The song is, "Boxes" by Sam Baker
May 30, 2011
May 29, 2011
May 22, 2011
May 17, 2011
|2012"The Pines" 50 years later.|
By John R. Greenwood
Three years of honing your tree climbing skills will make you a true professional. It will also consume many bars of Lava soap. Anyone familiar with Lava has probably spent some time in a pine tree. The year is now 2008 as I drive by and check out the old house. It has had one paint job in the last fifty years and has had no major remodels. It appears just as it did back in 1960. The high I get driving by is unlike any drug. I return instantly to those “Wonder Years”. My refuge during those years was, “The Pines”. They survive today; a patch of sticky white pine nestled in the back corner of the old property where I grew up. “The Pines”, came complete with an assortment of logs trimmed perfectly for log fort construction. A seven-year-old pitch covered boy can build a lifetime of memories with a pile of pine logs. Then there was the scary old jail. Not a real jail but an abandoned pig pen overgrown and dark, a dungeon full of pine needles and fear, a true goldmine for a young boy with a thriving imagination. I would play alone for hours yet be surrounded by hundreds of cowboys and Indians. It might have been a day of fighting German soldiers or rescuing an injured pilot who crashed in the pine jungle. The true excitement came with climbing those pitch-coated pines. Oh, how mom must have hated those beautiful creations of nature. I would come in the house a black sticky mess, coated from head-to-toe, hair clumped and matted, torn pants and shredded white t-shirt, scabbed and bloody, exhilarated and happy, hungry and happy. A kid living life as it should be lived at seven years old. I was a tree climbing, fort building, running, jumping mass of energy that could go from dawn to dusk on a glass of Kool-Aid, a peanut butter sandwich and an imagination. Memories of “The Pines” warm your heart and calm your mind. I believe with all my heart that a grove of white pine could cure most childhood problems that exist today. If I close my eyes almost half-a-century later, I can place myself in the top of one of those swaying, sticky giants. You could see for what seemed like miles then and when I climb that tree in my mind today, I can see as far and as clear as I could in 1962.
|Remnants of the old pig pen are still visible|
|"My how you've grown!"|
May 09, 2011
What do country boys do on hot muggy July days when they are bored and cranky? They jump on old rusty bicycles and pedal down rocky dirt roads to their favorite swimming hole. Our destination was appropriately named; “The Hole.” The creek that hosted, “The Hole” was the Kaydeross. Steeped in Indian folklore the Kaydeross ran through the town of Greenfield and eventually emptied into Saratoga Lake. The Kaydeross ran a little light in the summer months. The Hole got it’s name from the rock dam that created a ten foot deep by twenty foot wide pool of summer heaven. There were two steel railroad ties that bridged the two banks of our private paradise. A rope swing provided ample entertainment. A creekside tree with a thick heavy branch enabled brave stunt-boys a platform from which to launch out in to the air above the water. They would hit the water heavy and hard. It was important to curve your body upward immediately or you might find the rocky bottom with your fearless and crewcut covered skull. It wasn’t uncommon to see a spring stocked trout at the bottom. They would disappear quickly to the safety of deep crevices under the overhanging bank. An old stump worn smooth and slippery created another creek side thrill ride from which to jump into The Hole. We had no towels or swimsuits, only cutoff Levi’s and the summer sun to dry us off. It was a bit of an adventure to get to our cooling off spot. Riding several miles on a dirt road fighting off chasing dogs and horseflies gave the whole experience a safari feel. The ride home ended happily with a trip to the Greenfield General Store for a cold Hires Root Beer, Hershey Bar and a bag of salty potato chips. Chaffed thighs from riding bicycles for miles in wet jean shorts were only slightly less painful than the sunburned backs and foreheads we brought home.
May 05, 2011
Saratoga Dairy Memory
By John R. Greenwood
Long ago, a lifetime away, I worked at a memorable place called Saratoga Dairy. At this particular period of my milk related career, I was working the night shift. There were a wide range of jobs, with a wide range of lunatics on that shift.
To survive an eight to ten hour night shift in any processing facility you must possess the stability of a rabid squirrel in rush hour traffic. It was also a prerequisite to be a trained practical joke professional.
One hot July evening as we were unloading a truck of empty milk crates, we discovered a treasure chest of spoiled cottage cheese, bloating in the summer heat. What a great opportunity lay before us. The genius exhibited that hot summer night has yet to be duplicated.
Our plan was to plant this cache of rotting, bubbling, curdling, greening cottage cheese under the car seat of one of our coworkers. It would be whichever coworker happened to be next on the 'Hit List'.
What joy, we would experience when our victim returned Monday from his weekend off. His discovery would of course bring us all to our knees in laughter filled tears.
Try to imagine our surprise when we realized our coworker was leaving for a July vacation, and that he was planning to leave his rotting, cottage cheese-baited Plymouth, baking in the 90-degree sun for two weeks.
Pranks were rare for a few months after that July apocalypse.
Somewhere in an old country junkyard, decades later, there is an old unclaimed Plymouth permeating an odor unlike anything ever created naturally or otherwise.
Sometimes pranks go awry, people get hurt, cars are destroyed; by accident or by cottage cheese. The “Great Cottage Cheese Prank of 1977”, was the latter.
To this day, I can’t help but shudder each time I pass the dairy section of the supermarket or an old Plymouth sitting in the sun.
Pranks Gone Bad…