Archive for November, 2019

Food!

28 November 2019

Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we’re in the mood —
Cold jelly and custard!

From the musical Oliver!, lyrics by Lionel Bart.

I learned some of the songs in this musical in 5th or 6th grade at Wines School in Ann Arbor.

And since I didn’t get any shots of this year’s Thanksgiving meal, I’ll take you on a short trip down Memory Lane to a few major meals I attended in the long-ago.

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We’ll start with summer 1977 at the Beck’s (Culver City, Los Angeles). There’s Mom and Dad in the back, our friend Sophie facing the camera, a young Sherman staring down at something yummy, and my sister’s beautiful blond hair shimmering fuzzily in the foreground.

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Later that summer we stop by the Piersons. Here we see their piano and music books still prominent in the all-purpose room we spent most of our time in whenever we visited them.

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Next, a Thanksgiving spread featuring David, Mom and Barbie.

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And Christmas dessert, with Donna and Barbie all over-exposed in the foreground. Donna had great blond hair, too.

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And three years later, a scene from the big indoor get-together of the Pritchard Family Reunion (Grandma was a Pritchard). This was held in — can I remember? — the general vicinity of Garner, Iowa. The family started out in Belmond.

Food in the wild wild West

My most recent visit to the American River Parkway featured these food-related scenes:

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The salmon have been running in the American River. Last week I saw a big fish skittering up a shallow rapids near to where this vulture had caught another one.

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Woodpeckers feed mostly on insects living in dead tree branches. It is rare indeed that I catch such a good view of a woodpecker.

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When I came across this doe she had a corn chip bag over her snout. She ran away when I tried to catch her wearing the latest deer fashion (she probably fancied the salt). Here she’s trying to hide from me.

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I have ridden past this old orchard many times, and finally decided to snap a photo. These are walnut trees as far as I can tell. These specimens, however, are quite old. Most of the green on the nearest tree is mistletoe, indicating the tree is weakening from age.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Armistice Day, 101 years ago.

11 November 2019

“What happened on that great occasion was this. The news came about midnight. Next morning I called up the President (Hr. George Kidd, I think) of the B. C. Electric Railway, and asked if I may have the sight seeing street car – open top. Mr. Kidd replied, “It will be ready when you want it down at the corner of Cambie and Hastings. There will be a conductor and motorman; you tell them what to do.” I asked that it be there at 10 a.m. and it was. I said that I was not able to pay. He replied, “It is at your service as the contribution of the B. C. Electric Railway Company.”

“I assembled my 72nd Seaforths band at my place of business on Cordova Street between Homer and Cambie Streets. The Mayor of Vancouver was His Worship Mayor Gale, and he placed all bands under my charge – twelve bands in all. There was little preparatory organization, there were many musicians, some of them returned soldiers, some had instruments – some without. I had to purchase three instruments out of my own purse. Altogether I had one hundred and fifty men. Out of these I picked twelve leaders as bandmasters; then gave each leader twelve men according to their instruments, and away they went, some on floats, some marching on foot. The sight seeing street car with band playing went everywhere – over every line. We allowed no one on except returned soldiers, and many of these accompanied us. We went up Mt. Pleasant, Fairview, West End, everywhere, playing as we went, and except for intervals for meals, did not cease playing on that sight seeing street car until 10 o’clock that night. Some musicians stayed the entire time, some would retire, new ones take their places, some come, some go, it was a wild day of jollification, no order, no system, but everywhere harmony and co-operation. I supplied all the music. I had about 400 marches in my library. We played “Tipparary,” “Keep the Home Fire Burning,” “Pack Up Your Troubles,” “Long, Long Trail,” and other popular ones of the period. “Colonel Bogie” was a great favorite.

“I just divided the 150 men into 12 bands under a leader, gave them their music, told them their position in the line of march and left them ‘go to it.’ It was a glorious moment.”

This story was dictated to the Vancouver Archivist, Major Matthews, by my great-grandfather Edward Cox.

He was the leader of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders band (featured image) during the war years. Earlier (below) he was with the “Sixth Rifles” in their band. He is specifically named by the Archivist as being in the photograph below.

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Armistice Day for real

Armistice Day was about the beginning of the end of a terrible war. The Germans had been defeated in France, where the armistice was signed. A prominent German politician led the delegation that went to France to sign this agreement. The Allies were led by the Supreme Allied Commander, the French General Foch.

The war involved terrible suffering and slaughter among the troops on all sides. By 1918 everyone (except a few insane “leaders”) wanted it ended. The final arrangements were made in the following year. But the news of this Armistice spread like wildfire across the planet, with the help of telegraph equipment.

Now known in the U.S. as “Veterans Day,” this date should be celebrated by the lovers of peace across this planet as a symbol of what is possible when combatants finally decide to lay down their arms. The fact that military units in most places support bands shines like a little ray of hope that one day war as we now know it could end.

 

Of bikes, banks, birds, bucks…

3 November 2019

I thought I might diverge a bit from my usual weekly write-up to mention a little more about the experience of riding from Folsom to Sacramento.

I don’t have any really good photos showing what Folsom is like, but here’s one from the summer showing some geese walking around on the lawn and sidewalk next to a corporate building and a transit station parking lot.

