28 December 2014

Old Timers Mantra

Never walk when you can stand.
Never stand when you can sit.
And never pass up a restroom.

15 December 2014

Monday, 15 December 2014

I woke up this morning to find the other side of the bed empty.  Shirley had another one of those nights when she couldn't sleep so she was up early.  I laid there and tried a bit of mindfulness meditation, but wound up thinking about an incident back in December 1948.  I had been in an automobile accident and the top coat I was wearing wound up with a large L-shaped tear near my right shoulder.  My mother was working at Krolls, a women's wear store in Rochester, NY, so she knew all the seamstresses and tailors working there.  Someone, I don't know who, took my top coat and re-wove the fabric so that the tear was invisible.  That was truly the work of an artisan.  In this age of automation and computer-driven machines, I doubt the repair could be made.

01 December 2014

Ferguson and Justice

As regards the death of Michael Brown, we want justice.  Yes, we want justice for the store owner who was bullied and robbed by Michael Brown.  Yes, we want justice for those whose businesses were burned down in honor of Michael Brown.  Yes, we want justice for the owners of automobiles vandalized and burned in honor of Michael Brown.  And for those looters and arsonists, we suggest they have a word with Martin Luther King, Jr., about the dream he had and how their actions are affecting that dream.  Justice for all.

14 November 2014

Art Display and Sale

Today, Westminster Village will initiate a new feature: local artist, Gayla R. Bonnell, will showcase 46 of her artwork in our halls. They will be on display until the end of January, and are available for purchase, prices ranging from $400 to $2500. A portion of the proceeds from the artwork sales will directly benefit the Westminster Village Foundation. The intent is to offer artists, resident and non-resident, an opportunity to gain recognition for their talent. So if you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop in and brouse.

07 November 2014

Hello, Again

It's been a while since my last post.  I've been busy writing articles for our newsletter, The Villager.  You can view the current issue at www.wnvaz.com, click on RESIDENTS and go to the newsletter page.
Our 10th great grandchild, Nolan, was born in August and I'm still working on a couple of pieces of art for him.  Shirley crocheted a blanket, which he already has.  I hope the art gets there before he becomes a teen-ager.
We took the bus to Four Peaks Brewing Company yesterday, along with a small group from Westminster Village.  Good beer, good food and good conversation.  Tilted Kilt beer and Fish and Chips.  It's nice to go somewhere, have a glass of beer and not have to worry about the drive home.
Have a good evening.

29 June 2014

What's Going on Outside?

This is my latest article as published in The Villager at Westminster Village:

What's Going On Outside?

The appearance of our campus is being transformed. Our Landscaping Department has been busy planting, trimming, weeding, and all the other necessary chores to make this a beautiful place to enjoy the out-of-doors. We have two fish ponds, a cactus garden along the east drive, lots of Lantana and Bougainvillea, beautiful flowers, and everything continues to be trimmed to perfection. Have you noticed the plants by the trash bin at the delivery gate? The new flag? So after all that, what's coming? Hold onto your hats, folks, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

How about a Bocce lawn? Coming. Croquet court? Coming. Pitch and Putt course? Coming. Where? The gravel area west of the Bank door will be transformed into a park-like setting when these new features are added. Included will be an equipment storage locker, drinking fountain and seating area. All this without affecting existing plants. When? We'd like to have them in progress by the end of the year.

The existing Putting Green will soon be extended in size; plans for the relocated holes have already been submitted by a resident committee.

Lantana, trimmed to our special layered look, will continue to be added along all sidewalks and curbs, except where access is required by the Fire Marshall. The front entry flower beds will be replanted with annuals for a layered look. More cacti will be planted along the wall on the east. On the south side, the river rock area near the F-1 door is a candidate for a water feature, details not yet worked out. The south-west corner will become a nursery where we will grow our own cacti, and will be screened by trellises. A dog run will be coming to the west side between the D-1 and E-1 doors, with some grass areas, water and more plants. The northwest river rock area is being considered as a wildflower meadow. Yellow Bells will continue along the north wall to help screen noise and dust from Cactus Road. A sitting area under a new tree is envisioned by Park North. The cactus garden across from the J-1 door will be expanded and a path added. The “rock garden” on the north, between the H-1 and J-1 doors, will be transformed into a mountain stream, with more Pine trees and Juniper bushes added. An edging of plants will separate the grass from the sidewalk by the J-1 door, helping to keep the sidewalk dry. Each area will have shaded seating. Trail and distance markers will be installed as areas are finished, to challenge Residents to get out and walk through the new feature gardens; all will be wheelchair accessible.

