The Tracing

Carriage Hill Farm-2015--1037

Do you remember tracing pictures onto paper when you were a kid? I would take the original and lay a fresh sheet of paper over it and then run to the window. The brightly lit glass was the closest thing I had too a light box. Pencil in hand, I would outline the drawing until I had a near perfect copy. That’s when the crayons came into play. On the table, I would fill in the tracing with color until I was sure I had yet another masterpiece on my hands. That’s when my finished art work would go to the refrigerator to be held in place by a banana magnet…the sure sign of success.

Seeing Jen tracing a drawing using the very same method brought back a lot of wonderful memories for me. Thanks Jen.

Have a wonderful Sunday, folks!

Carriage Hill Farm-2015--1041-P

He Looked Hungry, So I Fed Him.

Stencil of a cat on a brick wall.

We’ve all been struggling with the loss of Jodi’s mom back in January. So, it was nice to have a happy memory of her pop into my mind last night. Roberta had a way of collecting cats. I would come home to find a new cat, that I didn’t recognize, sitting in my kitchen after I came home from work. I would ask her why there was a strange cat in our house and she would look at me with all seriousness and state “He looked hungry, so I let him in and fed him”. Soon enough, the cat had a name and was added to our permanent collection of cats. We only wanted one cat, and Jodi got me Sabi for Christmas one year. Now our collection of cats includes; Sabi, Betty, Jacky, Cooper, Oona, Elle Belle, and Riley. So, what does all of this have to do with my memory?

Last night, Jim (You must remember my friend Jim, we shoot together all of the time.) and I went to the Celtic Festival in Dayton. Along the way, we decided to stop at a Dayton favorite, Thai 9 for dinner. Jim went in to get a table and I parked the car…three blocks away. On the walk back to the restaurant, I spied this stenciled cat on the side of a building. I instantly thought…”he looks hungry…” and started to laugh. Roberta may not be with us in many ways, but in so many ways, she still is.

Have a great day folks.

warm breeze

Blowing Towels 2


Saturday felt like Summer and it is only mid spring. Ohio is like that. It is always hard to predict the weather in the spring. Could be chilly and wet. Could be hot and humid. Saturday was hot and breezy. Perfect weather for drying on the line.

Clothes lines are a source of nostalgia for me. My mother had a clothes line in the back yard when we lived outside of Boston as kids. The clothes pins were stored in a bag that hung permanently from one of the lines. I am tickled that they are making a comeback as people try to reduce their energy consumption. Sometimes going back to older and simpler ways is a good choice. 

Have a great day folks.



Roberta 2

Let me tell you a few things about Roberta Wilkins. Because, today we spread her ashes along with her husband (Hal), and their dog, Yemmy. This is a good time to share some of my favorite memories.

First of all, she was my mother-in-law. Unlike most son-in-laws, I adored her and I believe the feelings were mutual. From the day I first met her, she was mom or sometimes mom-2. She lived in our house from before we got married and until she died. In seventeen years, I never spent a night in the house without her being there. And still, I have no real idea of how old she was, because, ladies never tell their true age and gentlemen don't ask. I think she was in her mid to late seventies. I guess this because she told me she was older than my mom and younger than my dad.

Roberta was full of life. Her first car was a red Chevy convertible. She once spent an entire paycheck on a pair of Italian shoes. She was a man's women. I often describe her as a 1962, gin swilling, pencil dress wearing, jazz playing, cocktail party broad. Though truth be told, her preferred drink was a vodka martini with extra olives. She loved the description. She could cuss like a sailor if the occasion called for it.

She loved to laugh and had the biggest heart in the world.

Wherever Roberta, Hal, Jodi and I went, she drove. Once, on the way back from eating Mexican, we were all chewing Chicklets and convinced her to spit her's out the window. When she spit her gum, Roberta jerked the wheel, sending us into oncoming traffic. She hooted and laughed and got us back into our lane, getting us home in one piece.

Roberta often held a lit cigarette between the ring and middle fingers of her right hand while she talked to you. That lip stick stained cigarette was part of her. True Blue Kings. With cigarette in hand, you could often hear her exclaim "Jeesuuschrist!"

Everyday, when I walked in the front door, she gave me a hug and said "Hi baby, how was your day?"

I don't believe in God. But, I often think that, if there is a God, she would be up in heaven teaching the angels how to cuss, smoke, drink, and play strip poker. She would have Humphrey Bogart, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Tippi Hedren, and their spouses over for a cocktail party.

I'd knock and the door would open to a blast of jazz. Mom would greet me at the door with a vodka martini, extra olives, and say "Hi baby, how was your day?"

memorial day, 2014

Memorial 2


National Cemetery - Dayton 1


National Cemetery - Dayton 3


Every year, I get up early and take along quiet walk in the national cemetery here in Springfield, Ohio. It's a time for me to spend some time thinking about the sacrifice of others and to put my own service into some perspective.

This year, I decided to head over to the larger national cemetery in Dayton. Seeing the rows  upon rows of head stones brings the impact to an even greater scale. I thought about the many thousands of headstones, all in their neat rows, every one of them lovingly given it's own American flag.

I think about my grandfather, my father, my uncle, and all of my ancestors that served and I am proud.

In today's society, I don't often find cause to be proud of being an American. To much political finger-pointing, social division, and a general attitude of selfishness. However, when I find myself surrounded by the quiet ghosts of these brave men and women, I am proud that some American's sons and daughters knew what real sacrifice meant and were proud to do their part for our nation.

I feel humbled.




look at me!

Me, in all of my glory


Yes indeed, that’s me in a photo taken by my uncle Eddie during Thanksgiving. We had a grand day touring a couple fine museums in Athens, Georgia. That was a fine day and one to remember fondly. I am happy to have this photo to help me remember. That’s one of a photograph’s many powers, memory. Sometimes they can fill your mind with vivid details of color, sights, sounds, and smells. Much like a good song can remind you of the time the song was first popular.


rubber pants

Rubber Pants


Can you handle another old photo from my babyhood? I would have been about a year and a half old. I don't wear the rubber pants any longer, but you never know, I am in my 50s and they can't be ruled out in the future. I do sport that fat belly. I lost it in my teens, twenties and thirties. However, I found it again in my fourties and it has been a constant companion ever since.

Enjoy your weekend folks. I hope your Friday is the start to a great one.



reading hour

That’s my sister and I using Dad as a jungle gym while he’s trying to read something technical and uninteresting to the two of us. Kelly and ire are rocking those footed Jammie’s while Dad is sporting a classic ensemble of cuffed cords, fancy socks and penny loafers. Mom has always ensured that he dressed well. After all, he is her trophy husband. Isn’t that so Dad?

Who’s idea was the hat?

clawed foot tub

Clawed foot tub
Clawed Foot Tub


Wouldn't you like to have a steaming soak in this tub for an hour or so? I can imagine that all of your troubles would melt away in no time at all. Here in this house, there are no bath people. We are all fans of the shower. However, I could make an exception for this tub located in the Westcott house, here in Springfield.

When my son, my nephew, and my nieces were young, they all got baths in my parent's huge tub. There were lots of toys for them to play with and they all loved it. However, to them, nothing was better than getting their bath in my mom's kitchen sink. The sink had a double basin and they could play with plastic cups and bowls on one side while my mom washed them on the other. Messes were encouraged. Unfortunately, they grow fast and soon outgrew the sink. As you can imagine, there are plenty of family photos on the subject. I can tell you this much, the kitchen sink is easier on this adults back than the bathtub.