; William Cullen Bryant; Helen Hunt Jackson; Henry David Thoreau; John Milton; John Bunyan; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Louisa May Alcott; James Whitcomb Riley; Robert Burns; James Fenimore Cooper; Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Benjamin Harrison. I think you may get the idea.
I offer here no moralizing, no judgments; but I do ask that you reflect on this a bit. You might look at your kids' current reading materials as you do so.
Good day.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Interstate Highway System

Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956

was signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower, June 29, 1956.   Been somewhere, or going somewhere?  Or using products delivered by truck?  You are the beneficiary of this federal project.

Does one say "happy birthday" to a road project?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Jesus and Paul

As I move into my fourth year of teaching, I leave my position and move to a new situation.  As my trustee told me, Sure, we hire the young teachers, train them, then they move on for more money.  I took a position at School in a Soybean Field, a small 1-8 school, as teacher of sixth grade and science teacher for grades five through eight.  Thus it was that three periods a day my homeroom class was under the care of another teacher while I made the rounds of grades five, seven, and eight to instruct in science.

In my homeroom was a young man, Paul Ramirez, whose family were migrant farm workers.*  In the fifth grade was his brother, Jesus.  Two boys could hardly have been more different; they could have been from different planets rather than from the same home.

Paul was a dedicated student who had determined to get the most from his limited opportunities for an education.  He spoke and wrote immaculate English, and his grades were solidly in the "A" range in all subjects.  In the introductory paper at the beginning of the year, Paul delineated his ambitions and hopes for the future.  He asserted that following university he would enroll in medical school, and he had already set his sights on Baylor.  His aim in becoming a doctor?  He would follow the migrant stream from the south all the way into Michigan, then back again to the Rio Grande Valley in the late fall to provide medical attention and wellness instruction to the people, for this was an area of great need.

I once asked Paul if he had been christened "Paul."  No, actually, he said, my birth name is Pablo.  I just think Paul is easier and more readily received and it is the same, anyway.  Mama calls me "Pablo."  This from an eleven year old boy.

Jesus was a year younger than Paul, and though he was in fifth grade it was clearly a placement he had earned simply by staying alive year after year, for he had no academic record to support that placement.  Jesus was not dull-witted or lacking in basic intelligence.  This I know, for while he obstinately and steadfastly refused to learn English, I communicated with him via the expedient of using his brother as translator.  I asked if he knew English but refused to use it.  No.  His Mama spoke Spanish, his Papa spoke Spanish, so he too would use Spanish.  Had you not picked up some English over the years simply by being exposed to it?  No.  I get what I want; why do I need language?  Do you have any ambition?  What are you going to be when you grow up?  I am good worker;  I will pick fruit and plant crops like my Mama and Papa.

This vignette could be utilized as an illustration for so many things.  I choose not to be judgmental even though Jesus frustrated the living daylights out of me when I was his teacher.  Teachers often find themselves in the position of having higher aspirations for some students than the students have for themselves.  And yet...

*Thousands of farm workers follow the labor needs of agriculture, starting in the deep south and moving northward, finally going back to the South, usually in late October.  Thus so far as students are concerned, in our area we usually had the youngsters in our charge from early May through mid-October.  In a different school from the one in which this tale is set, I have taught in the summer migrant program, learning sufficient Spanish to tell my charges "No!" in their native tongue.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday, Architecture

Adams at Independence
 Southwest corner
 Northwest corner
 Northeast corner
Southeast corner


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Butler and Other Funny Business

Samuel Butler was an English author, born 1835, died 1902.  My attention to Mr. Butler was directed by my re-reading of  Poor H. Allen Smith's Almanac in which I found this snippet:

"On his deathbed Samuel Butler indicated that he wanted to say something, and what he wanted to say was that he had once written that life was ninety-nine per cent chance and now he wished to correct this figure to one hundred per cent."

A couple or three* additional Butler quotes:

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but a little want of knowledge is also a dangerous thing.

All Animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.

A drunkard would not give money to sober people.  He said they would only eat it, and buy clothes and send their children to school with it.

*Did I ever tell you about the third-grade teacher on my staff whom I could drive up the wall by incorporating the phrase "a couple or three" into the conversation?  She was a very nice young lady from Michigan upon whose ear certain "Hoosierisms" grated, and hence the dickens that lives within me could not resist planting them occasionally.  Where are you now, Lauren?  Well and happy, I hope.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Random, Very Random

It has been a day.  Detail would not edify you.  Then it occurred to me that I had no post ready for the four ayem posting.

I thought about the day, the thoughts, the sights, the experiences and still, it would not edify you for me to elucidate.

