My 4th of July

Personal commentary, my views may not reflect the views of the general public:

Fourth of July – Cue NCIS New Orleans theme song: Ah BOM-BOM-BOM-BOM!

I think of 4th of July as the day that scares my pets. First my big old goofy Bassett Hound named Mickey, who would lose complete control of all bodily functions while they were going off and now my Traveling Cat, Kiki who goes into defense mode while looking for a hole to hide in. (There aren’t many in a 120 sq ft. camper!)

Big city displays/explosions are not the problem, neighborhood dumbbells are. The suffering this racket puts people’s pets through is awful, I can’t imagine the PTSD victims who have real issues to deal with. The noise is less about patriotic pride and more about “look how much money I spent on illegal fireworks”!

The spirit of America would be better served standing hand-in-hand with our neighbors singing “God Bless America” than watching percussive power that belches pollution into the air and sends thousands to hospitals every fourth.

Prior to the apocalyptic racket:

I spent a wonderful day visiting with my daughter at the Happy Camper. After her stressful week, I hope she finds it as relaxing as I do. After twenty years of talking to my kid it is now very nice talking to my adult kid. Listening to her dreams and hopes and plans as she and her new husband (well, 6 months new) look for their first house together. So hard not to rush along with her and tell what to buy!!! Hahaha

While we were visiting, another “Happy Camper” neighbor brought over a delicious breakfast casserole! See, if you are traveling alone these nice people take pity on you and bring you things to eat!!

Gosh was it good! I stopped over later and got the scoop on how the guys made it in a Dutch oven, how many charcoal brackets on top, how many on the bottom and how to turn it every 20 mins (pan a half turn left, and top a half turn right) so it cooks evenly.

As I was driving my daughter out to her car they called over “Lunch is ready!! Come get some lunch!!” So after saying good bye to Rachael I stopped back AGAIN! The “Happy (Cooking) Campers” had cooked and canned this incredible Tuscan Spaghetti sauce. I think it was meat, cheese, peppers and onions and seasonings cooked over a wood fire and then they were canning it in small jars. It reminded me of strong flavorful sauce starter, kinda like pesto.

For lunch they had mixed it with tomato sauce, sausage, and penne noodles and shared a heaping bowl with me. I told them I could just follow them around the country and eat their food, but they are just “weekenders” they told me! Sad….I saw such a future there!!

Roseann, Mike, Beau, Richard and two Lindas – you epitomize the true camper that everyone talks about out on the road! Thanks guys! Your hospitality was much appreciated!! And Yuuumm!

Late afternoon found me at an old friend’s house way out in the country where deer and turkeys and butterflies and cats roam free. They feed everything that stops by including an incredible mixture of birds! We discovered a Warbling Vireo in the mix as I was playing my recordings of other birds. Tiny little birds flittering among the leaves of their big trees. After observation, finger pointing and listening we rallied back at the breakfast nook pouring over books and smartphones to decide which little guy we had just been looking at.

Once again I got someone to feed me! BBQ ribs, potato salad, cucumber salad, beans, fresh veggies from their garden! Really yummy! Later we played five card stud poker and I was pretty lucky! But I am sure that’s because we weren’t betting anything, just playing hand to hand. Thanks Margie and Lee for a wonderful evening!

Back at my “Happy Camper” I fell fast asleep, with the air conditioner running on low, Kiki and I could sleep without hearing the end of the world battles ragging in the skies all around us!!

Last Thing

I’ve been in Charlestown for twelve days now. It is such a forlorn little place, but so much of my past is tied up here. Right now, am sitting in The Charlestown Pizza parlor, it is located in the building where the B & T Drug Store used to be. The framework and everything is the same; I can see in my mind’s eye where the front counter was, the shelves down the middle and the pharmacy along the back.

