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Friday, March 27, 2015

Debbie and Hammer proudly present the Cozy Cafe in Longton, Kansas.


Longton, Kansas is a step back in time.  This is the Cozy Cafe and everyone at this table is related to me in one way or another.  Front left is my oldest son, Sam.  Then comes Hammer the son in law and across from him is my oldest daughter, Debbie.  Patty and Dona are back there somewhere.  The only two missing is Sue and Bret.   Savannah and Joey are at the other end and fornt and right is my friend Evelyn who traveled with me to Longton.
The cafe has been in operation for the life of the town, I think.  This is Kay, the lady who started it years ago.  See, we used to be able to smoke while we cooked, but not any more.  When she passed her husband sang at her service.  He sang "Angel Flying to Close to the Ground" and Debbie assured me he sounds just like Willie Nelson.

This is her husband,  Richard Claytor.  I got to meet him briefly on my way out the door and headed for Colorado.
This caught my eye and I could see the truth in it!
And of course the obligatory public service announcement.
The menu was simple and very reasonably priced.  Sam wanted to have a talk with them and explain to them that they could make money if they charged more and people would be willing to pay more because it was very good food.  I finally convinced him that it is not Dallas and they are happy in thier small town with small town prices.
Most of the houses are small and not much upkeep happens.  The streets are not paved except for Main Street.
This is the mansion where the fancy prople live.
A barn in down town Longton by the school.
Then we went to Debbie's farm and you can see them towards the end of my youtube rendering.  Just click here












Sunday, March 15, 2015

I love Spring and I really love Spring in Kansas!

Getting ready to wend my way across Colorado and through Kansas to the South East corner.  Goose feeder is filled and the house sitter is packed and ready to move in for the duration.  This is the prefect time to go.  When I arrive the Lilacs will be in full bloom.  That alone is worth the trip.
While I was looking for a picture of the Lilac's I found this from a Longton trip I made several years back.  I plan on driving by this again in hopes it is still standing, but I doubt that it will be.  Nature has a way of taking care of those things.  The nice part is, it is still cool enough that the snakes will not be out yet.  This is back woods country so snakes have the right of way.
This is a two story building on main street of Longton.  Yes, that is a tree growing out of the roof!  Plan on checking that out also.  We plan on taking a little hike around this area.
But for now, I have to get ready for church.  Have a good one and I shall return.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Come on Post Office! Give me a break here.


This was the first boo boo  Click on that to read the first episode.

So last week I sent a letter/card/whatever to Texas.  Mailed it on March 6.  Did the 1-3 day Priority thing so it would get there quickly.  Insured it, the whole 9 yards.  Paid extra for all this.  I might as well have wiped on that money! Tomorrow will be one week and there is no sign of it ever getting there.  


March 11, 2015 , 7:28 am

Departed USPS Origin Facility

DENVER, CO 80266 
The package is delayed and will not be delivered by the expected delivery date. An updated delivery date will be provided when available. Your item departed our USPS origin facility in DENVER, CO 80266 on March 11, 2015 at 7:28 am. The item is currently in transit to the destination.

March 6, 2015 , 10:02 am

Arrived at USPS Origin Facility

DENVER, CO 80266 

March 6, 2015 , 8:47 am

Accepted at USPS Origin Sort Facility

PUEBLO, CO 81006 

March 6, 2015

Pre-Shipment Info Sent to USPS

As near as I can tell the post office scooped it up and rocketed it to Denver into a big hole, where it remained until I put an inquiry on where the parcel that was destined for 3 day delivery had gone.  

As near as I can tell it is suspended some where after Denver and before Texas.  OK.  I accept that the post office is overworked and they need to raise the postal rate every time I figure out how much a stamp is, but come on people.  Isn't this a little ridiculous?

How can I get something from point A to point B with out the post office cooperating with me here?  I could have laid this on the dash of my car and driven it down there and basked in the Texas sun for 5 days and came home and made supper.  See I know there is avacuum between here and Oregon, but I did not know about the one between here and Texas.

Well, that is my speil for the day.  I will let you know when and IF my card makes it there.  In the meantime, I will just stare at the tracking number and wonder.



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hey! Where is the dog?

Have spent several days now wondering about why I can not remember having a dog when we were growing up.  We always had a bunch of mangy cats hanging around in the back yard and in the barn, but I can not remember any dog.  We had Muscovy Ducks that were always making a mess where the sink drained out through a wall in the house and dumped the water in the back yard.  Now there was one stinking mess if I remember right and I am pretty sure I do.

