Sunday, October 30, 2016

Small Town Girl III

As the only girl in a family of three brothers, I learned early about the many needs of boys. I learned that they love to be waited and doted on. By the time my younger brothers were born my older brother was usually out and about with his friends. I stayed at home more to help my mom with the young ones. Even though I was 5 years older than one and 7 years older than the other I would play with them trying to keep them busy.

Sometimes we would go on picnics. Living close to the creek and the woods was a big advantage. One of my favorite places to take "Bob" and "Ted" was a small meadow along the creek.  To get to the meadow we had to walk along the railroad tracks that were between our backyard and the woods. On one of these occasions, we saw a bear crossing the tracks ahead of us. It was a medium sized black bear coming from the direction of the meadow. My youngest brother instantly started crying and wanted to go home. When the bear heard him it took off into the woods at an alarming speed, apparently, it was terrified of him. I tried to explain this but my brother wasn't having any of it. He said he would tell mom that I made him picnic where there was a bear. My solution-- go ahead tell mom but I'm not taking you home now. My other brother was scared but he trusted me when I said the bear was more scared of us than we were of it. My expertise and bravery came from a story told to me by my fourth-grade teacher. She used to hunt and one day while hunting, decided to rest for lunch. As she was eating she has the strangest feeling that she was being watched. Upon looking up she noticed a black bear watching her, so she tossed it half her sandwich and shared the rest of her lunch with it also. When her lunch was gone she packed up and walked away. The bear went its way and she went hers.

We continued on our way and went down the bank to the meadow. It was so beautiful, covered with wildflowers and soft green grass. Maple, birch, and evergreen trees gave us shade. We enjoyed our lunch of PBJ's, potato chips and kool-aid then lay back on the blanket and watched the clouds float by. It was so peaceful, with one exception the scared brother. It had been over an hour since we saw that bear but he would not it drop. At one point I made him take his blanket and put it down about ten feet from Bob and me  so we could enjoy looking for different shapes in the clouds.  However, there was a flaw with this strategy because Ted was about as stubborn as a boy could be. He only howled louder and disturbed us more. Time for another plan.

I suggested that we play hide and seek or fox and geese to get his mind off the bear. This worked until Ted figured out that in order to play hide and seek he had to hide alone. So on to plan C. We went down to the creek to hunt crawdads. Finally! His mind was off the bear and we all had an enjoyable time looking for crawdads and minnows.

We played by the creek for quite awhile then it became late afternoon and so I packed them up and headed for home. Once Ted saw the railroad tracks he remembered the bear and it was not a pleasant walk home. True to form he tattled saying that I had made him picnic in a place where there were bears.

To be continued.......

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Small Town Memories II - A Scary Afternoon

In my last post, I wrote about sledding down a hill across the street from my house. This hill led to Island Park, our town park, where we burned Christmas trees and sang O TananeBaum with the firemen keeping a close eye. This park was also used for the county fair, therefore, there were stables and other buildings for displaying produce, some fresh and some canned, needlework of all kinds and the other items found at county fairs. A carnival always came and set up shop for the week.

The town children were able to go home for lunch and I usually did because my dad would come home for his lunch also. On one occasion I went home as usual and it was late summer with the fair still in town. I remember we had succotash for lunch because it was one of my favorite dishes made by opening a can of kidney beans and a can of corn and heating them through. I asked my dad  if I could go to the fair on the way back to school and he said if I ate quickly I could go for one ride.  I ate and then got a nickel from him for the ride. I knew just what I wanted to ride on---the Ferris wheel.  I was able to get right on board because I was the only one in line. I sat in the middle of the seat and tried to keep it from swaying. I had a healthy fear for the Ferris wheel. I began to rise in the air as the big wheel started turning. I loved being up there so high with fluffy white clouds. I lost all track of time and in one turn as I came close to the ground noticed I was alone. The operator had gone off somewhere. There I was going around and around and around. At first, I was ok with the situation but then I heard the school bell ring I got really scared knowing I was going to be late and that was totally unacceptable to my teacher. So I started to cry for help and just plain cry. I saw my dad coming down the hill to the fairgrounds. I hollered so loud but he didn't hear me, he just went around to all the rides searching for me. As he got close to the Ferris-wheel I began to really cry loud. He turned his head toward the sound of a child crying and I could see he was searching for me so I started waving frantically. When our eyes met I saw terror in his and I am sure he saw fear in mine as well. I cannot even imagine seeing your 8-year-old daughter flying around on a Ferris wheel all alone. When I saw his fear my own just grew to a panic.  Dad went in search of the operator and found him eating lunch under a tree. Needless to say, he was not pleased with that operator. I saw the two of them heading my way and it seemed forever for them to reach me.  Once that ride was stopped I flew off and into my dad's anxiously stretched out arms.  He walked me to school and spoke with my teacher.

