Monthly Archives: July 2012
I have been looking for a photo from my high school graduation for years, and I’ve never been able to find it. Today I was cleaning my room and decided that it has been some time since I dusted (vacuumed) the two bookshelves that make up one entire interior wall. The bookshelves are floor-to-ceiling built-ins of ten shelves each. My father and I built them for me shortly after I graduated. Now I’ve cleaned them a lot since they were built … a least once every decade.
Well, on the top shelf I found a copy of James Kirkwood’s P.S. Your Cat Is Dead which was published in 1972. I think I bought the novel when I was in NYC in the spring of ’75. I had just seen one of the twenty-one performances of the play Kirkwood had adapted from his novel. I thought it was hilarious. But I don’t think the critics were very impressed about a play where one of the three main characters spends much of the play tied down on the kitchen table with his bare butt exposed. Also I don’t think hunky gay bare-assed burglars were very big audience attraction. Kier Dullea starred, but not as the bare-assed burglar. Anyway, the book was even funnier. BTW, Kirkwood got even with his detractors by writing the script for some musical that opened three months after P.S. closed. I think it was called A Chorus Line.
So getting back to my story, I was dusting and found this dusty old book and when I opened it I discovered the photo for which I had been searching. It was the last photo taken with me, my father and my grandmother. My grandmother died the next year, and my father died five years later.
This photo was taken in June of 1957. My mother is also in the picture, but I was in a lot of photos with her in the fifty years that followed. Also if you look closely, you can see my little brother’s head peeking over the porch rail.
And if you’re curious and do the math, you’ll discover that this year was the 55th anniversary of my high school graduation from William Cullen McBride H.S. It was the same high school my father had attended back in 1928 … for just one year.
No real celebration this year, other than the regular every other month lunch with about 30 classmates. We might be getting old, but we try to stay young.
On Thursday night the moon was bright, but wrapped in a blanket of clouds and the photo looked more like a surreal painted scene.
On Friday I photographed the moon at sunset with the sun reflecting brightly on the face of the moon except for the edge of the earth’s shadow.
On Saturday I was able to capture the moon just as it was passing over my tall Colorado spruce tree.
Oops! It appears I wasn’t the only one who was shooting the moon this week.
Le Voyage dans la lune!
A salute to Georges Méliès who started it all
by creating, directing and starring in 555 short films.
All between 1896 and 1905.
IT RAINED THIS MORNING!
From about 7:30 until about nearly 1:00! It really wasn’t a downpour … more like a lawn sprinkler. But everything got a much-needed refreshing drink of water.
And the temps did become a bit more bearable today.
Actually, for the first time in the past two months the AC didn’t come on in the morning. Naturally, Mlle. Renee and I slept-in. Do you blame us?
Yet still another triple digit day in the Wicket City! And while I have been depending on the kindness of the AC, Mlle. Renee still has to go outside several times a day to survey her domain in the midday sun. I tried to tell her what Kipling said about mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the heat of the day, but she replied, “I’ll stay out of the sun when that rascally rabbit stays out of my yard.”
Of course, she was referring to the recent backyard incursions of Harry D. Hare.
Harry’s been visiting recently to drink from the watering hole I set up for the birds. As you can see from the photo, most of the water grass that dominated in what once was formerly a soggy low-lying part of the yard has now almost completely dried up. And Renee has got this thing about critters who hop instead of walk or fly across her domain. She’ll pass on squirrels and birdies, but hoppers are just too much for her.
So she patrols the yard until she gets a bit dry in the mouth. Then she knocks on the door for me to let her back in for a cool drink. Sure she has a full bowl of water in the shade on the porch, but she prefers lapping cool, clear water … and even in the shade of the porch water warms up as soon as I pour it in the bowl. (Thankfully, she’d never think of drinking from the bird’s watering hole; because they have a tendency to poop in their pool.) So I have to wait by the door to let her in after ten to fifteen minutes.
In the evening after dinner I usually watch a program or two I’ve DVRed. Naturally, she has to sit down at my feet and watch along with me.
Not that I really need a foot warmer during a heat wave.
OMG, that dog is all tongue! Oh well, I had to get up and wash my hands anyway.
This apartment building built between 1900 and 1905 stands on the city limits border of the city of Saint Louis. I first became acquainted with the building when I became a student at Washington University.
This was because, while Wash U is two blocks south of the building, my bus stop was directly in front of it. So I spent a lot of time … rain, shine, snow and sleet … standing in front of the building studying the details of its brickwork while I waited for my bus to arrive.