Aha!  I thought.  I shall get random.  I am sitting at the old computer upstairs, seldom used old computer which has old, seldom viewed pictures stored on its hard drive.  (BBBH is watching a 48 hours or something similar mystery, a sort of programming that does not appeal to me; hence I am sitting at the...)

Thus I pulled up the Pictures, shot the cursor at a random folder, and here we are.  Six years ago we were frozen in time, posing in these Western-style shirts.  Have you seen our shirts?  No, seriously, they are missing.  I know, I know, you are thinking "Why would you care, if the shirts are that old?"

1.  We only buy stuff we like.
2.  We don't necessarily keep stuff forever, but we "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."
3.  I bought my shirt at an open-air market in Black Canyon City, Arizona, hence there is an aura of nostalgia and fond memories about it.
4.  We hate to lose stuff.

Somewhere in time, say probably three years ago, we had worn these shirts to an event (definition of event: going to dinner at the local restaurant on Senior Night.)  The next time we wanted these shirts, we could not find them.  Nor have we yet found them.

Seriously, have you seen our shirts?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

They That are with Us

The King of Syria came down upon Israel. He counseled with his men, saying we shall camp just there. But Elisha warned the King of Israel to avoid that spot; and this happened yet again, and again. The Syrian King was so vexed that he called his cabinet together and demanded, “Which of you is for Israel? And they answered and said, “None of us. It is Elisha that tells the Israelite King even those most secret words you speak in your bedroom.”
 Then the King demanded to know where this Elisha person was, and it was told him that he was in Dothan. So he sent a great host of men with horses and chariots down to Dothan by night, and surrounded the city. When Elisha’s servant arose and went out he beheld this sight. He ran to Elisha and said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?" And Elisha answered and said, “Chill. Have no fear: for they that are with us are more than they that are with them.” and he prayed and said, “Lord, open his eyes that he may see; and the young man’s eyes were opened and he saw. The mountain was filled with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

When the Syrians came down to him, Elisha again prayed, “Lord, smite these people blind.” and so it was. Then the Man of God told them, “This is not the way, nor is it the city. Come, I will take you to the man you seek.” So he took them into Samaria and prayed the Lord to open their eyes. And when they saw, they beheld that they were in the midst of Samaria. And the Israelite King said to Elisha, “My father, shall I smite them?”

“Nah,” said Elisha. You wouldn’t smite those that you captured by the sword and the bow. Set food and water before them that they may eat and drink, then send them on their way. The Syrians ceased for a time from pestering Israel.  (Based on 2 Kings 6)

What are we to take away from this account?
1.  Elisha was not called "the Man of God" for nothing.
2.  Elisha kept his cool in a troubling circumstance.
3.  Elisha prayed, not once, but at each turn of events.
4.  Elisha saw clearly God's power in the event.
5.  Finally, Elisha dispensed mercy when he could have just as easily meted out death.
What key phrase should we commit to our heart's storehouse?
--They that be with us are more than they that be with them."--
  When we give control to God, there is no foe who can overcome us, for He provides a    host sufficient to overpower the evil that would swamp us.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hair Today, Hair Tomorrow

If it seems to you that these people look somewhat familiar and yet they are much too young to be anyone you know here in Perfect, that is understandable.  It is a much younger vanilla with his young bride, for this was taken about a month before our marriage.

My hair is much whiter, and so is the 'stache.  The eyebrows are still black, though!  The furrows are a little deeper and possibly more numerous.  But I can still rise from bed in the morning and for that I am truly grateful.

The Lady, though, hasn't changed all that much.  You said I'm angling for points?  Shame on you.
What has changed is the length of the hair.  She has adopted a much shorter style, not so much to be stylish (she is a fanatic about looking her best, and I am glad of that) as to follow the convention that older women should have shorter hair.

So last evening she said to me, "I'm thinking of letting my hair grow again.  What do you think?"  Which brings me to the point of  bringing such personal stuff to the blogosphere.  I am asking those of you who are of the feminine persuasion, "What do you think?"

jsyk, BBBH is a professional cosmetologist.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Robert C. Orr, Gentleman and Scholar

My friend Bob died Wednesday.  I first met Bob forty-seven years ago when he was hired to teach in the school where I was employed.  The staircase from the first floor in the old building landed on the second floor in front of Bob's classroom.  An abrupt ell to the left, and one was on the long hallway.  My classroom was first on the right.  Given this geography, you will understand how it was that Bob and I patrolled the passing periods together at the head of the stairway and the junction of the halls.

