Boa Boa

Have you ever owned a boa?

Cue the cheerful music. When I hear the word I think of fluffy pink feathers or fabric. It’s party time. Be silly. Show off a dance move or sing a tune.

Oh — wait — Did you mean the other boa?

I’m not as fond of them. They don’t bring images of party games to mind.

My dictionary defines them as “a large snake that crushes its prey in its coils.”

Using a boa as a boa.

Don’t try this at home — unless you are an expert with reptiles.


True Weight

An honest merchant uses an honest scale.

Some things stay the same from generation to generation.

If I’m paying for three pounds — I want to receive three pounds.

It doesn’t matter if I’m paying for apples at the modern supermarket or precious sugar at the trading post.

Approximately two centuries prior to an electronic digital scale — an honest merchant would have weighted your small goods against known weights on this design of scale.

Two pounds of nails please.


Dual Purpose

Art in the public square is allowed to be functional. In fact, many people appreciate seeing a purpose in art on public display.

Does it make you smile?

Does it make you think? (‘What was the artist thinking?’ counts as a thought.)

Does it serve as a landmark?

On a recent visit to a popular St. Louis attraction, I saw a familiar object in a new way.

Solutions provided for two problems: I’m thirsty. What time is it?


Old-fashioned Door

Touring historic homes is an activity I enjoy. However, as I get older, I discover that I’ve seen (sometimes used) historic items.

Consider the door on the right. Yes, the one with the locked chain to keep tourists (and others) out of the structure.

My great aunt — and others in my hometown — had a similar door to her house. It was a handy place to sit when all the lawn chairs were full of adults. She didn’t use it often but the residents of this historic, early 1800’s home would have.

It went to the cellar. Yes, cellar, not basement. Think dim, cool, and full of shelves, bins, and crocks of supplies. Open the doors wide and walk down the five or six steps. Is it daylight? Did you bring a lantern? Careful where you step! Creatures may have slipped in to enjoy the cool, pounded dirt floor.

Imagine being the child sent to get the potatoes, carrots, and onions for the kitchen. I’d fill my basket quick. How about you?

My great aunt’s home — build nearly a century later — also had an interior set of steps to the basement. Much better during winter storms.


Lift Up Your Eyes

Not literally. Well, sort of. Tip your head back and look at the sky. (But leave your eyeballs in their sockets and connected to the optic nerve.) Please!

Lift up your eyes — is advice from centuries ago. It’s used in the Bible to remind people to look to the hills and the heavens when they pray.

Depending on location and walking conditions — I like to “lift my eyes” during my morning walk. You see some amazing clouds. Depending on how early this walk happens — a person can see the remnants of the sunrise colors. Or narrow rays breaking through.

You can also see man-made structures.

Lift up your eyes!

See where your 9-1-1 call for help flies.


Ancestors Evening

How many generations of your family can you record by name?

Did they live in the same city or region as your? The same state? The same country?

Different groups brought their regional habits and forms of entertainment when they moved.

While during the day many of the families socialized with others doing work or business — the home became the center of activity in the evening. Especially in the days before electricity, telephones, and the “modern” distractions.

Study the photo and imagine. Papa (or grandfather) enjoying his evening pipe while others in the family tour the world with pictures on the stereoscope, read, or sing by lamplight.


Garden Cottage

Meet me at the Garden Cottage.

What sort of image comes to mind?

Are your thoughts cheerful — a small house surrounded by well-tended plants?

Or do you think sinister–night, no moon, and an abandoned structure in the midst of overgrown vines?

A clever writer could construct a book which fits either description. Or another — how about the modest house acts as a gateway to another world.

Today’s photo — taken at the Missouri Botanical Garden — falls into the first category.  For a little over a century, a series of employees such as chief gardeners lived here. Then it sat vacant for more than a decade (a tinge of the sinister?) before receiving a much needed renovation.

Would you like to spend a summer here?