Saturday Night Sunday Morning

West and East and 36 years
Last Saturday night, Carol and Marcus attended the Oktoberfest Party at Sierra Canyon in Reno, where they now reside (a Dell Webb 55+ community).

Oktoberfest Party at the Sierra Canyon Lodge (That’s Carol center foreground next to my red beer cup.)

Here’s Carol and a bunch of old people… There was live music — think Danke Schoen and Roll out the Barrel. The couple across from us, Buck and Jan, moved here from Mesquite NV, a town of 15,000 in the desert about 75 miles north of Las Vegas. They have 8 18-hole golf courses and 133 days over 90 degrees. Everybody here is from *somewhere else,* so that’s usually the first topic of conversation.

wurst is best

The buffet included more than one kind of wurst, cabbage in many forms, German potato salad and plenty of beer. The first round was draft Sam Adams Oktoberfest followed by various bottled beers. There was dancing and frivolity but we didn’t stay to the bitter end… we were eager to get home to the Nebraska at Ohio State  football game. We watched the first quarter before leaving and “taped” the balance of the game. The Buckeyes were struggling and trailed at the end of the quarter. As you can see, they turned THAT around.


We transition to another place and time in my life: Not much more than 6 actual hours later, son Eric was taking pictures at Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston where, in 1975, he accompanied his dad on a very early morning tree planting in South Market Street.

“Wow, look at those trees. Didn’t they bring those in on a flatbed truck?”

That’s right, Eric. On a rainy October morning in 1975 I didn’t have to pry you out of bed at 4am to go with me to meet the first of the tree trucks, arriving with their Locust trees from New Jersey. You were so excited that you were dressed and ready to go when I knocked on your door.
Continue reading “Saturday Night Sunday Morning”


Ohio Food Revue

Thankfully this image is NOT indicative of the food we ate when the Carol Rector family met in Lancaster to memorialize her mother Liz, who passed away this summer. Brian grazed up north in the Mistake by the Lake while the Mainers and new Renoans joined a few Hales to sip and graze in the new Short North district between downtown Columbus and the OSU campus. The next day (after the obligatory Bob Evans breakfast *at the HOME OFFICE*) we enjoyed a buffet lunch put together by the church ladies of Grace Memorial Church in Lancaster. As a nightcap some of us enjoyed a very good Mexican snack on Route 33. The following morning we reconvened in Jackson County, OH just a few miles from the Ohio River to learn all about the Big Green Egg, with a surprising taste of FORTY YEAR OLD bourbon.

Now that Marc and Brian have returned home to review (and lighten) their images, we’ve pulled together a highlight reel of the visit.

[The image above is not even from Ohio — it’s the cheesesteak vendor at the Philadelphia airport where Alison and I had lunch while connecting to ColuOH.]

Ohio September 2012
It all started Wednesday night at Brian’s house: Happy Birthday Brian… and, he grilled pork chops himself. But that’s not why we were there. We stayed over because we had to get up at 4am so Brian could take us to the airport for our 6:05 flight on Southwest. (Brian and Natasza were flying later.) It was our first time on Southwest and we discovered that when we checked our bags at the curb, all we needed was picture ID… We were already in the computer with our group and number for boarding (A 49). Seats aren’t assigned, but we paid 10 bucks to get in the A group, so getting a seat of choice was no problem. How cool is that?

There’s little to report on food at the airport at 5:15am (no tomato juice available) or on the airplane (just snax, thank you, and oh… bloody marys for 5 bucks each).

We got to Carol’s sister’s house in Baltimore, Ohio, late afternoon and sat down for some of DeeDee’s famous Barley Soup.

DeeDee’s Barley Soup

“Brown a pot roast real good in a cast iron skillet.
Put it in your slow cooker with potatoes, onion and celery and pour a cup of warm water around, not over the roast.
Cook on Low overnite then just keep adding to it.”
(This one had carrots, and corn.)

When I went out for my morning walk Friday, I picked up a few cans of V8 at the IGA. (Note to self: carry your own damn V8 for airplanes and when staying with ordinary people where “juice” means OJ or apple.)

I stopped “downtown Baltimore” to do my walking there… where there are sidewalks. I came across lots of pumpkins in a yard, and a few steps up the street, a very early Halloween decoration. Continue reading “Ohio Food Revue”


Brian emailed this picture to me last Thursday morning. Said, “Balloons over Reno this morning. To see th full spectacle go to Rancho San Rafael at daybreak tomorrow or Sunday.”

