Green Knoll

 

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Green Knoll

Green Knoll was a settler’s community.  Located in the southern part of Lincoln County, CO.  It is one of the most sparsely populated areas of Colorado, about one person for every 10 square miles.  During the early 1900’s it was homestead land where one could pursue their dreams. 

 

When there is moisture in the land, it looks bountiful and productive ground.  Then it forgets to rain and the land becomes parched.  Yet the knoll the school house was located on was green.  The rolling land would stretch out like a green carpet after it rained.  For the early settler it was enticing.

 

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Homes were built, there were families with children.  Times were plentiful, with optima a school was built and a Post Office was located in the farm home across the road.  Then the Dust Bowl struck, dreams were dashed and blown away. 

 

People fled the land that was no longer productive and today there are a few that hung on still work the land.  The few ranch homes in the area are miles apart.  Yet on the Knoll that was Green, the remains of the school house can be seen and across the road is where the Post Office had been. 

 

For the few people that venture into the area, consider it lonely.  The few that remain, this is home.  The wide open vacant land that stretches to the horizon is where they make their living.  The rolling pastures are their offices. 

 

The occasional critter dies and their bleached bones are laid out across the prairie.  Over on far horizon can been seen a windmill.  Sitting in silence, a monument to man to make a living on the land. 

 

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Years ago before the Dirty Thirties, this was the land of hopes and dreams and people traveled out here to live.  Today, people would ask why.   Well one has to understand the conditions the people in Europe were living in at that time. 

 

So my little pickup goes bouncing down the dusty country road looking for more lost dreams. 

 

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Time Machine.

 

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Passing Time

 

For eons, Man has tried to control his environment, let nature he was in control.  One of the hardest aspects to control was time, it cannot be saved, nor can it be predicted let alone stopped.  Time marches at its own pace.   Some of the earlier attempts at control were sundials, very nice ornate ones, to a simple stick in the dirt.  All these tools did was measure the passage of time. 

 

For centuries, writers have created all types of devices to travel in time and slow down time to the point of stopping time.  The library is full of books about time machines.  The flights of fancy of the writer knows no limits when it comes to manipulating time.  Over the centuries man has invented machines to measure time.  Simple devices such as an hour glass to a more sophisticated devices called clocks.  Today there are atomic clocks that measure time in milli-seconds. 

 

All this is based on fast our planet rotates, which is erratic.  So man made a thing called leap day to balance out time and create the illusion that they can control time. 

 

Towns built clock towers so all of the townspeople could see the time.  Others had town criers that walked about the time shouting out the time.  An artificial regimen for doing jobs was created by these ways of measuring time.  Then as smaller clocks were made, one could have their own personal timepiece in their home.  With the addition of the alarm, the time machine began to control people lives, rather than people controlling time. 

 

Soon these timepieces were shrunk even more, where a person could carry it with them.  The pocket watch became a status symbol and the richer one was, the more ornate the watch became.  Pocket watches were jewel encrusted, gold or silver plated and many had very detailed engravings on them.  The pocket watch would be attached to fobs of all types, again a status symbol or membership in an organization indication. 

 

The watch would be retrieved from its pocket and flashed about in a ritual.  Many had flip covers for the glass and the process of opening the cover became very stylized.  The personal timepiece had arrived and for the few that could afford one, this status symbol was flaunted by many. 

 

Isn’t that a human flaw of one upmanship or want to be separate as an individual.  To be outstanding and in control. 

 

With the oncoming industrial world, the time piece became more numerous.  The boss flicking out his watch, making sure his employees arrived on time.  The boat captain making sure his ship was on schedule.  The shopkeeper making sure he opened his store on time.  Then with the coming of the railroad, clocks were essential to keep the trains on schedule.  The railroad watch became an icon, couple of centuries ago.

 

It was also the railroad that standardized time and developed time zones.  Until that era, towns set their own times.  A train could leave town two bucks short at 10:45 am going west and arrive at bucks two town at 10;30 am.  With all the different times, it became very confusing on train schedules.  So the railroads set their own times to operate their trains on.  Eventually the towns followed, adopting the RR standard time. 

 

The time on the railroaders pocket watch soon became the measure of time.  One would set their watches to schedule of the trains passing by.  The train engineer would keep his watch in the small pocket on his bib overalls and the RR conductor had the vest pocket to store his pocket watch in.  For the read of folks a small pocket was sewn in the pants and here the pocket watch could be stored out of harm’s way.  Pocket watches were attached to fobs of all types.  Long cords or strings or small metal fobs embossed to indicate their profession or decorative fobs. 

