Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nesco Roaster

We were guests at a welcoming home on Thanksgiving Day, but Sunday will see Thanksgiving guests in our home.  So Friday morning I went to the barn and got the Nesco roaster.  I brought it in, polished it, and set it up, ready to receive the turkey.

I mentioned to BBBH that the appliance was vintage 1949.  She seemed a bit incredulous, so I typed "1949 nesco roaster" into the search engine, and behold!

Our roaster is identical to the one pictured, sans cabinet, which was an optional extra.  It is being pressed into its sixty-fifth year of service in giving Thanksgiving the bird.

If you bigify the picture, you may see that the National Enamel and Stamping Company asserts that this is their Golden Jubilee edition of the roaster.  Think about that.  These things have evidently been around since Eve was fixing dinner for Adam and Cain.  Excellent appliance, well-made, and still cooking!

Our roaster.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving in the Bowl #T

Did I tell you about the time we had but one bird and thirty-five people for Thanksgiving?  Well, your Aunt Grace decide we gonna be thankful whether we had anythin' or not.  She didn't miss hardly a fambly member, sayin' to 'em all, "We gonna have Thanksgiving over to our place this year.  Jep and me has been blessed, and we'd be disappointed you didn't join us."  Now in the manner of the times, I guess we had been blessed.  We was still alive, and we managed to scrape somethin' together each day to keep our souls connected to the bodies.

It was Dust Bowl days, doncha know, and nobody had much a nothin'.  We was much better off 'n many around us, 'cause we had saved a little coin which I had failed to put in the bank back in '29.  Always was a bit leery them suited guys with they green visors.  So anyway, we weren't total broke, and I gone up to Canon where I was able to get a few things, couple hunnert weight a cracked corn, hunnert pound a cornmeal, pinto beans, enough for the whole town.  So it looked like beans and cornbread for some time to come.  I'ma thinkin' you was maybe three, four years old at the time, 'cause your Mama and Daddy come on down for Thanksgivin'.

Anyways, when I left Canon to come on home, I stopped by Arly's over to Florence and wha'd'ye reckon?  Ol' Arly had hisself half-dozen turkeys he'd been nursin' along.  Scrawny they was, too, eatin' what they could scratch up.  Arly give me one a them birds, insisted I have it, so I tuk hit.  Well, I bring that bird home, and glory be! I have all that cracked corn and two months 'til Thanksgiving.  Well, son, I kept that bird pretty close, pen him up in the ol' tool shed.  Yessir.  Fed him good and give him more water than I tuk myself.  Well, talk about surprises!  When people start gatherin' in our house on that Thursday mornin', the aroma like to knock 'em down, hit smell so great.  Some a the fambly had had little enough, and then some, when it come to meat in Lord only knows when.

Well, your Aunt Grace had kept the winders sheeted over purty good, and the sugar and flour were kept wrapped tightly and inside half-gallon Mason jars.  Couldn't set out a sugar bowl, nor even keep it in a cabinet, 'cause even with a lid on hit, the dust would just natural get inside.  Gritty sugar ain't fit'n to use.  So Grace had been bustlin' around two days gettin' fixed for dinner on Thanksgivin'.  Now she only invited people to come, she never ask them to bring anything, but they all come with they hands full, and those ladies were bringin' the best they had.  Why Marcella Dean, you know Marcella, her'n Larry brought they six kids along, but Marcella make the best "apple" pie you can imagine from nothin' more'n pie crust, sody crackers, and vinegar and sugar.  I don't rightly know how she done it.

Anyway, the feast was on, and Grace would have it no other way but that she would make a little speech afore we et.  And she lay it on.  She said as how times had been bad for a long time, and some folk was gettin' discouraged.  Why the whole Palmer tribe, she says, done lit out for Cally-forny, and if we was all givin' up, wouldn't be nothin' here no more but tumble-down shacks and rattlesnakes.  And wouldn't you know, like right on cue in a stage play or somethin', Fred Baker speaks up and says, "Let the snakes have 'er.  She ain't no good no more no how."

