Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pink Flamingo

Thinking back to a lost opportunity, a time when I was unable to sway my friends to adopt " a plastic pink flamingo" as Pottstown's iconic symbol. The Churchill's Kitchen Cabinet back then turned my suggestion down cold. "You dummy", they chided me, "who in the World would put a plastic pink flamingo in their yard except some oldsters in Florida?"

We could have been on the show, Sunday Morning, today when they did a segment about, you got it, The Pink Flamingo. Their popularity, instead of fading away, is growing each year in all parts of the country. 

But for me, another grand idea down the toilet along with many others, I too, have forgotten. Our morning group had days, if not weeks, laughing at each other until the idea faded away. Sadly, after Sunday Morning aired, maybe we did miss an opportunity to put Pottstown on the map. Your turn !

Ronald C.Downie 
Sandy Burton, Golfer

Sandy, in thinking about our exchange of emails, I've tried to understand where the differences between us comes from. I thought about our youth: both of Scottish descent and each approached golf early. I started caddying at the age of nine at our local Country Club
while, I surmised, you began playing golf much earlier at a local Country Club. Seemingly such a little difference is much greater when analyzed.  

Young caddies of my era were never allowed to enter the Clubhouse, maybe the locker room to pick up a golf bag, but so rarely. Caddies, me included, felt second class like a serf to the gentry. We were always cordoned away from the elite Country Club set when special events were organized for them. Yes, caddies thought themselves an inferior race in this time period just post WW2. 

I imagine you have a different perspective of your early years. When stratification begins early it intensifies over the years. I've carried over into the latter years of my life a sense of denied equality that must be overcome. I chose Public Service as my method to right these ills. I look at those who have little or nothing as victims not takers. I look at the Country Club elites as takers from the public trough displacing many truly needy. Superior elites spend their time shuttling between golf courses ultimately seeking one which suites their game always trying to be superior, being King of the Hill.

Poor Franklin Graham gets tripped up on history. His white Christian males found hordes of reddish Native Americans to murder in their European clammer to declare themselves conquerers of this new land. Many thousands of years earlier Native Americans had already explored this continent and all this time lived in concert with nature. Today, from their seats of financial power situated in Country Clubs, when the strenuous day of golf is over, financiers get their heads together to concoct new ways of lowering their taxes but paying for it by raising taxes on those least able to afford it. 

I am an unabashed proponent of equality among humans, even though, most listed by Franklin are in need of real help. And I understand the majority of those he called takers would never make it to the first hole let alone ever find par. No matter how life affects us we are all subject to death. I doubt a White Supremacist like Franklin Graham or people who support his edicts will have an any easier way beyond this life than I expect for myself. How in the World can these people be not only bigoted but be believers in miss information while they openly pray to a benevolent God. Wrapping oneself in the flag when on bended knee praying to the personal image of their God does not grant one a path to the hereafter. Jesus, it is said, prayed especially for the least of us. I am one of them and many of my friends are similar. 

Only you can determine where you are positioned on the rung of life.

Respectfully, Ronald C. Downie




What Happened

A sickening feeling came across me when coming from the Doctor we drove up King Street and saw the mud infested Memorial Park premier baseball fields. So much effort, time, and tax money went into these fields but, for just a few days of grass volleyball, the fields look like a pig sty shambles. The same goes for the surrounding grass areas which must of been parked on when extremely wet and many vehicles must of become stuck.

I'm not too sure the cost/benefit equation works well for this event. Really, does Borough Council request an accounting for such events ?
These sports field were designed originally for use by the youth of our Borough and serviced them most during the summer months. 

The unceremonious debauchery imposed on these fields by predominately non Pottstown residents should be looked at by an independent agent of the Borough to determine the cost to tax payers and what the long term harm to the fields are. 

I've stated my views therefore I would appreciate yours.

Ronald C. Downie
Fair Grounds

Back, way back, maybe during the Golden Years of Pottstown in the early years of the 1900's before the Great Recession Pottstown was home to a Fair Grounds. In fact, many towns of that time had such grounds for their citizens to break away from their daily work and have a place to congregate for fun and reflection. Ours, I understand, had a race track within its bounds which became notable throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. Local and countywide fairs were popular attractions for predominantly an agrarian  populous who utilized these Fair Grounds. 

