Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sugar Sacks & Mason Jars

In the 50s and 60s, one of my summer chores was to take cold water to my father and brother as they worked in the fields, cultivating corn/beans or putting up hay. Thermos water coolers were not that common in those days, so I would fill a quart Mason jar with ice cubes and water, place it in an empty 5 lb. sugar sack and walk through the pasture or ride my bike to the field. The sack's multiple layers help to insulate the jar.

Sometimes, I would add a slice of banana bread or a handful of cookies to the bag. When I reached the top of the field, I would wait until the tractor was turned around and stopped before I handed the sack to my father or brother. I remember how they enjoyed the cold drink and snack after working in the blazing afternoon sun in a tractor without a cab for shade. With their thirst quenched, they handed me a tattered sack and and empty Mason jar they had taken with them in the morning, and I left the new one at the top of the field for them to enjoy later. Pictured above is my father on the John Deere tractor (I think it was a "B") that he and my brother used for years. If I remember correctly, the cultivator was attached to the sides of the tractor. I remember riding on the bar behind the driver's seat and hanging on for dear life. 

Several years later I worked in the same fields, cultivating or baling. I had the luxury of a tractor cab to keep the sun off of my head. I took an insulated cooler to the field with me, but I looked forward to the afternoons when my mom drove the pickup into the field and handed me a sugar sack that contained a Mason jar filled with cold water.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In Their Own Words

It is fun to learn about the present from the past. I marvel at the insight of the individuals who lived in a time void of our numerous conveniences, and I enjoy reading their actual words.

When I stumbled on Letters of Note, I knew I had found a true gem. The blog highlights personal letters from the past, and this post made me pause and utter, "Wow!"

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I do.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Be True to Your School

Every three years, the small school I attended hosts a full-school reunion. I've missed the last three gatherings, and this summer was no different. My class (1969) was small - five boys and five girls. Over half of us still live in the area, but our paths don't cross much.


I wore this sweater a lot for three and a half years, and earned the letter and the chevrons for Pep Club. Boy's school sweaters were made with four white stripes on the right arm to indicate the number of years the boy lettered in a sport. The stripes were covered with a removable red covering. Boys were also issued pins to place on their varsity letter - basketballs, footballs, racing feet, etc. Some schools also awarded varsity letters for band, but seldom for choir.

The wool sweaters were custom made for each person, and mine is still in great shape even though it is nearly 44 years old.

Pep Club was a big deal in my high school years because it was before Title IX had been implemented. The Pep Club wore wool uniforms, and we were issued demerits for sloppy or dirty uniforms or sneakers, chewing gum, and talking and not cheering during games. Does anyone else remember polishing their white canvas sneakers and wearing them wet?

Our Pep Club also performed flashlight drills during half-time of several home games. We created formations as we marched, visualize a marching band with flashlights instead of instruments. I know it sounds lame today, but in those days it was impressive.

Letter sweaters have lost their appeal with today's high school students, but schools still award varsity letters and pins for boys and girls sports, music, speech, and theater. Some boys order the traditional letterman coat with leather sleeves.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Capturing the Unusual

We didn't check the mileage to see if the sign was truthful, but it sure caught my attention.  (Sign located in Grass Valley, Oregon)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Windshield Wisdom

On my recent trip, I visited ten States (yes, I even counted the tiny corner of Arizona that we crossed) in fourteen days (a total of 3,939 miles). Even though the trip was fun, I am glad to be home and sleeping in the same bed for more than a couple of nights.

Some observations I made while on the road:

• America is truly beautiful


• Every State needs MORE rest areas


• Overall the roads we travelled were in excellent shape


• Some States need to get the message that it is okay to raise the speed limit on their highways: 55 for secondary roads and 65 for interstates is just too SLOW


• Most people are friendly and quick to smile


• Some drivers think the left lane is exclusively theirs


• People still travel with Airstreams


• The best places to eat are small local cafes


• Nevada has more armored cars than highway patrol vehicles


• Kindness is contagious



• Wi-Fi is not free in every motel/hotel. Prices for 24 hours usually ranged from $13 - 15


There's No Place Like Home

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finding "Big Bob"


My nephew tells a joke that includes the line: "We don't serve bears at Big Bob's Bar in Billings, Montana." I laughed out loud when we actually found Big Bob on our trip, and we quickly emailed the picture to prove it. (Okay, I know "Bob" looks like John Wayne, but he is BIG). 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wedding Bells

Brenda (my niece) and Sabid were married Saturday morning at the Shark Reef Aquarium  (before it was open to the public) in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. It was difficult to get photos because the professional photographer was on a tight time-schedule, so I tried to time my shoots immediately after hers, resulting in blinks and strange facial expressions.


That evening we celebrated at Harrah's Ranch Steakhouse. The food and the service were superb, and many guests were surprised by the living statue at the entrance.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Life's in the Details

I enjoy architectural details, and Las Vegas is a literal gold mine. I found these two examples in Mandalay Bay Hotel.

I didn't take photos at Caesar's Palace because I was hot and tired - maybe another time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Luck Be a Lady

It's a good thing that Vegas has some other entertainment because if it weren't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all. I've lost more on the slots than I care to admit, but at least I am having some fun while losing. Last night we saw the dancing fountain (which was beautiful but difficult to photograph) and the

gorgeous glass flowers on the ceiling of one of the casinos. 



My niece is getting married in Vegas this Saturday. I will be more than ready to leave this terrible heat.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Awesome Giants


When traveling in Northern California, please take the time to visit the Avenue of the Giants.

Just driving the gently winding road among the trees is restful and mystical. I expected to see an Ent step onto the road.


Around every corner were more wonders than I could ever imagine. This area must be one of God's favorites.


The floor of the forest was filled with ferns of all sizes and

lush carpets of clover. 


It broke my heart to see the fallen giants on the loop trail (thank you, Merideth for the recommendation) You can read about her visit to the giants here.

The Loop Trail near the center of the park is an easy walk and allows you to see much more than you can along the road.


Can you imagine the impact this tree made when it fell?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Surf's Up


In California, we were able to see the ocean along Highway 101 even though the fog prevented us from seeing the full coastline.


The cool, brisk wind made me grab my jacket, so I was surprised to see many individuals walking on the beach in their shirt sleeves.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fruit of the Vine


We didn't make too much progress on the day we toured some Oregon vineyards. Of course, we had to sample some of the wines. I found four varieties that appealed to my taste buds and purchased four bottles.

The vineyards dotted the hillsides in the Umpqua Region south of Eugene. I almost felt like I was in France.

Seeing Clearly

I was lucky to get a clear photo of this historic drawbridge in Florence, Oregon. The fog kept rolling in from the ocean all night, but by the time we ate breakfast and got the car packed, the fog had lifted.

Even though we encountered fog on our drive south on Highway 101, we were able to get some photos of the inland scenery and wild flowers.


Oregon is a green and beautiful state.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Battle


The Battle by Rip Caswell
on display at the High Desert Museum near Bend, OR

I love bronze sculptures, and this one was magnificent.

First Impressions




Marilyn and I stopped to stretch our legs on the way to Eugene, OR and discovered this treasure on the main building at Shuttle Lake Lodge. The doors are solid wood and have intricate carvings. Simply beautiful!

The resort has several cabins tucked in the forest, the main lodge, a restaurant, and a fire pit with this view. Perhaps, someday we will return.
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