And Grace let him have it.  "That," she says, "is just what I'ma talkin' 'bout.  This is Thanksgivin', and y'all need to be thankful.  Be thankful that we are still a makin' it.  Be thankful that we have loved ones who care about us and would give the shirt off'n they back to he'p ary one of us.  Y'all buckle in, keep the faith, he'p one another and pray, I mean pray like you believe the promises of God, and pray some more, day and night.  We will be okay.  Now Darryl, please to offer thanks to the Good Lord over these vittles, and we'll tuck into 'em!"

So right then and there the prayer meetin' start, but hit warn't so drawed out thet the food get cold!  No sir, we done justice to that spread, let me tell you.  And that bird with the fixin's fed them thirty-five people plum easy.  And the prayin' continue, and behole, the very next Fall the drought breaks and the rains come.  And then, well we are still here, hain't we?

© 2013 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Be Ye Thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the US of A.  Now, everyday should be a day of thanksgiving, for scripture tells us,

" In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  (I Thessalonians 5:18)

Yet it is meet and right that we have set aside a specific Day of Thanksgiving, for it is a reminder to us that we should live with an attitude of thanksgiving.

And besides, there is football!

Happy Thanksgiving.  May all your days be richly blessed!

And do stop by here again on Thanksgiving Day.  I have a feeling Uncle Jep is fixin' to spin us a yarn of Thanksgiving on the High Plains.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Geosynchronous Orbit

twinkle, twinkle in the sky
22000 miles from my eye
pretty lights of red and green
from my front door can be seen
on a night so cold and clear
satellite, why are you here?
so your xm won’t fade away
as you listen all the day

and night.

Through the eye of the point-and-shoot camera.

 Blowup shows colors of the lights.

How difficult is it to hold the camera still at 26x?
I need a tripod.  And a more sophisticated camera.

This geosynchronous satellite is visible from our front door whenever the night sky is clear.  To the naked eye its position varies very little from night to night.  I believe this particular object is situated at 85.0 degrees west longitude. For a scientific explanation of this, you will need to look elsewhere.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 24

I did not know her as a girl, but Ellie gave me the last seventeen years of her life as my wife, my friend, my companion.

She departed this Earthly life fifteen years ago today.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Guess Who?

What very powerful man, third largest property owner in New York City, being imprisoned, escaped and worked as a common seaman on a Spanish ship?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Courtship in the Valley #T

Did I tell you about the time Milo Cain come over from Rocky Ford to court your Cousin Jean? Well, it were melon harvest 'n Milo come on down with a load a them melons in his ol' Dodge truck.  Now, he was hopin' to peddle them thangs along the way, an' he got all the way to Lamar, an' there he struck out-- couldn't get shed a more'n half 'n 'em.  So he drove on over here with a gob lot a them left in the truck. Milo tried to get Tom Rankin to take 'em off his hands.  Tom tuk but a dozen, so then Milo hit up Slocum over to the hardware, and Fred says, "Sure.  Stack 'em up right there in front a the store and put a 'Free' sign on 'em."

Well, if'n he were gonna have the truck free to gallivant around in, I mean he was hopin' to take Jean to Syracuse for a show, and well, you know.  So he stacked 'em and give 'em away.  And Rankin were some mad.  I mean he had a whole four bits in the dozen he got, and now they's worthless.  Now Tom weren't one to let someone beat him outa hard cash and get away with it.  He'd think a somethin'.

