Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Thursday, May 18, 2023
|B-24 Liberators being assembled at Ford's plant at Willow Run, Michigan
1943 Ford photo from Wikipedia Commons
|Assembly line at Willow Run, 1943
Any of the women could have been my grandmother, Laura,
who worked as a drill press operator for Ford until 1956.
|From Left: Daughter Ruth, Laura with Grandson, Dick; her Husband Louis, Son Glen, my father,
home from Italy, and me. Detroit May 1945
|Laura Estelle Cornes Mindling - Circa 1917
Sunday, May 14, 2023
Friday, May 5, 2023
“One day through the primeval wood
A calf walked home as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail as all calves do.
Since then three hundred years have fled,
And I infer the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.”
“The trail was taken up next day,
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bell-wether sheep
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bell-wethers always do.”
But I don’t mind. Even with the University of Georgia in full swing, the local traffic isn’t bad and the countryside is just beautiful, turning even mundane address hunting into a scenic road trip. They're even fixing the famous loop that isn’t, the Athens Outer loop, sometimes called Athens Inner loop. It all depends on whether you are coming or going.
“And from that day, o’er hill and glade.
Through those old woods a path was made.
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged, and turned, and bent about,
And uttered words of righteous wrath,
Because ’twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed—do not laugh—
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.
Are you going clockwise or counter-clockwise? How would you know? According to some local experts, it depends if you are driving in the inside lanes or the outside lanes and where you are going or maybe where you might have been. I don’t know how to tell the inside lanes from the outside lanes since there are both left and right hand curves on the loop(s). Which way you’re going is generally relevant on most roads, even if they are a loop(s) because if you drive all the way around at east once, you’ve usually covered all the points on the compass. Apparently, a loop is not necessarily a circle.
“This forest path became a lane,
that bent and turned and turned again;
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.
In Athens, you still won’t have a clue if you did it on the Outer Loop or the Inner Loop because it still is the same road and it ends up where it began, the point where you have to get off the loop to stay on it. Yes, you have to get off the loop to stay on it. Believe it or not, the last exit, or the first exit, depending if you’re coming or going on the inner or outer loop(s), is number 10. It used to be exit 11 until they improved the numbering. Exit number one is on the other side of town.
“The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street;
And thus, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare.
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half,
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.
First, how far is it from the Outer Loop to the Inner loop? Not very far, I found out after my third week driving on them. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised to discover they are the same road. The Inner Loop and the Outer loop are halves of the same highway. Not like a highway cut serially in pieces by toll booths, like a pizza, but cut in parallel down the side like a sliced bagel. The SR 10 Loop highway is a divided four lane, limited access highway, just like any other divided highway you’ve ever driven on where two lanes go in one direction and the other two lanes go in the opposite direction, except the middle – median – of this oddly named road is an important line of demarcation of sorts: the name changes from one side to the other.
Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed the zigzag calf about
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
The loop closest to town, by the width of the median strip, is the inner loop, and since we are in the United States and drive on the right side of the road, travels in a clockwise direction. The lanes on the other side of the median, the furthest away from Athens by about 100 yards, going the other way, counter-clockwise, comprise the outer loop.
Oddly, there is something naively appealing about this simplistic naming convention once you live here: Is it faster to get to where you’re going by the Inner Loop or the Outer Loop because simply cutting through town is out of the question during when the University of Georgia is in session. You can drive the entire nineteen and a half miles of the SR 10 Loop at the legal speed limit in either direction and still knock fifteen minutes off driving through town to get to the same destination.
A hundred thousand men were led,By one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way,
And lost one hundred years a day;
For thus such reverence is lent,
To well established precedent.”
Just don’t get off on Highway 78. Highway 78 can be Atlanta Highway, which is U.S. Highway 78, but not SR (State Road) 78. SR 78 cuts through the middle of the loop on both the North and South side of the loop(s). The US 78 exit on the west side of town is number 18, the same one where SR 10 coming from Atlanta meets SR 10 Loop, also known as the Outer/Inner Loop that goes both clockwise and counterclockwise, depending on whether you are coming or going.