Dreaming big? Certainly. Will it all happen? Not without your support, both moral and financial. If there's some project you'd like to see move forward, see Tom Winkelman and he'll be happy to discuss it with you.

27 May 2014

From 1989, Returning From a Trip

May 26, Thursday. Well, here we are back home. Bandit has been in her yard since we arrived, with no signs of ever wanting to leave. The Azaleas are in blossom, as is one Dogwood. The Rhododendrons are about ready to blossom. The Iris are forming buds. Jim Cole had done a good job on the lawn. It took a while to get the trailer cleaned out of clothes, food, and books. More to come, but we are too tired to continue.

Things I learned on this trip

  • That hub caps do fall off Travel Trailers and are never seen again.
  • That a group of businessmen in Toronto, hoping to capitalize on the Blue Jays training camp in Dunedin, Florida, started a development of mobile homes in Dunedin, called, appropriately enough, Blue Jay Estates. Unfortunately, it didn't catch on with the Canadians.
  • That 95 year old Aunts are fragile human beings, and when they have heart attacks and fall and break their hips, they don't last long. Hopefully, her 85 year old brother, the last of my father's brothers and sisters, will be able to relate to me all the stories she told him of their childhood.
  • That it rains hard in Louisiana.
  • That some Rotary clubs are very difficult, if not impossible, to track down.
  • That it is almost the same distance from Key West to the Alabama border of Florida as it is from the Louisiana border of Texas to El Paso.
  • That the KOA at Fort Stockton, Texas hasn't improved in the past year.
  • That desert starts just past Houston in Texas and extends to the mountains around Los Angeles.
  • That it is a good idea to check the batteries in your photographic equipment before you plan to enter Carlsbad Caverns. My flash unit wouldn't work, so the slides are very faint.
  • That the continental divide is almost unnoticable in New Mexico, but very apparent in Colorado.
  • That March is too early to see Azaleas and Rhododendrons in Alabama, and Hummingbirds in southern Arizona.
  • That the sun shines in other parts of the country.
  • That some Bassett Hounds can open purses, remove glass cases, and chew the earpieces off the glasses. Also, that Lenscrafters will repair the damages free.
  • That Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona in Arizona are very pretty and need to be visited again.
  • That it's no fun to change a tire in the heat of the day, below sea level, in Death Valley. And especially so when the jack won't fit under the axle.
  • That people will stop to offer assistance in Death Valley, but only after the tire is changed.
  • That automobile warranties are very carefully planned, such that replacing the bearings in the differential of our Suburban wasn't necessary until several thousands of miles after the warranty had expired.
  • That the Descanso Gardens in La Canada and the Huntington Library & Gardens in San Marino are worth every minute one spends there.
  • That prices in California are too high for the merchandise.
  • That one should never be surprised to run into acquaintenances anywhere in the world. We saw the LaCounts in the gift shop at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California.
  • That the roads indicated as “Scenic” on the AAA maps are usually scarey as well, most winding around mountains and at the edge of cliffs.
  • That some grapes grow on trees.
  • That breaking a crowned tooth in not a total catastrophy.
  • That Ballys in Reno, Nevada redecorated two suites for Frank Sinatra's stay: one for Frank & Barbara; one for their dogs, including installation of a sandbox.
  • That the California Railroad Museum is worth visiting, as is the Colorado Railroad Museum.
  • That teaching is a team effort, the team composed of a teacher and both parents; the parents should be willing to perform some of their team responsibilities at school during the day.
  • That it's not as much fun to visit Salt Lake City when your genealogy records are in Ontario.
  • That the railroad spike completing the link-up of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans was not driven at Promontary Point,, Utah; and that the spike was not of gold.
  • That Buffalo Bill Cody and his wife are buried atop Lookout Mountain near Golden, Colorado, far from their children's graves in Rochester, New York.
  • That the Interstate highways need much work to eliminate the wash-board effect.
  • That Whip-poor-wills can make a fierce racket in the evening and early morning.
  • That some merchants in the US of A will accept an out-of-state personal check with no questions asked and no proof of identity. It happened in Hannibal, Missouri and again in Shipshewana, Indiana.
  • That the law suits resulting from the collapse of the walkways in the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, Missouri were just recently settled.
  • That many areas of the country are working to increase tourism, that being a way to bring in capital without requiring major expenditures for improvements in services, unlike attracting industry.
  • And finally, that people are fun, and funny, no matter where one goes.