Anyways, the Fates or whatsoever is in charge a Tom Rankin's fortunes was smilin', snickerin' prolly, 'cause who should blow into town while ol' Milo was a washin' and cleanin' of his truck but Theodore Larkin from back home.  Now, it was knowed far and wide that Theodore was a "catch" but so far no one had catch him.  And where should he park that Lincoln V-12 but smack afront a Tom's store.  Well, Teddy Boy strolled in the front door, give the bell hangin' atop it a extry jingle, and with that big ol' grin he most allus wore says, "Oh, Tommy Boy, guess who's gracin' this burg and this lowly den of commerce with his stellar presence?  Why, indeedy, it is I, Theodore James Larkin, just in from the glorious Cumberlands, and here to dazzle this village for, oh, who knows how long?"

Tom mought not a been thrilled with Ted's advertisin' a hisself, but he instantly see a opportunity.  He sidles over to that handsome lad, slips a arm 'round his shoulder and says, "You are a sight for sore eyes!  Hey, Teddy, old pal, do you recollect that Jean Larson, come up from the Clinch?  Why, she's a beauty if'n I ever see one, an' she is to home right this instant.  Lonely?  I reckon yearnin' is whut she is."

So Milo's truck was all shiny and clean with no place to go.  'Ceptin' home.

© 2013 David W. Lacy

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Boy's Life in the Palace

David SM Maggiore.jpgIn 2 Samuel chapter three and continued in chapter five, we find a listing of the names of the sons of David.  The count runs to seventeen, not counting children by concubines to whom he was not married. The last name on the list is Eliphalet.  Perhaps David knew at the birth of this child that it would be his last, and thus the name which means “God delivers me”  takes on meaning.  I would have been relieved, too, to see the last of a string of offspring such as that. Other than his place in this list, which also appears in the Chronicles, there is no scriptural mention of Eliphalet.

Picture this.  The child, say four years of age, is wandering around the palace attempting to entertain himself when he turns quickly and runs into the hall leading to the throne room.  And wham! He runs smack into the knees of his regal parent who is headed to a conference with his ministers and generals.  The King grasps the boy by the shoulders and says, “Whose little rugger are you?”
“I am the King’s son, Sire.”
“Oh, really.  I lose track.  What is your name?”
“Eliphalet, by your leave, Sire.”
“Oh.  Oh-ho!  Run along then.  Daddy has things to do.”

So it is that the child runs to his mother’s oda and excitedly bursts into the room.  “Mama,” he cries, “I just talked to Abba in the great hall!”
“And did he talk to you?” his mother enquired.
“Oh, yes, Mama.  He asked me my name!”
“Very well, then, Eliph.  You should go at once to your chamber and record this on your calendar, for it is indeed a memorable day, and very likely the last time your father shall ever speak to you.”

Stature of King David by Nicholas Cordier

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Beauty of Autumn

I've not done much by way of fall pictures this year.  Haven't taken many for some reason, and have posted even fewer.  On this particular autumn afternoon I was at the end of our street, some 400 yards north of the house.  There is a ditch at the edge of the road debouching into a nearby creek.  The little woods is not deep, but it is interesting.  The railroad track is just beyond the woods.

I snapped these two shots from the same spot using a slightly different angle for each.  I took only these two because someone coming up behind me seemed to be hoping I would get out of the road.  So I did.  Yet I am rather pleased with these pictures, so I am sharing them with you.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Preacher Mama #T

Did I tell you about the time your Mama hold a revival meetin' over to Haswell?  Oh, yes, she tol' you about it, but I hain't.  This was afore your Mama met your Daddy.  So anyways, your Mama and her sister Min go over to Haswell to sing and play the music for Preacher Cubbins whilst he's preachin' the salvation message to them heatherns over there.  So Min borry they brother's ol' Essex and drives 'em on over to Haswell.

Now Lars Banks has a farm, sorry place it were, too, just th'other side a town.  Scarce a jackrabbit could make a livin' there, but people done it.  Miz Banks, that's Eula Banks, was no doubt the kindest Christian lady whut ever walk God's green earth, Miz Banks had that whole gospel crew over to her house, bedded 'em down, fed 'em three squares a day, she did.  Eula grow up in Missoura, you know, lived over to Laquey.  Her ma and pa come on over here with her when she was prolly twelve, thirteen.  Ol' Lars, he 'lowed as how he had need to be off to the mountains, up above Cotopaxi, or somewheres like that, on account it was the openin' a deer season.  He'd a had a good reason to be scarce around Haswell during these doin's no matter the time a year.  Leastways, I think so.

