Extraordinary Stories

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Friday, March 31, 2017

The "A Trend Setter Before My Time" Story

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation bracelet.
It was an ordinary day.  The headline in the newspaper caught my eye: "Mens wrists not just for watches anymore."  Tried to remember how long ago I gave up wearing a wristwatch for four reasons, (1) made marks on my arm when I sweated, (2) wasn't cool to wear a watch, especially when my iPhone was a pocket away with the time of day, (3) most of my male friends wore wristwatches and could tell me the time and (4) time doesn't really matter much since I'm retired.  Can't believe the newspaper actually posted a story telling the public that men are giving up wearing watches, since it isn't an acceptable accessory on a powerful man's wrist anymore.  Wow, I've been chic for years now and didn't realize it.  But, what should I be wearing on my wrist?  Story said I should be wearing a bracelet made of beads, leather, sterling silver or even a plastic "remembrance band."  A few years ago I wore a blue JDRF bracelet for about half a year and I still have a plastic bag full of them in case I decide to don the bracelet once again.  
A few of my necklaces I have draped across
my wife's wedding portraiture on my dresser.
JDRF are the initials for Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund and I was wearing it since my oldest granddaughter has Type I Diabetes.  Instead of wearing the bracelet, my wife and I began to make donations to JDRF which is probably the reason I was given the bracelet in the first place.  Now, for me, being chic and in style goes farther than wearing something on my wrist.  I enjoy wearing a necklace which to me is more trending than something on my wrist.  I have been making purchases of necklaces for over 15 years which I enjoy wearing when going out for lunch or dinner as well as when vacationing in the Caribbean.  
LDub with his necklace and ... a watch!
The necklaces are made with beads, leather and even small sea shells.  My wife at times claims I'm trying to be a hippie dude from back in the 1970's, and maybe I am, but I still like the look of a necklace with flair that draws attention away from all the loose skin I have on my aging neck.  And, in case you didn't realize it, my photo that appears on this blogspot site to the right of this story, and has been there since I began writing stories in 2009, features a photo of me with a really neat necklace around my neck.  Betcha didn't know that, did you?  Click on my photo in this story to enlarge it and you can see it.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - You'll also see that I'm wearing my wristwatch! How uncool is that!!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The "A Trip To Root's Market With A Purpose" Story

Root's main market house.  Root's is located near East Petersburg, PA
It was an ordinary day.  Walking through one of the large buildings at Root's Country Market and Auction looking for Grebinger Gallery's new stand.  When I retired from Manheim Township High School as a Technology Education teacher (used to be known as shop, then Industrial Arts), I looked for something to do with my time.  Started immediately working at Grebinger Gallery in Neffsville, PA, the town in which the high school was located.  Owner of the gallery, Keith, had been a student of mine a few years before.  Had him in photography class as well as a member of the photographic corps for the school yearbook which I advised.  
Keith and Cindy's new stand at Root's.  Keith's business is
known as Grebinger Gallery, but he also does 
business as Lancaster Picture Framing.
Wasn't sure how well it would work out taking orders from a former student, but it's been almost 18 years now and we have gained a great relationship over those years.  For quite a few years Keith would have a kiosk at nearby Park City Shopping Mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  He has given that location up due to cost and space allotment and announced to me a few weeks ago that he is opening a stand at nearby Root's.  He does do an art show over Labor Day holiday at Root's, but now will have an indoor stand at the market and auction house.  Well, I thought it was time to make a visit to the market to take a look at his new site.  The site used to have a woman who painted Lancaster County scenes.  The woman, Erma, recently retired at the age of 85.  We knew of her since we would supply her with foamcore to place on the back of her paintings.  Keith found our she was closing and asked if he could have the stand.  
Here Cindy helps a few customers.
Since the stand was meant for art sales, he got the nod.  The stand looks great and he and his wife, Cindy, have made the space look very inviting to shoppers.  Didn't take me long to find the stand and stopped to talk with Cindy who was running the stand.  A few people did stop and admire the work, which by the way are all framed pieces which I have done over the last 17 years.  After spending a few minutes with Cindy I naturally had to buy a few items: 2 cream filled Long Johns (1 chocolate, 1 peanut butter), a pound of chocolate eclair pudding dessert, a pound of chipped turkey breast and 3 slices of macaroni and cheese luncheon meat which I took home to share with the cat.  Did have to stop to see the animal auction building where today they had a few crates of adorable loped-eared rabbits as well as quite a few hundred chickens in crates.  More than one crate did have an egg or two in them after just being laid.  My mission today was complete and I headed home to have a long john before I starved to death.  And, it was delicious; maybe the best part of the day!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The "The Work Of The Devil" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Talking with someone about a fellow teacher who I taught with many years ago.  Guy taught metal shop in a classroom about fifty feet from my graphic arts shop.  He was well liked by his students, since he often did a magic trick or two at the end of his classes.  Tell you the truth, I enjoyed many of his magic tricks, since I could never tell how he did any of them.  In his spare time he actually was a professional magician, traveling to the Atlantic City, NJ Boardwalk each summer to perform in front of large crowds.  Called himself Professor Funfoolery and not only was a magician, but could do juggling and was a puppeteer.  His wife often assisted him in his performances.  When my youngest son celebrated an early birthday, Carol and I invited Lavelle to the house for a performance in front of the boys we invited.
Poster telling about Howard Thurston in Lancaster, PA
He eventually left teaching to concentrate on his performing and I lost track of him after that time.  Recently thought of him once again while surfing the web looking for historic photographs of Lancaster County.  Came upon a cardboard poster for one of the two best magicians of the 20th century, Howard Thurston.  At the time, magic was still a mystery and a sleight of the hand trick at times was called the work of the devil.  Mr. Thurston's biggest competitor was a fellow by the name of Harry Houdini.  Remember that name?  While Harry was thrilling audiences with his death-defying escapes, Howard captivated the attention of a nation with his spectacular shows.  
Thurston performing his levitation trick.
And, the cardboard poster I found online today was for a show being held at Lancaster's Fulton Opera House on Monday, October 23; year unknown.  It was listed as his 23rd Annual Tour with tickets costing anywhere from 25 cents to $1.50.  Mr. Thurston was born in 1869 in Columbus, Ohio.  As a child he ran away and joined the circus where he became friends with Harry Kellar who eventually became his partner.  As time went on his traveling magic show was the biggest of all and was so large that it needed eight train cars to transport his show.  His card tricks were what made him, while his floating lady illusions were what made him famous.  The trick was known as the "Levitation of Princess Karnac."  
Another Thurston poster.
He died in 1936 when he suffered a stroke due to pneumonia.  If you have ever thought of names in the field of magic, my guess is Howard Thurston wasn't on the top of the list.  Maybe Houdini or even David Blain, but not Thurston.  And, if I hadn't been searching for old photographs from Lancaster I may have never come across the cardboard poster which featured Mr. Thurston.  As far as I'm concerned, I'll still stick with Professor Funfoolery who was the best magician and illusionist in the history of Manheim Township High School where we both taught school.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The "When Tuberculosis Was A Scary Disease" Story

