A Jackson Christmas Carol

Traditional Music NIght Cape County History Center 12-10-2016I love going to the Cape Girardeau County History Center in Jackson for their monthly traditional music nights, but I wasn’t sure about this one, which was billed as a Christmas sing-a-long.

See, I’m not crazy about Christmas music for good reason. When I was at The Gastonia (NC) Gazette or The Athens (OH) Messenger, I’d work my normal Christmas Eve shift, then load wife and cat in the car and head out for Cape. It was eight hours and change from Athens, and almost ten hours from Gastonia.

Younger readers won’t understand this, but cars didn’t always come with CD players, FM radios, satellite radios and portable MP3 devices. In fact, mine didn’t even have so much as an 8-track in it. That meant that we had 10 hours of nothing but fading AM radio stations playing Christmas music punctuated by static as we would go in and out of range. By the time we rolled into 1618 Kingsway Drive at midnight or 2 in the morning, my tank of Christmas music was overfilled.

Not your usual caroling

Traditional Music NIght Cape County History Center 12-10-2016A lot of traditional songs were played, but they had music like Chuck Picklesimer’s account of Christmas tree harvesting documented in West Virginia Credit Card. I kept waiting for them to play a song I contributed to a company holiday mix tape: Chipmunks Roasting Over an Open Fire, but it must not have been on their list.

A ride through Jackson City Park

Jackson City Park Xmas 12-10-2016When the sing-a-long wrapped up, it was time to cruise over to the city park. I was impressed at how pretty Jackson’s City Park was decorated last year, but 2016 is even more impressive. (In case you’ve forgotten, you can click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the images.)

Even more trees had lights

Jackson City Park Xmas 12-10-2016After leaving Jackson, I made a loop of North County Park, a traditional place to see Christmas displays, but I didn’t shoot anything. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen those displays so many times, or maybe it’s because I love seeing trees wrapped in lights rather than man-made exhibits, but I have to vote for Jackson as the place to go.

Video with Silent Night

 

I turned on my digital recorder at some point during the pickin’, and captured the group singing all three verses of Silent Night. That sounded like the perfect background music for a drive through the Jackson Park.

(Ignore all the data streaming my at the bottom of the frame. That’s stuff my DOD Tech DOD-LS470W dash camera records. It’s pretty cool. It even has a GPS built in so I can overlay the information on a map. When I tie that in with the time stamps on my digital photos, it helps me figure out where a photo was taken.)

It’s that time of year again

Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken Steinhoff

I hesitate to even bring this up since I’ve slacked off so much this year, but you can help keep this site alive by pushing the big RED BUTTON at the top left of the page (or, right here) when you shop on Amazon. I get a tiny piece of change off every order, and it doesn’t cost you a penny extra. There’s also a tiny Yellow Button for making donations through PayPal, but I don’t know if I’ve earned any of those lately.

 

Warm Ears and Christmas Lights

Robin Hirsh and Mark Steinhoff - STL - 10-25-2009I had two errands to run that took me past North County Park after dark: I wanted a Wib’s BBQ fix, and I needed to return a cap to Buchheit.

When I was in Cape in 2009, I bought a super cap with fold-down ear flaps that did a great job of keeping my Florida ears from falling off in the cold. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack it, so I went in search for a replacement. Of course, my old faithful wasn’t in stock, and I wasn’t crazy about this year’s model, but it was better than blue ears. When I called Wife Lila last night, she said it was still hanging on the hat rack in the living room, so she’d mail it to MO, letting me return the not-quite-right model..

I liked the original cap well enough to buy one for Brother Mark. Here he and Future Wife Robin posed with the caps when they were new (the caps, not Mark and Robin). I think the classy way he wore it was what tipped the scales to get her to say “yes.”

The park was all lit up

North County Park Christmas Lights 12-01-2015Anyway, to get to the point of the post: when I passed the park Tuesday night, it was all lit up. If some of the pictures are confusing (like this one), it’s because I couldn’t resist shooting the reflections on a lake that was a smooth as a newborn baby’s butt.

For comparison, here’s what it looked like in 2011 (the post has a bunch of links to other Christmas posts, too).

Decoration photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around. (If you are wondering what the sign that says “P ACE” means, it means that the “E” that would make it spell “PEACE” isn’t working.)

I hate to keep mentioning it

Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken SteinhoffI hate to keep harping on this, but my mailbox is full or ads and teases, so repetition must work.

If you are going to shop Amazon anyway, please go to my blog and click on the big red ‘Click Here’ button at the top left of the page (or, this one). That’ll take you directly to Amazon with a code embedded that says you came from me. If you buy something, I’ll make from four to seven percent of your purchase price without it costing you anything.

Think of it as being your painless Christmas present to me. I stick this down at the bottom of the page so it’s easy for you to ignore.

Jackson Park’s Lights

Jackson City Park lights 11-28-2015Friend Carla Jordan mentioned the trees in the Jackson City Park had been wrapped with lights. I said I had seen workers building an archway over the bridge that crosses Hubble Creek earlier in the week.

I needed to run some errands, so I thought I’d check it out. It wasn’t until I turned to The Missourian later that I saw a story that the tree lights had been turned on in a big ceremony Friday night.

When I went into the park from the south side like I usually do, intending on getting to the other side by going across the low-water crossing, the path was blocked because all the rain had turned it into a medium-water crossing. You’ll need to go in from the north if this rain keeps up.

