Sunday, August 3, 2014

You Asleep; Go light; Who is really green; Reunion; Hot dam band; Great man gone

You Were Asleep

when I came to bed all
curled up like a child

under the blanket and
when I slipped in be-

side you as quietly as
I could you stirred but

didn't really wake and
stretched out a hand to

cup my face as if you were
holding a bowl or a ball.

"You Were Asleep" by James Laughlin, from The Collected Poems of James Laughlin. © New Directions, 2014


For the Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us,
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

"For the Children" by Gary Snyder, from Turtle Island


Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the  environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."
She was right -- our generation didn't have the 'green thing' in our day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles, and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized, and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.
So they really were recycled.

But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things, most memorable, besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks.  This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling.  Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown bag but we didn't do the "green thing" back  then.
We walked up stairs because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building.  We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right.  We didn't have the "green thing" in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind.  We dried clothes on a line -- not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days.   Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right; we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.
Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room.  And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief
(remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have  electric machines to do everything for us.  When we packaged  a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old  newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble  wrap.  Back then we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn.  We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.  We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

Back then people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes  to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a  whole house did before the "green thing."  We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the "green thing" back then?


The WHS class of 1954 60th reunion is rapidly approaching,
Aug. 23rd.

What a transition we have lived through,
changing colors, from green to ungreen
and back again to green.

Histories soon to be traded are chameleon-like...


The Sun
A monthly magazine
is read here at the Raccoon News
from cover to cover nearly as soon
as it arrives.

Presented to the Raccoon by the retired
Rev./ Dr. John Helt of Colgate WI


The farmers market
last Saturday saw the HOT DAM BAND back at their stand
performing the best music repertoire of all time, again.

Certain people cannot get enough of it.

(And their popsicles.)

A band member  standing next to leader Fred Pike
plays her reverse ear trumpet amplified violin.

Ukelele-ist solos on Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Some people are moved to dance to the Hot Dam music....

Others do, too. Straw hats seem to help.

'Dance floor' courtesy of parking space and rear loading access of the Little Swiss Clock Shop,
which sported a WELCOME sign held by a stuffed bear sitting on a chair propping open the door.
 Rest room available there, too.

A disabled attender who guides his chair by audio control
and/or  movements of his head
in stockinged feet
stays out of the line of foot traffic and listens a long time, happily.

Some market-goers pass by HOT DAM  seeming not to hear it at all.
A side affect at a polyglot venue.

(This for the box playing drummer)

John 'Poppy' Means Sr. passed circa 1:15 pm July 31, 2014

See last week's Raccoon.

Shown below are his hands holding his great-grand-daughter Cora's foot
at her recent baptism, done at Means Rest so Poppy could be there.

He leaves an empire of strong descendents.

The photo is now a family icon....


Obituary for John W. Means, Sr.

John Ward “Big John” Means, Sr., 84, of Westminster, died peacefully on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at his home surrounded by his family.
Born on September 4, 1929 in Pittsburgh, PA, he was the son of the late E.R. Means and Annie Senft Means. He was the husband of Jean Cook Means, his wife of 65 years, whom he married on September 24, 1949.
He lived his life in Pleasant Valley being raised by his grandparents John and Lydia Senft. He had lived on his small farm “Means Rest” since age 11. He graduated from New Windsor High School in 1946. He worked at 3M traveling the east coast constructing advertising signs and worked for more than 50 years delivering fuel oil with the companies American Oil, Sterling J. Robertson, S. Lease Warner, and retired from Carroll Independent.
He was devoted to service to his community. He was a lifelong member of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, now St. Matthew's United Church of Christ, where he served on the Church Council numerous terms. He enjoyed assisting with mission projects such as Habitat to Humanity House Blitz and Waldorf Tornado Cleanup.
He was also a member of Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company for more than 60 years serving as chief, president, and the Board of Directors. He was active with the Carroll County Fireman's Association and the Carroll County Chief's Association where he served as president of both organizations. He was active with the Maryland State Fireman's Association serving as Executive Chairman in 1979 , member of the Board of Review, Chairman of the $10,000 Raffle, and a Trustee. He was awarded the Marbough Gates award for more than 50 years of active service in 2002. He was selected for the Carroll County and Maryland State Fireman Association Hall of Fame.
Surviving in addition to his wife are daughters and sons-in-laws Denise and David Dix of Waukasha, WI and Donna and Jeffrey Geiman of Westminster; sons John W. Means, Jr. and wife Doreen of Westminster and Jeffrey Means of New York, NY; grandchildren Justin, Lucas, and John Geiman, Erin and Leland Dix, and Zachary and Emily Means, and great grandchildren Elena, Noah, David, Jamell, Adam, Ryan, Jacob, Tegan, Aislinn, and Cora. He was predeceased by granddaughter Hannah Dix.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Pritts Funeral Home and Chapel, 412 Washington Rd., Westminster. The Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company will conduct a service at 7:00 p.m.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at St. Matthew's United Church of Christ, 1927 Pleasant Valley Rd., Westminster with his pastor, Rev. Debra Wilcox officiating. Interment will be in Pleasant Valley Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to St. Matthew's UCC, 1927 Pleasant Valley Rd., Westminster, MD 21158. 


A little traveling music for Poppy:


Poppy's granddaughter Erin Dix is a graduate of Lawrence University
and serves as the University Archivist there
after receiving her Masters at UW Madison.
She walks the halls with these musicians...

Poppy's grandson Leland is a NYC teacher and percussionist.
The Raccoon takes this liberty on their behalf.