Cool Pictures That I’m In or That I Took: Stuff-I-Should-Have-Posted-Earlier-But-Didn’t Edition

Here’s another in a series of posts I’m going to make when I find some of these treasures. Some will be captioned, others will not. The only criteria for posting in this series is that:

a.) I’m in the photo or…

b.) … I took the photo.

In the summer of 2017, Nate, Garrett and I went on a biking tour of the National Mall in Washington, DC. We stopped at all the sights – and there are many. Here’s some select snapshots from the trip including the Lincoln Memorial, The White House, The Ohio column at the World War II Memorial and the Capitol.

Here’s a video of the ride.  It’s 15 minutes long and the battery gave out, but it captures the event.

I was sitting at a soccer game last year and turned my head to see this dog relaxing on the sidelines.  Glad I had my good camera with me!
The solar eclipse in August of last year swept across the United States. Prior to this event, no solar eclipse had been visible across the entire contiguous United States since June 8, 1918; not since the February 1979 eclipse had a total eclipse been visible from anywhere in the mainland United States. The path of totality touched 14 states, and the rest of the U.S. had a partial eclipse.*

The boys and I road-tripped to South Carolina to the home of Lisa Shuler, who graciously hosted us for the event.  This is an edited version of the photo I took at totality. The only change was to add color to the corona, as that’s what most people expect.  However, the actual corona was pure white.

This is an oldie but goodie.  I shot this in 2009 at the Dog Paddle in our community pool.  At the end of summer upon the closure of the pool to humans, the pool is open for one day for dogs to come splash around and enjoy the water.  These two were observing the action from a comfortable distance.

* Most of this paragraph was excerpted from the Wikipedia Page.

Cool Pictures That I’m In or That I Took – Alternative Facts Edition

Here’s another in a series of posts I’m going to make when I find some of these treasures. Some will be captioned, others will not. The only criteria for posting in this series is that:

a.) I’m in the photo or…

b.) … I took the photo.

#alternativefacts: I am neither in nor did I take any of these. Unless that’s not true. Then maybe I did. Or not. Click on any photo to enlarge in a new window.

This has been posted on Facebook before but I was surprised to learn that I’d not put it anywhere on this site. This is my Dad in 1949 right about the time he started working for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in our hometown.

F-Tower was the railroading equivalent of an air traffic control center. Dad routed trains through a complex network of five different railroads traversing Fostoria. This was his professional home for 30-plus years, not counting his multiple times on active duty in the Army. He retired from the B&O on December 16, 1980.

I have no idea how to credit this, but it looks like a publicity shot perhaps for the new electronic traffic control system at F-Tower.

 

Last post, I showed you photos of the pups that have blessed me with their presence over the years.  This one is also Addie, the Wire Fox Terrier, with my Mom in 1952 in Germany before he, Mom and Dad returned from duty in Europe.

My guess is that Dad took this one.

 

I miss the days when you got photo prints with the month and year on it.  Makes it easy to identify.

This was taken at the Camillia Apartments in Columbus, GA while Dad was stationed there for the Infantry Officers Advanced Course. We lived there for a number of months, but as I was just three at the time, I have virtually no memory of being there. That’s my sister, Bobbi Jo and my Mom in the photo with me. I suspect Dad took this one, too.  He was quite the shutterbug.

When I went back to Fort Benning for Airborne School, I had the strangest, spooky feeling when I walked through certain areas of the post, as if I had been there before, but had no real, solid memories. When I went there again with BJ in 2003, I warned her that she’d have the same spooky experience and she didn’t believe me until it happened.

This one was among my Dad’s photo collection so I suspect this is his. It’s a guess, but I’d bet substantially that this is from the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. A quick photo search on Google seems to indicate that this is the case.

That’s Chief Wahoo up there, by the way, who remains the mascot for the Cleveland team, for better or for worse. This article talks about what happened to this neon Chief Wahoo when the Indians moved to then Jacobs Field.

 

It Was 30 Years Ago Today

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We told Andy to smile at a family photo and this is what we got. That’ll give you an idea of what Andy’s all about.

This is undoubtedly a day for great celebration.

Today is my son, Andy’s 30th birthday.

Well, technically it’s a celebration of the anniversary of the day of his birth, which was October 26th, 1986.  But you know what I mean.

30 years old.  Damn, you’re old.  You’re over the hill now.

Andy was born at 9:03pm at the long since demolished old U.S. Air Force Regional Hospital at Elmendorf Air Force Base, so the party doesn’t start until 9:03 tonight when it’s officially official.  As you may know, Andy still lives in Alaska and really loves it up there.  Like anyone’s hometown, it’s home to him and that’s as it should be.

While October 26th is the recorded date of arrival, it was very nearly a week earlier.

About two weeks before Andy made his grand entrance, the whole family got sick with the flu.  I mean REALLY sick.  Violently so.  At two years old, Andy’s older brother Jonathon probably got the worst of it, constantly throwing up, ingesting replacement fluids so that he didn’t get dehydrated, and then barfing it up all over again before he could blink.  I remember him crying and crying and crying because he was so ill.

I was equally stricken, and for a week or so, I was in the same boat as poor little Jon was, but I swore a lot more.

Their Mom, Deborah, was also horribly sick.  Same symptoms, same threat of dehydration, and even more swearing, except that she was probably the sickest of the three of us because she was puking for two.

Taking care of Jon was hard enough when he alone was sick, but when Deb, Jon and I all got sick at the same time, there was hardly any energy to do much beyond the basics for any of us.  We were expending all our energy just being sick.  It was a miserable ten days or so for the three of us.

The Sunday before the Sunday Andy was born, I came downstairs after finally getting Jon to sleep.  I discovered Deborah sitting motionless on the couch in the living room of our quarters on 520-B 7th Street at Fort Richardson, dazed with what the Army calls “the thousand yard stare.” Actually it was closer to two thousand.  Just looking at her, you could tell that the lights were on, but nobody was home.

“Deb?” I asked tentatively.  “Are you OK?”

“I’m fine,” She replied weakly, speech slurred, “but I think I’m starting to have contractions.”

“Are you sure?” I asked stupidly full well knowing that she knew what contractions were better than I did.

She rolled her eyes and looked at me with an unusually weak look of disdain.  “Let’s just sit here for a couple of minutes and see,” she added weakly and went back to being really out of it.  Her demeanor was so weak that it genuinely scared me but she was the boss so we waited a little while.  When her condition didn’t improve and the contractions increased, she said that we’d better go to the hospital.  So we packed her up and got her off to the emergency room at Elmendorf.

She was immediately brought in and given IV fluids to counter the dehydration from which she had been suffering.  Once she got sufficient fluids in her, the contractions weakened and eventually stopped and after a time, she was released to go home with strict orders to hydrate.

During the next week, the three of us finally got well enough that we were getting back to normal.  The next Sunday, on the 26th, Andy arrived.  No problems, no complications.  Just a happy, healthy small redheaded human.

After all the commotion at the hospital, two-year-old Jon, sufficiently recovered, came over to meet his brother.  Deb and I thought ahead and pre-positioned a toy car in the hospital room that Jon could ride around on as a gift from his new brother, hopefully mitigating the attention that Andy was about to get.  It worked and they’ve been virtually inseparable ever since.

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Jon and Andy, circa 1988.

Some weeks later, Robin Baizel, one of our friends who had appeared in a stage play that Deborah and I worked out in Eagle River, Alaska, came over to meet the new human.  When Deb brought Andy downstairs, she started laughing, pointed at him and then at me and said “Oh my god, it’s a clone!”  I just remember her laughing so hard that she could barely choke out the words.*

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Charlie on C-SPAN.

In 2004, he and his brother came to promote me to colonel at the Pentagon.  Attending the ceremony were the two general officers from Army Public Affairs, many of my colleagues and friends, and one Charles Krohn.  Charlie was a very accomplished member of the Senior Executive Service and the senior civilian in Army Public Affairs.

After the ceremony, Charlie came up to me and said “I was really impressed with your younger son.”

“Andy?” I said.

“Yeah, the redheaded one” he confirmed.  “He’s a pretty heads up kid.  He and I talked for quite a while and he was able to hold his own with me. Very impressive!”

That’s Andy.  From the time he was little, he was always able to mix it up in whichever group he found himself.

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Me, Andy’s Step-mom, Janice, brother Jonathon and the birthday boy at the Pentagon in 2003.

I was proud of him then and I’m proud of him now.  He handled himself adeptly during his Mom’s recent illness in South Carolina, spending every day for weeks at the hospital with her, while in his spare time, assisting Deb’s family in the aftermath of Andy’s grandfather’s death just days before.

So that’s the story of how Andy almost arrived a week early.  It’s also the story of why I always get my flu shot.  (You should, too.)