Now in the first place ducks are messy and Muscovy Ducks are the messiest ducks in the world.  They are black and white.  The males are very big and the hens are very small.  I had 2 males and 2 females many years back, but they are anti-social and I think they killed one of my geese.  Nobody home and in the pen but the geese and the ducks and there was the dead goose.  They could fly.  Most domesticated geese and ducks can not fly, but those suckers could.  What this has to do with a dog is beyond me, but you do know how my little mind wanders.

So we had the Shetland pony that kicked brother Jake in the head, Danny the brown horse that no one could ride but Josephine, and a bunch of old work horses that were good for nothing but eating hay.  Oh and the rabbits mother raised, but those were to eat.  The milk cow was not really a pet. The cats were what is known as "feral"  which meant they were born in the wild, raised in the wild and no way in hell were you going to pet one of them.  Try and you could lose a finger or an eye and usually both.

As I recall the only people on the block who had a dog was the Rienke family.  They had a white dog with brown spots.  I think his name was Spot.  His life was spent on the end of a chain where he spent the day barking and the only time he quit barking was when he was wolfing down his dinner.  Thinking back there were not many dogs in the town of Nickerson.  Walking home from school, I know the Redford family had a big, mean dog that was on a chain on the clothes line.  Ever so often he would escape and we would see him running through town dragging his chain behind him.  Used to scare the living pee waddin' out of me because I knew if he seen me he would eat me, but thank heavens he never did.

Maybe if I had been able to have a dog to play with I would be better adjusted today.  I guess there is really no way of finding out.  I know as soon as I met my first husband he gave me a little Chihuahua puppy and I have had dogs ever since.  I have two dogs and a cat now.  I have got to try to outlive them, because they would not know how to act if they went to a home where they were not rulers of the roost.  When we go to bed I have to put 5 cat treats on the dresser for Icarus.  Then I give Daisy a Milk bone and then Elvira a Milk bone.  Then I turn out the light and crawl into bed with Icarus protecting me and the dogs run out for a short bark at the moon before they fall asleep.

Thinking back, I bet we never had a dog because every scrap of food had some one's name on it.  The whole country was in a depression so food was scarce everywhere.  But then there was this picture.
There is my mother with a black dog.  I think my dad did not like dogs.  Whatever, it is a mystery that I can not solve since no one is around to guide me.  Maybe I had a dog and maybe it lived outside, so I forgot about it.  Yes!  I bet that is it.  I will stick to that story because I like it.  I bet he was a Collie dog and  his name was Rover!  Oh, finally, I will be able to sleep tonight.

I miss Rover.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Let me be clear on this poverty thing.

Maybe we are getting lost in semantics here if indeed semantics is the word I want.  I very much appreciate the comments I am receiving when I write about my childhood.  "Oh, grandma, so sorry."  "I just never knew how hard you had it."  "This is so very sad,"  The thing is here, I did not have it bad.  Granted we were poor, but back in the times I grew up in, most people were.  We may have been poorer then most, but there were families living in box cars and chicken coops and eating less than we did.  While I never knew these people, I knew of them.  That was enough.

My mother was there and my father was there.  My sisters and brother were there.  My family.  What I remember most about growing up was not what we ate or did not eat, only that we survived.  We survived and moved on to better times, but we survived.  We grew up playing "Kick the Can". "Blind Man's Bluff, " and "Red Rover, Red Rover."  We could always drag enough kids together to play something and when darkness fell and the streetlight came on over on the other corner, we better get for home.

Clod fights were common place and we needed to use our good common sense when choosing a clod out of a plowed field to lob at someone.  If it was too soft, it fell apart in the air.  If it was too hard it could do some real damage.  Of course, it it was too big and too hard it could kill some one.  As you see we all survived to adulthood and in that day and age, that in itself was a miracle.

I remember setting on the side of a dirt road in my little cotton dress and my bare feet trying to build an ant hill for an ant I had found that I thought was an orphan.  I remember pulling dead wood off of a Cottonwood Tree and lighting it on fire and then blowing on it to keep it burning because I thought it would pass as punk for a fire cracker in case I ever found one of those.

I remember wading in the Arkansas River and the water was so clear I could watch minnows swimming.  I could cup my hands and drink it.  And I could lay in the cool water and then jump up and run home in the warm sun and be dry when I got there.  I was brown as a berry .  Of course I was barefooted!  We got new shoes in the fall when school started and when we grew out of them we passed them down.  I have a closet full of shoes now, but I still long for the days when shoes were an option.

