TSGS Cruiser Blog

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Goofy Riding a Horse?"


Goofy riding his horse!
I thought this was an interesting garden ornament that is right next to the Newburgh Rivertown Trail. Hey, who is that person in the left glass door panel? Click on the photos to get a larger, better image.

- Photos taken by JGWest

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Newburgh's Rivertown Trail"

Rivertown Trail
Newburgh, Indiana

Becky & I decided to take a stroll along Newburgh's new walkway & bicycle path along the river. A lady told us that the complete trail was 4 miles long, we started at the new part which was about 2 miles. We took our time along the way resting on benches and just enjoying the fresh air and whatever we might see along the Ohio River. We saw quite a bit actually, including a ground hog about 20 feet from us (it got away before I could get a picture).
The trail ends on the east end at an observation point called "Indian Hill" - the above gateway has a white stone marker "Indian Hill 1924"
These two very large trees were up by the observation point. Becky is standing by the giant cypress tree. I think the huge tree above is a catalpa tree (this one may be two or three trees grown together!).
Below is the Observation Deck overlooking the Newburgh Lock & Dam.
The rest room facilities were not as nice as the rest of the trail features as you can see in the photo below. It was difficult to go down the bank to use it. I am kidding, of course, but this is a tool shed that was washed up on the river bank after our last very high river.
We had fun walking the trail, talking with lots of friendly southern Indiana folks who we met along the way. Our legs were sore for 3 or 4 days afterwards, but it was a high temp day with low humidity and a very nice breeze.

- Photos taken by JGWest

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tombstone Thursday - Mom, Dad & Sgt. Martin


Each Memorial Day, Becky & I decorate the graves of family members who have gone before us. We always place a U.S. flag on the graves of those in the family that served in the military. Below is a photo of my parents grave in Alexander Memorial Cemetery in Evansville. Earlier I had a small flag for Dad that would touch soil if I pushed the flag pole in the ground, so I had to put it with the flowers in the vase... it did not show well and it distracted the pastel colors that Mom always liked in the flowers that I chose for her. So, I got a larger flag with a longer pole and brought ti to replace that short one as seen below.

We parked at the curb as we always do to get to Mom & Dad's graves. I noticed the grave of Zerah Martin with his marker right next to the curb. I have never seen any flowers on his grave or even an American flag that he served under during World War II... so, I decided this Memorial Day, I would remember Sgt. Martin. I placed the flag I had exchanged from Dad's grave on this soldier's grave & placed a few flowers by his marker to say thanks for serving our country when we needed him!
- Photos taken by JGWest

[Tombstone Thursday is dedicated in memory of Donald G. West 1952-2000]

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mesker Park Zoo Lion's Head


Well, where is the lion's head?

My apologies for my delay in announcing the location of the lion's head. Memorial Day was much busier than I had thought it would be. Part of my time was spent with grandchildren, part with going to two cemeteries, but a big chunk of time was discovering new information on my wife's birth family going back three more generations!

OK, everyone should know by now that the lion's head is in Evansville's Mesker Park Zoo. I believe that the lion's head was part of the old Karl Knecht Building that housed the "Big Cats" (lions, tigers, etc.). About 1989, this building was torn down and soon a new building was being built on the same site. This building is the Discovery Center (opened in 1992) that is near the old entrance in the park's south eastern part, high on the hill above the Monkey Ship. The lion's head must have been salvaged and placed on the Discovery Center building's north side toward the west end. As you go out the building's north exit there is a very large round grinding stone lying flat on a pedestal that makes it into one large round bench for people to sit & rest. The lion's head is just to the west of this bench on the north exterior wall. This area basically just takes you outside the building and you can walk around to the west side where the main entry is to the Discovery Center. See this PDF map of the zoo: http://www.meskerparkzoo.com/tour/MPZ_Map_Final.pdf

