Storms and Strawberry Pie

It’s been a rocky start to the severe storm season. Grant Dade, KFVS weatherman, reported “43 county tornado warnings and 204 county severe thunderstorm warnings in our viewing area yesterday (May 8). We can all be thankful the low level shear was weaker than advertised or instead of sporadic storm damage today it would have been catastrophic.” 

For the record, KFVS claims to cover 50 counties in four states, including all of SE MO, Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky and Northwestern Tennessee.

So, what’s with the pie?


Last year, I dilly-dallied around and missed strawberry season at Beggs’s Berry World at the Benton I-55 exit. I came within about a week of missing it again this year because of weather.

When I was checking out with my plastic gallon bucket of fresh strawberries, the cashier asked if I’d like one of the strawberry pies they had left. My arm didn’t have to be twisted.

I’m Johnny Strawberry Seed

Shortly after I had mastered the art of making cheesecakes, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

I was lamenting on my status to Museum Director Carla Jordan when she gave me a good piece of advice: “You don’t have to eat the whole cheesecake. Cut off an allowable slice, then distribute the rest to deserving folks so you won’t be tempted.”

With that in mind, I made the rounds of Cape friends and relatives, muttering, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” as I dropped off the goodies.

FYI. the unsliced berries in the pie pan was just to fill up the space.

In case you go looking, Beggs has moved to the opposite side of the I-55 exit. I went to the old location,  proving that my GPS Lady in the Sky was wiser than I was.

May 4 déjà vu

Ohio University Protests

Several years ago, John J. Lopinot, my old friend and chief photographer, thought that after half a century we were pretty much done with the topic of May 4.

He’ll probably continue to send me “NEVER FORGET” notes, though,  until we lose either the transmitter or the receiver (or both).

What caused me to take another bite of an aging apple?

Why the change?

I was listening to an old playlist the other afternoon when John Fogarty came on singing this snippet:

Did you hear ’em talkin’ ’bout it on the radio
Did you try to read the writing on the wall
Did that voice inside you say I’ve heard it all before
It’s like Deja Vu all over again

Day by day I hear the voices rising
Started with a whisper like it did before
Day by day we count the dead and dying
Ship the bodies home while the networks all keep score

I’m hearing some of the same red-hot rhetoric that we heard in the 60s. 

We’re getting older

[Note: this was taken when I was having breakfast in Scott Quad in 1967. The annotation was done by an irreverent Curator (now Director) Jessica of the SE Ohio History Center ]

A Facebook friend posted some memories noting that we were coming up on the 54th anniversary of the Kent State killings. I’m thinking about what could be a major project for Year 55.

The sad fact is that a lot of us may not be around to observe Year 60. So, we have to tell our stories while we’re still around.

I’m going to post links to many of the photos I took during the protest era. I’d love to have names and current contact info for as many as possible so I could interview and photograph some of us who lived through this era.

On our way to get riot gear

We were on our way to Kent

This post appeared on my bike blog in 2009. It recounted about how another photographer and I were going to stop at a surplus store in Marietta for gas masks and other riot gear before heading up to Kent State.

Along the way, we got the word about the shootings, picked up our gear and headed back to Athens.

Shortly after we crossed over into Athens county, a deputy pulled us over.

 “We got a call from a surplus store over in Marietta that some student hippy-types were buying up riot gear and heading to Athens. You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”

I confessed that “that would be us.”

“Do you know anything I should know?” he asked.

“Just being ready,” I replied. “Your guess about what’s going to happen is as good as mine.”

Protest era timeline

From start to finish, first pass

This was my first pass at going through my film an creating a timeline from peaceful marches to the closing of the university.

There’s a huge gallery, but the software that created it was “improved,” so it’s a little hard to navigate. Sorry.

Frat boys attack

Student vs students

 A line of frat boys and jocks lined up to administer some street justice to students who didn’t look like them. It was one of the few student-on-student encounters I saw, and it didn’t last long.

Chubb Library occupied

A night spent in Chubb Library

The empty Chubb Library was occupied. Damage was minimal, if any.

On the other hand, this was the night newlywed Lila was going to host her first ever dinner party for us newsies. Unfortunately for me, all of us were otherwise occupied, and cell phones hadn’t been invented yet.

Sings of the times

A mixture of sign-carriers

It might have been a cold night in Athens when I shot these in 1968.

