Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Crossword Fun.

I came upon these clues.  I’ve learned that if a clue has a question mark, the answer is generally a pun.  Here are clues and answers:

Genesis weaponry?  ADAMBOMBS

Genesis actor?  EVEMONTAND

Genesis military forces?  ABELSEAMEN

Genesis agricultural product? CAINSUGAR

Fred Piscop, Puzzle 171, The New York Times Easy Crossword Puzzle Omnibus, Vol. 2, Will Shortz, editor.  St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003.

My favorite puzzles are those with such word play.

Velma and Victor.  

Velma was a Cadillac of a vacuum cleaner, an Electrolux canister model with several attachments.  There was a retractable electric power cord.  The machine followed me around for decades as I worked a vacuuming and dusting.  When I owned a house, it was of good service.

Now that I have four rooms and only one bathroom, I no longer need Velma.  I donated her to Goodwill.

I bought Victor, an upright, battery operated slim machine that I push in front of me.  No cord to manage, no nasty filter bag to change.  At the end of each use, I detach the dirt collector, wash the parts, and reassemble.  Easy and clean and efficient.  The battery charges nicely.  Light, lean Victor stands in my utility closet, new and clean and ready to help out.

A Walk Down Fifth Street.

Sunday morning, about 10:45.  It’s 70-degrees.  The sun feels hot, but there is a cooling breeze from the mountains.  It’s quiet.  The residential street has only two establishments, the Catholic Church and the chiropractor’s office, with its motto, “The Back Stops Here.”

Last time I was walking here, I was going to Mike and Betsy’s house.  It was a cold, windy winter night and because the street was covered in snow and ice.  I had to be careful how to step.  Now, with late summer sun and dry street, that night seems long ago.

At the beginning of the walk, at the Catholic Church, I exchange quiet smiles and good-mornings with two parishioners going to Mass.

There are houses of various designs, including a purple Victorian with large hanging baskets of purple flowers on the front porch, a large contemporary house with solar panels and large windows that open on spectacular Mountain View’s (it’s for sale), and some smaller log homes.  A large log home is surrounded by a tall wooden fence, with a flag over the gate.  It seems to be a fort.

I gain a new perspective of the town from here.  An easy walk takes me opposite the hardware store and Amish furniture store on the outskirts of town.  It’s quiet.  There is little traffic.

I cross Hermit Road and walk a block away from and parallel to the highway that comes into town from the south.  It’s quiet.  I pass the park with soccer field, tennis courts, and sheltered pavilion and pass by the twenty tall evergreen trees that mark the beginning of open space.

At the end of the dirt and gravel road, I turn around and see in the town the most beautiful church in the area, Peace Lutheran Church, with its tall and ornate steeple.  Almost exactly opposite, on the other side of the highway, is the new AT&T tower, erected just about a week ago.  I imagine that the town is marked by these two tall structures.  On the way back to Hermit Road, I notice large wildflowers of purple, yellow, and white.  I thought about taking some for home, but I knew that part of their beauty was in the mild temperature, the gentle breezes, the surrounding fields, and the vista of the Sangre range.

Birds are quietly chirping.  I hear the occasional grasshopper at the edge of the field.

It’s a peaceful walk, a Sabbath blessing, and I plan to go there near or at sunset soon.

This Week’s Note to Eva.  

Dear Eva, Shorter days and cooler temperatures at night are sure signs that fall is approaching.  Fall can come quickly here.  There in the South, you can look forward to another month of heat and humidity.  Thinking of you, and sending love, from your friend, Bill.

Notes on Reading.  Poetry.  Carl Sandburg, selections from Cornhuskers (1918).  In The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg, Revised and Expanded Edition.  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970.

Cornhuskers is a collection of 103 poems in free verse, divided into five groups:  “Cornhuskers,” “Persons Half Known,” “Leather Leggings,” “Haunts,” and “Shenandoah.”  This week I read several times the poems in the first section.

Here are 15 quotations from the selections that give a good view of life in the rural Midwest and a portrait of the people, at that time.  They show Sandburg’s skillful use of personification and imagery.

Do you see a favorite quotation?  Can you spot my top three?