Jump ahead a few years to when I began working in Clayton as a copywriter at the shoe company. My bus from Clayton connected with my bus to home at the same bus stop in front of the same apartment building that was like second nature to me now. Only now I was viewing the building at sunset, twilight and when I worked late night.
Jump ahead a few more years to when I met and became friends with Andy, a grad student and brawny rugby player who actually lived in the building … first floor balcony on the right. Thanks to him, I finally got to see the inside of the building. Eventually he got his degree and moved on and I was back to waiting for the bus in front of the building.
Jump ahead a lot more years when I either retired as the sales promotion supervisor at the shoe company or was downsized … neither of which sounds good on a resume. So, as a freelance creative writer I wasn’t waiting in front of the building for a bus every day. Except when a freelance project would take me in front of it.
For sometime, I’ve been noticing this strange-looking sparrow visiting my backyard. It didn’t look like the regular sparrows or chippies as my mother called them. Well, last Friday I went to lunch with my old high school buddies and one of them noted that a woman from Uganda had visited his house to see the birds in his yard. Naturally we forced an explanation out of him.
She visited to see one specific bird … the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. This is a bird native to Eastern Europe and Asia. And also, one particular spot in the United States … Saint Louis. Not all of Saint Louis, but a couple of select spots. How did it get here? Well, there’s two versions to the story of their arrival, and both center on German immigrants who settled in Saint Louis in the 1860s. Hey, that’s when my great-grandfather settled here!
The first tells about settlers who missed the birds of their homeland and had friends send them a mixed cage of birds. When the birds arrived, they were released in Lafayette Park in South Saint Louis. All the birds died, except for 12 Eurasian Tree Sparrows who went forth and multiplied.
The second versions mentions a wedding tradition of the immigrants of releasing Eurasian Tree Sparrows. So 200 sparrows were imported and released in Lafayette Park as part of the wedding ceremony.
Anyway, the birds migrated to several locations in the suburbs since they weren’t keen on city life. So locally, they now reside in Dogtown, the Hill, Afton and the wetlands around the Missouri and Mississippi River. The Mississippi River location is not that far from my house. In the last year or so, they’ve also been seen in southern Iowa and across the river in Illinois.
Here’s a photo of a young ETS visiting my yard for a snack. Notice how he differs from the regular sparrow. The other bird is a female cardinal.
So now, there’s something unique about my back yard. Feel free to come visit my only available in Saint Louis birds.
Today the weather wizard announced that we will soon top the all time local record for most days over 100 degrees. The hottest day ever in the Wicket City was July 14, 1954 when the mercury boiled at 115 degrees. I remember it well, because I (a young lad at the time) was helping my father scrape off umpteen years of lead-based paint from the floor of the front porch of our new home.
Anyway, to show that I can brave the heat I went outside to have a new rugged Kangaroo Dundee-like photo take of me.
Also, you’ve might have noticed that I have decided to stop shaving until it really rains. And I’m not talking about one of those rainfalls where the drops evaporate as soon as the touch the ground.
Well, it’s heading for 106〫again today … and I’m staying in and reading my book. Been reading it for some time and I’m not even 2/3 through. Thankfully I’ve got it on my Kindle reader, would never be able to tote the 1008 page print version around. If you’ve been watching the TV series, expect a lot of twists and turns in Season 3 and 4. Yeah, the book is so thick they need two seasons to tell the story.
My lawn crunches when I walk on it; and they say we need 15 to 19-inches of rain to get back to normal. Haven’t had any real rain since early in June.
I do give the front flower beds a good soaking every day, but it dries up by mid-afternoon. The flowers are still blooming … only most are a tad smaller than they were in the spring.
My lacy ballerina flowers have finally added some blue flowers to the many white plants that were blooming.
And the white plants are producing some rather unique seed pods.
And the ants are busy moving aphid eggs up to the sweet Rose Of Sharon blossoms to hatch and collect nectar.
And I have no idea what this guy is doing.
Well back to the AC and my book.
And I’m getting ready for Friday! Actually I started this morning with breakfast …
With fresh-baked scones, butter, lemon curd and English Breakfast Tea! And I’ll probably have enough leftovers to get me through to Friday.
Now contrary to what many say they see in the official logo for the games, I do not see any sexual imagery or Zionist overtones. My opinions will remain a blank slate until Europe’s largest tuned bell begins tolling on Friday night to reveal …
THE ISLES OF WONDER
Which just happens to be the Shakespearian inspired theme of the opening ceremonies. Quite appropriate, don’t you think?
And it will have live horses, cows, sheep, running rivers, rain and Sir Paul McCartney!
I can hardly wait!