So one mornin' at the breakfast table, Min an' your Ma, Esther and Max Cubbins 'round the table and Miz Banks bustlin' 'round, pilin' on the hotcakes and keepin' the eggs and bacon comin', and Max, he's the preacher, ya know, up and says, "Esther 'n me got to get on down the road now.  We been here long's we kin stay. The Lord has released me from this charge."

 "Well, whut about the meetin'?" Miz Banks says.

 "I guess it would be over," says the preacher, "less'n these fine young ladies here would stay and keer on."

"Well," says Min, "As for me, I've had quite enough of this desolate place, and we have striv mightily to bring God to these people, and I think the Lord will excuse me to go on back home now."

And your Mama speak up and say, "The Lord has laid this place heavy on my heart, and I think there is yet someone here who needs to get saved.  I will stay so long as the Lord places a message on my tongue."

And that is how your Mama come to be a preacher.

© 2013 David W. Lacy

The true story on which this fictional account is based was published here two years ago.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's All about the Asterisk

This is the result of a rant I engaged in with respect to disclaimers as used in advertising.  If it turned political, so be it.

We were visiting daughter and son-in-law  I was glancing at a Meijer advertisement, specifically at the "turkey" section.  They were offering some sort of convoluted deal based on size of bird, location of store (maybe), and whether or not Saturn is rising in your sign.  (I made that up; I don't really know what the conditions were, because of the asterisk.  This always leads to a disclaimer, and this was no exception.  I skipped over most of the nonsense, but noted that the last line said something about "see page 8 for further qualifications and conditions.  (I am paraphrasing, but not making it up.)

I went into a rant mode, something to the effect that I could not understand why people couldn't publish a straightforward ad, "Turkey $1.29/lb." or whatever it is that is fair and honest.

Shari said, "You dislike disclaimers?  Here, check this one."  She handed me this:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tin Cup. This Time, Honest

Saturday we were at camp meeting, ostensibly telling the tale of the tin cup.  Yet the cup appeared only pictorially.

Camp meeting ran for ten full days, actually starting on a Thursday night and ending after the evening service on the second Sunday next.  Plenty of time for prayer, praise, preaching, potatoes, and palaver with many from near and far.

Now our camp meeting typically started in mid-June, running, for example from the sixteenth through the twenty-sixth.  The days were long, without doubt, and could get hot, more than likely.  Thirst, and not speaking here of spiritual thirst, could get intense.  But provisions were made!  On the south side of the kitchen, on the outside wall, was a standard bib, or faucet, which one could turn on to obtain water.  Yet a container for the refreshing elixir was required, so hanging on the bib was a tin cup.  A beautiful, standard tin cup was placed there for the convenience of one and all.

Thirsty, we never gave it a second thought.  One wonders how so many of us survived, even unto old age.  Yet even in that unenlightened (and probably better for it) time, there were one or two who did give it a thought.  I am thinking of Mrs. W, wife of one of the pastors on the district, a lady always dressed just a tiny cut above the run-of-the-mill "outfits" worn by most of the women.  So Mrs. W gets thirsty, as do we all.  She traipses up the walk to the spigot, reaches into her beautiful black calfskin purse and pulls out a ring-like object about two inches in diameter.  She grasps the nether portion of the ring in her left hand, the upper part in her right, and pulls.  Behold! it becomes a drinking cup!  She runs the water, quaffs her refreshment, takes a hankie from the purse and wipes the cup dry, folds it and returns it along with the handkerchief to her purse.  She ambles away.

