Saturday, April 30, 2011

March for Babies

It rained and stopped--and rained some more that Saturday morning.

But that didn't matter.

This event was about helping kids.

And, a lot of that happened that Saturday morning too.

My friend, Don Karger and his Culligan water troops gave Fogeyisms the opportunity to record the event.

Here is some of what we saw.

...punctuated by the final picture of a damp but dedicated volunteer passing the memorial to kids that needed more help still.

Friday, April 29, 2011


On this rainy Spring morning, three days after they hatched, 6 Canada Goose chicks explore the edge of my pond; the two in the right foreground being the last to squirm out from under momma goose's protective canopy of spread wings.

Often she will gather her brood and stuff them under her wings out of the inclement weather--or just for their periodic naps.

Just as often the rambunctious chicks will only tolerate mom's comfort for a few moments, then, first one, then a second chick will wiggle to freedom with their siblings following quickly; launching themselves on another browsing tour of their new world. 

Poppa goose is just out of the frame to the right watching carefully that his family is safe from any threat that might appear.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On a soggy morning in Lexington recently MARCH OF DIMES volunteers and participants went about the business of their slogan, "Working Together for Stronger, Healthier Babies," with a benefit fund raiser along the Richland B&O Bicycle trail.  Last year the walk raised $30,000.  Please stop by Saturday and Fogeyisms will share some of what we saw.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


...there was a warm and sunny Spring day in Ohio.  

But it sure didn't happen on the recent day we chose for my first local bike ride of the season...

...nor is it likely to happen in the foreseeable future as this week's forecast points to an ark being the most desirable means of locomotion.

Thursday of last week was the only modestly attractive weather-day for a ride so, with sunshine, lots of wind and morning temperatures in the low 40s I donned a tee shirt, long sleeved shirt, light windbreaker and insulated jacket plus insulated socks, plus a balaclava plus heavy gloves for a rolling trek down the local bike trail. 

I was joined by friends Ken Johnson and Gary Courtright.  That's Ken above "shivering" on the old railroad bridge at the south edge of Bellville while I fiddle with my camera.

Lady-friend Sue has the solution.  Her bags remain packed for an instant return to Florida should the opportunity arise.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A leaf is born
under the gentle baptism
of a warm Spring rain.


Saturday, April 23, 2011


The southern end of the Appalachian Trail (AT) is atop Springer Mountain in north Georgia and we stopped there recently to do some hiking on our way home from wintering in Florida.

We were joined by Mansfield square dancing friends Don and Roberta Karger who were on their way south for a business meeting in Orlando.

Amazingly, we arrived at the state park lodge within an hour of each other. Our arrivals would have been nearly simultaneous if it wasn't for our horrid experience in Atlanta area traffic.

We spent the night of our arrival in the mountain-top lodge of Amicalola State Park nestled in the Chattahoochee National Forest. A 729 foot, cascading waterfall, the highest east of the Mississippi River, is within walking distance from the lodge.

That's Don pictured above with his camera seemingly attracted by something more interesting than the falls roaring behind him. Actually, he was about half-way through a 360 degree pan shot with his video recording.

The southern terminus of the AT is just 8 miles from the lodge but it is about a 45 minute drive away along state highways, county roads, and a tortuous climb, winding up a 6 mile forest service, gravel road to a small parking area.

From there you are hiking on the AT but have to trek almost a mile to a monument on the mountain's peak that is the trail's official southern end. We didn't find the monument because we were being pressed for time and later learned from evaluating Don's GPS we had turned around at the 8/10 mile point--just short of the monument.

Regardless, we enjoyed a romp of 1.6 AT miles along a nice mountain path and crossed a stream swollen by its springtime flow.

That gave the four of us our 5th state of AT hiking experience. Now, we are looking at the area in the Smokey Mountain National Park generally southeast of Gatlinburg, TN where the trail runs along a mountain ridge straddling the borders of TN and North Carolina--which would be our 6th and 7th states.

The photo (right) is a typical scene along our Georgia hike and shows a white blaze on the tree which marks the trail's 2,100+ mile route to Maine.

In the lower photo Roberta is about to "ford" a slightly rambunctious stream while Don is prepared to record--whatever happens.

Being the hiking veterans we are becoming, we all kept our feet dry despite the slippery footing.

So, another of life's memorable experiences is in the record book.

And, our first eye contact and welcoming hugs with the Kargers was a splendid celebration of our being homeward bound from our first-ever snowbirding experience.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

at the southern end of the Appalachian Trail

Roberta Karger, lady friend Sue Brooks and yours truly have some levity as we enjoy a day hike on the AT recently while Sue and I were on our way home from 3 months of snowbirding in Vero Beach, FL.  We rendezvoused with the Kargers for the hike while they were on their way to Florida for a business meeting.  The northern end of this grand daddy of US hiking trails is 2,181 miles away on Mt. Katahdin in Maine.  Please stop by Saturday and enjoy this story.