The Rossmere Tuberculosis sanatorium located in Manheim Twp.
It was closed in 1957 and was eventually demolished.
It was an ordinary day.  Leafing through the book "From The Beginning", which was written by C. Nat Netscher and designed and laid out by ... wait a minute, that's my name.  It was back in 2003 that Nat approached me with the idea of writing a book that would tell the history of Manheim Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  He would write the book and I would lay out and design the pages for it.  
This snow scene from 1961 shows the Rosemere sanatorium
in the upper-lefthand side behind the one floor Helath and
Welfare Center.  The space is now the Community Services Ctr.
At the time I was working with Jostens Publishing Company to do the Middle School yearbook, so I asked if they could publish the book for us.  What I'm looking at is the result of that endeavor.  Every now and then I pull out the book and look at different sections of the book.  Today I chose Chapter 12 - Health and Safety.  Stories about the police force in the township as well stories on the volunteer fire companies and the ambulance society.  Then I turned the page and saw a photo of the Rossmere Tuberclosis sanatorium which closed in 1957.  At the time I lived about a mile from the building and didn't think much about it.  Actually, I was in Junior High at the time and didn't even realize there was a sanatorium nearby.  Didn't really know what tuberclosis was or how it affected you.  So, in order to tell you about the picture I placed on page 212 of Nat's book in 2003, I need to give you some basic information about Tuberculosis -- or TB as it's commonly called.  It is a contagious infection that usually attacks the lungs, but can spread to other parts of the body such as the brain or spine.  In the 20th century it was the leading cause of death in the United States while today most cases are cured with antibiotics after a 6 to 9 months treatment.  It is spread through the air and is very contagious, but not easy to catch.  There are two forms of TB: Latent TB which your immune system stops from spreading and Active TB which can spread the disease to others.  
Citizens visit the Tuberculosis Society's chest X-ray van in
front of St. James Parish House in downtown Lancaster, PA.
The date is October 1954 and the van spent the next 10
years screening people in Lancaster County for TB.
A few famous people who suffered from the disease who you might recognize are authors Robert Louis Stevenson and Edgar Allen Poe as well as musician Frederic Chopin.  In the nineteenth century the concept of keeping TB patients isolated in a sanatorium started when Edward Livingston Trudeau started the first sanatorium in the United States.  Infectious persons were isolated from society and treated with rest and improved nutrition.  The National TB Asso., later known as the American Lung Asso. came into being in 1904.  In 1908 the French scientists Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin grew bacillus in several mediums to decrease their virulence and increase the capacity to produce immunity.  This led to the now famous vaccine called BCG that was introduced in 1921.  
This photo was taken at Lancaster's JP
McCaskey High School in the city.  It was
taken in 1951 when the 10th grade class
was scanned for TB by the American
Lung Association of Lancaster.
In 1944 antibiotics were used against TB for the first time with the discovery of streptomycin.  More effective drugs came along in the 1950's and treatment with rifampicin followed.  One thing I do remember was the TB Society X-ray truck that came around to different locations for screening to see if they could find anyone who might have the disease.  If I remember correctly they might have been at my high school to do chest X-rays on the students.  Anyway, the Rossmere TB sanatorium pictured here came about when the Rossmere Hotel was converted to a TB sanatorium in 1925.  Men were housed in a separate wing with children in another and women in what was at one time the ballroom.  On the second floor were living quarters for nurses and the superintendent while the third floor housed the dietician and the domestics.  When weather permitted, some patients slept outside on the porches since fresh air was therapeutic for people with TB.  Luckily I never knew of the sanatorium until it was demolished or needed the services of it.  TB was a disease that still exists today, but not as it did in the early 1900s.   It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.     