Three of us kids standing nearby watched this little skit play out.  Just as she was, we hoped, out of earshot, two of us started snickering.  "Some people are too good for their own good," said Wes.  "Yeah," I chimed in, "I hope there was snot on her hankie."  "No, no.  Now stop that," said Andy, who was two years older than we, and therefore presumably wiser in the ways of the world.  "You should be grateful that she was considerate enough not to smear her cooties on our cup."

Gleeful laughter as we all skipped off to see what other wonders might appear to further enhance our day!

This was not our tabernacle, but it is a look-alike.

Monday, November 11, 2013

95 Years Ago

Armistice was declared on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the Year of Our Lord, 1918 to effect the cessation of hostilities in the "war to end all wars".

That war, now known as WWI, officially ended the following June upon the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1919, November 11 was declared by President Wilson to be "Armistice Day". It was made a legal holiday by an Act of Congress in 1938. In 1954, the day was declared by an Act of Congress and a Proclamation by President Eisenhower to be "Veterans Day" in honor of all who served in the Armed Forces, since the 'war to end all wars' had failed to accomplish the goal of ending all wars.

The Uniform Holiday Act of 1968 attempted to catch Veterans Day into the "Monday" federal holiday program, and Veterans Day was celebrated on October 25, 1971. It quickly became apparent that the American people would not stand still for this confusing slight to a much respected and honored holiday. Thus, in 1975, President Ford signed an Act of Congress into law which returned the celebration of our Service People to November 11, and since 1978 it has been so observed.

To all who served our country in the Armed Forces, thank you, thank you. Were it not for your sacrifices, we would be enslaved and impoverished. You stood up for us when we needed you.

Please thank a veteran today.

Reworked post from a previous November 11.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Of Its Abundance

Of its abundance the crab apple tree yielded  its sweet flavor 
So that on our toast and waffles this ambrosia we might savor

Thank you, Lord, for this provision.

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. --Song of Solomon 2:3

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Tin Cup

Seven decades ago we attended camp meeting.  Every year.

Camp meeting was held on the camp grounds.  The campgrounds had facilities for lodging.  It had a dining hall with kitchen.  And most importantly, it had a tabernacle.  A tabernacle is a huge roof supported by posts such that the effect is an outdoor meeting place, but roofed in to keep out the sun and the rain.  But not the birds and insects.  In fact the birds rather liked to nest in the rafters, and the mosquitoes rather liked the people, both of which made for some interesting occurrences during service from time to time.

The tabernacle had a gravel floor, but it was tiered such that everyone, more or less, had a good view of the platform which was elevated in the front of the auditorium.  Just before one got to the platform, there was a tier which was covered with wood shavings, sawdust, if you will, with the mourner's bench between this level and the platform.  This was called the altar, as in the song, "Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?"

Evangelistic preachers would come to hold the meeting.  The workers usually consisted of two preachers who alternated platform duties, and special singers, usually a young man and his wife who were talented in music.  Sometimes they were not so young, and had their whole family with them.

Now the routine went like this.  The bell-ringer traipsed over the entire grounds, missing none of the lodging places, ringing the rising bell promptly at six in the morning.  This gave people time to rise, say a few prayers, and be at the breakfast line by seven.  Stuff happened between breakfast and the first service at ten o'clock, but for us kids it was mostly a time to do stuff without the interference of adult supervision.  Though to be sure, the grounds were patrolled and mischief was not on the agenda.  Ten o'clock:  church service, the whole nine yards, and usually out by noon, except when the people that responded to the altar call were still trying to pray through.  Then the workers and a few of the faithful had to stay with them, trying to break through to heaven.  The rest of us went to lunch.

Church service again at 2:30.

Then supper in the dining hall at five-thirty.

Then the bell-ringer went about, announcing ring meeting.  Ring meeting was held outdoors, as if the tabernacle were not sufficiently outdoors.  People stood around in a ring on the lawn, sang songs, and gave their testimonies.  There was considerable shouting going on.  "Glory!"  "Hallelujah!"