10 March 2014

He-man's Lament

He-man’s Lament

People who constantly rave about herbs

Get on my nerves.

Give me a break,

Throw me a steak.

Whether Kobi, Angus or chicken fried,

Give me one I haven’t tried.

And none of that gosh darned Worcestershire sauce.

I’ll take it plain, I’m the boss.

So stop layin’ it on me about them herbs

Afore I burn up your ears with some choice adjectives and verbs.

09 February 2014

Proving Lineage to Miles Standish

From the Buffalo Courrier Express, Buffalo, N. Y., Sunday Morning, May 8, 1927:
"Standish Genealogy Recorded on Historic Quilt
Gives Vital Statistics on Progeny of Famous Miles
"Patches are from dresses belonging to descendants of character celebrated in song and glory.
"Albion, May 7 - Mrs. George W. Shourds is the proud possessor of an old family quilt, the story of which is stranger than fiction.  To tell its story one must go back a the settlement in Orleans County of the settlement in Orleans county of Asa Standish, Mrs. Shourd's great grandfather, for the history of the quilt is Standish history.
"In 1816 Asa Standish journeyed from his home at Benson, Vt., to Orleans.  With him came his wife and seven children.  A number of the children were married and had youngsters of their own, so it was quite a caravan that made the long journey by ox team.  Gaines was at that time the most thriving community in the county and along with many other pioneers Asa Standish took up land in that village.  He and his family settled upon a farm of 365 acrea, the site of which was near the present Transit church.
"Asa Standish was the great grandson of Miles Standish of Colonial fame.  He was born at Norwich, Conn., in 1763.  At the age of ten he moved with his parents to Williamstown, Mass., and later to Benson, Vt., where he lived many years before settling in Orleans county.
"Now it happened that some of Asa's descendants had migrated to California and one of them became desirous of joining the Society of the Mayflower, which she could not do without definite proof that the Asa Standish, whose birth was recorded at Norwich, and the one who settled in Orleans county were one and the same.  Therefore, she employed a renowned geneologist, Mrs. Idah Stowbridge of Los Angeles to assist in the search.  Mrs. Stowbridge wrote Mrs. George W. Shourds of Albion, whom she knew was of Standish descent, asking her help.
"Mrs. Shourds set about her task with a hopeless feeling.  She had been told from childhood of how Electa burned the family records and she felt sure that there was no written proof in all Orleans county that the Asa of Vermont and the Asa of Gaines were the same.
"Finally Mrs. Shourds called upon Mrs. George Mitchell, whose husband was a great grandson of Asa Standish.  Mrs. Mitchell, like all the other members of the family knew of the Miles Standish ancestry, but said that she had no proof.  As Mrs. Shourds was leaving the house she suddenly asked, "Wouldn't you like to see Mother Mitchell's old album quilt?"
"The quilt is a quaint and gay affair with a white background, orange stripes and squares of bright colored calico, pieced in the friendship pattern.  Sewed into each square is a piece of white material with the record of some member of the Standish family written in ink upon it.  It is supposed that the squares are made out of dresses belonging to members of the family and that each one's particular block is made out of her own garment.  The names Standish, Stacy and Mitchell predominate.  Charlotte Standish, daughter of Asa, who married William Stacy, is said to have started the quilt, and her daughter, Maria, who married Azuriel Mitchell, a Baptist minister of Riches Corners, completed it.
"The instant that Mrs. Shourds saw the quilt her eye caught the blocks, "Asa Standish.  Died Sept. 1, 1828.  Aged 65 years."  "Rebecca Standish.  Died April 30th, A. D. 1839.  Aged 74 years."  Inasmuch as the records at Norwich, Ct., gave the date of Asa Standish's birth as 1763, which would have made him 65 years old in 1828, Mrs. Shourds felt sure that here at last was positive proof that the two Asas were the same person.  Furtherwore, although the family had always understood that his wife had been Rebecca Sherwood, there was no record to that effect.  Photographs of the two blocks were taken and sent to Mrs. Stowbridge and these with the necessary affidavits, were accepted as the missing links in the Standish chain of proof.
"Mrs. Mitchell died in 1924.  Before her death she presented the quilt to Mrs. Shourds, giving as her reason the fact she had no children, while Mrs. Shourds has both a son and a daughter to carry on the family traditions.
"Asa Standish is buried in the old Standish burying ground, near the Transit Church at Gaines.  There is no marker for his grave.  If there were, the long search for proof would have been unnecessary.  He was at one time justice of the peace of Gaines, as a time-worn subpoena signed by him shows.  This subpoena was discovered between the leaves of an old justice book of the town of Gaines.  He served in the Revolutionary War, as did his father, Thomas.  Thomas was the son of Samuel, Samuel of Josua and Josua's father was the celebrated Miles of song and story."

