I took a picture of an old Chrysler, and didn’t see the reflection of the flags until I got home. This is similar to the one owned by Harry Truman, who would drive with his wife Bess to NYC, to visit their daughter. He drove it himself, with no Secret Service detail.
This reminded me of the 1975 song by Robert Lamm of the band “Chicago,” who was not a fan of Richard Nixon –
America needs you Harry Truman ~ Harry could you please come home
Things are looking bad ~ I know you would be mad ~
To see what kind of men ~ Prevail upon the land you love ~
America’s wondering, how we got here ~ Harry all we get is lies~
We’re gettin’ safer cars ~ Rocket ships to Mars ~
From men who’d sell us out~ To get themselves a piece of power ~
We’d love to hear you speak your mind ~ In plain and simple ways ~
Call a spade a spade~ Like you did back in the day ~
You would play piano ~ Each morning walk a mile ~
Speak of what was going down ~ With honesty and style ~
~ America’s calling Harry Truman ~ Harry you know what to do ~
The world is turnin’ round ~ and losin’ lots of ground
Oh Harry is there something we can do to save the land we love ~~~~~ by Robert Lamm
Not really presenting this post as a Fabulous Fall Foliage Photo Folio
(please, say those last five words three times fast)
more as an advertisement for a neglected part of autumn.
Sumac is often scrubby and undistinguished, and every fall, I realized that it’s rarely mentioned,
when people are exclaiming over the maples and aspens and oaks.
Kind of a mutt – – too leggy and sprawling to be used as a shrub in your yard, but seems too small to be a real “tree.”
It usually grows like a big clump of weeds – –
in neglected corners of fields, along roadways and railroad beds, or behind barns.
I read up on it a bit, and find that in other countries, the dried “fruit” is used as a lemony spice.
I’ve never heard of anyone using the North American version in this way.
But I’ve been informed, that I’ve eaten it, and liked it: it’s a key ingredient in Middle Eastern “za’atar” seasoning
(there’s a lot of versions, but thyme, sesame seed, and dried sumac seem to be the constants).
Just try saying “Za’atar! Sumac! Sesame!” out loud,
and see if it doesn’t sound pretty cool and exotic.
The only use I can think of for its wood: kids cut it into foot-long sections, push out the pithy center, and use it for pea-shooters.
I’ve also read that Native Americans used the sections as pipe-stems, but I don’t know if this is true.
The Iroquois tribes around this area, grew beans, corn, and squash, but not peas, so I guess the pea-shooter idea was of no use to them, and they had to stick with tomahawks and arrows.
(Actually, we generally used the the smallest fruits from hawthorns, or inkberries, not actual peas, depending on the caliber of the shrub we’d cut that day). But there are two other attributes that make this little-noticed, unkempt little tree kind of special.
For kids in this part of the world, the little groves of sumac were the closest thing we’d experience to a bamboo thicket. Only kids could eel their way through the dense stands of sumac, like Br’er Rabbit escaping a fox. Say, hypothetically, if you used your pea-shooter to ambush a larger cousin walking by.
And every fall, having gone the entire summer in scruffy obscurity, it faithfully turns beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges.
Always, without fail.
Having gone the entire summer in generic, innocuous obscurity, just as autumn begins, it flames out with style.
The leaves hang in festive rows, like tiny ceremonial banners for the autumn celebration,
a mousey shrub suddenly looking quite elegant.
Sumacs are like the quiet, unassuming, small-town guys, that you always forget are Shriners, until one day, out of the blue, they break out their red velvet fezzes, have a few belts, and parade down the avenue in their crazy bright brocade uniforms.