Excursion 60, Part 2 (Meandering through the Autumnscape)

I don’t know if I have the vocabulary to describe it, but one moment I look forward to each year is the day, typically sometime in October, when I walk outside and it is suddenly autumn.  That day is defined by a combination of things, such as its look, with the leaves clearly changing color, to its feel, as the temperature is suddenly brisk, to its smell—somehow, for the first time that year, the day smells like autumn somehow. Every year I experience that day and it hits me like a ton of bricks each time and I feel that sudden sense of exhilaration. Some people call this the first football weather day and fair enough, but to me it presages not merely football but the totality of fall. What a day.

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Excursion 60, Part 1 (Happy Snappiversary)

Instead of writing these words, I might have been driving around taking photographs today, but the weather would not cooperate.  It is very rainy and thundery. Instead, I’ll catch up a little bit on this blog, which, it turns out, I started four years ago this month. In April 2013, blessed with a new camera, newfound knowledge of WordPress, and a new vehicle with 4-wheel drive, a navigation system, and satellite radio, I got the idea of turning a fond indulgence of mine—driving around backcountry Ohio—into something of a hobby, documenting the things that I saw and posting them on-line.  Here.

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Excursion 59, Part 2 (The Steel Mill)

I never worked at a factory.  I did, for a few months, between my graduation from college and when I went off across the country to graduate school, work at an oil refinery, which at least is another industrial setting.  That was the summer of 1988, which not coincidentally was the last time I was shaven; the refinery prohibited beards for safety reasons.   I did a variety of things there; some clerical work, some gopher work, some light manual labor, so I was not bored. I find it difficult to imagine myself in something like an assembly-line job, doing the same thing all day long; I think my personality is not suited for that and it would be very hard on me.  Other types of factory work are much more varied.

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Excursion 59, Part 1 (The Match King and his Magic City)

American royalty is an odd lot.  We have “Camelot” and the court of JFK, and we’ve seen the Flivver King (Henry Ford), the Mattress King (from the TV series “Friends”) and the King of the Road (courtesy of Roger Miller).  We’ve also had Queen Latifah and Prince.  Americans seem to have an odd need for royalty—just witness the lavish attention so many Americans pay to British royalty—but in our own country our de facto royalty seem to be celebrities and the incredibly wealthy.  “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt was American royalty and so is Kanye West.  Sometimes our American royalty leave odd legacies. One descendent of Vanderbilt is news anchor Anderson Cooper.  And we’ll get to meet another American royal and his still-enduring legacy.

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Excursion 58 (Cloudy with a Chance of Memory)

When I was a child, in the 1970s, Charlie the Tuna was ubiquitous on television. Charlie was the cartoon tuna who helped sell Star-Kist Tuna (with the tag line “Star-Kist doesn’t want tunas with good taste. They want tunas that taste good.”). The commercials always featured Charlie trying but failing to be caught by Star-Kist, apparently because he wasn’t high enough quality. As a kid, I found the commercials a bit confusing, as the difference between “good taste” and “taste good” was lost on me.

But there was something even more confusing.

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Excursion 57, Part 2 (Crossing the Streams)

Growing up in West Texas, as I did, I acquired the habit of looking down over the railings every time I drove over a bridge.  The reason why, of course, was to see if there was any water in the arroyo or canyon or streambed or riverbed below—because more often than not, there wasn’t.  If you did see some water, it was like a pleasant little surprise, something always to be remarked upon as you drove past.  In Ohio, of course, there’s always water under the bridge, but it took me many years for my subconscious to pick up on that, because I was always looking.

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Excursion 57, Part 1 (Felicity in February)

February 2016. How long ago that seems, and how innocent those times were.  Children played and built snowmen, while a Trump presidency was a distant and unlikely proposition.  Not so crazy about today’s reality?  Journey back with me a glorious twelve months and let’s explore a bit of southern Ohio from those bygone days of 2016.

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