Their kitchen is where the snack bar used to be, where my Dad had lunch every day. A few days ago I had dinner in the old Venro theater building. Now it is called The Venro and Rusty Bucket. It is owned by the same people who operate the Copper Kettle Restaurant. Rusty Bucket, Copper Kettle, notice the theme there?

The Venro is where I spent many a Saturday afternoon watching movies, first tagging along with my big brother, then my friends Cathy and Sue. I guess the movies would be considered the “B” movies, westerns and Disney movies, Hitchcock thrillers, vampire movies. Hundreds and hundreds of movies. For a Buck you could get in to the movie, get a soda, a box of popcorn and a candy bar. My Dad had a barber shop just around the corner and we often caught a ride home with him at dinner time, or we walked home through the cemetery if we wanted to frighten ourselves by pretending Dracula lived there!

It is so weird moving around this place I know so well, anonymous and invisible. No one takes notice of me like I am just passing through. But we, the class of 1972, once owned this town! Our parents were known, they owned business or worked here all their lives. Our high school exploits were fresh, our plans for the future large.

Now the whole fabric of the town has changed, like B & T Drug Store, the framework is still there but it casts a different shadow. Most of our parents are gone, and we’re not even a memory. No one even remembers who “Ace the Barber”, my Dad, was.

In my head I hear that old Animals song, “I gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing I ever do!”

Grinny Possums and Yetis

The locust have started to chatter and horse flies are slamming against the windows, Summer is about to settle in. I chased butterflies around with the camera today and wildflowers too. But I want to go someplace cooler where I can sit outside in the evening and watch the (whatevers) go by.

Feeling pretty comfortable in my home State Park. Interesting to watch the Overnighters and Weekenders come and go. Interesting to see their camping rigs, decorations, and set up styles. Of course, as I go along I learn new things to watch for or count on. For instance, The Happy Camper sits real low to the ground, and this is my first full-service hook up! But the sewer port on the ground is HIGHER than my drain port on my trailer; and everyone knows chit does NOT run up hill!!  So I’ll have to watch for that next time.

I was soooo lucky to catch a Featured imageglimpse of the local Bobcat that has been spotted in the Park. Coming back from a family get together I decided to cruise the back of the park, and spotted something on one of the (closed to the public) side roads, as I rolled up to the gate I could tell it was the Bobcat. I fumbled with my camera as I watched it but I knew the settings were all wrong. My blurred photo is barely proof of what I saw, but my mind’s eye camera caught it perfectly!

Family is getting back to normal after my brother’s heart scare. His stints seem to be working and his color and humor seem to have returned to normal. Well, his humor never was normFeatured imageal . . . . . So, once I take care of some mechanical issues with truck and trailer, I am heading off in another direction. Maybe northeast this time.

Went to visit an old friend in Jeffersonville this week. She runs a yarn shop called Grinny Possums. Great place! You should visit and tell Ann I sent you! She gave me this incredible purse to carry on my travels and I love it!! She sells them there and has lots of different     patterns and sizes. It’s totally local.

Another great little place in Jeffersonville I visited was The Red Yeti. It is a brew house and had a delicious Raspberry Wheat beer. Of course, I had two glasses! And an equally Featured image“delish” sandwich called The Rachel, which you know why I tried!

Father’s Day Entertainment

Coming to you from sunny Charlestown State Park, in Indiana. I’ve sort of back tracked, this is where my brother and sister-in-law lives, and he has been having some problems so I came back to see if I could annoy, aaah, help my sister in law, and pester my brother.

Teresa and Joe, the additional door catches worked! I double secured them with one of the Velcro strips and nothing was on the floor upon arrival this time!! Yipee!!

I am also happy to report that just like Teresa, I opened the cabinet door and let all of the contents rain down onto my face because they had shifted in transit.

Four weeks on the road and boy have I learned a lot! Charlestown SP is where I went after selling my house and it is interesting how my perspective has changed. Four weeks ago it was, “Oh My God. What have I done??” Now it is …..pull it in, unhitch it and “home sweet home”.

