Monday, June 23, 2008

We're Ready To Believe You

I've always been intrigued with the idea of flying saucers and aliens and such, especially when talk turned to local sightings. There were plenty of stories when I was growing up, and living in the country where it got pitch black at night, the tales both terrified and excited me. Just like ghost stories, the ufo talk was something I had to listen to, yet made me hide my head under the covers in fear of something coming into my room and taking me to a far off planet to torture me.

The best story from my part of the country came from a family who lived a few miles from us on the ridge (we lived in the valley). They said that every summer - or maybe it was spring, I forget - that unidentified objects would come down and drain the power from the electric towers on their property. If these were some of the more loony neighbors, and there were quite a few, their stories could be dismissed as fantasy, but they were a well-to-do family with a large farm. The boy and girl were a few years older than me, I remember her well because she was gorgeous and very intelligent, a member of the Honor Society in school, so it was hard to imagine that the tales were completely false. Besides, the neighbors had reported seeing things too, not that anyone else had the juice sucked out of their power lines, but several had seen strange lights in that area.

Another one I heard was when my mom was telling someone about another neighbor who had supposedly hit an alien with his car. It had gotten away, but left a strange residue on his bumper that he sent away to be analyzed, only to be told that it was an unknown substance. My mom herself said once that she saw something just over the hill that she thought was the moon at first because it was so big and bright but it flew away.

Try as I might, I could never spot a ufo while I was living in the country when I was a kid, but...
Two years after I got married and moved away we moved back to stay with dad until we could find an apartment that accepted kids, my wife being eight months pregnant at the time. We were coming back from mass on Easter Eve, following my sister who was a couple hundred yards in front of us when a brightly flashing light caught our eye. It was right when we turned off the highway and onto the ridge road. When we got to the top of the ridge the light followed my sister's car until she turned off and headed down the valley road. We talked about it when we got home, and she didn't know what it was either. It was not necessarily a spaceship, but it made no sound and only had a bright flashing light coming from it, like a brilliant camera flash.

Part of me wants to believe that aliens from other worlds are visiting us, but the older I get the more skeptical I become. It's still an interesting topic for me and maybe one day some hillbilly will drag a saucer onto the White House lawn and pose beside it with the alien he blasted with his coon rifle and put the debate to rest once and for all. Until then I'll keep glancing toward the skies, hoping to spot something to tell a good story about.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Don't Hold Taters I Hold Corn

This time of the year always reminds me of when I was a kid growing up in the country. Summers were full of activity daily, and a lot of it involved the entire family. We had a small farm without a lot of fancy machinery, so most of the work was done by hand. Making hay is hard work anytime, but since we didn't have a baler it had to be put up by hand, which involved a lot of work from everyone. I was one of the youngest, so it was usually my job to tramp down the hay as it was thrown into the back of the truck, making more room to put more hay. This was fun and not much work at all - for the first few loads. After that, the hot sun beating down combined with sweat rolling down our bodies and hayseeds all over us making us itchy usually forced my little sister and I to whine until we were given another, easier job like watching everybody else work. But overall I remember hay-making as a hard but enjoyable family experience. Not sure my older brothers or sisters remember it that way, since they had to do most of the work.
Another part of the summer routine was working in the gardens on a daily basis. My mom would cart us kids out to pull weeds, get water or pick up rocks. We usually kept three or four gardens going at a time - I have no idea how my mom managed, since it was mostly her doing the gardening along with all the other housework, which was no small task in a family with nine kids. Dad plowed the gardens, but he worked two jobs most of his life, so that left mom and us to take care of the planting and weeding. Of course later on when it was time to do the picking was a fun time too. I remember once when my younger sister was holding a basket of corn and was whining she wanted to go back to the house. My mom told her to hold her taters. She said "I don't hold taters I hold corn". She was about three or four then. I guess I remember it because it was funny to me at the time, me being about six or so.

My kids will remember their summers as going to the pool every day, or Boy Scout summer camp, or Cedar Point. For me, growing up on the farm stands out in my memory when I recall my summertime as a youth. Often I wish times could be that simple again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Hat and Whip Come Out Of Retirement

Yesterday was our anniversary and to celebrate we went to see the new Indiana Jones movie then out to dinner. The last several years we haven't found the time to go to movies like we used to, which was all the time. Now we just go every now and then, and it probably hasn't been since the last Indy movie that we went more than a couple of times a year.

The show was really well done and I liked it a lot. Maybe not as much as the first or third one, but definitely more than Temple of Doom. Harrison Ford looks a little older.....a lot older... but still provides lots of action. There, that's my official movie review for the day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mall Baby

Jonathan went shopping with grandma yesterday...poor kid.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Round and Round

I've come to the conclusion that the secret to life has to do with circles, or spirals. Everywhere you look you can find forces moving in circular directions, from the spinning of atoms all the way to the rotation of the galaxies. This isn't, of course, an earth-shattering discovery but I realized that there must be ways to harness this natural revolution of life in means that we haven't thought of yet. I thought of that the other day when I was watching the wind swirl dust and leaves in mini tornadoes and I wondered why it would blow that way when it was over wide open ground. Sure, I know that temperature and humidity and other factors cause minute shifts in direction, but why not blow in a random, scattered way? It almost seemed as if these swirling wind currents were drawn to form these little tornadoes out of sheer I must research this more.

Jonathan was over the other day -he's my grandson - and my wife took some really cute pictures, some with he and I together which were nice. I'd post them, but my wife (who's not quite a technical whiz) accidentally deleted them, along with all the other pictures on there including my son's confirmation pictures from last week. Anyway, Nathan and his girlfriend seem to be working things out so hopefully Jonathan will be over more often. I'm really liking this grandpa gig.