Yes it’s time for the annual celebration of food and shopping.
On this day it is mandatory (at least in my mind) to eat turkey. Of course it is permissible to eat it on other days, but it is a lot of work to roast a turkey, so it is a once a year thing for most people. Turkey by itself is not very festive, so it needs to be surrounded by a plethora of side dishes. And it is impolite not to eat some, or more than some, of each and every dish (no problem for Miss P).
Of course not all turkeys are edible.
Depending on who you ask.
Serious settlement in this area came after gold was discovered on the mountain. Great fortunes were made, and we still benefit from the legacy of mining.
We’ve got a statue to commemorate the crazy men with their donkeys, who came here looking for a lucky strike. The men are long gone, but the descendants of the donkeys still live free on the other side of the mountain. (The men probably left descendants too).
If you are running an underground mine you need a headframe to lower the workers and to pull out the ore. It’s operated manually, by a hoist man. I worked at a mine one summer. I can’t really explain how exciting it is when the hoist man drops the flimsy metal car that you’re riding in. Especially if he doesn’t like you or is just having a bad day. This headframe is not at a working mine, it’s at the local mining museum.
The ore was loaded onto sturdy carts like these, ready to be hauled to the surface. You still see them around town, used for landscaping.
The carts were pushed around by something like this, a little steam engine at the mining museum. When I worked at the mine, everything was electric or diesel because otherwise we would have croaked from gasoline fumes.
All that is left of the smelter that extracted the gold is this smokestack. And the giant hill of dirt that came from inside the mountain. It’s been turned into a housing development and no one seems to mind that they are living on mine tailings. Someday soon even this smokestack will be gone, replaced by housing.
I went to Albuquerque after I lived in St. Louis. Here are just some of the places I lived in, taken from Google maps.
I was a teenager living with my first boyfriend when we were in this house, which is quite near a motorway, on a dead-end street. In back were the three tiny little shanties and I’m surprised that they are still there. Where the driveway now stands was yard, and my cat was buried there. The place was owned by an older Chinese woman. And when one of tenants moved out, she called the police and accused them of stealing her toilet and replacing it with a broken one (I don’t think she got too far with this complaint, but we thought it was hilarious, and typical of her).
I lived in this house in the north valley with my college boyfriend. This house was built by my college boyfriend’s grandfather. It had been built as the home for the watchman of the lumberyard that was just to the west (it was long gone by that time). My boyfriend’s dad still owned it and it was pink. After the boyfriend graduated, he sold it to the daughter of the people across the street.
I lived in a flat here when I was in college. This was the very first place that I had where I lived all by myself, no roommates or boyfriends. It had almost no furniture, but it was lovely and airy. It is right on the edge of downtown. I was living here when I met M, and I didn’t stay in it for very long after that.
What surprised me about this search was that all of these places still exist. Perhaps “safe as houses” is correct after all.
It all starts in Soulard, a place just south of downtown St. Louis. The nearby Farmer’s Market was started in 1779 and is still there (great place to get Gooey Butter cakes). Anheuser-Busch brewery is just a little further south. This is where we lived when I was first born. The building is probably 1870’s.
This picture was taken out back, that’s my mom and older brother, and I’m the baby bump.
Here I am at the housing project (housing estate). It had just been built and we were the first ones to occupy this apartment (flat). It was new and quite nice at the time, later it was dynamited. It was just north of downtown St. Louis.
Still in north St. Louis, we moved to this now empty lot next, although it was a corner store at that time. We lived above it in one of the two flats.
Then we moved here, and lived in the upper flat. The old water tower is visible to the left. It’s about 4 blocks from the last place and has since been torn down.
This now empty lot is where we lived when the family moved out to the west county. We always had to live near my grandparents, and they moved to this suburb first. It was a tiny little house, built in 1910. The house was on the very back of the lot, so we had a large yard to play in. I was in second grade.
Then later we moved to this house, 4 doors away and across the alley. Mom planted the roses in front. I was in town for Mom’s funeral when I took this picture. No one lived in the house, so someone broke in and stole the copper pipes. The house no longer exists.
There is a British expression “Safe as houses”. Looking over the places I lived in my youth, I’m wondering if this is true, as all of these places are just a memory at this point.
It’s Dinovember again, so I’ve got a few pictures from the valley of the Gwangi. It’s way out west, not too many people have ever seen it. And here is how it all began.
It started with the settlers coming in, with their covered wagon carrying their goods to start a new life. Pulled by a matched team, who knows how far they had traveled?
Of course there were natives already living in the valley, but the newcomers were accepted and protected.
They enjoyed wrestling with the town folk and usually won.
As they were neighborly, they would give the locals rides into town, such as it was.
The Pterodactyls can be seen roosting in the trees. It’s quite a lovely spot and distant from encroaching civilization.
In the classic 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”, there is that moment when the characters first spy their destination, the glittering city of Oz. I always used to think of that image when I went to Denver. I would drive along the freeway (motorway) through a little valley and when the road turned you could behold the tall towers off in the distance. Now Denver has spread out, and, as you turn the corner, you are already in the city, so it’s nothing special. But— here in town I still get the same sort of feeling when I behold the Air Force Academy.
Miss P and I were out for a walk this afternoon. And we could see off in the distance, almost on the mountain, the Oz-like apparition of the academy. (Well, Miss P could have seen it if she wasn’t so busy sniffing).
The icon landmark at the academy is the chapel. It’s shaped like a row of arrowheads, and I forget what the symbolism is supposed to mean. (It’s either war or peace, not that this is immediately obvious).
The main area inside is for Protestant services. Underneath this is the Catholic chapel, the Jewish temple, and the Muslim mosque. The circle for Pagans is outdoors in a different section of the campus.
Stained glass makes it look religious, and the clear glass lets one see the mountains.
Anyone who ever built a model airplane can recognize this, although it’s not visible from a distance. So, if you worship machines, there are lots of models to choose from on the plaza outside the chapel.
There is something about this time of year, at least in the northern hemisphere. Summer seemed like it would last forever, but as the days get shorter, my thoughts turn to mortality and the ephemeral nature of life. Halloween has gained ascendancy as a sort of carnival before the dark days of winter. The Day of the Dead follows closely on the heels of Halloween. In Mexico, the Day of the Dead has long been a celebration of those who came before us. And now this holiday has been creeping northward.
The images for Day of the Dead are linked to the artists Frida Kahlo (note the bird eyebrows) and Jose Posada.
It’s at least nominally Christian, with an altar set up.
Images and cliches of Mexico.
Marigolds are the flower of choice.
This holiday is also intended as a reflection on the vanity of the living.
In the great science fiction show Babylon Five there was an outstanding episode called Day of the Dead. In this show, everyone in a certain section had an evening visit by a dead person. Sometimes it was someone they loved, sometimes it was an enemy, or someone they really didn’t want to see. It was their opportunity to say something, to see and touch that person.
At that time I saw this episode, I had not lost anyone really close to me, so when I thought about who I would like to see, it was my first dog. I would still like to see this dog (and the one who came after him). But perhaps it would be more fitting to use this holiday for a ceremony to honor the memory of those who have left us. Without masks and costumes.