This was my one and only attendance at the fair during school.  I had no complaints. I never wanted to ride on another ride without other people around.

To be continued..........

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Small Town Memories I

The more I think about growing up in a small town the more I appreciate it.  Our claim to fame was being "The Biggest Little Town On The Map."  which was on our town sign. Actually, we weren't a town, we were a borough.  Kindergarten was held in a small brown house close to the school where grade school,  junior high and high school were in the same complex ( two buildings) until I was in 6th grade. Then a new grade school was built. We had our own volunteer fire department. The fire alarm was tested each day at noon and again at 7 p.m.  Everybody knew that sound! When it sounded off men from all over town would drop what they were doing and rush to the fire hall. Our police "force" consisted of two cops switching shifts. They were  big likable men who knew their community and all who dwelt in it.
As a child, I thought my town was large. I only knew my neighborhood but when it was Halloween I got to go "all over town" to trick or treat which was a really big deal. Going Christmas shopping meant going to the ABC Store. This was our variety store where I could find a present for everyone in my family. There were toys for my little brothers, kitchen gadgets for my mom and grandma, socks, hankies and tools for my dad and grandpa, and model cars for my older brother.
 I know it sounds a bit like the "Waltons" but my grandpa and grandma lived in an apartment above us. My father and grandfather made the house into a duplex. The house was a large two-story and the closed off the stairway making it into a closet. This closet scared me because the stairs were still there they just stopped half way up. It was a closet to nowhere.  My dad and grandpa built steps off the back porch which led to my grandparent's house.
 I thought this whole arrangement was a wonderful thing. My grandma was my best friend. She taught me so much; we'd go daffodil, dandelion greens and wild strawberry hunting in the spring.  We would sit on the steps to her "house" and she would rub my back and talk about marvelous things. As I grew I appreciated this arrangement more and more. I, being a skinny girl that could out eat all three of my brothers, would eat supper at our table then go upstairs and eat supper with my grandpa and grandma.
On summer evenings the family would sit around a fire pit and roast marshmallows. Sometimes we would just enjoy watching the fire and the lightning  bugs.  As darkness came, it became cooler and my younger brothers would be put to bed. That's when I really enjoyed those nights the most, not that I didn't like my brothers there but they were silly noisy boys. With them, in bed, it became quiet with only the sound of the hissing fire, the crickets and my parents, grandparents'  and older brother's voices.  I would sit and watch the stars and the lightning bugs until it was my time for bed. Once in bed, I could still hear the grown-ups by the fire as I fell asleep.
When autumn rolled around we would rake leaves into big piles and my brothers and I would jump in them before they were burned. My mom and grandma would rake the piles to the edge of the street and burn them. They smelled so good. One could smell the leaves burning all over town. With winter came the snow and we would bundle up and go out and play fox and geese. This game was played by making an elaborate maze of tracks in the snow. The geese had a series small circles along the track for safe houses and the fox would chase the geese trying to catch one before they reached one of these safe houses. Whoever the fox caught then became the fox and the old fox became a goose. We would also go sledding on a hill across the street from our house.
To be continued..........

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Carolyn's Current Events Blog: Ethics and Loyalty

Carolyn's Current Events Blog: Ethics and Loyalty: I was going to blog about the Donald Trump tape but I feel enough has been said regarding it and the Clintons' deeds. I decided to write...

Ethics and Loyalty

I was going to blog about the Donald Trump tape but I feel enough has been said regarding it and the Clintons' deeds. I decided to write about ethics and loyalty in politics.

Loyalty, according to the dictionary, is the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations, faithful adherence to a sovereign or government official, leader, cause, etc. I see this as standing firm in the faith or pledge you've given someone. The person may do or say things you are not proud of or totally disagree with, maybe this person's actions even go against your religious convictions. However, a pledge is a pledge and to desert the person because of his or her actions is unethical and just downright wrong.  Telling the one who offends you that you believe their actions are damaging to themselves and the position they seek is the right thing to do and letting them know their actions have put you in a difficult position is the way to go. Telling the world you no longer support the individual, even after they have apologized, suggests you are concerned about your own reputation and your own agenda. This type of behavior can only lead to more division and show the opponent the weakness in the campaign. In fact in the whole party

I believe it to be true that not one of us is without sin and can cast the first stone. Which congressman, representative, supreme court justice, law officer, or president can truly say they have not done something which they are not proud of and if found out would have to apologize to the American people.

So I say to Paul Ryan, and all those following his example, by removing the pledged support from the Republican candidate are playing into the hand of the opponent. Stand your ground, support the one you pledged to and work for unity in the party. Work with your candidate by encouraging him and focus on his presidential agenda.