13 March 2010

Return of the Blather

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

Yes, I know it has been a month since I last made a blog entry. I have been reminded of this by everyone and their Aunt Tilly. No excuses: when the muse is active, you write, and when the muse is silent, you write anyway, only not as well.

This West Virginia winter of ours has ended and for the first time in many weeks, acres of grass outnumber acres of snow. Given a little bit more time and a little knowledge of modern photography, amazing get a photo of the new iteration of Number 3 Equity Court into “print.”

I’ve also missed just a touch of work this winter, which is exceedingly annoying. A couple of encounters with Mr. Gravity had a little bit to do with that. Mr. gravity never forgets. As a result, I am temporarily sporting a long coup stick which I use as a proto-cane and have a new appreciation for access issues.

Black Wreath

The Charleston Gazette reports tonight that a fireman with the Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department of Kanawha County is missing and presumed killed on duty in flooding in Raleigh County last night.

Greater love hath no man . . .


I’m reading, amongst other books, Through the Brazilian Wilderness, by Theodore Roosevelt, his account of the 1913 -14 exploration of Rio Duvida (the River of Doubt, later Rio Teodoro) in the Amazon. I just read a couple of passages, one where he blithely talks about walking off alone “a couple of leagues,” (a league is 3 miles) and another where he took a “stroll a couple of miles up the road.” Even sans-coup stick, I’m the last person qualified to talk about our reluctance to walk anywhere. But this does give me pause.


I was sitting in a cafĂ© one morning this week having coffee with my best friend and brother David. Two other brothers were there, and we were having a wonderful and freeflowing conversation about not very vital issues. The Fairmont Fire Department had some sort of call, and within a couple of minutes every fire engine in town came through the intersection as we were sitting there. One of the brothers sitting there was Bill Hawkins, who is well into his 80s and who defines “a hell of a man.” Among the many things he has done in his lifetime is that he was a captain on the Fairmont Fire Department for many years. (Later, he was mayor Fairmont.)

After the fire engines had finally passed, Bill was reminiscing just a bit. He recalled a fire on a Christmas Eve in a big house up on Maple Avenue. When they arrived, the house was full of smoke and a woman was out front screaming that her baby was still in the house. Bill recalled that was in the days of the “smoke eaters” before everyone wore air masks as a routine. He recalled that he went in, searched the upstairs and found the four-year-old child, stuck her under his coat to keep her out of the heat and smoke and took her outside. As he was leaving the house, he looked down inside his coat, and she looked up at him and said “You’re Santa Claus!” Bill said that’s what made those years of hard work worthwhile.

And my mind goes back to the brother killed last night.

Pippa passes.

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