There were a lot of displays along the roadway, much like you see in North County Park, but they weren’t lighted. I don’t know if that’ll come later or not.

Jackson Park photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around. By the way, read the plea below. Y’all owe me big time for this. It’s been cold and rainy the past two days. I got my feet soaked and my ears cold taking these photos. There’s a nasty rumor that this is what winter in Missouri is like. Heated seats or not, my van might get pointed back to Florida before spring if that’s the case.

It’s that time of year again

Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken SteinhoffEverybody is getting all excited about Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Overspend Wednesday (I made that one up), so I’m going to join the din. I hate to keep harping on this, but my mailbox is full or ads and teases, so it must work.

If you are going to shop Amazon anyway, please go to my blog and click on the big red ‘Click Here’ button at the top left of the page (or, this one). That’ll take you directly to Amazon with a code embedded. If you buy something, I’ll make from four to seven percent of your purchase price without it costing you anything.

Think of it as being your painless Christmas present to me.

Tis The Season …

Flagler Blvd Xmas decorations 11-13-2014Road Warriorette and former bike partner Anne, who abandoned me to move back home to Texas, arrived for a West Palm Beach visit Thursday afternoon. I got her settled in at her motel, then we went out for a great dinner, visited bike partner Osa, stopped by another of Anne’s friends, then headed up Flagler Drive where we spotted this house all set for Christmas.

The palm trees – and the balmy 70-degree temperature – gave an indication I wasn’t in the Midwest.

Pining for the ocean

Anne’s a Texan by birth and inclination, but she did admit to pining for the ocean. I turned right on Southern Blvd., and took her for a ride along Palm Beach. When we got to one of the few places you could park and get public access to the beach, I told her she could get and and frolic in the sand and surf if she liked, but I preferred the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean.

When we left, I asked if she’d like to go to the north end of the island to the Palm Beach Inlet. That’s like asking if bears fertilize the forest.

“Don’t fence me in”

When we got to the inlet, there was a chain holding the gate to the small park closed. I put my car in park with the four-way flashers blinking and let her out. I assumed she was going to stand at the gate and look out toward Singer Island’s lights across the water.

I heard her humming “Don’t Fence Me In,” a rattle of the fence and she was gone from sight. She never did things like that when she was a Floridian.

“That’s not a happy sound”

On our way back to the motel, I told Friend Anne, “That’s not a happy sound. I think I’ve got a flat tire.”

Indeed, the left rear tire was flat.

Maybe I can give it a shot of Fix-a-Flat or pump it up with my portable air compressor, I considered. The only problem was that I had taken all those options out of the car last night when I unloaded it, but hadn’t replaced them. Plan C was to put the doughnut spare on, something I really hated to do since the Honda jack is the worst piece of equipment ever devised.

I had just started attacking the problem when a car pulled up behind us. It was Patrol Officer Larry Ferguson of the Palm Beach Police Department. I figured he’d run our tag, ask for ID, shine his flashlight around inside the car, then leave us in the dark when we came up clean. (Well, I knew I would come up clean. There’s no telling what Friend Anne has been up to in the Lone Star State.)

It turned out Larry was a nice guy who went way beyond the call of duty. I’m going to write a letter to the chief telling him that Larry is a great representative of his department.

How to have a fun evening in Palm Beach

Ken Steinhoff - PB PD officer Larry Ferguson -Anne Rodgers 11-13-2014Here are few of the things that happened:

  • I didn’t have the jack on the frame properly so it slipped off.
  • The doughnut spare was flat, so I called Wife Lila to bring my tools and compressor. Larry offered to take me someplace to get it aired up, but I said it was such a hassle to jack the car up that I’d rather leave it on the car and bring the compressor to the tire.
  • Lila arrived, we hooked up the compressor and it hummed away in the humid air for several minutes. I was beginning to regret having that second glass of tea with dinner.
  • Larry felt around the rim, felt air escaping and said the tire was so flat it had lost its bead and would NEVER fill up.
  • We jacked up the car again, removed my spare, and put put on Lila’s spare (we drive the same model van). At some point, my jack twisted and became inoperable, so we had to switch to Lila’s jack.
  • We offered Larry an opportunity to escape, but he pitched in fighting the jack. helping lift the tire onto the studs and making sure Anne had tightened the lug nuts properly. Wife Lila didn’t get a shot of me toiling away with sweat splashing off my forehead, but she did capture me in a supervisory role.

Things that put the jolly in the evening

With Thanksgiving coming up, I should give thanks for a few of the good things that happened.

  • Patrolman Ferguson, a native of West Palm Beach who moved back here after serving as an officer in Washington State, was not only a tremendous help in getting us through our tire difficulties, but he was also a genuinely nice guy who was fun to talk with and who gave us an interesting perspective about how the area had changed since he was a kid going to Twin Lakes High School.
  • Wife Lila showed up with everything needed to get me back on the road. I’m glad my flat happened in Palm Beach and not in Nowhere, Ga.
  • Anne provided help and moral support once I explained to her that we were in Florida not Texas: “No, Anne, it didn’t ‘throw a shoe.’ We don’t have to call for a blacksmith.”

Buying two REAL jacks to replace those Honda pieces of junk will go to the top of my to-do list tomorrow.