Snow Comes to Cape

The weather folks have been teasing us all week telling us that a big snow storm (they call it an “event”) is coming. We had a little God Dandruff scatter for a few minutes earlier in the week, but Wednesday was supposed to be the biggie.

I had to go to the Jackson Walmart to have some prints made. As I backed out of the driveway, some fairly sizable flakes were getting organized, but I wasn’t worried. Just as I closed the car door, I noticed how the flag was nicely backlit, and some of the flakes were popping out. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

Rose bush looks like cotton field

Since I was already almost to Jackson, and because I had some time to kill, I decided to have a combo, slaw, fries and a Mr. Pibb at Wibb’s.

By the time I finished, there was serious snow on the road. I got behind a slow driver going up the steep hill next to the city park, and I kept thinking, “If this guy don’t dial some giddy-up, we’re going to spin out here.”

There wasn’t a bread and milk freak-out going on at Walmart when I picked up my prints, but a lot of baskets were filled with snow melt.

Hwy 61 between Jackson and Cape was covered. I got in behind a snow plow (at a safe distance), but parts of the road were still slick. Even going up Kingsway Drive kept my traction control popping on and off.

I looked at the rose bush in the front yard, and was glad I had a nice, warm house to hide away in.

Memories of snow and smack

I’m pretty cautious about driving on snow and ice because I learned at an early age that just because you can go doesn’t mean you can stop. Jim Stone, Carol Klarsfeld and I were checking out the sights on a steep hill near Bertling when we came around a curve and saw a car on our side of the road.

I put on the brakes, but gravity was not on our side. We slowly crashed into the other car with my tank of a 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon. My car suffered so little damage I didn’t bother to take a photo of it. The other guy was less lucky.

OK, I’ll go take a look

After pacing around in the kitchen for a few minutes, temptation overcame good sense and I grabbed for a jacket and headed out.

I learned as a Missourian photographer, that there are a few places in Cape that are like shooting fish in a barrel when it’s time to come up with some weather or wild art.

Capaha Park and the train is one of them.

A heavy, wet snow

This may be one of those great snows that turns out to be very pretty, but probably won’t stick around long. Roads that were pretty treacherous when I set out were already plowed or in the process of being plowed by the time I headed back.

This was taken near the new pavilion in Capaha Park that overlooks where the pool used to be.

Next stop: SEMO

It took two passes to shoot this picture of Academic Hall. When I got right in front of the building, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a bus coming up behind me. I figured I’d better keep going to give him room.

Then, I saw him turn off.

When I made my second pass, I managed to get off a few frames before a car showed up in the mirror again. What are those fools doing out on a night like this?

A swing and a miss

I felt like I had to shoot something along Broadway. These trees and utility pole caught my eye, but I’m not overjoyed with the result.

Oh, well, you can strike out 7 of 10 times at bat, and still make a million bucks a year.

Main Street decorations

Some other folks had posted pictures of Main Street’s decorations on Facebook before the snow, so I actually got out of the car to shoot this.

Lady Liberty and Freedom Corner

This situation looked better than it photographed. I’m including it because it was the second time I got out of the car.

As I stepped off the curb, I thought, “Please don’t let this slush be deep enough to fill my shoe.”

It wasn’t.

I was acutely aware of the possibility, because the night before I was pricing a pair of old-fashioned galoshes that I could slip over my shoes when confronted with mud, slush or snow. When I saw the price, I decided my toes could get pretty chilly before I’d spring for overshoes.

I decided that I had cheated death enough, so I hung it up and headed home. My meanderings didn’t produce any great art, but it felt good to check snow off the year’s bucket list.

 

 

Remember Student Standby?

KLS TWA Student Standby ticket 03-19-1967I ran across an old TWA ticket stub from March 19, 1967. I was flying from St. Louis to Cleveland on what the airlines called “Youth Fare,” but most of us dubbed “student standby.”

St. Louis to Cleveland for $16.54

KLS TWA Student Standby ticket 03-19-1967I was able to fly from Missouri to Ohio for $16.54. I was racking my brain trying to figure out why I was going to Cleveland, then I figured out what was going on.

In March of 1967, I flew to Cleveland and probably got a ride down to Athens with one of Jim Stone’s friends so I could visit him at Ohio University to check out the school. It was a good thing I did. I had applied to OU, but I hadn’t gotten a rejection letter or an acceptance letter. Jim suggested we go by the admissions office to see what was going on.

“Your grades aren’t high enough to meet our standards,” I was told.

“Not good enough?” I countered. “I have a 3.85 average on a scale of 4.0. How smart do I have to be to get into this place?”

She pulled out my file, shuffled through the paperwork, then said, “Somebody made a mistake. You’re in.”

You were good unless you got bumped

KLS TWA Student Standby ticket 03-19-1967The airlines were clear that your seat was safe only so long as the seat wasn’t sold to a full-fare passenger. Planes flew with lots of empty seats in those days (which is why they calculated that a half was better than a nothing), so the odds were pretty good that you were OK.

