Monday, October 27, 2014

"Sport" - Free Of Referees

Sport ( botany ) has a different connotation than sport talked about in daily life. In a horticultural setting  
the word "sport" refers to an abnormality in a plant's growth habit that causes a growth to form on the shrub or tree inconsistent with normal texture, color, or size from its traditional habit. From these abnormalities most dwarf plants stem and are further cultivated into the general landscape.

A terrific "sport" specimen is highly visible 30 feet up in a white pine tree from my front porch rocking chair. I've watched this growth from my vantage point for many years growing larger and more compact in my neighbor's white pine tree along St. John's Street. The old Shaner Homestead ( 767 N. Evans St. ) was recently sold and is being remodeled as we speak. 

If anyone knows of an interested party who, through climbing the tree to further evaluate the "sport" with a closer look, maybe the new owner would oblige, if asked. I estimate the "sport" to be about 8 foot around, about the same tall, in its present extremely compact nature. The study of nature, especially close at hand, can be fulfilling to a naturalist who's freed finally from books.

Ronald C. Downie 
The Carousel - PTC #9 -

Round and round, up and down,
Horse and lion, giraffe and hound,
Children laughing, smiling, asking,
Please, please ! Again, again !
Another ride ! Please, again !

Nostalgia, dreams, oh memory,
Young and old, all, everybody,
Climb abroad ! The organ plays 
Familiar tunes of bygone days .

1905 at the birth of Century Twenty
Wood carving artisans hew a plenty
Standards and jumpers to stencil then paints
Murals of landscapes, portraits of Saints .

The ring, the ring, get the brass ring,
Coveted is such a small round thing .
Heart jumping, anticipation high
Circling round and around for another try .

One hundred years soon gone by
Hark, listen to echoes of a joyous cry
Melded within these ancient pieces
For boys and girls, nephews and nieces .

In tribute to you fine workers all :
Helpers, investors, you believers tall,
We will honor his memory forevermore
For the living : those happy, healthy, and well
The Derek Scott Saylor Memorial Carousel .

   Ronald C . Downie 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Escaping Stories Written Down 

Genesis 1 . . . We must escape
The bondage slog of daily gyre
To free Wisdom's intrepid wings
From Hades' fire . . . Revelations 22 .

Three hundred long dark years went by 
Assemble, vote,"U'ah, we got scripture !"
Talk about miracles, then they manipulate
The Gospels in praise of Heaven's rapture .

Those monkish scribes of walled in thoughts
Lay to the demands of their zealot priests;
Archangels fly, "Come in" calls out Noah,
Christ walks on water, holds Passover Feasts.

Two thousand years pass, the plot thickens :
Priests, monks, pastors, cathedrals, spires,
Holliday choirs, candles, especially crosses,
Madrigals, Holly Hymns, all feed Man's desires.

"Why are we here ?" and "Who are we ?"
Unanswered still. Who will please intercede 
On our behalf before the Lord, just because
We are lowly and unfit to plead our own need.

We wish our waters pure, our air clean to breathe,
Sufficient sustenance for all, a good strong society.
We must seek beauty everywhere, do no one harm,
Make Our World better, for us, and for all of thee.

Ronald C . Downie  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

 Hand Over Hand

Inconspicuous, all these past years, are my hands. They served their purpose willingly doing my bidding over and over again without forethought. Today and for the rest of my life they've become a huge liability. The constant pain from advanced neuropathy continues to increase; it seems, daily. The resent bout of deep infection in my left thumb seems to be over, although I still have a couple of weeks left in a three a day regiment of an antibiotic pill prescription. I'll be happy when the pills are no longer needed, they taste so awful and leave me with a pit in the stomach, deep heartburn.

Many people are in my condition, most are a lot worse off than me, and I feel for them. We are those, where the cure seems too often more imposing on their lives, than the original problem. I'm suggesting to take the cure, no matter how foul it is, because the alternative generally is worse. Discomfort can be yucky; the alternative fatal.

Care for your hands : frequent washing and proper drying ; apply moisturizing lotion : liberally, timely, and sufficiently. Don't allow yourself to take these appendages for granted ; your hands are more important to you than just to handle utensils, in fact, in some countries they are a major component needed in order to talk. 