The evening service began at 7:30.  This one was likely to last until well after bedtime for a normal nine-year old boy, because it was in this service that the devil's grip on people's souls must be broken.  The more people that could be swayed to come to the altar, the better.  Sometimes the "invitation" might require the singing of "Just as I Am,"  and "Almost Persuaded," with the "Sad, sad that bitter wail, almost, but lost" lines sung over and over, the preacher having long since worked himself into a lather, falls exhausted in front of the altar to pray, even as the singing continues.  The fellow-worker and the superintendent then are left to close out the invitation and get the prayer-meeting started for real.

This is the story of the tin cup.  To be continued Tuesday.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hallelujah Time on the Arkansas

Did I tell you about the time Preacher Partlow pitch a tent in Las Animas? Well, Preacher, he work across Kansas from Wichita to Syracuse a holdin' meetin's all along the way. Tuk him most a summer, too, on account he draw such crowds even in that godforsaken territory, well, any entertainment was better 'n nuthin', so as he offen stayed in one place three-four weeks. Well, he closed out in Syracuse on a Sunday night and a Monday he head on over to Las Animas. His old double A truck loaded to the gills, what with the tent, the accordion his wife played, and of course, his trombone and his trumpet. Now his was a small-time operation, doncha know, just him and his wife. His wife was Noreen Gibbs, you know, and afore she married Preacher she was purty well-knowed around Tulsa, on account a she had a voice people pay money to hear. They say she could paralyze the devil, and put the angels to shame. Anyway, people come to Preacher's meetin's to hear him play them horns and hear him preach. Orate was what he done. But it didn't hurt the draw none to have Noreen on the platform with him. And when she close out the evenin' with “Just as I Am,” those folk didn't hit that sawdust trail-- not much they didn't. Line that rail along the sawdust, why I guess they did.

So one Sattidy night about two weeks into the revival in Las Animas, Grady Smith and Hank Morton from over th'other side the river, over to'rd Fort Lyon, made it up atween 'em to go over to Animas an' bust up Preacher's meetin'. Now, ever'body know Grady could whup anyone in Bent County, and Hank was his toady, would do whatever Grady tol' him to do. So they get onto they cow ponies and ride on over to the tent. Now Preacher had a wonderful meetin' that night, the music had plum warmed the people into a most receptive frame a mind, and Preacher know this harvest was ripe to reap. He was givin’ 'em low-pocka-hirem, gettin' ready to thrust in the sickle, so to speak, when Hank and Grady bust into the side a the tent on they hosses, Grady from Preacher's right and Hank from his left, and rid them hosses right up onto the platform. They did. Grady leap out the saddle and drop the reins. “This here meetin',” he shouted, “is over! And I'ma whup you, Mr. Preacher Man.”

Partlow raise both hands, palms out toward the crowd and cry, “Folks, just hold your seats and put on a Lord's measure of patience. I am going to step out back of this tent with this youngster for just a few seconds, and I'll be right back.” Grady roared with laughter, and Hank, still aboard his pony, said, “Like hell.”

Now Grady was a hoss his own self, six-three and prolly went two thirty. Preacher mought a weight one fifty-five, but he'd have to be plum dressed and plum wet to make 'er. Preacher step offa the platform and out back the tent with Grady right on his heels. Miz Partlow step to the platform and in her angelic voice start singin’ “When We All Get to Heaven.” Preacher turn to face Grady, Grady tuk a roundhouse swing with his left, which Preacher duck quicker'n I can tell it and come up with a right widow-maker smack! into the bottom side Grady's chin, whilst he bury his left in his gut. Grady hit the ground, out like a campfire in a hail storm, just as Noreen was hittin’ the strains of “what a day of rejoicing that will be!”

Preacher step through the tent-flap onto the platform, raise both hands again, said, “Thanks be to God!  Now, all you sinners come to Jesus now!” And they done it.  And Hank Morton on his knees with ‘em. There was a stringer there thet night, and the La Junta Tribune-Democrat reported they was forty-seven people confessed Christ as they savior!

