Tripping through the coal bin

Featured image: Some Amish farmers still harvest corn the old corn binder and stook way. I remember when that was common practice, like the late 1940s. This year the silo and the barn on the farm where I grew up were toppled.  Change is good, especially as we take the lessons of life to heart and mind.

Cogitation 33 Saturday 27 October 2018   The age-old coal bin in our house has given up its more recent function as a repository of “storables.”

It was a trip.

The coal bin held papers, pictures, books, Christmas decorations, and one time seasonal clothing. Soon we’ll know what we keep and what we send to shred or trash.

My employment as a writer-editor progressed from typewriter to computer, all in a paper-centric world. Too many publications, news releases, minutes, photos, other print and audiovisual pieces, and memorabilia came to bide their time in our coal bin archives.

Over recent years the shredder in our town has eaten a goodly share of the pruning. It will get another feast soon.

Going through the materials stirred memories. Memories of hard work. Memories of fun. Memories of collegial planning and action. Memories of mistakes and successes. Memories to last a lifetime.

I came across a note card from a colleague in the early years of my employment who had left the Midwest to work at a college in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The November 19, 1981 missive was typical Jim Bishop–witty, informative, entertaining, pointed, with a touch of nostalgia thrown in.

The front of the card has this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” I put the card in my 1975 Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, which also holds a leaf from the oak tree that stood outside our Information Services office windows.

Thanks again, Jim, for communication that counts, connects, gets one out of cramped spaces, that sorts gold from dross.

This week we renewed our membership at Wellfield Botanic Gardens. The Gardens exist to encourage children and families, all people, to enjoy the outdoors. With our membership we received another print piece, a good one, on 52 Things to do outside before you grow  up.”

For Fall the list includes: “Create a leaf print/leaf art. Visit an orchard or farm. Decorate a pumpkin. Catch and release grasshoppers,. Jump in the leaves. Listen for sounds of the night. Taste edible fruits and seeds. Make s’mores. Watch seeds travel. Unearth a creepy crawly.”

Be a kid and at least swish through the leaves. Visit an orchard. Go stargazing. Watch the clouds. We can do many things as we approach or carry on in our senior years. Marty came across an apt if hyerbolic quote that, “40 may be the new 60, but 9 o’clock is the new midnight.” What would we do if we were bereft of humor?

Have a happy trace through the photo gallery.


Scenes from along the Riverwalk

A trimmed board neatly accommodates the tree.
Gingko tree in the flush of youth.

Oh happy day, the River Walk is being extended along the Elkhart River next to a new apartmetn complex.


Seasonal colors, and swans, on show up river


Harvest in full swing in LaGrange County


Journey homeward from an Amish storehouse of learning

School’s out at this one of many Amish schools in LaGrange County, Indiana. (10/26/2018)


Remembering one who goes before

Today we attend the memorial service for Marty’s cousin, Carl Patrick Dintaman, at Belmont Mennonite Church in Elkhart. Cousins and other family members gathered a week ago to eat, sing, share from our lives, and remember Carl. Rest in peace, cousin Carl. Peace, comfort and love to Darlene and extended family.

Get ready to catch a snowflake. No kidding.




One thought on “Tripping through the coal bin

  1. Thanks, John. I see you are continuing to glean and declutter in anticipation of your move to Greencroft. Any prospects on selling your Elkhart home?




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