I remember setting on the front yard with my brother and listening to the Grand Ole Opry from WSM in Nashville, Tennessee!  I remember Minnie Pearl and Roy Acuff and a host of others.  I remember stars so bright they were diamonds in a black sky and a moon that lit up the yard like a spotlight.

I remember so much that I have no words for most of it and that is what I am trying to get across here; not the poverty, but it has to be told because it was what it was.  So when I tell you about something, try to see past that to the lesson that is there.

Making soap was how we got soap,  Times are different.  Now if you want soap, you go buy it, but it was not always that way.  We rendered out fat because we needed lard.   We played our little games because that is what we passed time on our way to adulthood.  We had a checker board instead of an XBox.  We played Dominoes instead of turning on a television or booting up the computer.

I grew up in the best of times and I am going to continue to tell you about them.  There was a time that poverty was an inconvenience, but never a time it caused me to lose my zest for life.  It was a time to be gotten through and a time to be thankful when it was over, but there is not a childhood memory in this head of mine that is dominated by poverty.  Poverty was for the people we saw pictures of that were guant and sad looking with a look of silent pleading in thier eyes, not for those Bartholomew kids at 709 Strong Street in Nicherson< Kansas!

PEACE!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chicken feet? Of course. Right up there with Carp!

I was talking to a friend the other day and explaining to him the facts of survival back in the "good old days." I am pretty sure he thought I was making it up about the carp and all.  He told me that Carp was a trash fish and no one really ate them.  Hmm.  Seems like I recall wading in the river with a big seine and filling tubs with them   Mother had a way to can them so the bones got soft and they were almost like Salmon.  I said "almost".  They looked like Salmon, but they sure did not taste like Salmon.  We liked the Carp best drenched in corn meal and fried in lard.  And we always had bread when we had fish because one of the little kids would always swallow a bone and the only way to get it on down was to eat a piece of bread.  I am amazed today that none of us ever had a perforated intestine, but we didn't.

So few people are around today that actually lived through the times back then in the small town of Nickerson when it was catch as catch can and anything that didn't move real fast was going to be eaten.
Try to imagine 8 of us living in a 2 bedroom house and no income.  The house payment was $10 a month and it came first.  Mother always planted a big garden that consisted mostly of sweet potatoes, onions, beans  turnips, and corn.  The corn was not the sweet corn like we enjoy around here in the summer, but was dried and then ground into corn meal.  The root vegetables were pulled up and stored in the root cellar.  Apples were abundant and several bushels of those ended up in the root cellar.  We ate apple sauce, fried apples, baked apples, and boiled apples.

Mother always seemed to have chickens around and chickens meant eggs, except when "brooding" season was upon us.  That was when the old hens sat and hatched out babies.  Not all of them sat and we still gathered eggs, but I always kept a damn close eye on those beady eyed hens.  They were just as apt as not to fly off that nest and peck me if I got to close.  They never actually did that, but I lived in mortal terror that one day one might.

Usually the hens kept us with plenty eggs, so there were cakes when we had sugar.  If one of the neighbors butchered a hog and dad helped we had pork and we got the fat which was cooked in a cast iron pot and this gave us "cracklings" and lard.  I think out here they are called chiccarones.

Meat was never very plentiful at our house through the week, but come Sunday, we always had meat of some kind .  My favorite was fried chicken because then there would be potatoes and the good country gravy.  Now to the feet part.  Mother had to make a chicken stretch to feed 7 of us, so every bit of the chicken as going into that skillet.  Not the head though.  The feet were immersed in boiling water and skinned.  They went right into the skillet and while there was no meat on the feet they were good for chewing on and the little kids never knew they were not really getting anything to eat.

Sometimes mom would come up with a roast beef.  That was something to die for.  I especially liked the gristle.  I could chew that for the longest time and actually thought it was good.  Amazing how that worked!  Today I only eat chicken breast.  If I cook a roast it better not have any gristle in it.

So to this day I do not eat apples in any cooked form.  I do not like to smell them cooking and so I do not cook them.  I eat them raw and only when they are nice and crisp.  Needless to say, I have given up the Carp for Alaskan wild caught Salmon and the only fowl on the farm here is the geese and they are not going to be eaten.  I steal their eggs and make them into noodles.  That is my idea of birth control!  Chicken breasts is the only part of the chicken I buy or cook.  No feet for me!

