Monday, June 29, 2009

It Was a Blast

We're approaching the Fourth of July - Independence Day - when we look for our annual
fireworks celebrations. We had one not far from our condo a weekend ago and it was a pretty
good display considering that there were trees and the base chapel hiding a major part of the
low-level display. But what we could see was great. By the way, the display was a part of
what Oscoda calls its "Red, White, and Blue Festival" This weekend was the annual art show
on the beach and next weekend will feature the township fireworks display at the park in the
center of town. Later in the month are a couple of major canoe races and a Native American
Pow-wow. And I don't want to ignore the Yankee Air Force Museum fly-in and USO dance. Who says small towns don't have a bunch of celebrations during the summertime?

When I think of the Fourth of July I think back to the late 1930's (last century) when fireworks
were different and in most states were legal. In one place I remember tissue paper balloons
with candles floating up along the Hudson River. (I don't remember whether they set
any fires but balloons like that (containing incendiary bomblets) were sent up from submarines off the West Coast and came down in Washington and Oregon forests.

It may have been 1939 r 1940 that New York State outlawed most firework. However, I was not going to allow the State ban on fireworks to end my holiday celebration. I made my own.
I tried to buy gunpowder at the local hardware and they wouldn't sell it to a little kid. So I bought up box after box of the big wooden kitchen matches, cut off the heads and glued them together. Then these big bundles of match heads were put on small rafts, lit, and floated on the
stream behind the house. When the bundles of match heads flared up there was applause from family members sitting on the lawn looking over the pool behind the house. The State of New York was not going to do my celebration in.

Well, it wasn't the fourth of July but later in life I was involved in a church play and I was tasked
with creating a flash in a fireplace (A 'Devil and Daniel Webster' special effect). This time I used regular gunpowder and the first try did not create enough flash and smoke. So my second try I used a significantly larger amount of gunpowder (almost filled a pie pan) and this time the flash
was huge and the entire basement of the church was filled with smoke. It was gently suggested that I not involve myself with pyrotechnics again.

And I must sat that there are times that I find it hard tom get past the fireworks stands and displays even now. Guess you can take the fireworks away the old boy -- but it's hard to take the old boy away from the Fourth of July celebration. Know what I mean?

Friday, June 12, 2009

What's Going On?

In case anyone has tried (do people really do this?) to read a new "This 'n That" over the last two or three weeks and found it to be an exercise in futility think of the frustrated old man who has tried to get a particular one on line. In the first place, we have been very busy what with a granddaughter visiting along with two great grandchildren (ours, not hers - that would make Joyce and me really old). Any way, that gang made its way to Chicago yesterday while I was in the processes of having one of those wonderful procedures (colonoscopy) inflicted upon my poor old body. The doctor said the view was great and there were no concerns and when all was said and done, he said he didn't want to see me ever again for a colonoscopy. Is that because there is a cut-off point when one no longer needs to have them?

While Rebecca, Ella, and Maddie were here we had a real treat - a visit from one of our 1970's exchange students, Paul Ickx. He was from Belgium when he stayed with us in the early 1970's - he then became a doctor and has spent many years providing medical care in places like Haiti, Africa, but most of all, for years in Afghanistan. He today heads up a hospital in Kabul but in the eighties he worked with the Muhajadeen (hope the spelling is right but it probably isn't) where as a surgeon he worked under extremely primitive conditions. I wish I could find some of the old photos he sent where he was dressed in the native robes.

It was a wonderful reunion - and I will say that the last couple of days have been tough with
none of the family around.

One of my other problems has been that I wanted to write about a particular place and I can't get the picture I want to come up in the blog. I can find it in "my pictures" but it won't transfer.
Maybe it will another day.

Maybe that problem is part of my problem with Hotmail. All of sudden I have had significant problems getting on line with Hotmail. When I talked to my friendly computer guru he said it wasn't just a problem for me - it was a problem for others who use Hotmail for mail (not necessarily HOT mail - but any mail on Hotmail. So now I have taken on a new e-mail address with Yahoo which I was on years ago and Joyce has been on for quite a while without a problem.

Which all goes to say that it isn't that I haven't wanted to do a blog but rather a lot of distractions and obstacles have made the last two or three weeks a challenge. Frustrating to say the least.

Well, hopefully there's be another blog afore long. As the used to say on an old radio program back the thirties: "I hope, I hope, I hope...." Bye for now