Halloween 2018

IMG_8477One Day Early

Due to forecasts of heavy rains, Halloween celebrations in many local neighborhoods moved up a day to take advantage of the beautiful fall evening. It was great fun and I’ve shared photos below. The Trick or Treaters were so creative!

“On Halloween, the parents sent their kids out looking like me.” Rodney Dangerfield

 

Happy Halloween!

VOTE!

U.S. Election Day

No matter your political party, no matter your personal beliefs, if you are an American citizen I urge you to vote on November 6. This election is called a “mid-term” and some seem to think that makes it less important. Presidential elections may be more exciting but the so-called mid-terms are just as significant. Our government is based upon checks and balances and whether in local races, state or Federal we must choose all branches carefully. 

While this post is for US citizens, if you live in another democracy your elections are just as important and I urge you to vote as though your life depended upon. Indeed at some point, it may. 

Shame

A larger percentage of  US citizens voted in 2004 than in any year since 1968 and that was only 58%. It is a disgrace that in the 2016 election over 100 million people did not choose to execute this solemn right! 

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Show up! Speak up! Or Shut up!

 

Graphics by Pixabay

Similarities?

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Cesar Sayoc
bowers
Robert Bowers
gregory-bush
Gregory Bush

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do these people have in common? 

Aside from being charged with horrid crimes last week, what do they have in common? They are not people of color. They are not immigrants. They are not Muslims. No, they are angry white men.

Rather than fearing the “other” perhaps it is time we look within to identify the evil that is tearing apart our nation’s soul.

 

“Forget everything and run or Face everything and rise.” Zig Ziglar

Victims

In Remembrance

Yesterday these eleven people left their homes to attend a religious ceremony at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, PA. Today they lie in a Medical Examiner’s office on a slab.  

Joyce Fineberg, 75, of Oakland, City of Pittsburgh

Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township

Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood Borough

Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

David Rosenthal, 54, (brother of Cecil), of Squirrel Hill

Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg

Sylvan Simon, 86, (husband of Bernice), of Wilkinsburg

Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington, City of Pittsburgh 

On Wednesday, four days ago, three miles from my home two African-Americans were shot and killed while grocery shopping. One in the store, the other in the parking lot by a white man who allegedly stated, “Whites don’t kill whites.”

They were:

Vickie Lee Jones, 67, Louisville, KY

Maurice E. Stallard, 69, Louisville, KY

I just came from a vigil in their honor at the sight of their deaths. While it was good to see people of all colors together showing love and respect, I couldn’t help wondering why we don’t act more like this in our daily lives.

Thoughts, prayers, vigils . . . too little, too late. 

Cause of deaths: Hate      

Method: Guns  

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“Researchers have proven, scientifically, that humans are all one people. The color of our ancestors’ skin and ultimately my skin and your skin is a consequence of ultraviolet light, of latitude and climate. Despite our recent sad conflicts here in the U.S., there really is no such thing as race. We are one species — each of us much, much more alike than different. We all come from Africa. We all are of the same stardust. We are all going to live and die on the same planet, a Pale Blue Dot in the vastness of space. We have to work together.”  Bill Nye

Thoughts & Prayers

Thoughts and Prayers are not enough. Thoughts and prayers come after the fact, after the loss. We as Americans, as citizens of the world must do more. We must be proactive. How?

Love and respect others, including those who are not exactly like us. We are all human beings, we worship the same supreme being by different names or no name, we all have families and we all have a place in this world that we share.

We must be engaged with others. We must be an active part of the solution. We must be involved with our political representatives to hold them accountable. We must lead by example.

We must stand up against hate. 

 

Halloween

What are you going to be for Halloween? 

Have you heard this question yet this year? I think it’s funny that we don’t talk about what we will wear, so much as what we will “be.” To me, this means we really take our roles seriously and enjoy being someone, or something, different for a few hours. 