“A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun,
To do what other men have done.
According to Wikipedia, “Between exits 4 and 8, there is an eight-route concurrency, consisting of US 29, US 78, US 129, US 441, SR 8, SR 10 Loop, SR 15, and the unsigned SR 422.” Believe it or not, old-timers here still call the road the Athens Bypass.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.
They don’t mention if this is the Inner Loop or the Outer Loop because they don’t know which direction you might want to drive, and if you are a hometown fan of the National Champion University of Georgia Bulldogs because then you have to sit on the other side of the stadium regardless of how you get there.
They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move.
But how the wise old wood gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf.
Ah, many things this tale might teach—
But I am not ordained to preach.”
1896 – Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)
I can hardly wait for the football season kick-off. Game day here must be something to behold.
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
I rocked back and forth on my heels as we waited patiently behind the red line admonishing patrons against having cellphones beyond the Plexiglas barriers. Not allowed, the sign said. Please forward all documentation via email or texts to the Tag agency at the following e-address. No passing cellphones through the time/space portal of the translucent barrier that separates the world of the unknowing masses from the masters of the universe. If you want to transfer your driver's license or register your car, the all-knowing beings on the other side of the Plexiglas are indeed the undisputed masters of the universe.
Kind ones at least, in Clarke County, Georgia, home of the National Champion College football team, the University of Georgia Bulldogs. My wife and had I decided to relocate to Athens, Georgia, and the first, mandatory actions were to transfer our driver's license and automobile registration.
“No sir,” the young lady on the other side of the transparent, dimensional separator. “Here you need the binder from your insurance company to register the car. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to return with the proper insurance document. Next!”
My wife and I looked at each other and slowly approached the bureaucratic sanctuary, fully aware we didn’t have the proper insurance binder either. All we had was the same proof of insurance card required in Florida that all car owners have.
“Hello,” I said as I pushed the wad of paper work through the access slot, “If this keeps up, there won’t be anyone left in Florida. We’ve recently moved here as well. Have you seen many of us moving up here.”
The young clerk looked up, her face mask covering her face but not her dancing, expressive eyes.
“Yes, It’s becoming more and more common, let me see if all this is in order.”
She dutifully read the old Florida title and registration, then carefully looked over our brand new, temporary Georgia driver’s licenses, and began typing furiously on her computer keyboard. She glanced up and said, “I can issue the new title, but not the registration. You’ll need the insurance binder from your insurer as well. Sorry, but I can only do so much with incomplete documentation. She slipped a blue stick-em note with the amount $504.14 back to me and said, “This is the Ad Valorem tax required to transfer the title.”
We thanked her, and headed immediately to the nearest insurance agency that issued our policy. After an hour and a half of travel, introductions and explanations, we headed back to the county tag agency.
The counter positions were all staffed and there was no waiting, and as luck would have it, the next open clerk was the pleasant young woman we had earlier.
“Welcome back! All set?” she asked.
“We hope so,” I said as I pushed the newly acquired paper work through the trans-dimensional portal.
She laughed, keyed a few lines and held up two different style license plates we could choose from. Ilse made an artistic selection and after a twenty dollar bill disappeared into the void of government coffers, we received our new Georgia license plate.
As we traded pleasantries to say our goodbyes, I turned and stepped on the biggest shoe I have ever seen. The bright yellow color startled me as much as his huge black ears.
“I’m terribly sorry,” I said, “I didn’t see you behind me!”
“Gosh!” he said in his instantly familiar high-pitched voice, “That’s all right! I sure hope they take my insurance card! I’ve heard it’s different up here.”
We looked back several times as the Magic Kingdom icon stood on his tip toes to see over the counter. We could tell he was listening to the same instructions we received as his ears began to slowly fold down,”
“Maybe they are moving to Atlanta.” my wife said. “It would serve DeSantis right.”