What the heck is daybreak? Sunrise this past week has been about the time that I get up, about six-thirty. Carol talked to one of her ladyfriends who said we should go at 5am. I opted to go when I got up on Saturday morning. Does Carol want to go with me?  Look for her in the pictures. (Oh, by the way, Brian took his picture at 8:50am.)
Continue reading “balloons!”

Dinner Club

Leslie, Paula and Andrea went and threw us a Dinner Club to remember.


Clay Andrea Paula Carol Paul Sarah Rick Leslie Bill Marc Lisa

The “Super Bowl Gang” make great company, lively talk and warm memories. Thanks for an extra nice send-off. We were totally surprised and just plain thrilled.

Love, Marc and Carol

July Adventure

… in northern parts of CA and NV

It all began when Marcus (that would be the writer) got the brilliant idea to go and see where Brian goes when he goes “in the field” way up in Northeast California and Northwest Nevada around a town called Cedarville, CA.

Brian welcomed that idea and responded as follows in an email on June 20;

Planning for July 4th wkd. If you want to see field sites, probably the best thing to do is for y’all to meet us up in that area, which is ~3 hrs north of here. Doesn’t make sense for you to come here first then go there. As long as we’re up there, we might want to do it right. There is a spa with a natural hot springs near Cedarville, which is a surprisingly hip village in vermillion red Modoc Co.

Not outrageously expensive (similar to Calistoga) but there’s a 2-day minimum stay on holiday weekends. A proposed itinierary:

Sat – Meet for late lunch in NE Calif.; men go to field sites, ladies do tourism; check into spa;
Sun – men do field sites near spa; ladies do spa & tourism; Basque dinner in Altruas;
Mon – check out of spa; drive to Reno; hit last site on the way; ladies tour in Gerlach, Nev. (home of Burning Man); arrive Reno late afternoon;

Let me know what you think.
Doc B

On Jun 22, 2011, at 10:24 , Marcus Rector wrote:

Google sez it is nearly a 7 hour drive, so don’t plan anything rigorous for the old folks right away. If we leave about 7 we should get there in time for a LLL (leisurely late lunch).
I’m psyched.

Continue reading “July Adventure”

Reynolds Price 1933 – 2011

Reynolds Price 1933 - 2011

Above is from the back of the book jacket for the 25th Anniversary edition of A Long and Happy Life. I present it as a good picture of Reynolds before he was confined to a wheelchair as the result of cancer treatment when steroids and a lack of exercise puffed him up well beyond what he would have preferred. Unfortunately his obits, including an excellent one in the NY Times by William Grimes, are going with post-cancer shots.
Continue reading “Reynolds Price 1933 – 2011”


This is an entirely fictional account of an on-the-farm pig slaughter in 1950. It’s based on my own experience processing hogs from hoof to terrine, stories from the Rector family, as well as additional miscellaneous accounts of home pork processing that used to be the norm in the rural US.

All black and white pictures were taken in New Jersey in 1944, provided to me by John Chobrda, who says that they’re from “John Kubinski’s farm that was located just between Hightstown and Allentown on what is now The Assinpink WMA, the farm was near where Lake Assinpink is now. The man in the plaid shirt was Joe Nekarda who lived near the American Czecho-Slovak Farmers Club on Rt 130.” The pictures illustrate what farm processing was really like, minus the effort of the women cooking and canning and brining and smoking and processing for several days after. I’m thankful for permission to use these to accompany this story which has little to do with the pictures’ actual origin except to point out, again, how common the practice had been before WWII initiated a global food chain that attempted to replace this multi-millennial old ritual.

The characters are all made up but may have been named for one or more actual people that I may or may not have ever met. It pretends to have taken place in the southern Ohio hills, near Logan, from the point of view of a 12 year old boy.


I woke up that morning, after Thanksgiving dinner, ’cause they started sharpening the knives. I was in the upstairs attic on a cot under a giant quilt my Grandma made, but I could see my breath above me, catching the light from the window to my right.

When I pulled back the quilt it was cold. I looked over at Wenn on his cot, but he was still asleep. I put on the sweater I’d thrown to the floor last night before getting in bed and walked over to the window to see.

Uncle Sonny sat on the grindstone, pedaling while he held the knife against it, throwing sparks. Charlie was just back from the Army, and he stood over a table in a green tee shirt and suspenders wiping a blade back and forth on a steel he held like a sword. Behind him was the great big kettle belching smoke and steam and a tri-pod of big poles straddling it.

I went over and shook my brother Wenn’s shoulder. “They’re getting ready.” He curled and buried himself deeper under his quilt.
Continue reading “Sausage!”