Random Summer Ramblings


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Leslie C. McManus 

My body may be parked at a desk, but my mind has gone to the beach. Suddenly untethered by the arrival of summer, the old brain ambles down random paths, stops to smell roses, lazily wonders at things past and things yet to come.

Like the whisk broom. Time was, there was a whisk broom in every car. Decades have passed since I last saw one. Same with the ball compass, once a standard after-market feature on the dash of the family sedan. I was not of driving age when the ball compass was all the rage, so I have no skin in the game — but what was that all about, anyway? It seems like overkill, as if the driver was setting out on an Arctic expedition rather than just going to the grocery or the bank.

Frankly it would make more sense to me today, when at least half of the population doesn’t have a clue which direction is north. That is what Google Maps is for, I guess. These days, every vehicle has built-in cupholders. We may not know what direction we’re going, but we’re darned sure going to be well-hydrated when we get there!

Speaking of going — this summer, when plans to attend shows around the country have been totally upended, my mind keeps turning the pages backward, remembering shows I’ve attended in the past. Recently, for instance, I recalled a show in Maryland, where I stopped to watch a blacksmith demonstration. As we chatted, he worked at the forge, forming something so small that his hands hid it from view.

When he finished, he presented me with a tiny but richly detailed horseshoe. The entire piece was about the size of a dime. “Someday,” he said solemnly, looking me straight in the eye, “some archaeologist will dig that up and say, ‘Damn! They used to have tiny little horses around here!’”


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