February 14, a day that strikes fear in male hearts. If you are dating, have you been dating long enough or too long to recognize and celebrate Valentine’s Day?
William Saffire, one of President Nixon’s speechwriters, penned a political thriller where one of the characters had something go extremely wrong, and he “experienced a Klong – a sudden rush of excrement (not the word he used) to the heart.”
That’s what the married man experiences late in the day on February 14 when he looks at the calendar and thinks, “That date sounds like one I should remember…KLONG!!!”
See if you can pick out the good sport
So, here’s a collection of old and a few new photos of couples, relationships, queens and kings and the like. Most were taken in Missouri, but some oddball shots could have slipped in.
See if you can pick out the one shot taken early in someone’s relationship that could have ended it had the girl not been a good sport.
Valentine’s Day Gallery
Click on any photo to make it larger, then navigate around using the arrow keys. X or Esc will get you out.
Maybe I should have used the disclaimer I used when I went to take photos in some redneck bar. I’d stand up on a table and say, “I’m here from the newspaper to take pictures. If you aren’t supposed to be here, or you’re here with someone you shouldn’t be, hang out over in that corner (pointing) until I’m done. You’ll be safe.”
Back in 2014, Niece Laurie asked if I knew the story behind the “house in a hole” on Campster Drive just north of the Drury Inn. I had always wondered about it, too. so went to my best source, Mother.
She knew the woman who lived there, Mrs. Earl Siemers, from church, but she didn’t think she’d talk with me.
I gave it a shot, but Mother was right, as I should have known. Mrs. Siemers would talk with me only if I promised it would be off the record. In the real world, I’d have honored the request, but then I would have done an end-run to find a source who WOULD tell me the whole story. You folks don’t pay me enough to go to all that trouble, so I left things vague.
Click on the photos to make them larger, then use your back-arrow to go back to the story.
Laurie the Stalker
Niece Laurie must be some kind of House in the Hole stalker because she tipped me in November that it looked like the house was going to be demolished.
It was almost sundown when I got around to checking it out, so the light wasn’t great. It did look like the white siding had been stripped off the building, so I figured its days were numbered.
What’s funny is that the photos I liked best were not of the house. I loved the trees, outbuilding and leaves in the late, Golden Hour light.
Dandelion and leaves
I was impressed with the last dandelion of the season struggling to peek out from beneath the leaves.
The Things Left Behind
I’ve always been a sucker for the things that are left behind when homes are abandoned. I raised the question, “What would you take?” to go with a blog post about an abandoned house in St. Mary.
I wondered how many flies that swatter had dispatched in its life.
Here was the naked house
I didn’t spend much time shooting the house because the light was lousy, and the building wasn’t all that interesting in its naked state. (I bet that’s the first time I’ve written that.)
Soon nothing will be left but memories
When I was running errands on Tuesday, I happened to look over the hill and saw that the yellow Cat had ripped out the trees I liked so much, knocked down the outbuilding, and crunched the house down to the basement.
If a few days, all that will be left will be memories, and those will fade, too.
A big box with 1,000 new business cards came this morning. My telephone number changed, so I had to do an update.
This photo, which replaces the one of the Cape Girardeau traffic bridge, reflects that I’m broadening out from concentrating on Cape Girardeau.
To be honest, I still have a lot of unpublished photos from the SE MO area, but all the ones I really like have already been posted. I’m looking forward to scanning more of my Ohio pictures.
This photo was taken when Grandma Gatewood was honored by having a bridge over the Buckeye Trail in the Hocking Hills State Park dedicated to her in 1969.
I didn’t know she was a big deal
When I showed up at the state park, it was foggy, sleeting and raining. The trail was a mixture of mud and treacherous ice. Lots of my photos were fuzzy because the lens was constantly fogging over or being rain dappled.
The cute gal second from the right is Lila Perry a few months before she became Lila Steinhoff.
I didn’t realize my subject was a big deal until about 20 years ago when I read a book on the Appalachian Trail where she was mentioned prominently in the forward.
Grandma Gatewood, as she became known, was the first woman to hike the entire 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail by herself in 1955. She was 67 years old at the time, a mother of 11 and grandmother of 23. She’d survived more than 30 years of marriage to a brutal husband who beat her repeatedly.
Gatewood hiked the trail carrying a homemade knapsack and wearing ordinary sneakers — she wore out six pairs of them in 146 days from May to September. She brought a blanket and a plastic shower curtain to protect her from the elements, but she didn’t bother with a sleeping bag, a tent, a compass or even a map.
The back of the card shows my bike blog
The back of the card has a drawing Don Greenwood was gracious enough to let me repurpose. I’ve neglected that blog for years, but there’s still enough good info in it that it’s worth mentioning.
You can throw this one away
This is the one that has the old phone number on it, so you can throw it away (unless you just like the photo). By the way, if anybody has a use for about 700 outdated cards, let me know.
More Smelterville books available
The last batch of Smelterville books disappeared quickly, so I ordered another 50 from the fine folks at PDQ Printing in Cape. If you’d like like a copy (they’d make great Christmas presents), they are available at these three local places.
Cape Girardeau County History Center, 102 S. High Street, Jackson, Mo., 63755; Phone 573-979-5170. $20 in person; $30 to cover shipping and handling if mailed.