Remember : "A hand up generally trumps a hand out!"

Ronald C. Downie
Facebook Friends

Recently I acquired a few more friends on Facebook so I'm inviting all of them to read my postings on my blog -thepostedpoet.blogspot.com -

Much of what I blog, if short enough, I also post on Facebook for all to read. Don't get me wrong, since I've started writing, I've always stated that I write for my own enjoyment and if anyone reads it I'm especially happy. 

Living in and around Pottstown for all but 80 years and accomplished most everything I've tackled, except being healthy and ambulatory at this age, I urge all others to take up writing. For me, writing is therapeutic by its insistence on keeping the mental juices flowing. The stimulation that writing forces the brain to do keeps the brain from atrophying into dementia. You all know the symptoms. Try writing to ward them off.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lessons Learned From An Orchard Man

It was with measured sadness when I learned of the end of operations at the Ringing Hill Orchard last week. The Mercury reported the end after seventy some years in operation. Thinking back, it was seventy some years ago since I worked there. Mr. Bill Hampton, grandfather of the present owners, was running the orchard on a day to day basis from his roll top desk when he hired me.

Even during my elementary school days I was big for my age so Mr. Hampton assigned me to be a ground man. I was to walk along side of the wagon and lift the picked fruit baskets from the ground and place them on the wagon for another boy to slide them into place for the ride back to the sorting station. I was happy and willing to trade hard work for the experience of earning a few dollars. Dollars which went home to mom for house expenses except for a small allowance for me to buy candy or a movie ticket. At 30 cents an hour, I wasn't a big earner.

Mr. Hampton was old to me then, like an old gruff grandfather, running a tough business based on the weather and fruit trees which needed constant attention. He seemed to have plan and under his wing things happened in positive ways, the fruits matured and were brought in then off to final market places. He taught me one of life's universal lessons.

"Hey boy !" he hollered at me, " Get that broom stick and get in my truck". The truck was a car chassis, roof cut off with and a homemade stake body where the rear seat once was. Off we drove up through the orchard stopping at a quite young tree maybe 3 or 4 inches in trunk diameter just up from ground level. Hop down he said and take that broomstick handle and beat that tree trunk, all around it. I timidly hit at the trunk and he, very agitatedly, scolded me for my timidness and, with some strong language, urged me to be more aggressive which I was. The bark cracked in places which pleased him so we moved on to other trees of similar size and age where I applied my vigor to them and his pleasure.

On the ride back to his office in the storage barn Mr. Hampton explained the reason behind what we had just done. Fruit trees, like all living organisms, produce, when under stress, more flowers therefore more fruit which are the carriers of seeds. Seeds are the ultimate extenders of the species. Even in humans, stress in a sector of a society will increase the birth rate so that society will have a better chance to live on. Scarring the trunk was an early orchard man's way of tricking fruit trees to do his bidding. The scars healed and gave no lasting affect to the trees except getting them to produce earlier and in more abundance. 

"Spare the rod, spoil the child" rings yet in my ears.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, October 20, 2014

Living Longer

The scientific community must be crazy thinking a guy like me should live decades longer just because they've isolated a gene or two that will give me replacement organs for those I've worn out. Hell, I've already out lived many of my buddies that I grew up with. 

We were from that generation just post depression, pre- WW2. That generation that was too young for a big war- too old for the next, some undeclared conflict. We were big on butter and lard, on hotdogs and bacon, on cigarettes and booze, on drive-in-movies and drag racing; yea, we rarely took care of ourselves.

Maybe, I've outlasted my friends because of my ancestral genes. Genes that were nurtured in the rugged upslopes of Scottish Highlands covered in heather and free range game. Did genes gain their grit from tossing of the caber or wielding a broad sword ? Or could it be from eating oatmeal and haggis a diet my ancestors cut their teeth on, that produced these genes I possess.

No, most likely it is by chance that I'm here instead of them. Probably it is because of my wife, Constance, who is my caregiver, the mother of our two daughters and a son, the keeper of the homestead, and she remains today the earner in the family. She keeps stresses to a minimum as those who know her will attest to. Please, I'm no candidate for longevity, neither by chance nor choice, so I'm here until I expire from normal causes.

Ronald C. Downie