”Have you seen a red sunset drip over one of my cornfields, the shore of / night stars, the wave lines of dawn up a wheat valley?”  (“Prairie”)

”And I know what the rainbow writes across the east or / west in a half-circle: / A love-letter pledge to come again.”  (“Prairie”)

”The hunched shoulders of the grain elevators—“  (“Prairie”)

”A boy, yellow hair, red scar and mittens, on the bobsled, in his lunch / box a pork chop sandwich and a V of gooseberry pie.”  (“Prairie”)

”The horses fathom a snow to their knees. / Snow hats are on the rolling prairie hills. / The Mississippi bluffs West snow hats.”  (“Prairie”)

”A wagonload of radishes on a summer morning, / Sprinkles of dew on the crimson-purple balls.”  (“Prairie”)

”The farmer’s daughter with a basket of eggs dreams of a new hat to / wear to the county fair.”  (“Prairie”)

”The cornhuskers wear leather on their hands. / There is no let-up to the wind. / Blue bandanas are knotted at the ruddy chins.”  (“Prairie”)

“Falltime and winter apples take on the smolder of the five-o’clock / November sunset:  falltime, leaves, bonfires, stubble, the old things go, and the earth is grizzled.”  (“Prairie”)

”The frost loosens cornhusks. / The sun, the rain, the wind / loosen cornhusks. / The men and women are helpers.”  (“Prairie”)

”The phantom of a yellow rooster flaunting a scarlet comb, on top of a / dung pile crying hallelujah to the streak of daylight”. (“Prairie”)

”The phantom of an old workhorse taking the steel point of a plow / across a forty-acre field in spring, hitched to a harrow in summer, / hitched to a wagon among cornshocks in fall”  (“Prairie”)

”The baby moon, a canoe, a silver papoose canoe, sails and sails in the / Indian west.”   (“Early Moon”)

”Tomatoes shining in the October sun with red hearts, / Shining five and six in a row on a wooden fence”  (“Falltime”)

”I lean on an ash and watch the lights fall, the red ember glow, and three / muskrats swim west in a fan of ripples on a sheet of river gold.”  (“Three Pieces on the Smoke of Autumn”)

Thank you for reading.  Comments, here or to my email, are welcome.   Enjoy the full moon of the month, the Harvest Moon, on Saturday.

About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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4 Responses to Wednesday, September 11, 2019

  1. davidvito says:

    The “new guy” in the house. An easily cleaned/stored vacuum is always welcomed. Just be sure to run enough water in the sink to keep the P-trap clean. I once had to call a plumber, whose sage advice was once a week fill the sink half full with cold water and run the garbage disposal for at least one minute. Guaranteed! Icy streets: now that you traverse largely unsaved streets, perhaps a set of easy to-slip-on ice grips for your shoes is in order? There is an Amish furniture store in suburban southwest Denver. Beautiful, well made. But, as Grappa Walton used to say, “They surely love their stuff,” i.e. expensive. How well attended is Peace Lutheran? I hope yours is prospering; many mainline Protestant churches are struggling. I’m hoping for clear skies here in Denver for the upcoming Harvest moon, even if it is to be a so-called “micro-moon.” (Not to be repeated until 2049)

  2. Penny Evans says:

    Your crossword talk reminded me that Mike saved crosswords to work on when he was doing chelation therapy. I am not a crossword person, but I will find a new home for Mike’s not yet worked on crosswords.
    My Mom used to make gooseberry jam (currant and crabapple jelly, too). She harvested the gooseberries from the back yard.
    Haven’t thought of gooseberries in ages.
    ”A boy, yellow hair, red scar and mittens, on the bobsled, in his lunch / box a pork chop sandwich and a V of gooseberry pie.” (“Prairie”)

  3. jessetheoutdoorsman says:

    In the books I’ve read that describe 19th century farm life (mostly from Ingalls Wilder), the characters often have wedges, slices, triangles of pie with them at all hours of the day. Pumpkin, apple, berry, mince – carried with the ease of an apple and eaten just as cleanly. This has always confused me. Pies are difficult to make, and the filling labor intensive. Pie does not carry well in a pocket and people of this age don’t eat 3 or 8 pieces a day. Were these authors being literal? Have we lost PIE as a daily staple?

    I’m reading Justin “Farmer Boy” right now and the main character, Almonzo, must eat 3 pounds of food every sitting. It seems that doughnuts, pies, preserves, roasted meats, popcorn, and mashed vegetables are in endless supply. I’d like to live in that age, but more likely, Almanzo recalled 10 years of eating and compressed it into a 1 year feast. He was probably starving all the time, the poor sonuvabitch.

  4. Richard Prevette says:

    I did get a chance to read this week’s blog. As good as ever – left me bewildered. I tried before looking at the answers to get the cross word clues – no way no clue. But I never have been a crossword guy.
    Loved the walk on 5th street.

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