Bob stayed with us for a mere two years, then he returned to his hometown school where he had previously taught, and where he ultimately finished his career in public education.  But our friendship continued.  I have spent time in his home, and we exchanged written correspondance over the years-- pen and paper, you understand, for Bob did not possess a computer, and in fact he got his first cell phone when a neighbor purchased it for him a year ago.

While Robert and I shared many principles and beliefs, we often found opportunities to enlighten one another.  What I am saying is that we conducted true conversation in which we were able to share our innermost thoughts and ideas.  This is extremely difficult for me to write, for it keeps going through my mind that I've precious few such friends, and this one will no longer converse with me.

Bob and his wife Phyllis lived on the farm, the homeplace where Bob was born and grew up about eight miles from town.  Whenever this couple came into town to conduct any business, or just to pick up some library books, the two of them were always dressed to the nines, looked like they had just stepped out of the bandbox, so to speak.  Even during the twenty-five year struggle with Bob's various cancers, they never let their sartorial guard down!

During the course of his final few months I visited him in the hospital or nursing home, or his residence in assisted living facility.  His medical team played roulette with Bob and these facilities, and fortunately for visitors, they were all located within a few hundred yards of each other.  When I last called a few days ago, he was clearly on the final mile of his journey, but he did open one eye, muttered, "Hi, Dave. Thanks for coming."  Then he tuned out again.

Sagamore of the Wabash, Honorary Lieutenant Governor, Distinguished Hoosier, humanitarian, friend, Bob will be laid to rest Sunday afternoon about a mile from his home.

Robert was a true friend and will be sorely missed by this old man.

Robert Cooper Orr, 91, of Tipton died at 4:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Can you not see the adoration they have for one another?

The cake says it all.  Huge gathering of family and select friends of the happy couple in honor of their anniversary.

The party was hosted by Mark's brother Craig and sister-in-law Kim at their fabulous summer home on the lake.

vanilla with the eldest of the thirteen children,  Carl, who drove more than eight hours from Southcentral Missouri to help his brother celebrate.

Needless to say, the time was much too short, but daylight must fade, and this elderly gentleman had to head home.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nearly Wordless Wednesday


Day 42

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


We broke off our tour of the farm, jumped into the cars and headed into downtown Berne, hoping to arrive in time to watch the characters parade around the clock tower at noon.  We arrived in time and following the tolling of the twelfth "bong" of the clock, the glockenspiel started.  The doors opened and the parade began.  It was interesting, and of course in our twentieth century mindset we were speculating as to the cost to the city to provide such a lovely park for our enjoyment.

, After the parade completed its second loop, the doors closed and we drove a few blocks down the street to a quaint little cafe/antique store where we put on the feedbag.  The coupon in the tourists' brochure enabled us to procure two meals for the price of one.  Trust me; people who've crossed the threshold of three score and ten delight in this sort of thing.

Following our lunch we returned to the farm.  Our docent had waited patiently for our return and we immediately set out to complete our tour.  After the barn and the log cabin, this camper had reached his maximum capacity for touring, so he repaired to the vehicle where he immediately fell into his postprandrial nap.  Fortunately while it was not cool, it was comfortable.  Soon enough the rest of the crew arrived and we headed back to the park with only one stop, and that at the cheese factory.  The product really isn't any cheaper than it is in your local supermarket, but the variety is amazing, and tourists love this sort of thing. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Excursion to the 19th Century

 Eighteen of us piled into four vehicles and made the drive from Ouabache State Park to Berne, a distance of perhaps 18 miles.  We arrived at the Swiss Heritage Farm and Museum where we were treated to a tour of the premises and some interesting history.
This area was settled in the mid-nineteeth century by Swiss immigrants.  Not only is the first picture representative of transportation in earlier times, it is the primary mode of transportation yet today for those who adhere to certain of the Amish traditions.
In the museum there was a chart in time-line form delineating the history of the Mennonite, Amish and Brethern sects.  This particularly fascinated me as I have long known just enough about the history of these Believers to be void of a clear understanding of the development of the traditions.  Over the years there have been numerous splits and  mergers of the various conferences but they all have a common heritage, their roots in Swiss history.
The magnificent red barn on the property was not built where it now sits, but was moved-- imagine that-- moved, not dismantled, from its original site some miles distant.  The interior is most impressive and one gets the sense that this thing was built to withstand the ravages of time.
Our visit to the schoolhouse resulted in a "lesson" from Miss Charlotte who gave us a brief history of the development of education in the Northwest Territory.  A section in each township was set aside for the support of a public school.  While school attendance was not mandatory, it was the law in the territory that each child must have the opportunity for a public education.  Many of us in the classroom were retired teachers, and for us this was a review of some things we had already learned. 
The farmhouse, like the barn, was built to last.  Those timbers used in the construction will still be solid at the resurrection of the saints.  I photographed the ceiling in the kitchen, shown here, because it exemplifies the handiwork of these pioneers.  Remember, no power tools, and all the lumber started out as standing trees on the farm.  The garden was in the front yard of the home, because it was the pride and joy of the occupants who depended on it for sustenance and hundreds of quarts of produce were canned every summer to tide them over the winter.  (Just as it was at home when I was a kid.)
Finally, a most impressive stop next to the apple orchard.  Here was the cider mill.  On our way over BBBH said, Oh, I've seen cider presses.  Indeed.  But we had never seen one like this, which is said to be the largest cider press in the world.  The principal beam shown here weighs well over four thousand pounds.  The screw was carved, by hand of course, from a single log. 
Enlightening tour, fun day.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Remembering Dad on Fathers' Day...

...and every day of my life.
Delbert W. Lacy
1910 - 1999

My father

My sister wrote the definitive tribute.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Off to Town, Tra La!

 The bike ride to town yielded some interesting observations.  First, note the blue sky!  It has been dry, the grass in the lawn is going to seed.  BBBH wanted to mow, but I said, "Let it seed.  Maybe it'll fill in some spots that need it."  Ever the optimist.

 The state highway workers were painting the crosswalk stripes.  The job seems to have required six men and two trucks; you know, one to run the blower to get the dust off, one to run the paint machine to lay the stripe, one to stand in the middle of the street with an orange sign, and three to watch the proceedings.  I am gratified to note that we, the public, are doing our part to ease the unemployment situation.

I arrived at the library to find this art display extending thirty feet along the sidewalk.  This immediately prompted memories.

Forty years ago this fall we opened a new school campus housing an elementary school and a middle school.  Quite early in the year, an art teacher asked me if she might allow the children to do chalk drawings on the walkways in an inner courtyard between the library and the fifth grade classrooms.  I thought it a splendid idea, and the kiddos went to work.  What talent, what effort, what a lot of colored chalk they used!  I was invited to view the final result.  I surveyed the entire area very carefully and with real appreciation.  The kids eagerly awaited my assessment.  "It is gorgeous, it is fantastic!" I exclaimed, then proceeded to comment on each area of work.  "What about this one?  Do you like this?"  It was an exciting moment in life of a new school and a new school year.

At 12:35 the following morning the phone awakened me.  Heart thumping, mind racing, for a call this time of night had always been bad news in my experience, I picked up the receiver and managed to mumble a "hello."

"Lacy," a voice demanded, "did you authorize that disfigurement of the grounds that that art teacher allowed in the courtyard?"  Before he finished the question I realized it was my boss, the Superintendent of Schools.  Hastily determining that conservation of words and the briefest and most honest answer would best serve the situation, I replied, "Yes, sir.  I did."  He grunted a "Huh," and said, "Goodnight, then."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ouabache State Park

"Ouabache is difficult to spell, but easy to pronounce. Simply say 'Wabash'...just like the river that forms the southwest boundary for the park. This is the French spelling of an Indian word, so don't be surprised to hear some folks call it o-ba-chee.
"Kunkel Lake offers excellent fishing. During the summer months, a naturalist will provide information about the natural wonders of the park. A lodge recreation building is ideal for special gatherings and is now available all year."  --Indiana DNR

We are home from three days and three nights at Oubache State Park with our gang.  This lovely spot is just east of Bluffton and about twenty-five miles south of Fort Wayne.  Perfect weather, fun fellowship, and a trip to Berne that I might share with you sometime next week!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Whut th' ?

Fixing a spot of lunch as I do betimes, I decided on coldcuts, pickles and chips. Since I had made roast beef last time, I decided to open a new packet of luncheon meat which Beautiful likes much more than I do. Anyway, this vacuum-sealed pack had teeny-tiny white printing on a corner of the back of the packet which said, "Peel Here." As you can see in the picture above, I did get the rackin' flippin' corkin' snockin' layers separated. Then I tried to "peel.' I finally, by grasping one side with a dishcloth to reduce slippage, managed to peel back a couple of inches. But no farther. Considered getting a couple pair of pliers-- stupid.  Got the scissors and proceeded to open the packet.  I stored what I didn't use in GladWrap.  Thank you, Fiskars; no thanks to Eckrich.

And what is with the "Resealable" packages we are doubtless paying extra for these days?  Have we all run out of spring-loaded clothes pins?  This idea is actually rather clever, I discovered after destroying a couple of them trying to open the sack.  The problem is that it is a "run your finger down the strip" closure, the which I am almost never able to work, or if I do, I leave the teeniest space open.  Stale chips.  Yecccch!