Photo by Don Karger

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I could only imagine the horrors of battle as I walked the decks of this 680 foot long World War II fighting vessel; in its day, one of the country’s most formidable machines of war.

Imagine the decks pulsating under the rage of its 130,000 horsepower engines driving the ship into battle at nearly 30 mph, thrashing through the waves of a heavy sea with its 48 anti-aircraft guns and 52 machine guns pummeling enemy aircraft and surface vessels.

Under battle conditions she weighed 90 million pounds and could hurl 16 inch explosive shells accurately more than 20 miles into enemy forces.  Those projectiles weighed 2,700 pounds.

There were three turrets in armored barbettes with three guns each having 16 inch bores.  Hold your hands16 inches apart and visualize how wide those shells were.

She could roam 15,000 nautical miles non-stop while cruising 15 knots in her theater of war.

Her maximum protective armor was 18 inches thick.

She was commissioned 16 August 1942, just eight months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which propelled the US into World War II.

I climbed the ladders between her decks and stepped through the countless watertight hatches trying to understand the horrific noise her seaborne warriors must have endured with her guns blazing as she pounded through the sea while being attacked by enemy war planes.

In July 1945 she hurled more than 1,500 tons of bombardment, obliterating an engineering works on an island 50 miles north of Tokyo.

The war ended in August.

When the war ended she was part of the occupation force of Tokyo.  On 20 September 1945 she headed home with some 3,700 passengers from Okinawa.  She and her 2,500 man crew had earned nine battle stars.

She was retired from service in January 1947.

Today, "History Meets Heroism" at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile Bay near that city's downtown.  The city raised 1 million dollars in 1964 to purchase the ship from the navy and the memorial was opened in 1965.  More than 13 million visitors have toured the facility.  Her hull's bottom is now resting 22 feet below the bottom of the bay.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

between snowbirding in Vero Beach and home

We stopped by Mobile to visit Sue's 97 year young, long-time family friend Dorothy (Nanny) Coward who still lives independently, albeit with increasing home care.  

We arrived at Nanny's house to find her virtually semi-conscious with medical help and an ambulance on the way.  Soon, Sue and I were doing the usual four to five hour vigil in the local hospital emergency room while Nanny was evaluated and subsequently admitted to their intensive care unit.

Nanny's only surviving child lives in California so Sue joined professional and neighborhood care givers in discharging family responsibilities in such circumstances.

That's yours truly (right) as we did the segments of visiting hours the following day.  Meanwhile, we took the opportunity during non-visiting times to tour the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park  on Mobile Bay in the nearby downtown area. 

The historic battleship highlights the park and is joined by the World War II era submarine US Drum and a host of warplanes of previous and current generations.  Pleas stop by Saturday and we will tell you a little bit about the battle ship pictured below.

Nanny  was approaching release in a few days then suffered a relapse which extended her hospitalization and she quipped to Sue by telephone after we got home, she stayed there because she liked the food. She gave me very clear instructions to bring Sue back for another visit when she was feeling better.   What a lady!

A blonde lady visitor is shown in the lower photo during our tour of the submarine.  She was whizzing through the sub's control room while I was using a very slow shutter speed to record the fairly dark scene with available light--hence her blurry countenance.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I woke up this morning in a strange place.

There was an odd hum in the background and a long hallway offended my senses as I peered through gravelly eyes from my head's perch, peeking over the edge of the night's pillow.

Then, I noticed the face of a once familiar alarm clock proclaiming it to be 6:01 a.m.  Somewhere.

Realization slowly crept through my mental clouds and I remembered I was home.

The strange hum was the furnace.  Running.  That was a noise I was not currently familiar with after spending more than 3 months as a snowbird in Vero Beach, FL.  It was in the mid 80s when we left down there less than a week ago.

It was in the mid 40s this morning.

It was not yet daylight but I was happy to discover there was no snow--when I finally found the outdoor light switch.

I stood in the kitchen and stared at the coffee maker, wondering how much coffee to install, one tablespoon, or was it two?

It was like my brain was functioning in detached motion.

Some, of course, would quip that is a normal state of affairs.

Our deciduous trees remain mostly naked after their long winter dormancy.  But, you can take comfort--spring truly is headed our way.

We watched its arrival in reverse in our 982 mile drive home from Mobile, Alabama.

In Mobile we visited a 97 year young friend of Sue's and took a quick tour of the battleship Alabama.