I have not made a decision about this year, but will probably be lazy and not put together a costume at all. Sometimes when you’ve done it well, it’s hard to top your own performance. Please forgive my bragging, but I was a really good Wolf Who Ate Grandma one year and I thought the year I was a “Cereal Killer” (as in Cheerios) was pretty creative, too.

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My bag lady year was a little lame, but there were two other years that I rocked! 

Goth was fun, but Camo Sue was my best ever!

What will you be this year?

 

 

Theme Graphic in title by Pixabay

 

Tintern Abbey

Wales’ Best-Preserved Abbey

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Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131 by Walter Fitz Richard of Clare, an Anglo-Norman lord. This community of buildings where monks once lived and worshiped had one of the most advanced drainage systems of its time, however, there was only one room where there was a fire for the residents to warm up or dry their clothes. There was an infirmary on the grounds and many early carvings. Traces of medieval glass can still be seen in the imposing windows.

After suppression by Henry VIII, the Abbey changed from its religious purpose to crowded cottages and an early industrial complex. 

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Wales

I loved the drive through the countryside in Wales. There were sheep scattered all about the hills presenting the peace that only such a pastoral scene can provide. There were signs to “Mind the Sheep” because in certain areas the animals were allowed to graze along the roadsides. 

Another interesting thing that I noted while in Wales was that signs were in both English and Welsh languages. All the maps and brochures that I saw in Wales were equally bi-lingual. While just about all citizens speak English on a daily basis, the government claims that 24% of the population over age three can speak Welsh, the official language of Wales. This makes this Celtic language the only official language of the United Kingdom other than English. 

I would love to return to Wales one day. 

 

Goatman

Urban Legend

If you are a regular follower of Crooked Creek, you may recall my mentioning the Goatman a few times. As Halloween approaches, I want to give you a full introduction to the half-man and half-goat. This creature, known as a satyr has frightened generations in this southeastern Jefferson County community. He resides near the trestle at Pope Lick pictured below. The picture of the actual Goatman is borrowed from a sign I saw in Pope Lick Park last fall. He has to be real or there could not be a photo, right? 

 

I’m not sure how a creature of Greek mythology came to reside here in Kentucky, but he is well known and feared. Such beasts are known for their drunkenness and lust and if you want to know more, you’ll have to check him out outline because this is a PG13 blog! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyr

Many times train conductors have seen adventurers on the trestle in search of the Goatman. Sadly a woman died in 2016 when she and her friend were exploring on the track. The man was able to survive by lying between the ties, but the woman was struck and plunged to her death below the trestle. http://www.wdrb.com/story/31800606/woman-dies-after-being-hit-by-train-on-pope-lick-train-trestle

Happy Hunting!

If you are brave enough to search this Halloween. 

A Castle in Wales

Chepstow Castle

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In beautiful Wales, there are many well-preserved castles. This Medieval one was built a year after the Battle of Hastings. For nearly 1,000 years Chepstow Castle has sat atop a cliff overlooking the Wye River below.

I felt almost a reverence as I walked onto the grounds and looked up at the stone walls and towers. I kept thinking of the people who lived there long ago and wondered what their lives must have been like. Walking along the chambers and climbing the stairs I wondered how life was for children who were born there.

I’ve chosen some of the 50+ photos that I took at Chepstow Castle and shared them with you in the slideshow below.

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“I had always been interested in mythology. I suppose my brief stay in Wales during World War II influenced my writing, too. It was an amazing country. It has marvelous castles and scenery.”

Lloyd Alexander

Book Review – The Little Professor of Piney Woods

Inspiring Story

Over this past weekend, I read a book recommended to me by a fellow blogger, Christine Goodnough. You might want to check out her blog. https://christinegoodnough.com We’ve never met, but I enjoy the posts of this prolific writer in Canada. 

The book, written by Beth Day, was published in 1955 and is entitled “The Little Professor of Piney Woods.” It is about a young black man right out of college who opens a school in the deep woods of Mississippi in the early twentieth century. Laurence Jones’ obstacles were many, but he persevered and that school is still in operation today.

