I Like My New Flag

Flag 10-07-2020

On Oct. 3, 2020, I posted a pitiful photo of my American Flag that was torn almost in two by a gust of wind or just general tiredness.

At the time, I remarked somberly (and maybe a little too dramatically) that I was afraid that flag was a symbol of this nation that was almost ripped apart, and hanging on by a thread.

I’m happy to say that my new flag is flying proudly from a unique flagpole I engineered, partially by accident.

That’s Bill and Rhonda Bolton’s house in the background on a fine Fall day. We always called it the Tinker House because Bob and Mary Tinker lived there for years. The Boltons have lived in it long enough that it’s probably time to rename the place.

How I made the flagpole

My previous flag was attached to a pole in front of the house. When the rose bushes got high, the flag would snag on the thorns. I figured I could solve that problem if I moved it out in the yard.

After scratching my head a bit, I went to the hardware store and discovered that a 10-foot length of 1-inch galvanized pipe would easily slip inside a 30-inch piece of 1-1/4-inch pipe sunk 24 inches into concrete.

I wanted to make it possible to back a trailer into the yard to get firewood, so this lets me take out the long pole and only leave the sleeve sticking out above the ground about six inches.

I drilled holes through both pipes with the intention of putting a bolt through them,  but it was after dark when I finished, so I turned the flag and pole in the direction where I thought it would be best and went to bed.

Serendipity sets in 

The next morning, I was surprised to see the flag in exactly opposite of the direction it was the previous night.

While I was standing there, a gust of wind rotated the whole pole. I was mesmerized. Figuring there was no way that pole was going to jump out of the sleeve, I decided to forgo the bolts and let it act as a weather vane.

Here’s what it looked like on a gusty day this week. The halo-looking thing at the top is a solar-powered LED array to light the flag at night. The flag sticks up so high that the porch dusk-to-dawn lights only hit the lower half of it.

To be honest, I’m not overly happy with the performance of the halo light, but it’s up there.

One other cool thing is that the pipes make a spooky moaning or groaning sound when they rotate more that about 25 degrees. I couldn’t figure out where the weird sound was coming from until one afternoon when I was outside loading the car and made the connection.

The 10-foot pole is rigid. The “bouncing” is caused by the play from the sleeve being larger than the pole. It’s not going anywhere.

Veterans Day is an appropriate time to show off my new flag.

 

 

Castor River Shut-Ins

Wife Lila and Grandson Malcolm came up for a visit. When Malcolm was here last year, we went to Johnson’s Shut-Ins and Elephant Rocks. He liked them well enough he told us he wanted to do the same when he came back in 2018.

“I LOVE this place,” he commented. It’s good to see him infected with the Midwest. There may be hope for him.

Anyway, just as we were getting ready to pull out of the driveway, I saw Neighbor Bill across the street and told him where we were going. He asked, “Have you ever been to Castor River Shut-Ins.

I allowed as how I hadn’t, but since it was about half the distance to our original destination, we decided to check it out. (You can click on the photos to make them larger, by the way.)

Their new favorite place

My visitors said they liked it better than Johnson’s Shut-Ins. It has all the rock climbing of Elephant Rocks, with the water fun. I agree that all the pink granite is pretty, but Johnson’s has more cool water flumes to shoot down.

Traded bold for old

My bold days have been traded for old days, so I was conservative about where I stepped and climbed. Wife Lila was a bit more aggressive because she wanted to keep an eye on Malcolm so she could write the “Dear Matt and Sarah, Guess what we did to your kid” letter.

A gasp and a splash

It wasn’t long before Malcolm was playing mountain goat and heading up a near vertical wall.

I heard Lila gasp, followed by a splash. Showing that she really is a photographer at heart, she complained that there was a branch in the way that kept her from getting a good shot when he slipped and bounced on his backside into the river.

He sat in the cool water for a few minutes regrouping before frolicking some more. About the only thing injured was his pride.

Beautiful scenery

The place is pretty, offers plenty of room to spread out, and wasn’t overrun by people, even though it was a hot day.

Google says that the Castor River Shut-Ins are 45.7 miles (1 hour, 9 minutes) from Cape via MO-72. Johnson’s Shut-Ins are 88.6 miles (1 hour, 53 minutes), also on MO-72.

Earlier visits to Johnson’s Shut-Ins and Elephant Rocks

Road Warriorette Shari and Curator Jessica also made it to the parks in 2017, but they didn’t do anything outrageous enough to publish.

 

 

 

Bob and Mary Tinker

Bob - Mary Tinker 03-1955I ran across a photo of neighbors Bob and Mary Tinker in an American Gothic pose. The date on the side of the print – March 1955 – means it was taken just about the same time we moved into our house at 1618 Kingsway Drive.

Mary is holding something in her hand, probably something she grew in her garden. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Check out the spotlight

Lots of cars of that era had spotlights. Even our 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon had one integrated into the driver-side mirror. I thought it would be great for reading street signs and addresses, but it never worked.

If you went the drive-in movie, as soon as it got dark, impatient patrons would fire up their spotlights and start playing fox and hounds on the movie screen. Shortly after that, horns would start honking to wake up the projectionist.

How I remember Mr. Tinker

Bob Tinker c 1965I almost didn’t recognize Mr. Tinker in the top photo because he almost always had a hat jammed on his head like here.

Mrs. Tinker in 1976

Mary Tinker c 1976The Tinkers and the Grays, who lived just down the street from them, were great neighbors. This was taken in back of the house.

One of the oldest houses

Mrs. Bob Tinker 1617 Kingsway DriveThe house at 1617 Kingsway Drive, is the oldest on the block, and the only one still standing of the original ones from the days when we were outside the city limits.

The Boltons live there now

Rhonda Bolton's 50th Birthday Party 08-02-2014Bill and Rhonda Bolton live there now. The house still looks from the outside a lot like it did in 1955, but Bill and Rhonda have made a lot of improvements to it. No matter how long they live there, though, we’ll always refer to it as “The Tinker House.”

When Rhonda turned 50

Rhonda Bolton's 50th Birthday Party 08-02-2014Mother had a blast at Rhonda’s birthday party in 2014. We all took a lot of comfort in knowing they were up on the hill keeping an eye on her.

 

 

High Chair, High Waters

Elsie Adkins Welch, Mark and LV Steinhoff eating winter watermelon at kitchen table March 1961Neighbors Bill and Rhonda and I went down to Dutchtown Monday afternoon. While we were there, I opened some mostly-empty sheds that hadn’t seen light (except for a hole in the roof) for years. Most everything of value had been taken out of them a long time ago, and whatever contents that remained had floated and rearranged themselves in the various floods since 1973. Stuff that could rust had rusted; stuff that could rot or fall apart had done just that; everything had a thick or thin patina of river mud sticking to it.

As I was playing a flashlight beam around, Rhonda said, “That’s a high chair under there.”

Indeed, it was. It was the very yellow high chair that Brother Mark was sitting in back in March of 1961. That’s my grandmother, Elsie Welch on the left. Dad, engrossed in one of my comic books, is on the right. Looks like we were having some combination of brownies, milk, barbecue sandwiches (made on the grill in the background, where our microwave lives today), and iced tea.

It’s still in pretty good shape

Mark Steinhoff's high chair - Dutchtown 08-17-2015I was surprised to see it was in better shape than I would have thought. The metal tray that Mark used to bang his cup on like he was in a B-Grade prison movie would still slide on and off. The legs have some rust on them, but I don’t know if that’s from the Mississippi River or my brother’s leaky diapers.

You might just see this at Annie Laurie’s Antique Shop one of these days, Lord willin’ and the rivers don’t rise.

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.