But the real reason for this post is that Andy, you’re 30 today.  It’s one of those milestones that make you think you’re old.  And you are.  Very, very old now.  Ancient.  Almost decrepit.  Make no mistake about it.  On the upside, you’re never REALLY old until you’re as old as me.  Or Methuselah. And if you get to be as old as he was, think how much interest will be in your 401k!

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Happy birthday, sir!  Enjoy this great day!

Love you, dude!

* Quick sidebar — Deborah Ginsburg, Andy’s mom, remembered Robin’s exclamation more accurately than I did and the verbiage contained herein was corrected to so reflect.  Thanks, Deb!

Guest Post: “My Mom and the Cleveland Indians”

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Jefferson Wolfe

My brother, Jefferson, penned this on Facebook and it doesn’t get any better than this. Thanks for permitting me the honor of posting this here.

My mom, Mary Jo, died in July at age 86. She was a faithful Indians fan until about a year ago when Alzheimer’s disease started to take hold.

For many years, she worked the 3 p.m.-11 p.m. shift as an emergency room nurse at hospitals in Fostoria and Bowling Green, which meant she always got home late and stayed up into the early hours of the morning.

Many nights, I would give up on the Indians and either go to bed early or go do something else. Even after she retired, she was so used to staying awake, she would regularly watch until the bitter end. Some years, there were a lot of bitter ends.

When they lost, she would always say something like, “Well, they screwed up again.”

If they won, the next day she was always happy to tell me she stayed up to watch, long after I bailed out.

“Oh, ye of little faith,” she would say.

Mom was in college at Ohio State in 1948 when the Indians last won the World Series. She remembered how every radio on campus seemed to be tuned to the Indians and classes were cancelled during the games.

It was largely because of her I started watching baseball many years later.

I got interested when I was in fifth grade and our family got cable TV. We could watch the Indians regularly on channel 43.

My mom insisted on watching the games, so I had to watch too. We only had one TV.

In those days, her favorite players were Rick Manning, Von Hayes, and Brook Jacoby.

Mary Jo holding Tess, one of our sister's many dogs.

Mary Jo holding Tess, one of our sister’s many dogs.

My mom never went to a major league game but she always followed on TV or radio. When I was younger, my dad took me to Cleveland Stadium a few times.

My dad enjoyed watching baseball, too, but he typically fell asleep in his chair when the game was on and/or went to bed even before I did.

Especially after my dad died, my mom passed a lot of time watching the Indians during baseball season and the Browns (and also probably every Monday Night Football game ever) during football season.

Early last summer, I called her and she said she hadn’t been paying attention to the Indians that year. I knew something was wrong.

I stayed at her house for a couple of weeks in October to help out as her mind got foggier. I was there during baseball’s divisional series and league championships, so I watched a lot of baseball.

Even though I had games on the TV, she never really noticed, which was very unusual. She always watched the baseball playoffs, usually rooting for players who weren’t famous but who played hard.

She would be enjoying this Indians team, with what seems like a new hero every night.

I’m certain she would love Roberto Perez’s hustle after the first game with Boston, especially the way he tagged up at first to advance to second on a fly ball. I’m also sure she would have loved watching Jose Ramirez all year long.

And, last night, there was Ryan Merritt.

The game didn’t start until 10 p.m. here in Germany, where I live now. I went to bed kind of early and didn’t wake up until 11:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. back in Ohio.

I came out to the couch and turned on the TV quietly so I didn’t wake up my wife or my three daughters, and started watching the game just as Terry Francona shook Merritt’s hand as he left the mound.

I’m pretty sure my mom would have rooted for Merritt, who was the kind of player she always liked.

For that matter, I’m pretty sure my mom watched the whole game, whether I did or not.

Win or lose, she’ll be watching the World Series, too.

Jefferson Wolfe is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany.

Guest Blog – Evil Twin of the Sub Divine -or- Chernobyl on a Bun

by Beth Geyer

SubDivineFromHellAllow me to introduce you to this little asshole. I’d apologize in advance for the language but it’s already too late for that and I refuse to use the backspace.

My family’s pizza shop had this magical oven-toasted sub aptly named the Sub Divine. It was a glorious gold standard for hot subs everywhere. I miss it and every now and then I crave it so much that I replicate it at home. Usually with rousing success. I have, after all, 14 yrs experience making them.

I dropped the ball today, though. As I type this, my nose is still running and I’m positive I’m working through a mild stroke. Bear with me.