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It is a car-dominated, corporate-dominated suburban area. This is a newer part of town, so it has bike paths and lots of greenery and these random appearances of wildlife. I think a lot of suburbs have these things.

Some attack suburban life as “unsustainable,” but with a combination of lots of local employment plus a big city nearby, many people would much prefer to live in a place like Folsom if they can afford to. With the help of cars, a large grocery store like Winco is very viable here. There is plenty of room for parking, and the store is constantly busy, but especially on Saturday morning. The store is full of parents and kids, plus some older and younger couples, and a few singles like me.

I usually finish my shopping between 11AM and noon, then start back with my load of groceries, a big sun hat, and (in the summer) a dab of sunscreen on the top of each hand – the most exposed body parts (I wear long sleeves and pants when I go on such trips).

I got the bicycle I use in Pullman. It is a very well-built machine, but longer than most bikes. The frame has been extended about seven inches to allow for a lower center of gravity and more leg extension to the pedals. This is very helpful for urban biking where there is a lot of stopping for people and traffic. Most others on the trail ride racing bikes. A few older people ride motor-assisted touring bikes. I also see unusual bicycles on this trail. There is an occasional tandem bike, recumbent bikes, and a few “stepper” bikes.

Folsom is roughly 20 miles east of Sacramento. To its immediate north is a “lake” which is a reservoir formed by a rather large dam. Below that is a smaller “lake” formed by a smaller dam located at a fish hatchery. An aquatic park connected to Sac State University is located on this lower lake, and they host various boat races and similar events there. It is by this lake, across from the “Iron Point” light rail station, that I enter the Parkway and start my ride back to Sacramento.

Here are some people doing a photo shoot in that section of the park. It is right next to Folsom Boulevard, so very accessible.

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This is where most of the tarweed grows, as described in earlier posts.

Below the fish hatchery is a stretch of river used a lot for fishing and leisurely boating. The river is broad, shallow and slow-moving below the hatchery all the way to where it meets the Sacramento River. About 150 years ago, this section of the river was heavily dug up using various mining methods to remove gold from river sediments. Very large piles of river rocks adorn the banks of the river in this area, particularly on the south side where the bike path is. Here is a major example:

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On this part of the river, the other (north) side of the river is steeper and more hilly, so most of the rock from the dredges ended up on the south side.

As this environmental interference is now over 100 years past, many of these areas are regrown, particularly along the river banks. Here is a typical view of the river not far downstream from the hatchery.

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The bike path tends to skirt along the river bank where there are lots of trees, while passing open fields on the other side. At some points the road and houses are quite close to the path, and at other points they are more distant.

There are a few sections of dense woods (which I love – reminds me of Michigan) but in most places the land shows signs that at one time in the past it was cleared by the miners for their work. I have shown this photo before, but I’ll show it here again to convey some of the beauty that a real forest provides.

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The ride home is for the most part a pleasure. But it does take me about three hours, and I usually experience some discomfort on the rump before the ride is over.

On the way I normally stop at one of the parks for a snack. It was not far from my stop this week that I spied these two birds down at the river. With bare eyes I could not tell that the vulture had a fish, but it was obviously feeding on something. The gull seems to be waiting with a sort of pretended attitude of disinterest, hoping – I suppose – that the vulture will leave some scraps behind that it may take advantage of.

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It is not common to come across such a poignant little vignette as the one above, but this area is home to wildlife, and they will sometimes appear close to the bike path, as I have noted many times concerning the deer. This week I got my first sighting of an older buck. I didn’t know there were any buck this old (two or three years judging by antler points) living in this area. I didn’t see any does in the vicinity.

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At Sac State I leave the river and head into town. The roadways in that area are a bit tangled, as a railway runs through it at a diagonal, which breaks up the usual orderly grid of streets.

I usually go into town using M and L streets. These are residential streets until I get close to downtown, so there’s less car traffic on them. On this route I go through the “40s” which is a very posh, upscale old suburban neighborhood. It stays residential until I get to the I-80 freeway which goes right through town between 29th and 30th.

The fact that the I-80 and the I-5 cross in Sacramento makes this spot a major transport crossroads. This fact has been emphasized several times by the drug enforcement officers who come to our church to brief us on the current scene regarding illicit trafficking, and particularly marijuana. It means there is a criminal interest in this location that would be absent if those freeways crossed somewhere else.

In any case, after the freeway comes the hospital (Sutter) along with the fort (Sutter) and then I get into a mix of older houses, apartment buildings, and cute shops that emphasize coffee, food, and drinking. L Street comes into downtown right between the Capitol Mall (a quite nice park) and the Convention Center (currently being renovated).  Then I switch over to K Street which runs right into the new DOCO, and I am home.

I might mention that the ice rink just opened this Friday and I had a nice opening day skate for just two bucks!

I will end with this shot of what was on the ground back in the park at the place where I saw the deer. It is not yet freezing at night here (and actually does not do so that often), and so many of the late-blooming plants just continue to go about their business. Sometimes when I walk down the city streets and see all that brick or concrete I wish the sidewalks could look like this instead.

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