Text © 2013 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Principal Has the Magic #T

Someone asked how did Principal Livengood get his Ford out the school and back home again.  Well, I put that to Uncle Jep, and he told me I would have to ask my dad about that.  So I did.  Well, quite forthcoming, he was.  "That old Uncle been blabbin' again, hasn't he?  Well, it is to be expected.  Man's jaw started flappin' before he could crawl and it's not stopped flappin' for two straight minutes in three-quarters a century."

"So what did happen with the car?" I asked.  And this is what I was told.

11:30 A.M. Mr. Livengood called all the boys up to the hallway outside his office.  "Fine automobile," he says.  "But not a magical machine.  It did not get here by itself.  I would like the persons responsible to step over here next to me, now."   Nobody moved.

Duncan, were you a participant in this tomfoolery?"
"Nosir, sir."  said Duncan.  Duncan spoke truth.  He wouldn't have spit on the ground if he had a mouthful, well, you know.
"Frank Erb, did you participate?"
"No, sir.  I did not."  I could witness in his behalf.
"Fred Erb, were you in on it?"
"Sir, could you get back to me after you've gone around?"
"Very well.  Darryl, did you do this?"
"Not by myself, sir."
"Aha!  Just as I thought.  And your brothers?"
"I'd rather they speak for themselves."

"Tell you what, boys," said Mr. Livengood.  "I am going to walk down these stairs, out the front door, and up the street to my abode.  There I shall have lunch with the charming Mrs. Livengood.  I will have finished lunch in, say, forty-five minutes.  When I come out of my house, the car will be sitting right where it was last night before its trip to the schoolhouse, clean, shiny, and ready to roll.  When I return to the building each one of you will be in your respective fifth-period classroom, ready for an afternoon of serious business with your studies."  Clear?"
Chorus:  "Yes, sir, Mr. Livengood, sir."

And so it was.

"Aw, c'mon, Pa.  How did you do it?"
"There are things you really don't need to know."

This is a bonus story, an adjunct to the series of tales as told by Uncle Jep.  It appears here thanks to reader, Vee, who wanted to know how the car got out of the school.  An Uncle Jep tale will appear here tomorrow as scheduled.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Photographic Potpourri, or

Why Ever Did I Snap that Shot?

 No one around here likes jigsaw puzzles.  Not much.  Just finished these three; had to tear them down because BBBH just came in with another box.

 Why?  Oh, yeah.  Time to read the garden meter.  City refunds the sewer portion of that usage.  No big deal you say?  Suppose I tell you the sewer bill is roughly 200% of the water bill.

 The last of the blooms on this bush.

 Why... Oh that's right.  Another downtown building scheduled for demolition.  Since I've lived here it has been a moving company, a bus station (oh, yes, we actually once upon a time had bus service to Indy and thence to wheresoever one wanted to go), and most recently offices for "emergency management."  Next door to jail (see lighter brick in bkgrd) and they need the space.

 Look at the cars.  Clearly taken over half-century ago.  On the stump is daughter Ann.  With her is my niece Coleen.

Right.  This is a picture of a picture, but I liked it.

That dog is really helpful.  I don't do too well with the one-handed operation of the computer.

And all once again demonstrating the fact that you never know what you will get when you visit here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

John Martin Reservoir

John Martin Dam and Reservoir, Colorado
Image: USACE, public domain

The John Martin Dam is about halfway between Lamar and Las Animas, Colorado.  The dam was conceived as a flood control and water management facility on the Arkansas River.  Construction was started in 1936, but it was not completed before World War II which halted construction for the duration.  The project was completed in 1948.

I recall as a child when we used to travel from Canon City to Lamar, or Granada, or Hartman that we passed the area where Caddoa Dam, as it was called at its inception, was being constructed.  I was well into my adult years before I ever knew the dam by any name other than Caddoa.  As many public projects are, this facility was finally named in honor of a U.S. Congressman. John A. Martin was a respected citizen, publisher of the La Junta Times, attorney and state representative who also served in the Congress 1909 - 1913 and from 1933 until his death in 1939.1

An interesting item that I stumbled onto highlights the issue of water rights once again.  Though a purpose of the dam is to provide flood control and irrigation, the lake has become a major recreation area in Southeastern Colorado, the lake being the largest body of water in the state.  But a few years ago water supply from the mountains had been below normal, and in order to preserve the fish in the lake, management of the facility found it necessary to purchase water from the City of Colorado Springs which owns rights on the river.2

2The Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks have jointly purchased 3,000 acre-feet of water from the City of Colorado Springs to add to the permanent water storage pool at John Martin Reservoir. "This purchase will help ensure the long-term storage needs for fishing and recreation at John Martin," said Dan Prenzlow, DOW Southeast Region Manager.  Pueblo Chieftan, May 20, 2009

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Arkansas River Valley #T

A number of the tales as told by Uncle Jep and presented here are set in the Arkansas Valley of Southeastern Colorado.  It was in this region that I was born during the Dust Bowl days of the "Dirty Thirties."  I did not grow up in the area, yet I was never far from it, and there has always been an affinity between me and the land, the countryside and the small towns that dot the Valley.

I do not profess to have special knowledge of the area, but I grew up hearing stories of the old days along the river; dry-land farming, windstorms; irrigation and water wars.  And thus it is that while the tales being presented are strictly fictional, figments of my imagination, they contain elements that bear similarities to life as it was lived.  There is truth in fact, and there is truth in fiction.

The West may have been won with six-guns and carbines, but the prize without water is not worth the taking.  Ergo, water disputes, rights and acquisition thereof, have been part and parcel of much of the West since the beginning of the conquest.  The waters of the Arkansas rise in the high Rockies of Central Colorado and as the Spring melt of winter snows heads eastward, the great river carries potential for human  settlement and agriculture.  Where there is water, there are conflicting claims.  Disputes over water rights have jammed the court system from the beginning, and I daresay that if one were to pursue it, he would find that there are pending cases and cases in progress related to Arkansas Valley water rights to this very hour. Dry-land farming has been practiced with greater and lesser success from year to year in Southeastern Colorado since the first settlers arrived.  But near the river, irrigation has been practiced since the first ditch was dug to divert water onto farmland.

In the latter quarter of the nineteenth century, sugar beets were introduced into this country, and two areas of Colorado were found to be ideal for this crop when water was available.  According to The American Sugar Beet Growers' Association, the first sugar factory for processing beets  in the United States was erected in 1879.  By 1917 there were 91 such plants in 18 states from Michigan to California.  The Arkansas River Valley was prime land, and there was river water to be had.  Many little towns, including Holly, Swink, and Hartman where I was born, had mills pouring out sugar for the market by the carload.  "Dirty, ugly roots in one end, sparkling white crystalline sweetness out the other."  What a deal!  The beet growers were blessed, too, in that, unlike cane which required a "double processing," beet sugar could be obtained in a single process.


But there was the water issue.  By 1893 the Amity Canal Company had filed for water rights.  A few years later Holbrook was granted rights.  There arose a dispute in which Holbrook claimed that by taking full draw on their rights Amity was depriving Holbrook of its grant.

To Law!  Bring on the lawyers, get to court.  In 1920 or '21, Holbrook sued Amity in Circuit Court.  Amity successfully defended its position and in 1921 the court so declared.  But that is not the end of it.  It never is.  In 1929 Holbrook filed in District Court and the matter was heard yet again, and again Amity prevailed.  It went to Appellate Court in 1931.  Amity prevailed.*

Or should I say, the lawyers won.  They always do, no matter how the court rules.

*Information extracted from

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:13,14 (KJV)