I looooooove spicy food. Love it. Always have. But I knew that if I substituted the shredded cheddar for habenero cheese, I better tread lightly. I thought I sliced it up thin enough for both pieces of bread (I had no sub buns) that I could avoid feeling like I was biting on Satan’s hairy undercarriage but failed spectacularly. In the picture you’ll see the delicious sandwich before I wrapped it in foil and baked it. Do not be fooled by it’s innocent look; I still can’t feel the roof of my mouth.

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The lovely & talented Beth.

I knew after the first bite that something was wrong. The pain was almost immediate and was soon followed by shaking. I breathed through each bite like I was in labor and powered through half of it with sheer will and the power of prayer. I’d spent too much time creating this masterpiece to give up like a little bitch.

Alas, after half of the sandwich disappeared, so did my will to live. It was me or the sandwich and I chose me.

My tongue isn’t currently working properly and after blowing my nose and washing my face with cold water, I was able to stumble outside for fresh air, mumbling “Nothing about me feels good about any of that”.

This mofo ended up just being a bunch of toppings encased wall-to-wall in pure hatred.

I couldn’t even tell you if it was good or not. I *think* I tasted banana peppers and pepperoni at first but it was short-lived. After that, all I could taste was hell fire and every mistake I’ve ever made in my life.

Probably the worst part of all of this is the fact that I’ll have to relive the pain all over again tomorrow.

Look at that sandwich…..it was a simpler time and I was but a 35 yr old girl full of hope and wonder. Now Satan himself is holding a Fight Club meeting in my stomach and no one is the winner.

The lovely and talented Beth Geyer posted this on Facebook today and it had me laughing.  Well done, Beth!

A Tale of Two Dogs

Chloe1Many of you will not know about my dog, Chloe. Chloe is a Papillon who came into my life in 2007. The former spousal unit and I got her as this tiny little puppy. She was full of the kind of energy that fuels puppies of all kinds and as you can see, she was incredibly adorable.

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Chloe and Gizmo

She joined the family shortly after Thanksgiving, if memory serves, and quickly made friends with the other creatures in the house especially with Gizmo, the other Papillon who came to us a couple of years earlier.

Chloe’s disposition was not unlike that of every other Papillon I’ve met, sweet and playful with a nearly complete lack of aggression toward anyone including other dogs. She and Gizmo were inseparable and they lived together harmoniously with a wide assortment of cats and parrots ever since.

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Chloe, all grown up.

Unfortunately, I was informed late last week that Chloe was not well and was unlikely to recover. She spent a few days in the pet hospital receiving the best of care and her improvement was negligible. Even though she seems far too young to be at the end of her journey, it looks as though that’s the case.

DSC_0073 It breaks my heart to see such a sweet, delightful creature in such a condition. And even though I held her in my arms on Saturday and told her how much she meant to me, she’ll never really understand how much she contributed to my well being nor will she know how much love she gave me over the years I was fortunate enough to be in her world. Even though we’ve not lived in the same place for over five years, seeing her again and knowing that it was likely that I’d not see her again is devastating.

Goodbye, Chloe. You were everything every puppy ought to be.

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Which brings me to the second dog in this tale, His Emmettship, Ruler of All Things Within Barking Distance. Most of you know him already from all the Facebook photos.

Emmett

I’ve done my best in the last couple of days to spend more time with Emmett — you know, concentrate on the living and all that. Emmett as you may recall had a tough life before he found us and has been growing and trusting us more and more.  Accepting affection from humans is something he’s still learning to do.

Emmett3He’s happy, healthy and hasn’t bitten me or anyone else in ages, which early on was a serious concern. In fact, last week, we actually roughhoused a little. I was scared to death that he’d lose sight of play and get too aggressive too fast. He did bite once a little too hard but he immediately backed off. From this one action alone, he’s demonstrated that he’s learned a great deal and that he clearly does not want to hurt us.

EmmettDriveThruEmmett loves to go in the car and if I ask him if he wants to go to the store, he hops around just like I would if I had won the Powerball. In the car, he’s relatively well behaved and if we’re going to the drive thru, he’s learning NOT to stick his head in the bag o’ food to see what’s there in spite of the wonderful aromas of freshly cooked fries. In return for his fine behavior, he gets to share a regular Mickey D’s burger, no onions, no pickle.   As we approach home, he dives out of the driver’s car door and heads toward the front door, with the occasional pit stop at a nearby piece of shrubbery.