Monday, March 27, 2017

The "The Hardcopy Book Vs. The EBook" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Carol is telling me about the book she is reading which I bought her for Christmas.  Book by Jodi Picoult which is one of the best books she has ever read.  And ... the book is a real honest to goodness book.  One that came off a printing press.  Since both our sons work in the printing trade, we both appreciate the fact that she enjoys paper books.  But, I must admit, I'm not a help in that category, since I have a Kindle and love it.  I can go on vacation and have a dozen or so books loaded on my Kindle which weighs about a pound while Carol might have eighteen paperback books that take up more space in our luggage than our beach noodles do.  So why do I prefer the Kindle over a hand-held paperback or why does Carol enjoy the feel of a real book instead of an electronic instrument in her hand.  A few years ago when the eReaders were introduced I thought that might be the end of the printed book, but the more I read, the more I find that the hand-held book is making a comeback and is preferred by more readers than the eBook.  My reasons for loving my Kindle are: Simple to buy a book; I can change the size of the type if I care; I can put it in a plastic baggie and don't have to worry about getting it wet; and the books cost less to buy.  Carol tells me that her reasons for having a real book are: She can hold the book and turn the pages; she can put an actual bookmark in the book when done reading; You can share them with others for no charge; and you look neater reading a real book.  So far we are even-steven!  Then I began looking online to find out what are the other reasons for one or the other.  Seems that the print books might edge the eReaders in reasons to buy one over the other.  Some reasons one way or the other are: Print books are great to share, as Carol said; eBooks take up less space. Print books are for life; You can read an eBook in the dark if you happen to have that feature on your reader. You can write in the margins of a print book or underline a sentence; Wait a minute - I can underline on my Kindle. Print books have jackets so you can see what others are reading; eBooks open up to where you finished reading and you don't have to worry about losing your bookmark. Reading a real book makes the story seem more real; Using an eBook eliminates having to cut down trees to make paper. Yes, but using the earth metals to make eBooks can be more harmful due to toxic metals and the energy needed to make the eBooks; Etc., Etc., Etc.  I guess you get the idea by now that we all have our reasons why we like one over the other.  Will we ever really agree with each other.  Nah!  But, that's OK. At least if the hard copy book returns to prominence in the future, my sons will benefit!!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The "Midnight Ride Of ... Caesar Rodney" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Trying to remember how Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem, "Paul Revere's Ride" went.  Remember how it started?  Listen, my children, and you shall hear, Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five: Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year.  Yeah, that's how it goes.  Well, I guess we could change some of the words and dates and still have an American hero the subject of the poem.  
Caesar Rodney, United States Patriot
For, you see, a patriot by the name of Caesar Rodney did much the same as Paul Revere did years ago.  Never heard of Caesar Rodney?  Me neither, until someone sent me an email with a story attached  about Mr. Rodney.  Caesar was born on his father's farm near Dover, Delaware in October of 1728.  Eventually he was commissioned High Sheriff of Kent County, Delaware at the age of twenty-two.  Eight years later he was elected a representative in the colonial legislature at Newcastle and then, after that position was dissolved in 1776, as a representative to the Upper House of the State of Delaware.  
Statue in Wilmington, Deleware
He was a member of the Stamp Act Congress, a member of the Delaware Committee of Correspondence, a military leader in the militia and a delegate to the Continental Congress from formation until 1777 when he was elected President of the State of Delaware.  Through much of this his health was a big issue.  He suffered from asthma as well as from a cancerous growth on his face for which he never attained proper treatment.  His colony's health was more important to him than his own it seemed.  Just like Paul Revere, Ceasar Rodney would make a famous midnight ride that would lead to our nation's independence.  His famous ride wasn't as famous and as impressive as Paul Revere's ride, but it was still as dramatic and important in the history of the United States.  
1999 Delaware Quarter
On July 1, 1776 government delegates reconvened in Philadel- phia's Indepen- dence Hall to endorse Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Indepen- dence.  Mr. Rodney, due to his health, was not in attendance, thinking the other two delegates from Delaware would vote to endorse it.  One of the Delaware delegates changed his mind and voted against it, leaving what should have been a three man delegation, tied 1-1.  Since Congress wanted to have a unanimous decision from all the states, they decided to schedule a second and final vote the next day.  
Another view of the statue at sunset. Photographer unknown.
Thomas McKean, the one Delaware delegate who voted for the declaration, immed- iately dispatched a courier to fetch Rodney so they would have a 2-1 vote.  At midnight Rodney, ill with cancer, embarked on his 80-mile journey to Philadelphia.  Now, at this point I have found varying descriptions of how Caesar Rodney made his way to Philadelphia.  One version tells of him riding his horse while others, including a version told by his brother, tell of his journey by horse and carriage.  
Another statue of Caesar Rodney.
The trip took over 14 hours in heavy rain, crossing no less than 15 waterways by bridge, ferry or ford.  He made it in time and on the afternoon of July 2, exhausted and sick, broke the tie and preserved the unanimous march toward independence, ending in the signing of Jefferson's declaration.  Thirty years later, Thomas McKean would describe how Caesar Rodney, who became president of Delaware before dying at the age of 56 in 1784, stood that day in Independence Hall and cast his vote, declaring:  As I believe the voice of my constituents and all sensible and honest men is in favor of independence and my own judgment concurs with them, I vote for independence.  Caesar Rodney was a real patriot who is depicted, incorrectly, riding a horse in front of Rodney Square in Wilmington, Delaware.  Not only is the depiction incorrect, but the date on the statue is incorrect.  Makes you wonder if the date of Paul Revere's ride on his statue in Boston is correct.  Anyway, you now know of the two midnight rides that made history.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.    

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The "Yesterday .... All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away! : Part VIII - The Final Chapter!" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Recovery from prostate cancer is just about complete, but for a few odds and ends.  My constant aide throughout my recovery, besides by wonderful and loving wife and my constant lap resident Creamsicle the cat, was my MacBook Air.  I have written over two dozen stories during my recovery and after going back through my iPhoto files, found photo after photo I had taken during the past year or so and more or less didn't do anything with until I discovered they would work great for a few of the stories.  My urologist had given me the name of a former patient of his, Bill, who I called numerous times and who helped answer many of my questions as I progressed through the procedure of attempting to rid my body of prostate cancer.  My hope is that these eight posts during the past few weeks will be an aide to those who may walk in my shoes and help answer questions that you may be afraid to ask or may be too embarrassed to ask. Well, today it has been 15 days since my surgery and another constant companion, my catheter, will be removed.  Thank goodness!!  I have caught the hose of the catheter on the kitchen drawers and cabinets numerous times with bloody results a few times.  I knelt on the hose the other day and stood up before it was free and once again made a mess.  I entered the doctor's office about 9:30 am and shortly he rushed in with a big smile on his face asking, "Are you ready?" As he sat next to me I said, "Bill told me that he had his catheter removed, but had to return later in the day and have it reinserted since he couldn't pee.  He told me that was the worst part of the entire procedure.  What are the chances of that happening to me?"  He got more serious and said, "I've had that happen less than a handful of times since I've been doing Cryo.  Your procedure went well and you will be fine.  The nurse will come in and take it out and I'll be right back."  His nurse entered, placed a pre-measured amount of water into the catheter which went into my bladder.  She then removed the catheter (which I didn't feel at all), I urinated the measured amount into a container to be measured to see if it matched the amount she placed in me, and then Dr. Seiber returned.  "Everything looks good.  I want you back in a couple of weeks to see how you are doing.  Any questions?"  "Yes, can I go on vacation to the Caribbean in a month and get in the ocean?  Also, can I sit in my air-jetted tub at home?"  Answer to both was yes, then I had one more for him.  "When you did the procedure, you went through the rectum, correct?"  "Well, yes, but ... only my probe, or camera, was placed in the rectum.  The needle that I used to place the nitrogen gas into the cancer area entered in the small area between the scrotum and the rectum.  Then when I finished, I put something like crazy glue on the area to seal it shut so it wouldn't bleed."  My reply was, "So that's what I felt when I took my first shower.  I thought it was dried blood under there and tried to pull it off.  Good I couldn't get it off."  "Probably wouldn't have mattered anyway since there were only a few real small holes."  We talked about why Cryosurgery isn't used more often and he told me that at first the needles used were too big and too hard to maneuver.  He said he didn't begin to use the procedure until he felt it was a safe way to treat prostate cancer.  I will admit, everyone whom I have talked to who have had Dr. Seiber for their urologist, love the guy.  You can add me to that number.  I enjoy his demeanor, his humor, the time he spends with me as well as the knowledge he possesses.  If you can't trust your urologist, you need to see another one.  If you happen to live in Lancaster County, PA, I would recommend Dr. Seiber to you, but I'm afraid he will be too busy to see me, so I won't mention his name again.  My journey, as far as these stories, is now complete.  I may add some notes as time goes by to let you know how I am progressing, but if you have a question for me, type it in the "Comment" area at end of any of the 8 stories and I will send you an answer or perhaps will agree to be a coach to you.  LIfe's too short to not have your questons answered early.  Take control of your health as I did.  You'll be gald you did.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

The "From Wrightsville To Havre de Grace: Navigating The Canal - Part II" Story

The Lock House of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal
It was an ordinary day.  Looking at the model display that shows how the locks at the Lock House of the Susque- hanna and Tidewater Canal used to work as they helped move raw materials such as coal, iron ore, flint, lumber and grain from Wrightsville, Pennsylvania into navigable water at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace, MD.  
Miniature of the lock
Products including groceries, dry goods and agricultural supplies were then sent the 45-mile journey back to Wrightsville, about 20 miles from my home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Havre de Grace is aptly named, since it means "Harbor of Grace." The miniature lock shows how the flat-bottomed canal boats, which averaged 65 feet in length and hauling as much as 150 tons, made their way by a pair of mules walking in single file at a maximum of 4 mph (any speed faster would have caused damage to the canal banks).  The Lock House was the hub of activity as the canal boats lined up to exit their southern journey, heading for ports of call such as Philadelphia and Baltimore.  
A cutout of the wall reveals the interior of the
original Lock House walls.  Much of the wood for
its construction was obtained from the rafts that
used to journey down the river before the Canal
was completed.
It was built in 1840 from brick and was one of only a few masonry buildings in Havre de Grace.  The Lock Tender lived at the Lock House with his family and received free living quarters as well as his salary for the job.  He was responsible for opening and closing the lock gates to adjust the water level, operate the pivot bridge, repair and maintain the lock, grounds and towpath as well as handle the duties of the toll collector in his absence.  He was on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  There were three Lock Tenders during the lifetime of the canal which operated from 1840 until it closed in 1900.  
This old photo shows mules pulling a canal boat through the canal.
The Lock House also was the business office where the Toll Collector, who was an agent and representa- tive of the Canal Company, acted as a book- keeper, kept track of cargo traveling through the Lock and collected the tolls for the use of the canal.  
Sample of Canal Scrip, or money, that can be used on the Canal.
The first floor office had a scale for smaller objects, a stove, a protecto- graph (check writer) which was used to print the toll on a check to keep anyone from altering the price, an ink well, Canal Scrip (canal currency) which could be used for the toll, a cigar cutter and a cuspidor or spittoon which was a receptacle for spitting tobacco.  
This is a reproduction of the original journal of the Boyce Co.
of Baltimore, MD.  It recorded canal boats that carried coal.
The Toll Collector would determine how much money, or Canal Scrip, was due by how far the boat traveled on the Canal, the items carried and the total weight or total number of items.  Though most canal boats carried cargo, passenger boats also transversed the canal.  
A Packet Boat that carried passengers on the Canal.
They were known as Packet Boars that moved passengers west to the Frontier.  Passengers could enjoy the luxury of sitting on the decks and cabin tops of the boat during the day, eating below the cabin top while sitting on either side of a long table and sleeping, if necessary, on planks that would be strung over the benches to provide bunks.  Our day at the Lock House was both entertaining as well as informative and gave me the chance to walk the grounds and take a few photos of the surrounding area where we often drive for a day on the Chesapeake Bay.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Looking out the window of the Lock House toward two bridges that carry traffic and trains across the Susquehanna at Havre de Grace.
A painting of the Lock House that was used on a poster for the Lock House.
Carol Jerry ad Just Sue wait for the next Packet Boat to arrive to take us home.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The "From Wrightsville To Havre de Grace: Navigating The Canal - Part I" Story