 

With the advent of the wristwatch, the pocket watch remained king of status symbols.  The gold chain stretching across the vest, the chain looping into the watch pocket.  At times of retirement, the pocet watch was still a symbol to treasure. 

 

Eventually the wristwatch came to rule the timepieces, displacing the pocket watch.  Today the watch is close to extinction as digital time keepers are replacing watches.  Pull the phone out check the time, look up on the health monitor an see the time. I suppose someday a person carrying a watch of any type could become a fossilized status symbol.  There are so many digital devices out there, it is hard to see any of them becoming a status symbol. 

 

The three piece suit with the gold watch chain, was probably the last great symbol of status.  Even the multimillion dollar watches could not rival the pocket watch for status and measuring time. 

 

There was a touch of character, to ride the train and watch the railroaders monitor their pocket watches at the train sped down the rails.  Ride the street trolley and watch the driver keep his schedule watching his pocket watch at the stops to keep his route on schedule.  Pulling out the phone to see the time is way lacking. 

 

Oh well, that era is bygone and much like my pocket watches, time has stopped.

 

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Life Magazine

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The Devils of Spring

Every spring thru summer, the weather brings us the massive thunder storms and many times the tornadoes.  Life magazine did a short article on the captivating pictures of these massive storms.  Soaring thunderheads are spectacular and fearsome.  They roar a bellow with lightening cracking the thunderbolts’. 

Skin crawls, eyes bulge and the wonderment rivals the fear.  The crashing of hail, pounding on roof, beating venation to its knees.  Lightening flashing across, striking the tree, fire erupting to be extinguished by the drops of water.  Huddling in the cellar, listening to the roar slashing overhead, waiting for the quiet. 

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The fearsome beautiful monster passes on by.  Trees twisted, homes in pieces and shambles, dreams to be rebuilt. 

Storms will always be with us and a few will always be in harm’s way.  Then there are those who go storm chasing.  Wanting to watch the brute power form, hear the effects of the monster scream across the land.  Cameras in hand, recording the beasts.

Weather has been recorded in literature and myths throughout the eons.  The thunder god of the Norse and his Hammer, the lightning bolts being hurled down off the mountain by Zeus and the list goes on. 

Harness the energy of the weather, has been a quest for centuries.  The sails on the boats, one of the earliest.  Then the windmills to grind grains and then to pump water and do other chores.  Yet all the energy of the fierce storms goes untapped because of its strength.  Just way to much there for man to tame, so they record it and take pictures. 

The beauty of nature in its many forms. 

50’s traveler

 

 

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Traveling During The 50’s

 

            After WWII, America began a transition from the Poverty Flats of the 30’s to one of prosperity.    The retuning soldiers had combat pay, factories were no longer in war mode and rations were lifted.  A new chapter was unfolding; Travel was no longer restricted to the rich or the tramps.  Now middle class America had surplus money. 

            To indulge in country wide tours was now within the grasp of most everyone.  The bus was not restricted to rails like the trains were.  By bus one could travel the country a a leisurely pace and be driven to the front door of the lodging.  Bus companies like Greyhound, offered personalized tours of America’s natural wonders and its unique features. 

            It was a new experience for the folks that had survived the depression of the 30’s.  Like the rich, Joe Citizen could travel to and experience America’s playgrounds.  During the 50’s, bus travel was accommodating and semi-luxurious.  A freedom that few had only dreamed of, was now a reality.

 

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            Adventure off to exotic places, such as New Mexico and see the pre=historic villages of the Indians.  Maybe visit the sight of the big bomb or soak in the culture of the artists.  New vistas were now available to the average person. 

 

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Gold Dome

 

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Colorado State Capitol

With the teacher rally/protest/strike and or protests at the Capitol building in Denver, thought a small odd ball tid bit would be of some interest to a few. 

Located on a ridge overlooking, Colorado’s capitol has a panoramic view of the Front Range.  Until the trees grew up, the building also dominated the Denver skyline.  Today the Capitol no longer dominates like it once did.  The trees are much taller and the nearby buildings are also more dominant on the skyline. 

The area around the capitol building, acquired the name Capitol Hill.  The complexion the neighborhood has changed over the years.  It has went from and elite area, to run down and back again.  All walks of life could be found in the area, the variety was endless.  The vibrancies of the neighborhood were in constant flux.

