Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Lessons of MLK and Mudcat Grant

It is sobering to realize that January 15, 2019 would have been the 90th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Of course, he was never allowed to live long enough to celebrate it.

I am a senior citizen, and I realize that fewer and fewer people alive today experienced the world that Martin Luther King, Jr. was born into.  I never did, because I am white.  But my father witnessed segregation (again, through the eyes of a white man who grew up in Brooklyn) when he was stationed in the Southern United States (Mississippi and Arkansas) for a part of his military service in World War II.  He would use news stories about the Civil Rights movement as "teachable moments" for me.

Years later, I had the opportunity to meet Mudcat Grant, a former major league pitcher (and a member of the 12 Black Aces - black pitchers who had won at least 20 games in a season - quite an accomplishment) who grew up in Florida in the days of segregation.  (He's 83 now).

He told a group of us the story of how a teenaged boy he knew as a young child was lynched because he had committed the crime of going in the front door of a white woman's house while delivering her groceries.

It wasn't just that lynching, but his mother's reaction that stuck with Mudcat the rest of his life.  The reaction basically was that this is the way life was for his people, and he'd better get used to it.

What impressed me the most about meeting Mudcat Grant was his gentle-manliness.  He was  softspoken and you never would have guessed what he had gone through in his early years.

Now, hatred is on the rise again - and it is more and more acceptable to express that hatred, to the point of a Senator making offensive comments for years before being formally rebuked.

This hatred must be fought, least it once again become acceptable in our United States.

It is not enough to name streets all over our country for Martin Luther King, Jr.  For what Mudcat Grant and others in our country went through, we must say "never again" to all hate.

Day 17 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Great Molasses Flood

It wasn't a joke.  It wasn't sweet.  And when I first heard about it several years ago, it was hard to believe.

On January 15, 1919, a tank of molasses located in the North End of Boston exploded, with 2.5 million gallons of sweet, sticky molasses bearing down on the neighborhood  like a gigantic wall at some 35 miles an hour.

Nothing could withstand the flood.  People were crushed and houses crumbled as the flood swept over the area.  21 people died - the youngest 10, the oldest 78.

Here are some photos of the aftermath, including a photo of what the neighborhood looks like today.

Area residents claimed you could smell the molasses every summer for decades after.

This song commemorates the event, which led to legislation designed to increase safety in industrial construction.

Not all that is sweet is desirable.

Day 16 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day January 2019

Welcome to the 15th of January.  It's time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Where I live in upstate New York, winter couldn't make up its mind if it wanted to come or not.  Snow,  warm, rain, snow, repeat.  But winter has closed in.

I don't have much blooming in my house. This African violet, which I purchased in early December, is still going strong.

Who knows if this primrose will make it to spring?

My reliable Thanksgiving cactus still blooming.
And finally, my geraniums struggle, but gave me one bloom.

It's bitterly cold today where I live in zone 5b near Binghamton, New York but we can still have our flowers.

Join Carol at May Dreams Gardens and other bloggers the 15th of each month for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.  What's blooming in your house or yard?

P.S. Today is the 100th anniversary of Boston's Great Molasses Flood.  More on that tomorrow.

Day 15 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, January 14, 2019

Flowers #MusicMovesMe # blogboost

Welcome! It's Monday and time for another episode of Music Moves Me. And today, being a "Your Song Pick" week, I've decided to be inspired by - a parade!

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only on this music train, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice,  and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting  is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy .  And finally, there's me. 

> Every January 1 (except when it falls on a Sunday) the Tournament of Roses parade is held in Pasadena, California.  And wouldn't you know it - their theme this year was "The Melody of Life".

I'd like to bring you a little flavor of that parade. But first, some music.

Live performance of The Cowsills and The Rain, the Park, and Other Things.

Talking Heads - [Nothing But] Flowers.

Flowers on the Wall - Statler Brothers

You Don't Bring Me Flowers - a duet with Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.

I took these pictures from my TV of the Rose Parade - one day I will get to see this parade in person but not this year.  First, Far Out Frequencies.

How about this Hep Cat?
The Power of Music.

Finally, check out those drums.  Keep in mind, when you view these floats, that the entire float and its contents must be covered in all natural materials - flowers, seeds, bark, spices, or something similar.

Join me again next Monday for another #MusicMovesMe, and while you are at it, why don't you check out other participants in this blog hop?

Day 14 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Hard Times in Johnson City New York #blogboost

For this day 13 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, let me tell you a little bit about the community in upstate New York I live near.

Johnson City was known at one time as the Home of the Square Deal, thanks to George F. Johnson and the Johnson family of Endicott-Johnson shoes.  But that was then and this is now.

Many of those shoe factories have been torn down.  The ones left are in ruins, inhabited by derelicts.  Downtown Johnson City, to be blunt, is depressed.  It may be slowly making its way back from ruin but it is not a place I would recommend to any out of town visitors.  I hope one day that will be different.

George F. Johnson would not have been happy.

Ironic that in 2009 I blogged about the possible dissolution of Johnson City.  The voters voted that November, and Johnson City remained in existence.

But now, Johnson City has appeared on a list of the 10 most dangerous cities in the state of New York.

I have met so many people who have lost jobs in the last year, or are in danger of losing jobs.  Just one example:  I know the mother of someone whose husband is currently looking for work.  Her daughter is a housewife with three children, the fourth one on the way.  It's not a good situation, to put it mildly.

Others try to cobble together part time jobs while going back to school.

And now, our mall, which has lost three of its four anchor stores in the past three years, wants its taxes reduced dramatically.  Who will take up the slack if they win?

We, the residents, will take up that slack.

These are not happy times for many.

Can Johnson City be saved?  Once again, the future is uncertain. And while I try to keep my optimism up, I have to admit that it is hard, sometimes, to keep the faith.

Recently, the State University of New York opened a pharmacy school in part of that depressed area.  We can only hope that will spark a revival.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Realizing How Fortunate I Am

In the past couple of weeks, I've had occasions where I have felt sorry for myself.

But, I am really one of the luckiest people on the face of the earth.  I get to view beautiful sunrises like this one from earlier in the week.  I sometimes get to travel.

Five days a week, I have the opportunity to get up, eat breakfast, and go to work. Then, in the late afternoon, I get to go home. 

On the other hand, not everyone has that privilege.

Yesterday, my spouse and I made a trip, probably to say goodbye to a relative.  She's younger than I, and has cancer.  Her prognosis is poor.  She knew we were there, but was too tired/sleepy to interact with us.  She is unable to get out of bed on her own. 

I want to use the time I have left, whether years or months, wisely.  I need to devote more thought to that than I have recently.

I need to remember how grateful I am for life.

Day 12 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Friday, January 11, 2019

January Fire #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

From January 4, a beautiful sunset outside of Binghamton, New York.

There is just something so magical about some January sunrises and sunsets - see the sunset reflected in the house windows on the lower middle?

But the best is yet to come.

Oh yes.  I could get lost in this.

Join Yogi and other bloggers who watch the sky on #SkywatchFriday. 

The Brooklyn photos I promised last week?  I am delaying them another week.  I couldn't resist sharing this sunset with you!

Day 11 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost