So, it’s Labor Day!

I passed on an invitation to go to the Japanese Festival at the Botanical Garden today. Mainly because we were being threatened with dire forecasts of storms throughout the entire day. There’s nothing soggier than a Japanese maiden in a rain-soaked kimonos. So when the overnight thunderstorms failed to appear by 8:00 am, I decided to get up and cut the overgrown back lawn. I suspect that twelve-inch tall crab grass qualifies as overgrown and even over-groan. I didn’t cut it at the normal grass height since the grass was too tall for that. So when I finished cutting two hours later, the grass was cut to the normal height it is when I decide it is time to cut the lawn. So if the promised thunderstorms and /or tornadoes fail to show up today or tomorrow, I can cut it all over again!

Labor Day never meant much to me. When I was a kid, it was always the day before I had to go back to school. Remember back then school didn’t have to start the last two weeks in August, because we didn’t have anything like SNOW DAYS. Rain or shine, sleet or snow … we didn’t get off because the school buses couldn’t run, because we didn’t have school buses — we walked to school.

It meant a lot to my father though, because he was a laborer in a steel manufacturing factory.  He made doors. I was never a laborer though. My first job was an as office boy or mail boy. Then after I got through college, I was able to work myself up to traffic director and copywriter trainee in advertising. So while I worked, I never really labored. Using your brain and being creative never did count as laboring.

My mother never really worked either. She was a house-wife which put her and other women in the same category as beasts of burden back in those olden days. She was always one to note that one Labor Day back in 1939, she did labor most of the entire day. I was born in the early hours the next day. She said she never worked so hard in her life, but I was worth it. Guess, that’s why I took care of her until she was 96.

September 4, 1939 — It was Labor Day — it was the day after the invasion of Poland and the start of World War II — it was the day my dad was going to take her to see the Wizard Of Oz at the Fox — it was the day she spent her 27th birthday at St. Louis Maternity Hospital in labor waiting for me to arrive.

Here’s to my mom …Anna Barylski 1935


It’s your turn now: for this week’s challenge, bring together two of your photos into dialogue. What do they say to each other? For more information go here!  

This is a dialogue Mother Nature has been having with us at 4:30 each day for the past several afternoons …




THE SUMMER STORM!  The Approach … the Darkening Skies … and finally the first drops of rain falling. I didn’t stick around to catch the Deluge because the lightening was coming to fast and furious. You can also see how the color of the photos changed as the storm moved in.


The Passionate Love Screams Of A Million Over Sexed Cicadas

Bet that title made you stop and read today’s entry! For the past two weeks, West Walnut Manor has been living under the threat of an excessive heat warning. What warning?  For the past week the mercury has been ranging between 95 and 100. If that isn’t high enough for you, the weather wizards have to adjust that figure and add a heat index which lets you know that even though the thermometer might read 95 … the heat really feels like it is 115.  Come on you sadist b…..ds — can’t you just let us sweat and swelter at 95?

Actually, I really shouldn’t complain, because at exactly 4:35 p.m. on the past two afternoons we have received horrendous thunder, lightening, torrential rain storms. And today’s came with a bonus addition of one-inch hail.  Yesterday, I had gone to the corner Walgreen and Mickey D’s to pick up a tube of toothpaste and a carry out Crispy Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich meal for my dinner. (No, the toothpaste wasn’t part of the dinner.)  And just as I walked out of the door, the skies opened up with a Noah-like downpour. But I was prepared, because I had brought my pop-open umbrella along with me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the pop-open thingy pop open the umbrella.

Just then two questionable young ladies ran out of the restaurant and began shouting, “Mister, mister, would you let us walk to the bus stop under your umbrella?”  

I replied, “I’m sorry, as you can see, I’m having trouble opening the umbrella.”  

“Here, let me open it,”  said the greasier one of the two as she pulled in out of my hands.

I pulled the umbrella back out of her hands and said, “I’m not going to the bus stop!”

And as I walked off into the downpour in the other direction I added, “Besides, this umbrella will only cover one person.”

As the rain soaked through my clothes, they shouted, “You just have no respect for ladies!”

“And who considered you ladies,”  I muttered to myself as the rain continued to fall and fill my mouth.

Surprisingly, I made it home  without my dinner getting totally rain-soaked. Which was something I couldn’t say about myself, I was soaked through to my underwear.  And the temperature had dropped from 95 to 72. I had to strip, towel down and put on dry clothes before I could eat.

Today was a repeat of yesterday, and thankfully I had not left the house. The added hail would have pelted me and left dents.

After today’s storm I walked out to see if there had been any hail damage. There was no damage to the house, but I had to cover my ears to protect the from the screeching of what sounded like a gazillion  cicadas. It inspired me to find  my origami folding paper.


