I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.
Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language? Are they dead that yet act? Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism?
~Henry Ward Beecher
Hoping all TA/SST readers, commenters, & posters can spend a relaxed, enjoyable weekend in the company of family & friends.
I have added the following essay to my sister's post for Memorial day. I wrote this piece at the beginning of the Iraq War. pl
Johnny Demeter killed himself last night. No, he didn’t put a gun to his head or anything like that. His sports car skidded off the road and into a wall. He always drove too fast; he liked to take risks; he enjoyed the thrill of danger. He was also lucky, but it seems his luck ran out last night on a rain-slicked curve.
We got the call very early this morning. Still half-awake, we barely understood what was being said. When the realization came, Helen and I were devastated. He had become so much a part of our life in the last few months. And then there was the ruin of all our plans for the future.
We had met him six or seven months ago at one of these big family weddings. Someone introduced us; he turned out to be a cousin of a cousin of mine. He stood out in the gathering: young, handsome, fashionably dressed, and with a striking blonde hanging on to his arm. We learned that he was rich; an only child, his father had died some years ago and left him a lot of money and property. People thought he was something of a playboy; he owned several fast cars, and seemed to have a string of girl friends. Later that evening he sought us out again, and we chatted for quite a while. The three of us were about the same age, and we seemed to like each other. Helen is shy, and doesn’t talk much, but with him she was quite animated. We enjoyed our conversation till the abandoned blonde found him and dragged him away.
A few days later Johnny came to our coffee shop. Helen and I had started this business a couple of years ago, shortly after we got married. We were just managing to keep our heads above water; in fact, we would have gone under if some of our loans hadn’t been from our families, which they were prepared to stretch out. Johnny arrived just as we were closing up. He helped us to tidy up the place, and then we went upstairs to the small apartment above the shop where Helen and I lived. He had brought along a bottle of wine, and we sat up late after supper, talking away.
Pretty soon this became a pattern in our lives. Every few days, Johnny would turn up with a bottle or two of wine, and we would eat Helen’s supper and talk and talk for hours. He seemed to enjoy it just as much as we did; perhaps he found in us what he missed as an only child. For us he became a bright light in our rather drab lives. We worked all day, and seldom had the urge to go out or meet people afterwards; we had hardly any friends. Johnny was such good company. Helen, especially, blossomed in the friendship; in the beginning, when he would tease her gently, she would just blush and laugh, but then gradually she opened up, and joined equally in the chatter and kidding around. We all laughed a great deal. We were happy together.
And then Johnny offered us a way out of the dead end in which our lives were stuck. One of the properties he had inherited from his father was a building on the Danforth in which there was a Greek restaurant. This had been running for a long time, and was very successful, but the owner now wanted to retire, and was putting it up for sale. Johnny wanted to buy it, and he wanted us to run it as his partners; his contribution would be the capital, ours would be to manage and run it. At first we thought he was joking, but he was quite serious. We talked about it, we checked out the place; Johnny had his accountant check the books; we talked to lawyers, and they began to draw up papers. From a tantalizing hope, it suddenly became a doorway into a new life full of promise. We were living hand to mouth, and always with the fear that one of the big chains would open an outlet in our neighbourhood and put us out of business. And now here was a way out. Helen and I were so excited; we talked about it all the time and made plans for the new restaurant. We even discussed how, perhaps in a year or two, we might be in a position to have a baby.
Now this terrible early morning call had changed everything. A dear friend, almost a brother, had been torn out of our lives, and so had our future. Bereft, we clung to each other and cried out our grief. Helen could not be consoled; she curled up into a ball on the bed and wept and wept. I sat beside her with my head in my hands and this awful emptiness inside me. But, finally, we had to get up and get ready to go downstairs and open up the shop.
The Evelyn (renamed Norcom) was originally a U.S. registered, wooden-hulled stern wheel steamboat built at St. Michael, Alaska in 1908 by Bratnobar for the Upper Tanana Trading Company. Her hull measured 39.6 meters by 8.7 meters with a depth of 1.28 meters. The vessel was powered by two horizontal, high pressure cylinders. At some point the ship was sold to the Northern Navigation Company- it wrecked in the Tanana River. Her machinery was removed & taken to St. Michael where a new hull was built. She was converted to Canadian registry in 1913, & then owned by the British Yukon Navigation Co. in 1919. She was beached on Shipyard Island & her engines installed in the Steamer Keno in 1922. Registration was cancelled in 1931.