If I play my cards right, Emmett and I have quite a few years left until the finishing touches are put on his story. Or mine. Now that Chloe is leaving us, the best thing I can do to remember her is to make that extra effort to love and cherish Emmett’s companionship to the best of my ability.

I still marvel at the ability of these creatures to impact our lives. Emmett, Chloe, Gizmo, Bella and all those preceding pups have found extra space in my heart in which to take up residence for good. And it’s my experience that there’s always room in there for one more.

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Patty Mathias Ginsburg, 1930-2015

Week before last, I got word from my sons, Jon and Andy, that their grandmother and my former mother in law had passed away. She had been in ill health having suffered a stroke some years before and the second one that afflicted her on July 3rd finally ended the life of someone I loved and respected even though we hadn’t communicated in earnest since the first ex Mrs. Me and I divorced a lifetime ago.

I don’t want to concentrate on the loss, though of course I grieve with my sons and the rest of the Ginsburg family. I did want to recount a couple of anecdotes about life with Patty over the years that we interacted. In a nutshell, she was brilliant, articulate, caring and a delight to be around.

Deborah and I lived with her family for about six or seven months at their home in Augusta, GA while I was in the Signal Officers Advanced Course at Fort Gordon. It wasn’t long before we were fully integrated into life with Patty, Deb’s dad, Jack, and the rest of the family. Trying to be the considerate guy, I did what I could to help around the house, though I admit I could have been a much better houseguest.

One day, I was wandering about the house and noticed wet laundry in the washing machine. I says to myself, “Self? You can help out by putting those clothes in the dryer!” So I opened the machines and transferred the goods from the washer to the dryer, set the controls on desert and pushed the “go” button.

Sometime later, I hear this loud gasp from the laundry area. I don’t remember the words that followed – not that there was any profanity involved that I recall, but the next thing I remember is Patty standing in the laundry area holding up a teeny, tiny and particularly luxurious brilliant green cashmere sweater which had once fit her quite nicely. Post drying, it would have been a tight squeeze for my infant son, Jon.

I was horrified.

But I don’t think I was more horrified than Patty was. Here was this really gorgeous, soft, undoubtedly expensive cashmere sweater which had been one of her favorites shrunken down to the size of a dishtowel. Still brilliant green. Still soft as could be. Just a thousand sizes smaller than it had been at the start of the day.

All was quickly forgiven, of course. But I was pretty sure for a while there that I was going to be pitching a tent out in their steeply sloping back yard. It was one of the bigger of many faux pas that I inadvertently perpetrated against the family, but probably the most memorable.

I used to tease her mercilessly for watching reruns of “The Dukes of Hazzard” on cable TV in the evening hours. I know it wasn’t really destination television for her, but somehow I always seemed to catch her sitting in her chair in the family room, feet up on the ottoman and “The Dukes” on the TV. It became a running gag that, upon catching her in the act, that we’d both launch into words of great praise for Bo and Luke Duke, wondering if this were the time they’d finally get nabbed by the law.

When she was watching “The Dukes” or anything else on TV with her feet up, if she wasn’t wearing shoes, she would cross her little toes over the ones next to it. Now while this may seem odd at first to the casual reader, it was a habit I developed myself early in life. I thought I was the only one! I remember the first time I noticed it, I laughed and laughed – so much so that it was a few minutes before I could explain that I was not laughing at her feet per se (I was literally pointing at the time, if memory serves) but rather at the fact that I wasn’t the only one whose little toes got a bit of a workout in front of the TV set.

She was a botanist by interest and training. She was like a kid in a candy store when she came to Belgium to visit us and was able to observe the native foliage that she couldn’t see in the U.S. I remember she had a thick coffee table book on European plants in preparation for her trip.

While in Belgium, she also rearranged our kitchen cabinets and did a superb job. In fact, she did such a good job that when we talked on the phone over the years, I would ask her “Hey Patty, when’re you coming over to rearrange our kitchen cabinets again?” It was my way of saying “We miss you – come visit.” And I’m pretty sure she took it that way.

Even though my marriage to Deborah didn’t last, my respect for Patty did. Even though we didn’t stay in touch, I know through Jon and Andy that she continued to be the amazing woman I knew her to be. I’m sure that the high school students to whom she taught biology for decades would in retrospect also agree.

Patty was unusually kind to me, and for that I am forever in her debt. After all, I still owe her a cashmere sweater.

Patty’s Obit: http://www.shellhouseriversfuneralhome.com/home/index.cfm/public:obituaries/view/fh_id/11117/id/3231703