Scraps and Ramblings..Where were you

At a friend's good suggestion, not all things on this blog will be political...some might be just be about my living here in this county...Others just observations. I have been reading "Rural Free," a delightful book by Rachel Peden That same dear friend recommended it to me. Rachel was the mother of Joe Peden whom Norm Voyles and I worked with several years ago when we are on the SWCD board. Joe was our district conservationist. He was recognized for his life of outstanding contributions at the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry last February. He lives just on the home place down in Monroe County. Rachel wrote regular columns in several magazines and newspapers. They were delightful and astute observations about rural Indiana living. The column was called "Scraps From a Farm Wife's Journal"...it was a blog of sorts...although that wasn't the term they used. I probably had her column in mind when I decided to call this blog.. "Scraps and Ramblings." I think you would really enjoy her books....they make you see more...appreciate more... and love your living more. What a gift she gave us..and gives us.

So last night my wife Lynn and I relived the events of November 22, 1963. Many of you were probably not even around, but those of use that were will never forget that day. We were students at Indiana State. She was a Freshman and I was somewhere around a Junior. We had not met yet...that would happen the following April. That day in November, I was headed toward my job on the switch board at Human Center. Human Center was the Deming Hotel that had been converted into a dorm. Housing was in short supply. The switch board was one of those old fashioned deals where you had trunk lines...seven I think... below and all the rooms above..and you connected the incoming calls with these retracting cords careful not to mix or worse yet disconnect the conversations...I did that once with a call from Cuba...very embarrassing. On that particular day I had just left the IE building (Industrial Education...where the guys learned how to be "shop teachers"...i would go through there because it had that hot oil smell that reminded me of the job shop where my dad worked in Indy). As I was just about to cross Cherry Street ...it was spitting snow.... a couple of guys shouted "Have you heard the President's been shot.... in Dallas." Suddenly, it was not just a gray November day. The only thing i recall at that moment was looking at a billboard and seeing an advertisement for a New Mustang... maybe trying to connect the ordinary with the extraordinary. I hurried to my job... and settled in to listen on a purple little Arvin radio that we put by the switchboard. I put on the headphones...just went over one ear and a mic....and went to work. You can imagine the board flashing lights like on a Christmas tree...everyone wanted to talk..to connect with their friends. I had just connected a boy I knew on the 7th floor to his sister in Burford Hall when the announcement came that " This just in. President Kennedy has died in Dallas"...the sister screamed in my headphone evidently listening to the radio as i was. The next hours...days... were numbing..... John-John saluting...the horse with boots reversed.....Walter.... the muffled drums.... the Navy hymn.. which never fails to this day to return to those solemn and tragic days. I never want to see their likes again..and pray God I never will. I do not recall Thanksgiving that year.

November 23, 2011