The ship now lies on blocks at a once important (now abandoned) shipyard & wintering area between Dawson City & Whitehorse, at the base of the Thirty Mile Section of the Yukon River. One boiler & smokestack remain- the rest of the machinery has been removed. The paddlewheel axle, flanges, & crank lie near the ship. While the upper superstructure is largely collapsed, the hull & freight deck are intact. The three tiller-rudder assemblies are complete- they still work.
The LIDAR Survey
The mission of the Yukon River Survey was to locate/document historic Yukon River shipwrecks & hulls. Canada's Yukon Territories contains more accessible early sternwheelers than anywhere else in North America. Approximately 290 sternwheelers once plied the Yukon River, of which 110 were built in 1898 in response to the Klondike Gold Rush. Unlike broken fragments found in the Mississippi or Columbia River systems, the Yukon's steamer wrecks are intact to the point you can walk their decks, swing their tillers, watch their rudders turn. A July 2007 project marked the beginning of detailed documentation in the Yukon. In the first phase, an INA team & EPICSCAN staff spent five days at Shipyard Island, 60 km from the nearest road, & LIDAR-surveyed the 39.6 meter 1908 wooden-hulled sternwheeler Evelyn. The result was a data "cloud" of millions of highly accurate survey shots inside & outside of the vessel, such that features down to 3 mm in width were recorded. The 3-D model shows all timbers & planking. It can be cross-sectioned as required.
The image quality of the animation below has been reduced for online viewing.
(The youtube is a musical tribute by Gus Gravot to rural Mardis Gras in French Louisiana. The photos are of the communities of LeJeune Cove, T-Mamou, Iota, Egan, Church Point, Big Mamou, Eunice, Pointe Noire, and Marais Bouleur.)
Traditional Cajun Mardi Gras Costumes
La Vieille Chanson de Mardi Gras-
Les Mardi Gras vient de tout partout, tout le tour du moyeu.
Vient une fois par an pour demander la charité. Une vieille patate, une patate et des gratons.
Les Mardi Gras vient de tout partout, tout le tour du moyeu. Vient une par an pour demander la charité. Une vieille patate, une patate et des gratons.
Capitaine, capitaine voyage ton flag, tout le tour du moyeu. Une fois par an pour demander la charité. Et des patates, des patates et des gratons.
Les Mardi Gras vient de l’Angleterre, tout le tour du moyeu. Vient une fois par an pour demander la charité. Une vieille patate, une patate et des gratons.
Shirley Poirier Bolton's Unity Gumbo is pictured below. Recipe available upon request...
"Domestic cats in the United States kill up to 3.7 billion birds and as many as 20.7 billion mice, voles and other small mammals each year, biologists estimated on Tuesday.
Puss is probably the biggest human-induced killer of these species, outstripping better-known culprits such as habitat loss, agricultural chemicals or hunting, they said in a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
A team led by Scott Loss at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington looked at published research into the predation habits of cats.
Cats that have outdoors access kill between 30 and 47 birds apiece in temperate parts of Europe and North America each year, and between 177 and 299 mammals, according to past investigations." AFP
We used to have a couple of Persian cats. They were unintelligent, and physically clumsy but would come to me when I summoned them. They could not catch their own tails, much less birds. I am a dog person. PL
"According to Richard Overy, an outstanding analyst of the war, the Soviet Union had been a centrally planned economy, but its initial defeats in 1941 unraveled the Soviet program. But by 1944, the Soviets were again operating a centrally planned economy, and Overy noted that Russia had “repaired the fractured the web of industry, transport and resources so that by 1942, (the Soviets) produced more weapons than the year before…more weapons than the enemy.” Plus the Soviet weapons were superior in quality to the German ones. This scholar also says that in 1943, the gap between Soviet and German production “widened further” in favor of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was producing three aircraft or every two German aircraft produced. It produced double the number of tanks produced by Germany. “The Soviet Union operated a command economy, directed by the state and centrally planned,” Overy said, pointing out that Russia’s centrally planned economy operated unimpeded by the pressures of the free market, and workers were, of course, brutalized: for example, being tardy or not showing up for work could end with the state shooting or imprisoning workers. " Richard Sale