Bums and tramps like the area around the capitol building, because it was good panhandling and places to catch 40 winks.  The security people that patrolled the grounds got to know most of the tramps and for the most part left them be.  Tourists’ were in and out of the building and wandered around the grounds taking pics and gazing at the golden dome. 

Tramps would wander among them panhandling or offering stories about the area, anything for a handout.  Mix in the occasional protestor(s) and there would be moments on the Capitol grounds. 

It had been an early spring shower and the patrolman was walking the Capitol grounds.  There at the corner of the building a tramp was bent over picking things up from the ground.  Seeing nothing ominous, the patrolman just walked on by and they exchanged pleasantries.  A few days later any rain rolled over the capitol.  Again the guard was patrolling the building and there was the tramp.  All huddled up and bent over the ground picking things up.  The two nodded to each other and went about their business. 

It had been a heavy rain and the tramp was on the grounds again all bent over picking through the dirt.  This time the guard stopped and watched what the tramp was doing.  There at the end of the drain spout, the tramp was hunched over.  With tweezers, he was picking out small flakes of gold.  The tramp then moved on to the next drain and started again, picking out flakes of gold.

When the tramp had finished going around the Capitol building and picking out the gold flakes.  He would head out for the Pawn Shop where he could sell his gold flakes.  The patrolman watched the process and sure enough, the nest rain storm.  Here came the tramp after the rain had quit.  Down on his knees at the first drain spout he was picking up gold flakes.  After the rain, small flakes of gold would detach from the gold dome on the state capitol. 

The tram had created his own little industry of cleaning up the capitol grounds and making a nice profit for a bottle of wine.  Soon it was the grounds maintenance people that were out there cleaning out the drainage and had things covered over.  The tramp had lost his source of income. 

Federal DOJ

 

 

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US Justice Department

 

            With all the turmoil and politics in today’s Justice Department, I found this article interesting.  Life magazine in 1954 wrote a story about the US Attorney General.  He was listed as leading the world’s largest law firm.  This was during the Eisenhower Administration. 

            In the first paragraph, Life Mag. Noted that Brownwell was cleaning up the department.  Sound familiar, in today’s political climate.  More then 50 years ago, there were problems in the DOJ.  It also points out how easy it is for government agencies to wander outside the lines.  It is nothing new, bureaucrats operating outside of government guidelines has been a story more then a couple of centuries old. 

            Yet here is a story in a national magazine about the DOJ head trying to clean up his department.

            The DOJ wields lots of influence and power, considering they are the federal police agency.  Not only is the FBI under the DOJ, so are all the Federal US Attorney’s and their offices, Federal Prisons and today that includes Homeland Security, plus all the other agencies.  The US Attorney General also provides recommendations to the President for Judgeships to be filled.  One can see that their influence is far reaching.

            In 1950’s, the DOJ had around 33,000 employees.  Today it is about three times that many, with over 117, 0000 employees. 

            It is amazing how history rolls in circles as it repeats itself.  Different chapters, same names, just a; larger cast. 

After WWII

 

 

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The Equalizer

 

            At the end of the war, the soldiers returned home.  Many with large sums of money from combat pay.  The automobile brought them the freedom of the road and a way to travel home.  With an auto, the world had become the GI’s oyster. 

 

The soldiers returned home, married their sweetheart, bought a home and began the American dream.  The car allowed him to live a distance from his job and no longer have to walk or catch the trolley.  The auto was a freeing mode of transportation that opened many doors that had only been open to the rich. 

 

Now the family could take vacations, live in the country, drive to the shore or just have a Sunday picnic at the park.  The automobile had become more then a status symbol, it had become an icon of freedom.  The glorious freedom of defeating the enemy was found in many ways back home.  The car gave the average person a way to expand their boundaries.  Not be restricted to where public transportation took them.  Hop in the car and be down the road a hundred miles in a couple of hours. 

 

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With all the cars on the road, the giant auto industry grew beyond the dreams of many.  Splashy car ads were all over.  Aftermarket auto parts became a big business.  Cars of the 50’s were pretty easy to work on, and the backyard mechanic showed up.  . 

 

The weekend was a time to tinker with the new fangled horseless carriage.  No longer was there the crank, cars now had starters.  Radios were standard and the radio DJ’s were becoming a new phenomena.  There was an era on the horizon that many like to relive today. 

 

In the back of the barn, under years of dust, sits the WWII veterans’ first car.  It is now surrounded by other cars that he has bought and stored with his very first car.  It is a memory that has become indelible.  A moment that has been etched on the fabric of society. 

 

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