The Lock House in Havre de Grace, Maryland
It was an ordinary day.  Just spent the past half-hour or so visiting The Lock House of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal Co. in Havre de Grace, Maryland.  About a year ago I wrote a series of stories that told of the development of the Pennsylvania Canal system that ran from Columbia, Pennsylvania to the north.  It was in 1826 that a Canal Convention convened at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, PA at which time it was decided to build a network of canals connecting the Susquehanna River with Ohio. At the time the canal stopped at Columbia, about 20 miles from my hometown of Lancaster, PA.  
The Pennsylvania Canal as seen in Columbia, PA
Being that Pennsyl- vania, Lancaster County in particular, had rich farmland, Pennsyl- vania finally decided to back the construction of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal that would link the Pennsylvania Canal with the Chesapeake Bay to help carry produce and minerals to new markets.  
Items for transport would go across from Columbia in Lancaster
County to Wrightsville in York County on this two-level bridge.
It was decided to transport goods across the Susque- hanna from Columbia, in Lancaster County, to Wrights- ville, in York County where the new canal was built from 1835 to 1839.  The 45-mile long Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal went from Wrightsville to Havre de Grace, Maryland where it opened into the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay.  
Traffic can be seen on the Susquehanna and Tidewater
Canal in this photo featuring a flat-bottom canal boat.
For years traffic on the canal was heavy, but then legal disputes, railroad competi- tion, storm-related problems and insufficient funds led to the demise of the canal.   Pennsyl- vania's Susque- hanna Canal never reopened after a flood in 1894 and the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal finally stopped operations about 1900.  Very little of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal remains, but today Carol and I, along with friends Jerry and Just Sue, are standing along the part that stands in front of The Lock House.  A few minutes later we entered The Lock House and learned about how the canal operated in its heyday. Follow along tomorrow as I take you through the historical Lock House and its operation.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Information on the front of The Lock House.  Click on photo to enlarge.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The "The Thrill Of Being Young Again, If Just For A Fleeting Moment" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Carol and I are watching TV as well as checking our emails when she says to me, "Look at this!"  She passed me her iPad and there in the middle of the screen was a photograph of me!  
1998 photography of LDub wearing my
trusty Light Impressions apron covered with
a layer of priinter's ink and photo chemicals.
"Where'd you find that?" I asked her. "I opened an email sent from Renee Logan Heller and up popped your photo.  It says My HS photography teacher." Wow, pretty neat!  Read a bit more on her email and found that she was cleaning her garage and found quite a few old photos and was going to place all of the on her Facebook page.  Pretty neat that she had one of me amongst the collection of old photos.  I had Renee as a student in 1997-98 in my Photography Class.  The class was open only to seniors and I had quite a few students in the black and white film course.  I taught everything from photography history to composition to film and print development to a month long session where I invited guest professional photographers to speak to my class.  This was the era when digital photography was just taking hold and the year before I retired from teaching.  Didn't hear from or about Renee until last year when I was taking photographs at the school district's Landis Run Intermediate School for their yearbook.  Someone tapped me on the shoulder and when I turned around there stood Renee.  
Photo of Renee on the right and her mother
who worked in the cafeteria.  I suspect it
was she who snapped my photograph.
Recognized her face immediately, but the arm length full of tattoos and the purple hair were quite different than I had remembered.  I immediately recognized the camera and flash and knew she was here for a reason.  She told me she had become a professional photographer and was asked by a few parents to take some photos of the same event I was taking photographs of for the yearbook.  Renee's equipment was far superior to what I was using and she graciously agreed to send me a few of the photos she was taking for inclusion in the yearbook.  During our conversation I found out about her family and those who were in the school system.  Since that time I have seen her several other times and became friends with her on Facebook.  Neat to know that one of my students enjoyed photography enough to make it their career.  Well, it wasn't long before quite a few comments began to appear on her Facebook posting of my photo.  It was like being back in school once again.  Names I hadn't heard from since years ago began to appear.  Luckily all comments were very complimentary!  I did have to respond to several due to the nature of their responses.  Greg C. responded with just a "Let's eat."  Knew right away what he meant.  I had Greg in the same class as my youngest son, Tad.  
Renee's photo as seen on her
Facebook page.
The class was held just before lunch.  The lunch room was right next to my room and if the class would have everything cleaned up before the bell rang, I would let them leave early so they could get in line first.  As we sat quietly, looking at the clock, I would say, "Let's eat," and we'd all head to the cafeteria.  I responded to Greg with a comment of my own when I typed: "I remember when Tad needed lunch money and after giving him the money, he stepped aside and there where you, Josh and Ryan standing with your hands out, waiting for me to give you lunch money also."  Boy the memories!  Besides all the nice comments I also had quite a few "Likes", one coming from Jim E. who now teaches black and white film photography in the same classroom.  Jim and I have become good friends over the past few years and his "Like" was greatly appreciated.  Name after familiar name popped up again and again and I was having the best time reading names and comments.  So, now for one of my replies: Dear Renee,  Thanks so much for making me feel young again and getting the chance to relive some of the best years of my life over again, if just for a fleeting moment.  Came at just the right time!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The "Yesterday .... All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away! : Part VII - The Ordeal!" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Struggling to sit since I have a rather large bag hanging on my side.  My Cryosurgery, aka Cryoblation or Cryoprocedure, took about two hours on Monday, March 6  according to witnesses.  Wasn't long before I was in my room in Lancaster General Hospital attempting to recognize my wife.  The rest of the evening is rather fuzzy as I slept off and on until the next morning.  Every hour a nurse would check on me, take my vitals and close the door on the way out.  At 6:30 am Tuesday morning, an associate of my urological doctor/surgeon peaked past the curtain and introduced himself to me.  Said he was going to go to the nurses station and sign my discharge papers.  In FIVE hours I was sitting in the passenger's seat of my youngest son's Toyota pick-up truck, headed home.  Most everything went as expected and as I described to you over the past 6 posts.  It is now time for recovery which seems to be OK so far, but with a few discomforts.  Besides having to have a catheter attached to me until March 21, I also must navigate the deep black and blue parts of my body.  Easy to rest laying down, but don't want to do that all day and night.  My appetite is returning which means more frequent visits to the bathroom.  Only trouble is that my bladder is now rejecting the catheter since the anethesia has worn off.  I have a call in to my urologist to try and get a prescription that will stop the bladder spasms.  The call came an hour later and I was told to take the pain medication that my urologist, Dr. Seiber, prescribed for me on my last visit.  Not gonna happen since I never had it filled.  I hate to take narcotics so I thought I could get by with over-the-counter pain meds.  My wife thought otherwise and headed to Walmart to fill the prescription.  Wasn't long before she returned, telling me that the doctor didn't write the prescription accurately and they wouldn't give her the pills.  They did call the doctor on call at my practice and he prescribed a non-narcotic over the phone which she had with her.  Took one and before long I was dizzy and nauseous.  Bed looked inviting and I was asleep in no time.  As of this posting I still have a week before my follow-up visit and hopefully the removal of the catheter.  Still tough to sit because of swelling, but my bladder spasms seem to be controlled by simple Tylenol.  Really getting bored with sleeping, sitting and eating.  For those of you who know me, you can imagine how terrible I feel not being able to do something.  