Because of the very visible debacle that happened to our baseball fields due to their excessive use during heavy rain events, I am suggesting it's time to reinstitute a Fair Grounds in Pottstown. "What comes around goes around" is also an ancient statement as is Fair Grounds. No longer a heavy industry community we have matriculated into a higher learning town and with it comes a need for new energized thinking. 

Out along Jackson Street, The Hill School last year showed some economic muscle by building a super  athletic complex in an area we old timers called The Far Fields. Down along the river MCCC continues to invest in bricks and mortar to expand their presence there. Also along the river the SRGA continues pressing its trails and accompaniments up and down the waterway at an ever aggressive rate. 

These three entities don't produce a tangible product people can handle and both buy and sell; but, each produces a product valued far beyond a manufactured piece. Their commodity of highly valued human beings is the new paradigm. Pottstown's desire to invest in progress should, in my mind, appreciate the new dynamic and think through what could enhance the culture of people being here. Fair Grounds worked well in agrarian times, lost emphasis during the industrial revolution, and now post industrialization - in an educational era - its time may be just right again.

Please, don't let the proverbial box contain you. Get out of it and think anew. Planning is the first step.f

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pink Flamingo

Thinking back to a lost opportunity, a time when I was unable to sway my friends to adopt " a plastic pink flamingo" as Pottstown's iconic symbol. The Churchill's Kitchen Cabinet back then turned my suggestion down cold. "You dummy", they chided me, "who in the World would put a plastic pink flamingo in their yard except some oldsters in Florida?"

We could have been on the show Sunday Morning today when they did a segment about, you got it, The Pink Flamingo. Their popularity, instead of fading away, is growing each year in all parts of the country. 

But for me, another grand idea down the toilet along with many others, I too, have forgotten. Our morning group had days, if not weeks, laughing at each other until the idea faded away. Sadly, after Sunday Morning aired, maybe we did miss an opportunity to put Pottstown on the map. Your turn !

Ronald C.Downie 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sue Repko

Deeply hidden beyond registered time in caves our ancestors sketched scenes of animals they encountered beyond those cave entrances. Even then ancient artists had a feel for place to inscribe real time as they felt it. Ever since, artists have invested in what they do best : create their own sense of time as they develop a place, real or imagined, for time to be experienced in. 

Sue, most people I've come across in my eighty years wither under the thought of leaving familiar ground to forge life anew at some distant location. Those who do, we find their works catalogued in libraries or on display in galleries all over the World. You are destined to be one of those.

Thoughout our infrequent meetings I was always impressed with your life's story as it has enfolded and, along with everyone else, await the next chapter just beginning to be written. May good health accompany you, may good luck pave the road, and may words flow at will. 

Respectfully, Ronald C. Downie
Broken Window Syndrome 

All my life as a public servant I believed in the Broken Window Syndrome : if a window is broken out or just cracked, immediately have it fixed or a disruptive public may not have any qualms about breaking more. Immediate response is the operative term. 

Earlier today my, across Evans street, neighbors told me about a patch of alley behind their carport/garage where for the second time someone dumped either gasoline or oil or both in the alley. I was asked if this was legal, to which, I replied, "hell no". No one is allowed openly to work on vehicles even if it's on their property. Secondly, petroleum migrates toward storm drains which empty into streams and our river. 

I urged my neighbor call 610 323 1212, the dispatch center, and report the incident, which he did. The fire department responded and determined the patch safe from fire since the fluid had already dispersed into the soil. I'm told the grass growing in the alley which is regularly mowed is now looking dead. 

We used immediate response as our action. Even with action the root cause has not been addressed. Who did this deed ? Did the fire department turn over to the police and codes information about this problem ? I don't know. 

Such a small thing in this age of huge problems, but my neighbors and I, exercised what a resident of Pottstown could do. Citizens must do what they can, no matter how small. or our way of life will wither away completely. 


Ronald C. Downie