I think I was Father’s Day entertainment at the campground I was leaving this morning. It had been flooded most of the week but especially after a 4 in rain fall, so the ground was pretty soupy. The Happy Camper sits low and the hitch is low and I knew it was going to be a challenge. I shouldn’t call it a hitch, I should call it a plow because I am pretty sure they planted soy beans after I plowed out of the parking space.

There was a lot of speculation and helpful suggestions as I readied the camper and truck to pull them out. At first I get stuck, and I sling black mud from the top of my camper to the windshield of my truck. I literally am inches from the gravel and good traction. Four men started pushing my camper by hand and pushed me far enough to get traction and I pulled to a safe spot.

Just as I was about to make my escape, Kiki, the traveling cat, decides to jump out of the truck and take a tour of the guests who have been watching me make a fool of myself. Under tables, under campers, under more tables, and another camper. Four camp sites down she’s still running, and still ignoring my “Kiki, here Kiki!”

But in a moment of indecision I am upon her! Her last ditch effort is “The Flat Cat Routine” were she gets hunkered down and somehow makes her 10 pounds feel like 40. I snatch her up, and make my departure as she caterwauls all the way back to the truck. More attention.

At this point I am flustered, soaking wet because it is humid, my hair is plastered to my forehead, and I’m hungry. Then I take a wrong turn and the only way I can get out of the campground is to drive back past all of those people. . . . again.

Trail of Death

June 17, 2015
Shipshewana was an interesting place, a blend of multiple cultures and religions, not the least of which is the Amish and Mennonites. Artists, shops, food and antiques are just some of the attractions of this hopping little tourist town.

I wandered into a shop called “It’s a Masterpiece” with a gallery and museum of sorts of Mary Masters an Indian Artist of the Potawatomi tribe. Mary is a multi-media artist and creates everything from pet portraits to cultural pieces and also creates artwork for puzzles. Mary is a descendent of Chief Shipshewana, and her son was behind the counter at the shop.

Mary’s son shared numerous stories with me including the story, not widely known, of how the Americans pushed the Potawatomi tribe out of Indiana to an internment camp in Kansas after the Revolutionary War to make room for the settlers. The journey was called “The Trail of Death” as most of the Indians died along the way. If it weren’t for a journal of a Jesuit Priest, who followed the procession, that was recently rediscovered, this atrocity would have gone unknown.

Mary’s son played several wooden flutes and told me the origin of each one, he told me about his father’s Alzheimer’s and that he didn’t like to play the flutes right now because the weight of his father’s illness made the music too sad.

During the day I spent in Shipshewana and all the treasures I saw there to buy, none of the treasures hold the value of the time I spent sharing stories and viewpoints with Mary Master’s son.

More can be learned about Shipshewana and Mary Masters at their websites:

Bobbers and Stinkers

Fishing is just one of those relaxing activities I like to do. I can sit and watch the bobber for hours; especially since I switched to artificial bait and know no pesky fish is going to get on my line. Not only do I not like the black guts and poo night crawlers slim your hands with, but when you do catch a fish it is even worse, slime, slime, slime, and the smell….. God forbid if you are even thinking about cleaning them to eat. Oh, Lord, if it’s not the sticky scales, it is having to nail a cat fish head to the cleaning table and pull the skin off of a cat fish. And the guts. . . .   McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish never looked so good!

I have a tackle box full of interesting artificial baits that I change regularly just to confuse the fish. Once they’ve seen a bait long enough to think they might like to give it a try, I switch to something else. Some have whirly-gigs, some have feathers, some look like grubs, some night crawlers, some are effervescent green and probably make the fish think there’s been a nuclear spill top side and now everything glows in the dark.

“Catching anythin’?”, “What’s bitin’?”, “What kind of bait you usin’?” Doesn’t take long to learn the lingo and fit right in. Cast your line out there, relax and keep your eye on the bobber!!