Friday, October 21, 2011

There Is No Such Thing

He was my mother's favorite cousin. My memory is of being told he lived with my grandparents for a while. His father was probably an alcoholic. His mother would occasionally babysit my sister and me.

His beginnings were not easy, but he was making a life for himself. I don't remember anything about his wife. I don't know if he was divorced or what, but I do know he had a son.

He rode a motorcycle. He, also, drove a milk truck.  Not the kind that delivers milk to stores, but the kind that picked up milk in bulk from diary farms. During the summer he would ride his motorcycle to where the truck was parked and his son would ride with him. 

On a morning like so many other mornings my mother's cousin was riding to work with his son riding behind him, but this morning turned out to be a morning unlike any other. Was he a little later than usual or perhaps a little earlier? Was he in a hurry? I don't know. All I know is on this day an intersection that he and his son had been though probably hundreds of times, an intersection that seemed routine and harmless turned fatal. There was another car. They collided. I'm told he died instantly.  The son lived. He was the only one to survive the accident. With broken bones he managed to make his way the half mile or so to the nearest house. His Dad needed help and his determination pushed him to get it. He didn't know his Dad was already dead. It was all very sad.

I don't think my mother ever liked motorcycles much, but after her cousin was killed riding one she hated them. By the time I began riding my mother had been gone for a number of years. I'm sure if she had lived to see me riding she would not have been pleased. Truthfully, if she were still alive I suspect I wouldn't be riding.

I hadn't thought of my mother's cousin for years, but when I began riding that changed. He comes to mind often. He is in my head now. He won't let me forget that there is no such thing as a routine and harmless intersection. Never. Ever.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween Decorations

I don't care much for Halloween. All Saints and the concept of All Hallows Eve are a different story, but this isn't about them. This is about the decorations some folks have put in their yards that I do like in spite of my dislike of things Halloweenie.

This house is unique to its neighborhood. It has more of a Mediterranean feel. I think what I like about these decorations is they have more of a carnival feel.
In the driveway of the house is parked an RV and behind the wheel of the RV is . . .
. . . this fellow. I really love that there is a parrot hanging from the rear view mirror.
Of course, I had to include this one. It has flamingos.
Speaking of flamingos, lately I've had the feeling I'm being watched.
I even caught a glimpse of this guy checking out a friend of mine's new Ducati.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Raising the Sukkah

I spent Friday Evening and all day Saturday attending Yom Kippur Services and making music with my friends Jim , Shlomo, and Will. It was an insightful, rewarding and rich experience, but I'll admit I was more than ready to be out and about come Sunday morning.

Recently a blogging friend posted about going to a lake and it reminded me it had been a while since I visited Creve Coeur Lake. This is one of my favorite riding destinations and seemed  the perfect place to begin my day. What made it even more special is how seldom I get to check out the Lake on Sunday mornings. Sunday mornings are when the rowers are usually out on the water.

The St. Louis Rowing Club uses Creve Couer Lake to practice.

It is very peaceful sitting by the water and watching the rowers.

The trees haven't really changed much in the last week.
I noticed this woman using chop sticks to pick something up from the beach area. At first I couldn't figure what she was picking up, but soon it became clear.

She was picking up Goose droppings. I went over and asked her what she was doing, but she didn't speak English and just pointed to what was in her bag. I'll probably never know the true reason she was gathering goose sh*t, but I'm guessing (hoping) she uses it for fertilizer.

I wanted to be at Neve Shalom to help raise the Congregational Sukkah. But, before Neve I wanted to go to Cabela's and, also, grab a quick bite to eat. This meant I had to tear myself away from the Lake and be on my way.

I made it to Neve nearly right on time. Much to my surprise I wasn't the first one there. It seems at Neve things begin when they begin and the published starting time is meant as more of a suggestion for when folk can start to gather.

There were five of us and it was enough.
The Sukkah we use came from Sukkah Soul and was easy to put together and well designed. Helping to raise the Sukkah and spending time in it are two of my most favorite things to do.

We erected the Sukkah on the concrete patio in front of the Synagogue.
Then we walked it up a slight hill and set it on the grass.
Proof I wasn't the only one enjoying myself.
Nearly ready to begin decorating.
Looking good.
Heather had been visiting her Grandmother and called to say she was heading home just as I was getting ready to head for home. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

On the way home I saw this sidecar rig. By the time I got the camera up he was nearly out of sight. And being in a hurry made for a fuzzy photo, but I think if you know what you're looking for you can make it out. I couldn't tell what kind of a tug it was, but it was red.

The day ended with Heather and I going for a nice six mile walk (at least according to her new Nano with pedometer). The two highlights of the walk were seeing an owl (no picture) and one particular squirrel (have pictures).

This little beast let us get rather close, but . . .
. . . soon enough close enough was too close and he took off like a Busch Stadium Rally Squirrel.
It has been a full and wonderful weekend and the best part of it all is . . .

Tomorrow is Columbus Day and I'm still off work. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

But To Where? I Didn't Have A Clue

Last Saturday I had to go to the bank. It was supposed to be a simple there and back errand, but the weather was really nice . . . and Heather was working . . .and I didn't really have anything to do that couldn't be put off until tomorrow. It seemed like a really good idea to just keep riding. But to where? I didn't have a clue.

I headed over toward Webster Groves. Webster Groves has some nice streets that I like to putter down. It seemed like a good place to start.

I crossed I-44 on Rock Hill Road. Often there is a young man standing on the sidewalk of this bridge. Sometimes he is holding a toy semi truck and trailer. He pumps his arm as trucks go under the overpass trying to get the truckers to sound their horns. He has been doing this for years and is well known. I didn't know they had named this crossing after him until today. 

I mentioned my discovery to Heather and, of course, she already knew.
As I walked back to where I'd parked Billie I had to cross over some railroad tracks. I looked down the tracks and saw the old Webster train depot. Billie just had to have her picture taken in front of it. Off we went.

There is a model train club that uses the depot now.
Not far from the Depot I spotted this tree.
The trees here are just beginning to change color. I decided to ride around and see if I could find some more early performers like the one above.

In the process I discovered that Rock Hill was having their Fall Festival.

Part of the festivities was a car show. I pulled in and took this photo. I only took one and decided my finger over the lens was like Princes cough on She Wore A Purple Beret -- somehow it just belonged. I'm not much into cars, but I do like yellow.

Just down the road is possibly my favorite named eating establishment.

I've never eaten here, but I love the name.
I saw this little Autumn flower garden and thought it was nice.

The only thing missing is a flamingo or two.
And then there was this beauty.

Here's a maple trying to get it's red on.

I started to wonder what the trees farther out looked like and decided to head for Castlewood State Park. On the way, since I had a developed a sub-theme of railroads, I stopped at the Big Bend and Geyer crossing and took this picture.

If you can make the picture bigger you can see the Arch.  The Arch is at least fifteen miles away.
I found that not many of the trees in Castlewood have much color. They are at that fixing to change stage -- just sort of, kind of almost yellow but still green.

But there were plenty of leaves on the ground.

When I got back to the bike I noticed Billie had a visitor.

This dragonfly stuck around just long enough for me to take its picture
I left the Condo at 1030 to go to the bank. I returned home at 1500.

Life is good.