14 January 2014

Hi, How Are Ya?

I met a fella the other day, we hadn't seen each other in a while, 'n we got ta talkin' 'bout how we were 'n it set me ta thinkin' – not my usual manner of spendin' the day, but I do admit, it was some entertainin'. Seems ta me that there's a certain order of preference in answerin' the question “How are ya?” Here's what I worked out, based on actual live conversation:

  1. Ya got ten, fifteen minutes ta spare?
  2. Lousy!
  3. Not too good.
  4. Better than yesterday.
  5. I'm alright, so far.
  6. I'm okay.
  7. Doin' fine.
  8. Wonderful!
  9. Terrific!
  10. Best I felt in years!

So next time someone asks 'n ya don't feel like jawin' 'bout it much, just give 'em yer number. Who knows, it may be the same as there's.

07 January 2014

The Good Old Days

While many young men and women were in the service in 1943, those on the home front had some rules to follow to help bring the war to a close. Here are some “Rationing Reminders” excerpts from a December 1943 newspaper:

PROCESSED FOODS - Processed foods rationed under War Ration Book 4 are canned and bottled fruits, most canned and bottled vegetables and vegetable juices, all frozen fruits and vegetables, all dried beans, peas, lentils, etc.

MEATS, FATS AND OILS - Meats, canned milk, fish, fats, most oils and cheeses are now under point rationing.

SUGAR - Coupon No. 29 in War Ration Book 4 is good for five pounds through January 15. Additional rations up to 15 pounds per person for canning may be applied for at any time during the canning season.

AUTOMOBILES - 1941 models driven less than 1,000 miles may now be purchased and used in gainful occupation without application to rationing boards for certificates. New cars costing over $2,500 are unrationed and may be sold to anyone having an unserviceable car at present, regardless of occupation.

GASOLINE - A coupons are good for three gallons; new B and C coupons are worth five gallons each. . . Farmers may now obtain gasoline for their tractors, engines and other non-highway equipment for a period of six months instead of three months, as formerly.

TIRES - Motorists holding only basic rations are not eligible for new or used tires. Drivers with total rationed mileage of more than 120 miles per month but less than 601, may obtain a certificate for a Grade III tire. Only C book holders who drive more than 600 miles a month may obtain certificates for Grade I tires. Owners of recappable tires should have them recapped at once.

SHOES - Stamp 18 in War Ration Book 1 is good indefinitely for one pair of shoes in any store that sells shoes. Stamp 18 is transferable among members of a family living in the same household and related by blood, marriage or adoption.

FUEL OIL - Period 1 coupons, good for ten gallons a unit for household use, are good through January 3. Period 2 coupons also are valid and will remain good through February 7; they, too, are worth 10 gallons.

ANTHRACITE COAL - Rationed by the trade, but not through rationing boards.

STOVES - Most common types of coal, wood, gas and oil stoves are obtainable only upon issuance by local ration boards of certification based on proof of need.

BICYCLES - Pupils who need bicycles for travel between home and school are eligible for purchase certificates providing the daily mileage is at least three miles and the bicycle is used at least five days each week. Anyone gainfully employed or doing voluntary work contributing to the war effort or to public welfare, who needs a bicycle on his job or for travel between home and work, can qualify for a purchase certificate upon meeting the same requirements.