UPDATE: I am beginning to feel better and find it easier to sit, walk and get my catheter caught on just about anything in the house that protrudes.  Yesterday got the hose caught on the kitchen cabinet pull which caused some bleeding.  Heading out for the morning paper causes stares from the people sitting in their cars, waiting for the doctor's office across the street to open in the morning.  Made another call to my coach, Bill, whose name was given to me by Dr. Seiber, my urologist, as someone who has gone through the procedure and was willing to answer my questions.  He told me he could only sit and sleep in his lounge chair for the majority of the time before he returned to the doctor after two weeks.  We had a nice conversation and during our talk told him about my stories I am posting on my blog in hopes it will help others going through the same procedure.  He said he wishes that someone could have helped him with his anxiety and recovery after the procedure and that having stories to read would have certainly helped.  So, until hopefully my final story in a week or so, I hope at least one of you will benefit from the frank, but true, stories I have posted about going through prostate cancer surgery and the resulting recovery.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The "Beethoven's Last Bow" Story

Chuck Berry
It was a ordinary day.  Couldn't believe the news when I saw it: Chuck Berry, the singer, songwriter and guitar great who practically defined rock music with his impeccably twangy hits "Maybellene," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Memphis," "My Ding-a-Ling" and "Sweet Little Sixteen," has died.  He was 90.  Now, making it to 90 isn't anything to sneeze about, but being one of the top 5 guitarists of all time and being one of my favorites, well, that's enough to make you sneeze and cough at the same time.  I remember when John Lennon (remember him?) said, "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry.'"  
Chuck doing his "Duck Walk" move.
He, along with Duane Eddy (of Rebel Rouser fame), caused me to give up playing my accordion and buy a guitar.  My parents weren't very happy about it, but the neighbors, Deb and Bob, in the other half of our semi-detached home, must have loved it.  I bought a book on how to teach yourself how to play the guitar and I sat, hour after hour, in my second-floor bedroom trying to learn the basic chords so I could sing along with Chuck.  So where does Duane Eddy come in?  He was known as the "Twanger" due to his signature way of playing the guitar and I naturally had to paint "Twanger" on the pick guard of my new guitar.  Could I sing?  Yeah!  Heavens, I was in the boy's choir at St. James Episcopal Church and sang solo a few times during the four or five years I was in the choir before my voice began to change.  

Also sang duets with my dad in the men's choir a few times.  My only solo gig was about a dozen years ago while singing "Amazing Grace" at a retirement home where perhaps half the attendees might have been dozing off.  My biggest problem was that I was SHY.  And, being a rock star while being shy don't go together.  Anyway, I was a rock star like Chuck Berry in my bedroom.  I loved the way he moved across the stage, hunched down, doing his one-legged "duck walk," as we sang one of his greatest hits together.  Put my 45RPM record on my desktop record player and picked my guitar as I listened to his stunning tone.  The more I learned and played, the more I realized how hard it was to play the guitar without looking at the frets as Chuck could do.  Mom and dad didn't care much for him since he was arrested in high school for stealing a car and robbing convenience stores at gunpoint.  But, they didn't care for Duane Eddy either or the fact that I ruined my good guitar by painting "Twanger" on it.  As soon as I turned 16 I got a job at a local department store working in the record department.  Loved the job since I had the chance to buy Chuck's records before anyone else.  
Early photo of Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry became the first inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and entered the Blues Foundation's Blues Hall Of Fame and earned a Grammy Lifetime Achieve- ment Award in 1985.  The reports online and in the newspaper tell of his most famous songs being "Roll Over Beethoven," "My Ding-a-Ling" and "Johnny B. Goode."  Not sure I totally agree since "No Particular Place To Go," "Nadine," Reelin' & Rockin'," "Maybelline" and "Rock and Roll Music" all are equally as good to me.  Chuck Berry, the legend, contributed three things to rock music: his irresistible swagger, his focus on the guitar riff as the primary melodic element and his emphasis on songwriting as storytelling.  Oh yeah, the five greatest guitarist of all time were: #1 Jimi Hendrix, #2 Jimmy Page of Led Zepplin, #3 Keith Richards of Rolling Stones, #4 Eric Clapton and #5 Chuck Berry.  A close #6 would have to be "The No Hit Wonder, LDub, the 'Twanger'."  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

PS - check out the Chuck Berry songs on this YouTube Video.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The "Did You Know Abraham Lincoln Was A Farmer In Lancaster County?" Story

Tombstone of Abraham Lincoln who was
buried in Bangor Episcopal Churchyard. 
It was an ordinary day.  Standing in front of the historic Bangor Episcopal Church in Churchtown, Pennsylvania.  Bangor was founded in 1722, being the first Episcopal congregation established in the central Pennsylvania region.  Some time ago I wrote a story about the very interesting church and also made a visit to the church to take photographs.  One thing I did not do on my first visit was to take a photo of the grave of one Abraham Lincoln.  Even though this Lincoln wasn't President of the United States, he lived at the same time and was the third cousin of President Lincoln.  Cousin Abe Lincoln caused quite a stir when he sent a letter to President Elect Abraham Lincoln on January 31, 1861. The letter was sent from Churchtown, PA and read:

Dear Sir:

     I have been spoken to frequently why I did not apply for an office under your Administration because I was a distant relation of yours, and bear your name.  Now I have my business and a good living, but I ask of you as a particular favor to confer an office on a young man in our neighborhood.  I recommend him as a good Moral Character, bright scholar, able to converse in German, English and tolerable good in french.  A splendid mathematician.  He requested me to write this letter to you, stating that it might be more desirable than a petition.  Now I would say give him an office he prefers as Collector at a port, and says he does not care if it is a southern port so it is not so far among the seceder.  He was our leading man in the campaign.  He is at present teaching our select school.  He can get as many signers to a petition as he wants; He can get the Hon. Thadeus Stevens name in fact all our respectable men in our neighborhood.  If you have no port to give him, enter his name for some other office and cause your clerk to write to him soon.  He deserves an office.  I claim to be an offspring from the old family of Lincolns, a second cousin of yours and if you have doubts write and I will explain the whole matter to you.  Direct your answer to Martin B. Lichty, Churchtown, Lancaster Co. Pa.  
                 Yours truly,
                 Abraham Lincoln
To Abraham Lincoln, Pres.
P. S. My Post Office is the same as his.

This is the actual letter that was written by Abraham Lincoln
and sent to President elect Abraham Lincoln, his second cousin.
This letter was found in the National Archives addressed to Abraham Lincoln, and signed by none other that Abraham Lincoln.  The letter was one of many thousand letters seeking federal jobs when it was known that Lincoln was going to be the next President of the United States.  
Closer look at he inscription on
the tombstone.  Click to enlarge.
Chances are that Pres. Lincoln never saw the letter since it wasn't marked as such and Martin never received a response or an appointment.  President Lincoln really was related to Abraham Lincoln from Churchtown, PA.  Their common ancestor was Mordecai Lincoln, who emigrated from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.  Mordecai's oldest son John was the future President's great-
grandfather.  John's half-brother, Abraham, was the grandfather of the president's Pennsylvania namesake.  And to top that off, President Lincoln's great-great uncle Abraham (John's brother) was very involved in Pennsylvania politics.  He served in the state General Assembly and attended the state's federal constitution ratification convention in 1787.  That Abraham married Anne Boone, a cousin of Daniel Boone.  Their son James Boone Lincoln became the father of Abraham Lincoln of Churchtown.  
The Abraham Lincoln from Lancaster County.
Understand all of that?  I'm not sure I do, but ..... the Abraham Lincoln from around here married Sarah Anderson Jenkins, never held office and was a proud Lancaster County farmer.  I finished my trip to Bangor Church by locating farmer Lincoln's tombstone and taking a few photos of it to share.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The "Swimming Around And Jumping The Wall" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Going over photographs on my laptop and came across a few sports-related photos I have taken in the past few months that I figured I could use at some point for a story.  Neither of them are worthy of a full story so I have combined them into one story.  Hope you enjoy a couple of stories that are about more than just sports. (1) A women brought a few items into the gallery where I work part-time a few months ago.  A big variety of items, but the one job I enjoyed the most was the five swim caps she brought in for framing.  Her daughter is a top-notch swimmer for a local high school as well as a swimmer on various summer and club teams.  
She wanted to have five of her daughter's swim caps framed to give to her as a memento of her high school swimming career.  Neat idea.  She gave my boss at the gallery free reign as to how to frame them. He in turn gave me a chance to help with the framing formatt.  The customer had told us she wanted two rows and told which hats to place on the top, so we were slightly limited with designs, but how to display the hats was up to us.  I measured the hats and cut circles from 1/4" conservation mat foamboard and then cut part of the circle off so I could "stuff" it inside the swim cap.  Worked perfect!  Three hats on the top and two the bottom with them offset worked.  The bottom mat board color was picked by the customer and I sewed the swim caps into place with fishing line.  The final result pleased her as well as me. (2) Carol and I recently visited our traveling friends Jerry and Just Sue in State College, PA and during our visit we made a side day-trip to Williamsport.  
One of two cabinets with lapel pins.
One of our stops was for lunch at a place known as Bullfrog Brewery in center city Williamsport.  Being that the town is the home of Little League Baseball and the world-famous Howard J. Lamade Stadium where the Little League World Series is played, I found the two show cabinets that occupied the wall next to our restaurant table to be very interesting.  A few years ago I wrote of the day we traveled to the stadium and I managed to get into the stadium and after jumping the outfield fence, run around the field.  Exciting, to say the least for a fellow who loved playing little league and dreaming of playing at Williamsport, but never being able to realize my dream.  That was until I took a trip around the outfield at the Lamade Stadium.  
Pins of all sorts filled the cabinet.
Well, the two cabinets held lapel pins from just about every year's World Series played at the stadium.  I loved it!  Not only just team pins from every team from every country that played in the series, but pins from umpiring crews, pins from company's that sponsored teams in the series and even a pin from the group that supplied the ushers.  
There was one pin that featured my favorite Buddy Holly
And then I saw it ... a pin that featured one of my favorite singers from the 1950s ... Buddy Holly.  Not quite sure why his pin was in the showcase, but I loved it.  One of the waitresses told me her father made the cases and when the Little League World Series is being played in town, the walls of the restaurant are covered with the cases.  Wow, I'll have to return to see that amazing display.  I must admit that the cases of pins were much more enjoyable than my meal!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.