I look back on the hardest times and I can not help but realize that my mother had to be the strongest woman in the world.  She took nothing and raised us kids to be functioning members of society.  She took in laundry and cleaned houses to put food on the table and clothes on our backs.  She made me a teal corduroy coat when I was in fourth grade and Lord only knows where she came up with the fabric.  I wore that coat longer than I should have because the kids finally began to tease me, but it was mine and I loved it.  When I hear Dolly Parton sing "Coat of Many Colors"  I always think of my mother.  As I get older I realize everything makes me think of my mother.  The missing her is as bad all these years later as it was the day she passed.  I do not think one ever "gets over" the death of our loved ones, we just learn to live without them and I am now acutely aware that my kids are probably walking in my shoes.

It is called life.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Home, Home on North Strong Street where my memories actually begin to be sort of accurate.

I have noticed that fuzzy little memories of life on the Stroh place and then the Ailmore place change according to my mood of the moment.  Most of the time I remember those days as carefree and happy.  Well there were a few exceptions.  Seems like I was always getting my ass beat for something that I was sure I had not done, but someone gave me the credit for being the instigator of one foul deed after another.  But when we moved North of town life took on meaning.
Miss Donough was my first grade teacher.  She was so pretty and so sweet.  The school was two stories tall and we were not allowed to ever go up the stairs.  I longed to walk those stairs all the way to the top and see what mysteries lingered there, but alas I was 4 years away from that trip.  Little did I know how quickly those years would fly by and then I would be going up the stairs every day and would hate that too.
The first grade classroom was very big.  The alphabet danced around the top of the room and the numbers followed.  At one end of the classroom was the "cloak room."  That meant coat room.  It was also the place where we took off our goulashes and there was a shelf for our lunch buckets.  Now you should know that when I say lunch bucket, I mean lunch bucket.  Some of the rich kids had lunch boxes with designs on the side of them.  Some were black.  Some kids brought paper sacks and those kids could just throw them away when they were done.  While I envied them that luxury I still thought it was wasteful.  We carried a bucket that had once held lard.  It was called a lard bucket when it had lard and lunch bucket when it had lunch.
At the far end of the classroom was the "sick room."  It held a small cot and it was for whoever was sick to lay on until they either felt better or a parent came and took them home.  I longed to be sick and lay on those clean white sheets, but it never happened.  Being blessed with an immune system that never allowed a disease or virus to enter your body is a curse to a kid wanting to see what it felt like to lay on a sheet.  Our beds at home were shared with at least 2 other kids and sometimes more.  Sheets were unheard of at our house.  Mother cut up old wool clothes and made them into quilts which were used both as a sheet and a cover.  Course with that many kids there was a lot of body heat shared.  To this day I can not even "rough it" when I go camping.  I need a sheet over me and under me and a pillow with a crisp pillow case under my head. I love fresh sheets and if I weren't so damn lazy I would wash my sheets every day.  I digress.
At the end of my first year of school, Miss Donough married a man named Mr. Breece.  Miss Donough ceased to exist and Mrs. Breece came into being.  I sadly left the first grade and moved across the hall to the second grade and Mrs. Wait.
This was where I would learn "manuscript" which is known today as "cursive", but is no longer taught in school as a required subject.  Not sure that anyone writes anymore what with the tablets, laptops, and such. It was here I also learned to add and subtract.  The second grade class was also responsible for raising and lowering the flag on the flagpole in the sand box.  Not the girls though.  No, no.  Girls were in training from day one to be good little girls and learn how to be good wives and mothers and raising and lowering the flag was not woman's work.  Strange, but all my life I have been on the wrong end of the stick as far as boy/girl things went.  Second grade passed in a blur.  We were kids.  There were no class distinctions.  We had not yet learned that there were the "haves and the have nots".  We had not yet learned that clothes were for anything except covering our bodies.
We ate what was in our lunch buckets and were damn glad to have it.  Potato sandwich's, wrinkled apples, or a cold piece of carp were just fare for the day.  Just something to keep us fed so we could make it through the day and home to our tar paper shack we called home.  A place to lay our bodies down, a place to rest our head and dream of places we were learning about where there was electric lights, a gas stove and  water that came out of a pipe in the kitchen, all warm so you could wash the dishes or take a bath.   .A fairy tale place that existed just outside our reach.  Soon I would learn that Strong Street was the wrong side of the tracks, but for now I was happy and secure,  and when I was 8 years old the present was all that mattered.