Thursday, May 26, 2016

After A Lifetime, Change.

My Wife, Connie, and I are relocating to Florida and live at daughter, Lia's and Marty's, home in Nokomis, Fl. which is just north of Venice on the Gulf Coast. We are planning only a one way trip since it will be a true relocation in light of both Connie's and my health's abnormalities. Lia has both the space for us and the clinical knowledge of the frailties of the human body since her profession for many decades has been with critical care nursing at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The time has arrived for the wife and I to face up to facts, independence is no longer an option. Our plan is to leave Pottstown sometime in August, after a lifetime of 81 eventful years, here.

Since we are not taking our old station wagon with us, we are looking into renting a vehicle for our oneway trip. If anyone knows of a person who wants a vehicle driven to Florida around mid-August please have them contact me at (610 326 0614). By the way, no, I'm not, nor is Connie doing the driving even though in the past we drove the 1200 miles frequently. Also, we have a few things to ship south; such as, boxed clothing, a walker, a table, a couple of benches, some pictures, not much, so if anyone has any suggestions for transporting these items, please contact me also.

I vowed to live out my life here in Pottstown but, hoping is illusive and not cut in stone. It has been the relationships with numerous individual persons that I'll cherish most and think back on often. No, there will be no looking back, just fond memories. The only thing anyone takes with them out of this World is memories: not money, not gems, not houses, nor companions, but, just memories. Thank You ! everyone who we've come in contact with over our lifetime here in Pottstown ! We Love You All !!!

Ronald C Downie & Connie Mae Downie

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Food for Thought

If only I would be hungry for foods I once longed for : for the wholesomeness I remembered, for the pleasantness of a meal long stuck in my brain, now all just memories, more imagination than reality. These days most things I eat taste bland, not tasty : just salty, sweet, or vinegary. Once, I lived to eat ; now, I eat to remain alive.

Thinking back to my father's mother, Wee Anne, a Scot, relocated from Glasgow, Scotland to Yonkers, NY, then to Houck Lane near Harmonyville, Chester County. It's been some sixty-five years since I last tasted her treacle scones, made with liberal amounts of molasses in the batter and then spread over the baked bun, with loving care. Treacle scones and fresh brewed tea were staples of Sunday evenings together : grandchildren, parents, and grandparents.

During my teen and preteen years I remember Sunday mornings because of a distinctive smell. Maybe once a month, Dad would urge Mom to make Kippered Herrings. These dried fish were put up in distinctive cans, sort of oval and low, from Great Britain/Scotland, packed in oil by the Cross and Blackwell brand, I think. Cooking was quite different, though ! The odd shaped, low height can was placed in a pan with an inch or so of water just to the top of the can and the water was brought to a boil. When the fish in oil inside the can was thought fully heated the can was removed from the pan and opened. Wow, what a smell, distinctive and lingering, once smelt, never forgotten. Eating was eventful but, not something you'd want to do on a daily basis, since it stuck so indelible in smell and taste to my memory.

To counter the herring was a desert I really enjoyed, Plum Pudding. Again, put up in a distinctive can by the same label from England/Scotland, Cross&Blackwell, I believe. In a tapered can was a dark concoction of, I guess, plums, raisins, and cake like batter laced with an array of spices. Again the container was immersed in a very hot water bath for heating up its contents before opening the can. Upon opening, the conical desert was center plated for cutting. Certainly the smell was distinctive and pungent, the taste, earthy and hardy. One other thing stood out, which were the accompanying sauces : one was a white sauce, basically a vanilla sauce, that countered the pudding's earthiness. The other, a lemon based heavy sauce, which lingers with me even to today.

I've written over the years about "haggis" and the Robert Burns' birthday dinners complete with haggis, cock a leaky soup, boiled tatters, and a wee dram of Highland elixir. Seems, it's tough to breed out of offspring the tug of smells and tastes found in cooking styles
common to the homeland. Eventually we all become homogenized, sadly.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, May 16, 2016

May Day ! May Day !! May Day !!!

Spring has morphed into Fall ; Summer is but a question mark ; Winter  is figured to be frigid, deep down, to the bone. I write, anymore, like a pessimist when for years I've always been an optimist.

It could be my age since I've pushed past eighty-one and every chill, no matter the season, runs right up my spine. But lately, all chills emanate from my hands to somewhere else in my body like a chain reaction.

My hands were once my strong suit, they could do most anything I asked of them. Essentially, my occupation was that resembling most farmers, hand tools were just arm extensions with lifting heavy and grasping tight commonplace.

Now I look at my knurled, ghostlike hands deeply wrinkled and permanently disfigured and wonder where my youthful hands  have gone ? I guess, their vitality went years ago, left in the ground they turned over or on the implements that required rock hard hands to control.

Aging seems a process which adds up spent years and displays these years on the surface of bodies displayed in retirement homes becoming more numerous each year.

Ronald C Downie

Friday, May 6, 2016

Our Band of Brothers

Yesterday we lost another - Linwood Bieler - who passed from this Earth and now enters into the realm of our memory.

Linwood was tall, athletic, and quite a handsome man who had many accomplishments during his lifetime : his children, his athletics, his employment, his educational endeavors.

Lin left three adult children, two girls and a boy, each with their own children, his grandchildren. Linwood lost his father to the Second World War when he was but a child, thereby, Lin did not get to know his father very well. Linwood was very proud of his offspring who are all professionals in their adult lives.

Athletically, Lin was a member, with many young men his age who played winning baseball, and who are now inshrined in Cooperstown's Baseball Hall Of Fame, for their record of winning fifty plus games in a row. When a senior in high school he played end on Pottstown High School's football team which won the league's championship. An avid golfer, Lin spent quality time on golf courses
both playing and working for the course.

Lin retired from Philco Ford located in the Lansdale area after over 35 years in management. He was always respected and well liked at his employment there.

One of the more impressive episodes of Lin's young life could be found in his dogged determination to get his degree from Ursinus College. Many get degrees from colleges but, getting a degree from a college by only going to "Night School", takes some superhuman effort. Try raising a family, purchasing a home, working full time while going to school a couple nights a week for year after year and you can imagine the stressful implications this implies. Kudos ! to you Mr. Linwood Bieler !

Now, into the Sprit World that memory flows through, we will experience our brother Linwood's existence on Earth from short jolts of expression; like, " Yea, that's what Lin'y would have said." Or, " Lin would have really liked that."

The final vestige of life is that of memory, all that that came before, no matter that no one remembers the fine points of each occurrence but, hopefully, someone who can put a sense of feeling behind occurrences. Ultimately life comes down to feelings not accumulations. We will all enter the Spirit World with little except our bodies and whatever vibes flow with us in some other medium.

May He Rest In Peace !
With Brotherly Love,
Jack Bechtel & Ron Downie