The story is folksy, happy, sad and at times maddening, but well worth the read if you like history and happy endings. I recommend it.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_C._Jones

http://www.pineywoods.org

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

Stonehenge

Wonder of Wonders

Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England is approximately 4,500 years old. That in itself creates a sense of wonder. As I walked among these huge stacked stones recently I wondered what life was like in 3000 to 2200 BC. And, before the circle of stones was built there were hundreds of burial mounds in the surrounding area. The people buried there lived perhaps centuries before Stonehenge. What brought these early humans to this particular spot? What did they feel or sense there that made them leave their mark for us to wonder about? What force propelled these builders to spend over 100 years finding, transporting and stacking 25-ton stones (13×7′ in size) in a circle? We still wonder not only why, but how. 

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“The past is a stepping stone, not a millstone.” Robert Plant

 

Sleep Tight

Dianne Mattingly Bynum at five years of age.

As told to her Mom years later.

Bedtime was a mixture of feeling both happiness and dread. After our prayers, Mom or Dad and at times both, would tuck us in and give us a hug and kiss.

That felt so good. Then we heard those words I dreaded, “Sleep tight” and Dad would usually add “don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

Before they left the room I had already grabbed my little sister’s gown or pajamas and was holding as tightly as I could. I wasn’t worried about bedbugs. I had never seen a bedbug. I was worried about something much more significant, losing my sister! 

Ever since they put her in my bed and told me to take care of her, I’ve slept tight every night to be sure she doesn’t get lost. She’s such a little girl (I’m big) that she could get lost so easily.

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Sisters, Dianne & Allison, Today

 

“Childhood is a short season.” Helen Hayes

 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

Great Britain

The Unexpected

Before my trip to the UK last week I was cautioned to take an umbrella, raincoat and boots. I took the umbrella, but it was not needed. What a delightful week of sunny blue skies and cool breezes. 

I’ll write more later, but just had to say now what a great time I had touring London and the countryside of Gloucestershire and Wales. It was a week of planes, trains and automobiles, castles, pubs and charming villages. 

 

Pappy’s Hat

Pappy’s Hat

My Grandfather’s hat was always at the ready. It was as though he was not decent, or a gentleman, without it. When dressed for church he would put it on his head as he left the house. That was his Sunday hat. 

When inside, whether at his little house or in his big store, his bare head showed. He was mostly bald with a few sprigs of white hair spread across the top. Upon leaving any building whether sunny or cold, a hat was placed squarely on that head. It was straw in summer and felt in winter. 

If he was working outside on a hot day the hat would be old and stained from sweat. That was not his primary function in life however, because he ran a general store and Post Office and he didn’t have to sweat much in those jobs. 

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His attire was simple, as was most men’s in those days. About all he needed was one suit and white shirt with tie for Sundays and funerals. Other days gray pants and a cotton shirt would do with a sweater added in winter. His shoes were black leather and tied neatly. He had rubber covers for those oxfords on rainy days. He called them “galoshers.” Top it all off with a hat and Pappy was good to go. 

“A person carries off the hat. Hats are about emotion.                                                      It is all about how it makes you feel.” Philip Treacy

 

Theme photo of hat in title by Pixabay

Guest Poet

autumn

summer fades into autumn

as it slowly drifts away

past fields of purple ironweed

and the smell of fresh mown hay

where cattails rise from soggy ground

and sunflowers nod their heads

and cottonwoods resign themselves

as their leaves begin to shed

so as the winds begin to change

and autumn shuffles in

summer fades with the passing days

and a different feel begins

summer has only a little while

to wear her robe of green

then let it drop and watch it fall

along with the falling leaves

 

Poem By Sylvia L. Mattingly 

September 22, 2016  

 

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Sunflower Photo Courtesy of Gerri Nelson