Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tijuana Bull Fights/Republican Presidential Debates

I’ve spent the last three or four months totally engrossed by the continuing Republican Presidential Debates. Now that they seem to be over, at least for the time being, I find myself reminiscing for some unexplained reason about the Tijuana Bull Fight I attended over 40 years ago.

The debates have gotten pretty mundane of late. Each candidate has staked out his own territory and is now dancing with the girl he brought to the dance.

I don’t know why I keep watching them except to say it’s just so much fun. Bless their hearts the candidates are doing everything in their power to put on a good show, which is why, I think, they remind me so much of the trip I took to Tijuana to watch the bullfights back when I was stationed in San Pedro.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Boy Scout Camps, Mail Chutes, The Emily Morgan Hotel Across from the Alamo, and the Brother of the Mayor of Rochester, New York

Hell on Earth, a love story made good use out of a lot of unrelated events by giving the task of relating them to a caseworker. I reason I gave him this power is because I believe that even seemingly unrelated events often have something to do with each other—if you look hard enough. Not always, but sometimes.

This line of thinking, if it does nothing else, does give coincidences new meanings and increased importance because, now, you never know.

I was a boy scout in the late 1950’s in Rochester, New York. In spite of the brutal winters and rainy springs our troop managed at least one campout every quarter. We camped at the J Warren Cutler Scout Reservation but simply referred to it as Camp Cutler. We had great times but I can honestly say that after I doused the flames of my last campfire and rolled up my sleeping bag for the last time, I never gave Camp Cutler another thought. There were just too many other things going on.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The French Broad River

I live in the vicinity of many rivers that are named after prominent people. There’s the Elizabeth River named after the good Queen Elizabeth and the James River named after the equally good King James. I went to school a few miles north of the Charles River, originally named the Massachusetts River by Captain John Smith, but later renamed the Charles River by the good King Charles himself.

What better way to honor someone than to name a river after him or her—at least that was the case before so many rivers started turning up polluted, making the honor a dubious one. Nevertheless it is the thought that counts.

It is very important that when one comes upon a river in need of a name that an appropriate name be chosen. It is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. That is why I am a little disappointed by a river I recently came across in Tennessee that ran through and around the city of Pigeon Forge—and yes, I do think naming a city is just as important as naming a river and will soon address the issue of Pigeon Forge—but for this blog, we are talking about the naming of rivers—specifically the naming of rivers after people.

I was traveling the interstate when I suddenly found myself on the French Broad River Bridge going over the French Broad River, when it occurred to me that some people could be very cynical and equally hypocritical. "Who," I wondered, was this famous and at the same time infamous French broad?"

And what, I would like to know, did this French broad do that made everyone like her and at the same time, not like her that much. Sure they named the river after her but no way were they going to use her real name.

“We’ll just call it the French Broad River,” declared the townsfolk. “Everyone will know who we’re talking about.” What did this French broad do to make the people love her so and at the same time hold her in such little regard?

A google search for “famous French women in the Pigeon Forge area that may or may not have had a bridge named after them” turned up no French broads whatsoever but did note that a fire in 1856 destroyed the county courthouse and all the records of the early settlers. So maybe her name went up in smoke.

I guess we will never know the name of the old French broad.
But we can still honor her every time we cross her.
Here’s to you, French broad, gone but not forgotten, recognized but not really.