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.”
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To be honest, I still have a lot of unpublished photos from the SE MO area, but all the ones I really like have already been posted.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.
She was my first girlfriend. Like so many first romances, this one didn’t end well. I think you could use phrases like “crash and burn,” “down in flames” and “train wreck” to describe my reaction to the inevitable breakup. We spoke only when absolutely necessary for the rest of our high school careers and, not at all for the next 40 or so years.
Jim was the one who convinced me that I needed to escape Cape or I’d be a One-Shot Frony forever. I followed him to Ohio University my junior year.
“Can you use the round scissors?”
Shari, who I knew more for her cutting tongue than her tonsorial talents wanted to know why I hadn’t gone for a haircut.
I explained that I hadn’t peeked in the window to check out my regular barber’s safety protocols, so I wasn’t taking any chances.
She claimed that she was an accomplished hair chopper, and her mother, LaFern Stiver, vouched for her.
Won over, I gave her the OK, but I preferred that she use the safe-to-run-with rounded-end scissors. She demanded that we go shopping for some scarier ones.
‘Taper, taper, taper’
With much trepidation, I allowed myself to be strapped into a chair in the living room, with a towel clipped around my neck. “Wife Lila always says I’m supposed to tell the barber, ‘Taper, taper, taper.’ I don’t know what that means, but I always say it.”
“I do, and I will,” Shari promised, as she started waving the scissors around, eventually causing enough hair to fall on the towel to knit a small kitten.
I hopped onto a Zoom session the other night, and Wife Lila, unprompted, said, “Nice haircut.” Nice to have her approval (or the image was fuzzy).
When I drove past 611 South Sprigg a few months ago, I thought the Rose Bed Inn Bed and Breakfast was looking a little ragged, nothing like when Wife Lila and I watched Laurie and Rocky Everett get married there on a cold October day in 2003.
Several folks tipped me off that the place was doomed, but I didn’t get there until September 13, when it was all over but the shouting.
Sarah Yenesel did a nice recap of the history of the 110-year-old building in the Sept. 16, 2020, Southeast Missourian. I love it when someone else does that heavy lifting so I don’t have to.
The Rose Bed in 2003
The B&B was attractive in 2003. The grounds were well-kept, and the interior was nicely furnished, a perfect venue for a wedding.
The Inn during happier times
Here’s a gallery of photos from the night Laurie and Rocky got married. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use the arrows on the right and left side to move through the images.
For the record, I’m sure Wife Lila took most of these photos. I shot presidents, a Pope and the Queen of England, but I never had enough nerve to tackle weddings.