I never got bumped, but I saw others having to leave the plane. That always made me nervous because I had seen enough of those crash stories where some kid was interviewed, “Yes, I was going to be on that flight, but, at the last second, I was bumped. If that hadn’t happened, I’d have been on that smashed tin can still smoking in a cornfield in Iowa.”

I was doubly nervous when I finally became a paying customer that bumped the last standby. That was REALLY tempting fate.

When did it end?

KLS TWA Student Standby ticket 03-19-1967I tried to find a little of the history of student standby, but didn’t run across much. The Daily Pennsylvanian had a story in 1968 that said that several airlines were phasing out the half-price standby fare, going for one charging two-thirds of the tourist class price. The trade-off was that it would be considered a reserved seat not subject to bumping.

TWA, interestingly enough, was NOT one of the airlines eliminating standby at that time.

In addition to bringing in revenue from what would otherwise be empty seats, the youth fares hooked a whole generation on flying, and airline execs were quoted as saying they hoped to build brand loyalty for future sales. “With a student fare, the student’s taste is catered to a particular airline. When he is 22, he is more likely to use that airline.”

Charter or AT&T for Internet?

Pep rally c 1965You’re going to get this shot of Jim Stone (Central T-shirt all excited about something on the paper he’s holding) at what looks like a pep rally because I was too busy today to come up with something better. Jim never had a lot of pep and I don’t recognize many people in the background, so I have no clue what the event was.

The main reason I’m behind is that I spent the afternoon talking to Internet service providers.

Internet dilemma

Mother has had AT&T DSL for some time now. When I started spending more time in Cape, I told her I’d pay the difference between a promotional price for AT&T’s “Elite” level and the basic service she had before. “Elite” allegedly gives you 6 MBS down and about 512K up. After the promotion expired, the price went to $46 a month and is slated to go to $52. They offered me another promo plan, but it will expire in six months, so I don’t want to consider it.

I’m used to Comcast Business in West Palm Beach where I get 100 down and 20 up, so AT&T “Elite” feels like dial-up.

How about Charter?

Charter is offering a 12-month promotional price comparable for what we’re paying for AT&T, but they claim to deliver 60 MBS down. The extra speed sure would be nice. I’m still going to be dealing with an expiring promotion in a year, but a lot can happen in that time.

A lot of you folks like in the Cape area. Talk me out of Charter. Thanks in advance for the advice.

Bundling, by the way, is not an option. I want to keep her AT&T landline for redundancy and reliability. We dropped cable for an antenna in the attic and streaming video. All I’m looking for is a straight Internet package.

Battle of the Angels

Bill Hapton silhouette of Ken Steinhoff (right) at Central High SchoolI’ve been going through a box of old and fading photographs. Most of them are forgettable, but there were two shots that just happened to have been taken in the same general area, and they have in them someone I haven’t seen in the mirror in many years.

The character on the right is me. I think the shadow on the left might be Jim Stone, but there’s also a chance the silhouette might belong to Steve Folsom. Bill Hampton’s name was stamped on the back of the print, so I’m going to guess what happened.

The object dangling from my left hand is the power cord to a Honeywell Strobonar 65D strobe. I probably unhooked the flash, handed the camera to Bill and said, “Why don’t you try shooting a silhouette of us?”

We’re in the hallway leading to the west parking lot. The music department is down the steps, and a ticket booth is the little outcropping on the left. There was also a phone booth down there, on the far side of the ticket booth, I’m pretty sure. (More about the phone booth in a minute.)

Pretending to buy a ticket

Ken Steinhoff at CHS ticket window c 1964I don’t know why I was pretending to buy a ticket from these women. I also don’t know who they are, so I can’t apologize to them for not washing the print long enough to keep fingerprints and brown spots from showing up.

Confession of a no longer young man

Hallway Central High School 10-22-2009I mentioned the phone booth earlier. I debated telling this story because it shows a little bit about how the teenage boy’s mind works, and it’s not always pretty.

I was standing at a discreet distance from the booth waiting for the person inside it to finish a call. When the door opened, a cute girl that I knew only slightly because she had dated a buddy stepped out, visibly distraught.

I asked if something was the matter, and she jumped into my arms and held on like a drowning person clutching a life preserver. I don’t remember the details, but I think she said she had just gotten some bad news about a family member. As I was trying to come up with something comforting to say, I felt some claws grab into my left shoulder and heard my Evil Angel whispering in my ear, “She’s vulnerable. She is REALLY vulnerable. You could take advantage of that.”

Oh, no, here come the Good Angel

Before I could react to that advice, there was a flutter of wings on my Good Angel landed on the other shoulder. “That would be wrong, and you know it,” he whispered in my ear. “Your Mother taught you better than that.”

I extracted myself from the young woman’s grasp, we chatted for a few minutes while she calmed down, she declined my offer of a ride home, and she walked up these steps and down the hallway. I don’t know that I ever talked to her again.

Just as I was congratulating myself for doing The Right Thing, I heard my Good Angel say to the Bad Angel, “You know, you’re right. She looks pretty darned good from this side, too.”

Funny how things like that will pop into your head when you walk the halls of your old high school. (You have to admit the old building has really been well maintained. I think the walls and floors are shinier now than they were in 1965.)