O.U. is not your mother

The birth of student rights

Restrictions on OU women were less draconian that those at SE MO State College, but the women challenged dorm hour rules.

Martin Luther King National Day of Mourning

Not the usual rites of spring crowd

A solemn salt-and-pepper crowd  spontaneously took over Court and Union. A miscue by Athens PD Capt.  Charlie Cochran came close to touching off a serious riot.

Dean Kahler is an inspiration

Kent State 08-25-2015

Paralyzed by a Guard bullet

Dean Kahler,  was paralyzed when the National Guard opened fire. He was an innocent bystander 300 feet away from the closest shooter.

Follow the link to hear Dean in his own words.

“I knew I had been shot because it felt like a bee sting. I knew immediately because my legs got real tight, then they relaxed just like in zoology class when you pith a frog,” he said.

Kent State Pagoda

Kent State 08-25-2015

Seeing it made it real

I remember the first time I went to Washington, D.C., and was overwhelmed when I discovered that buildings I had only seen in print and on TV were real.

Seeing the Kent State Pagoda where the Guard went on their killing spree brought May 4 to life for me.

It’s not all grim

I was amused at this exchange

The student was offering a state trooper sandwiches and drinks. The lawman’s good-natured expression seems to be saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me if you think I’d eat something you made.”

Different memories

Compare and contrast

Jackson High School students were preparing for their prom in 2014. They will have entirely different memories of May 4 than us Boomers.

How soon they forget

You mean something happened here?

I climbed the steps of Lindley Hall to recreate this photo in 2013 when I was in town for an exhibit.

Some students saw me, so I walked over and said, “You know, the last time I stood on that landing and took a picture looking down Court Street it was May 15, 1970. Tear gas was wafting through the air and there was a National Guardsman with a rifle spaced about every 25 feet.”

“Really? Something happened here?” one of them asked, giving me a “is this old geezer harmless?” look.

Portrait of a pandemic

Ken Steinhoff in mask 05-02-2020

So much for going back to Athens

Curator Jessica and I were well on the way to making plans for the 50th anniversary of May 4 when the plug was pulled on the world.

Maybe you all will give me the info I need to do a proper accounting for 2025.

Mario and Angela’s Italian Eatery

Mario and Angela’s Italian Eatery 03-07-2024

I’ve chased these fine folks from Jackson to Cape, and now, back to Jackson at 215 West Main Street.

Angela greeted me like a long-lost friend when I showed up to pick up my food. (Wife Lila insisted that I stop calling her “Crazy Angela” when I first started eating at the place on a regular basis.)

Here’s an account of one of my first visits to the original Jackson location.

Only open 10-3

Mario and Angela’s Italian Eatery 03-07-2024

I wish they stayed open longer than 10-3, but they do a booming takeout business. They really aren’t set up for on-site dining.

Angela keeps busy taking phone orders while her dad is ready to cook them.

Quantity is great; price reasonable

Mario and Angela’s Italian Eatery 03-07-2024

The calzone I bought on my first visit a couple of weeks ago was big enough for two meals and a snack.

I ordered the lobster, shrimp and scallop in Alfredo sauce, topped with shrimp today. It isn’t particularly pretty because the sauce covers all the goodies.

Trust me, though, the Alfredo sauce was as good as any you’ll find anywhere. There was enough for two meals, but it tasted so good that I polished it off in one pass.

Country Store Lost to Memory


Country Store 03-21-1969

One of the more challenging (and rewarding) things about working at The Athens (OH) Messenger was the canvas publisher Kenner Bush gave us photographers: he opened up a 9×17 news hole five days a week for photo essays.

We drove all over Southeast Ohio photographing people and places that would be overlooked most of the time. I called it “photographing ordinary people doing ordinary things.”

Some stories didn’t pan out

Country Store 03-21-1969

I did a number of stories about country stores over the years, but these photos were never published. I don’t know if the subject didn’t have an interesting tale to tell or if I had to rush off before I discovered it.

I don’t even recall where the store was located, nor the woman’s name. Both are probably scribbled in a notebook buried in a box somewhere.

It’s fascinating to see the wide variety of goods carried.

A gallery of a few moments

So, here’s a brief portrait of a country store in the days before convenience stores and Dollar Generals. I probably should have made a Picture Page out of the images.

Click on any photo, then use the arrow keys to move around.