Cicely and Silas Cicada making whoopee … and a hell of a lot of noise!


sun-wearing-sunglassesDo you realize that if we used the celsius method of measuring the temperature, it would have only been 37.778 degrees outside today.

Sunday Update! Still Full Steam Ahead For The Heatwave!


In case you’re wondering, Mlle. Renee and I are not melting away to nothing from the heat. Renee is no dumb dog and neither am I, so we’ve been staying inside with the AC. She’s been napping a lot, and I’ve been reading, writing, cleaning, cooking and occasionally napping, too. And the grass keeps growing and growing and needs a lot of mowing. But that can wait for a cooler day. There’s no way I’m going to get up a two o’clock in the morning and cut the grass!

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray

Share a photo of what “fray” means to you — it could be a tear in a favorite pair of jeans, a street rumble just about to begin, or a friend diving into an oncoming wave at the beach. For more information, go here.



Excessive Heat Warning!

Well, the temperature has not reached 100 today … yet! So, technically, we have not reached the sweltering mark.


But, it sure is HOT at 98!

Actually, we’ve been really lucky this year. We breezed through the coolest July on record, and we managed to get through half of August without melting.

But with that said, I just want to know why one of my neighbors got up at 2:30 this morning to mow his or her lawn? Surely the grass can wait until the temps drop a bit. Besides, we had a thunderstorm last night and the grass was all wet!


A couple of years back, I could alway hear the daily whirring of the neighborhood pigeons as they flew into my back yard to see what food I put our for the wildlife that came calling for a morning or afternoon snack. Sometimes it might be a bit dog food left in Nickie’s food bowl or dried cat food left in Oscar’s bowl.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Surprisingly, they were very good friends in spite of being very picky eaters. Usually, though, it was just stale bread which seemed to be the native food of the pigeon world.  Well, Nickie was getting up in dog years, and one night she went to sleep and failed to get up the next morning. I gave her a very nice funeral in the back yard that Oscar refused to attend. After that he refused to associate with me, and eventually, I had to send him away.

With no pets supplying leftover bits of food for the birds, I started buying seed mixed for the native songbirds. Unfortunately, pigeons have never been asked to join the native songbirds of America union, and eventually they stop dropping by for lunch of dinner.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



And eventually, they totally stopped visiting the yard.

I do have a much higher class of avian clientele dropping by for lunch these days, and I don’t have to worry about being hit with pigeon poop any more. Pigeons do have very unsanitary flight habits. And it’s all for the good, since Mlle. Renee never leaves leftovers in her food dish.




Once upon a time, there was a quiet little town in north Saint Louis County. It had its start in 1855 which was several years after my great grandfather Franz immigrated to Saint Louis from the little village of Alsenborn in the Rhineland of Germany.

I doubt if Franz ever visited the town because the area was basically farm land, and Franz was not a farmer. (Actually, he was a first lieutenant in the Prussian Army. And since first lieutenants didn’t have much of the future in the Prussian Army at that time, he packed his bags and headed for the States.)

Anyway, some guy named William B. Ferguson … a big time farmer who owned a lot of property in the area realized that the area didn’t have a name. So he had a great idea to deed 10 acres of his land to the Wabash Railroad in exchange for a new depot there and the naming rights of said depot. So settlement that sprang up around the depot was called Ferguson Station. But it wasn’t until 1894 that Ferguson was actuallyincorporated as a city. Have no idea what happened to William B.

Franz never owned any land, but he became a brick maker. And the red bricks he made were used to build a pretty big red brick city. He also had a lot of kids … and grandkids and great grandkids … which is why I’m able to write this today. Unfortunately, Franz had a hard time with his name … all his fellow brick-makers kept calling him Frank. He would tell them that his name was Franz with a Z. So they switched to calling him Frank Widdazee.

There’s no real purpose for this post, just like there’s no real purpose for peaceful (?) protests every night that go into the wee hours of the morning. Of the 75 people arrested in last night’s protest, only FOUR lived in Ferguson. Most didn’t even live in the Saint Louis area.


Anyway, most of old Ferguson looks like a town from someplace in the past.ferguson

And the farm lands have been subdivided into thousands of crowded little houses.  Time has not treated the area well and the rioting and disruptions that are now in the tenth day aren’t helping it either. 

Personally, I’m tired of the wall to wall video coverage by news readers dropped on the street with video cams and cell phones. I have no qualifications for commenting on the situation, and neither do they. Also, justice is not an instant mix you can pick up on a grocery store shelf. (Well, one that hasn’t been looted or burned.)  Doesn’t anyone remember anything about peace and love?


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