Friday, April 2, 2021


A Mr. Cranky's neighborhood episode

Image by Bessi from Pixabay

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — A Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Viewing with a tablet or a monitor is highly recommended for maximum enjoyment.  

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month." -Henry Van Dyke

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders)

It must be Spring. 

In the course of a single recent day, I encountered the three wise men for the first time in a while, Picasso man wheeled his way down the sidewalk in front of my house as I was looking out the window, and my favorite Morman — the 80-year old that lives next door — was in his backyard prepping his Can-Am Spyder for fresh adventures.

Consilience or cosmic coinkydink?  

"Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway..."

If not for the fact he's much more likely to be seen on the back of one of his two-riding lawn mowers than his motorcycle when the weather's nice I'd get him a leather jacket with Missionaries on Motorcycles written on the back.

While walking around my very quiet and very old neighborhood, I refer to the age of most of the houses and many of my neighbors, I've been trying out a new greeting when I encounter a fellow Citizen of the Republic of a certain age. 

"Good morning and/or evening (I never walk in the afternoon), looks like we've survived another Northern Ohio winter and the plague!"

Some version of "Well, so far anyway" is the reply I almost always receive unless it's one of the very few people I encounter regularly and who don't regard me as a potential threat. The demeanor of most, often as not, clearly expresses that they're prepared to sic their dog on me if I should do or say something that confirms their suspicions.  

When I cross paths with younger adults I limit myself to good morning and/or evening. They usually toss one back at me but often look surprised. 

Why's that geezer talking to me? I wish I had brought the dog.       

Teens almost always look startled and uncomfortable and mumble a half-hearted reply or none at all. If there's more than one there's often giggling and speaking in hushed tones as they walk away trying to make sense of what just happened.

The elusive, unaccompanied younger kid(s) also is likely to look startled and uncomfortable and also mumble a half-hearted reply or none at all. Their demeanor displays a fight or flight response as their eyes dart around in search of the best escape route. 

There's a reason the expression Northern hospitality is not a thing. 

[Maybe it's just you?]      

Entirely possible, Dana. I may have the soul of an artist but it's trapped behind/inside the face/body of a non-speaking extra in an old school gangster movie.

Assuming he's lived long enough to have grey hair and has no visible scars.

We have new streetlights, or rather, new streetlight bulbs on some of the streets of Hooterville. The old bulbs were encased in a sort of shroud/cover that diminished the harshness of the light a bit. The shrouds/covers didn't do much to reduce the light pollution in our little Ohio "city" but they helped.

The new bulbs are just sort of there. No cover, quite bright, and high-tech looking. Hopefully, there's a phase two pending in which the shrouds/covers will return.  

Not that (almost) any location in Northeast Ohio is good for stargazing despite the fact there's no shortage of ruralness in the region southwest of the thriving megalopolis of Cleveland.

Lake Erie not only produces lake-effect snow once it freezes over in the winter it generates a lot of cloud cover a lot of the time.

And now, since multimedia entertainment is considered cool and cutting edge, I'm a cynical old crank, and it's my column, here's a video version of an old Randy Newman song, Burn On, about the time the Cuyahoga River caught on fire in Cleveland. 

"Cleveland, city of light, city of magic."

The good news is that both Lake Eire and the Cuyahoga River are in much better shape than when the song was written. The bad news is that most of the factories and steel mills (and thousands of jobs) that caused the problem are now polluting China.

[Is ruralness a real word?]

Absabalutely, Dana. 

[Wait-wait-wait. You said almost any location. Where...]

Observatory Park. Described by Google Maps as a "green space for hiking and stargazing." I've never been there but now that I know about it I might pay a visit... after the plague is under control.  

I'm embarrassed to admit that even though I've been temporarily living in Ohio for 35 years I only recently became aware of its existence. Observatory Park I mean, not the Buckeye state. 

A quick bit o' googlin' revealed that it's one of only 8, or 10, or 27 parks recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association in the US. (I love living in the Information Age.)

Anyways, it's located in a rural part of Geauga County (between me and Cleveland) that has minimal light pollution, and the folks that run the park work with local officials to keep it that way. Unfortunately, it's as subject to cloud cover as the rest of this region so clear nights are catch-as-catch-can.

Maybe I could get a room... 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Comment, share this column, or access older columns below. If my work pleases you you can buy me some cheap coffee with PayPal or plastic.    

Feel free to comment/like/follow/cancel/troll me on Cranky's Facebook page.

Cranky don't tweet.     



No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't demonize, compromise