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Saturday, March 08, 2014

I crossed the empty street

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Yesterday.

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Horace Mann Building.

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Today.

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Tomorrow.

* Ghazni.

* Afghan Youth Debates: Journalists Threatened in Ghazni.

* Military Children Hampered By Illinois Laws.

* NYT corrects 1853 article about 12 Years a Slave's Solomon Northup.

* Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum: From our collection, a first edition copy of the novel "Twelve Years a Slave." #oscars2014 #lincolnmuseum.

* It was about the summer of 66. I remember it like it was just yesterday.... Having rained all morning, it was hot and very humid. The sun was now out and high. So, shorts, tank top, sandals.

Gas was cheap. Cars were big and comfortable, except no air conditioning. And, as was our sometimes usual routine on Sunday afternoons in those days, we'd go for a ride in the country, which basically meant around the outskirts of Springfield. Not surprisingly, those areas are now in town.

So anyway, this one particular Sunday, we got on the highway and went way out of town. We went so far, we ended up a couple counties over. Always one to pay attention to details, I think I could drive that drive today. Well, assuming I could find the highway, which has since been replaced by interstate.

Soon we pulled into the driveway of a big old farmhouse. The lady of the house came out to the car and invited us in. My dad, mom, brother and I stood in the large entryway, as I tried to get a good look at the place. I noticed a living room to one side with lots of doilies on the furniture and a dining room to the other side with a long table that probably sat about 10 and a lace table cloth. There were lots of big windows, but the interior wasn't very bright. The house smelled of fried chicken.

No one was saying anything and it had become obvious that's as far in the house we were going to get. Then, the lady's husband and boys wandered in and the man told his boys to take me and my brother for a tour of the farm. A city girl, I had absolutely no desire to go traipsing around a farm. Plus, I'd have rather listened in on what I now assumed was going to be a serious conversation, possibly come to blows -- under the guise of checking out those doilies, which I also didn't care about. But, anything for a good eavesdrop.

The boys paraded us down a long, uneven stone walkway, past a couple lazy dogs, through a huge, red barn, and out into an area of low lying land which can only be described as a pigsty. Literally. And right there before my very city girl eyes were a bunch of baby piglets in all their pink, snorting glory. One of the boys said not to touch the wire around the pen, which was only about ankle high, because it was "lectric."

But, hey, you know me. So, I got to within an inch of that wire and all the baby piglets came waddling over to me. They were so sweet and so cute. One of them even stuck his snout over the top of that hot wire and began nuzzling my little nine year old hairy legs. I reached my hand down and scratched behind his ears. He liked me. He wanted to play. The mud was starting to ooze between my sandal shod toes.

And, just as I was contemplating the ramifications of getting into the pen, or not, my mom appeared and said it was time to go. So fast? We just got here.

My dad was already behind the wheel with the engine running. As we drove away, I asked, who were those people? My mom just said, "your cousins." When can we go back? No one said anything and we drove home in silence.

* My Tragic Encounter With James Taylor’s Pig:

The summer of 1971 was drawing to a close, and I had a large and growing problem: Kosher, my pet pig. I was 16, and the pig had been a poorly-thought-through joke gift from my father. When he brought her home to our Manhattan apartment in June, Kosher — the name was also his idea — was a (sort of) cuddly pinkish-white football who fit into a shoe box and drank from a bottle.

* 'n caught the Sunday smell of someone fryin' chicken....

Posted by Marie at March 8, 2014 7:45 PM