We then stopped in northern Georgia for a quick hike atop Springer Mountain--the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

Those stories will appear on the blog...sometime, when my recovery is more complete.

Now, I have to go find--something.

When I remember what I was looking for.

Friday, April 8, 2011


As you read this we likely are somewhere between Mobile, Alabama and home after enjoying our first-ever, 3+ month, snowbird experience in Vero Beach, FL.

On one of my last evenings in town I had some time to wander around and explore with my camera.  That produced the image of the memorial island which appeared Tuesday—plus those that follow.

Delightfully tiled pillars (right) highlight a small, town park at Royal Palm Point; at the end of a boulevard of that name which extends into the intercoastal waterway.

(Remember, you can click on the image to see a larger version.)

I was lying on the sidewalk to do the next photo—really enjoying the architecture, the lighted palm tree and the deepening blue of nightfall—when I heard a man’s voice inquire if I was okay.

I rolled over and looked past my feet.  Yup, there was an older gentleman and his two small dogs, out for an evening stroll when they encountered me.
I promptly thanked him for his concern for my welfare and showed him my image to add a little credence to my otherwise strange behavior.  He seemed to understand.  I think.

But, it didn’t take him long to disappear into his very expensive condo which happened to be the subject of my effort.

The photo below is a peek south along the intercoastal toward Vero’s 17th Street Bridge; one of two that connect the town and route A1A to the barrier islands.  The family in the photo had just enjoyed dinner at a nearby Lobster Shack restaurant.

These photos were done with the camera’s manual setting which allowed me to use the fastest possible shutter speed in the declining light while maintaining hand-held, camera stability.  Careful control of the exposure also achieved nice results in the sky—detail not readily visible to the human eye.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Storm cloud remnants paint the evening sky over Veterans Memorial Island in Vero Beach, Florida.  Nearby, the swish of the intercoastal waterway adds solace to the soul of quietly wandering visitors.

This artificial island was built from the soil, first dredged in the Indian River during construction of the intercoastal waterway in the 1930s. 

The island memorial was dedicated in 1964 and today, this huge American Flag, visible from the mainland and the barrier island, salutes the country’s veterans 24 hours per day.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Miami, Florida’s downtown skyline backdrops our snowbirding friends Dee and Dick Weeks and ladyfriend Sue Brooks (above center) at the Bayside shopping district on Miami’s waterfront.  In the lower photo Dick, Dee and Sue are headed for one of our Tri-Rail trains which will speed us on our way through that densely populated portion of the state.

Southeast Florida Style--

We were riding the interurban railroad between West Palm Beach and Miami, Florida recently when it dawned on me train wheels don’t go clickity-clack any more.   The rails used to be laid in sections and each joint squawked when the steel wheels rolled by.

Now, the rails are in continuous or welded lengths—and mostly silent.  That’s progress; I guess. 

But it sure made me think longingly of those overnight train rides from Mansfield, OH to Altoona, PA years ago and being lulled to sleep by the metallic rhythm of the rails.

Earlier on this story’s morning we drove about an hour from Vero Beach to West Palm Beach where we parked at the Tri-Rail station (where the automobile fire occurred that was shown on the blog a few days ago.)

Tri-Rail serves commuters up and down the densely populated southeast coast of Florida.  In our trips down and back the trains ran on a remarkably prompt schedule.

In fact, often we ran adjacent to I-95 and the train easily kept pace with the highway traffic which usually ran with a 70 mph speed limit.   But, who knows how fast the vehicles or the train was moving.

And, our entire day was a free ride.  I think it was because of our lofty status as senior citizens.

There is one station where the service begins at Magnolia Park, north of West Palm Beach and 13 more to the south until you reach Miami’s Metrorail Transfer station which scoots passengers along their way until you arrive at the downtown “people mover;” an elevated rail system that wiggles through downtown…in our case, to Bayside, a very trendy shopping area on Miami’s waterfront.

Along the way some of life’s painful realities slid by.  Several times I noted homeless camping areas in the scrubby brush trackside. 

And the visual gruel of Miami’s impoverished neighborhoods was often back-dropped by the sparkle of the downtown’s high-rise architecture.

Coordinating with a clever system of shuttle buses and scheduled bus routes most of southeast Florida’s attractions are conveniently available via this service.

I strongly suspect there are more Miami-area train rides in our future snow birding experiences in southeast Florida. 
At least I hope so.

Sue (above in purple) prepares to board Miami’s elevated train which allowed us to romp through that city’s cavernous downtown completely oblivious to traffic snarling the streets.  That’s her below in one of the train’s modern and cool passenger cars as we meander through the city.