Tyrone Bragg was the first person to make a guess and he was so close. He thought it was the building that had the "big cats" which was correct before 1989 when that building was torn down. No one came closer... so, Ty, my Air Force ROTC buddy from our college days at Evansville College (now - University of Evansville), is the winner of the mystery of the lion's head by default! Patty Frey was second to guess the "big cat" house. Several people came close to getting the answer: Diane West of Huntsville, Alabama was one of the earliest to zero in on the possible location, but did not name the Discovery Center. Diane married my nephew Glenn West and may have only been in Evansville once when her family spent the night with us on their way from South Carolina to her home in Iowa. My buddy from Warrick County & the Giant Flea Market, Joseph Brown, may have realized it was on the Discovery Center, but he never actually said so.

I want to thank everyone for participating in this little mystery of the location of the zoo's lion head. I hope you learned a little more about Evansville's Zoo. Go there to see the world's oldest hippo, Donna, who will turn 60 this year. The Amazonia Exhibit is worth seeing all by itself. If you have not been to the zoo for a while, there is a new entrance to the zoo off Mesker Park Drive right across from the old amusement park that had one of the world's largest merry-go-rounds!

- Thanks, JGWest

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TSGS Hall of Shame


Cemetery in Lawrence near Boston, MA

There is no excuse for the community to let this problem continue [click on link above!]. Watch the video about the cemetery. The Superintendent may have his hands tied with lack of funds, but recruiting volunteers should not be that hard. A fund raiser would be a good way to generate enough money to hire someone to weed-eat around the markers. Where are the Boy Scouts or 4-H members who are great volunteers for this type of "Good Citizenship!" When I was Superintendent of the Evansville (Indiana) 2 city-owned cemeteries almost 20 years ago. We had "work release" prisoners help maintain the cemeteries, along with people with minor legal infractions that needed to complete a couple hundred hours of "Community Service" as ordered by a judge. A civilized community can be judged by how well they respect their dead. Lawrence is proving to have very little respect for their dead. Sad, indeed!

- Compiled by JGWest [Link & story was posted on FaceBook by Bill West]

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Respect Cemetery Workers!


[Day 8 Lion's Head Location Final Clue/Hint: To discover the location of the lion's head, go to the North, exit by the very large grinding stone & look West . Check the previous daily clues. See TSGS Cruiser Blog ~http://tsgsblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/guess-where-this-lions-head-is-located.html]

Courtesy For Cemetery Workers & Volunteers

This Memorial Day weekend, I have gone to several cemeteries to decorate graves of loved ones & many of my ancestors. In Owensboro, I was surprised that a person had called ahead for the cemetery staff to look for the location of the grave he wanted to visit. I thought that sure was a good idea for him and the staff. I mentioned that to Chris Cooke at Evansville's Oak Hill Cemetery. Chris stated that it really helps him & the staff to look things up when they are not busy and then have it all waiting for the person when they arrive. At Owensboro they told me that some people request 20 grave locations at once and expect them to stop whatever they are doing and take them to each grave - they can not take that much time with photographers for Find-A-Grave or even genealogists. Most cemetery employees are happy to help you find the graves of your loved ones and even an ancestor or two, but remember that they have other work to do, as well, and in most cases it is preparation for a funeral or cemetery grounds maintenance. They maintain the grounds, inter the remains of the deceased, and maintain the cemetery records. Unfortunately, cemetery superintendents/managers have to deal with vandalism far more than what most of us might imagine.

The main thing is be courteous to these employees/volunteers at the cemetery... during holidays like Memorial Day, these people have to work! I have found that even if the person you deal with is not being friendly or seems aggravated that you are bothering them, that if you try to be nice & friendly - they will help you more. In Owensboro on Friday, the manager actually took me out to the unmarked grave of my grandfather's after I had searched and was not sure where it was. I had been friendly and they knew I had tried on my own first.

Sometimes, Mother Nature or Father Time causes deterioration or damage to tombstones or grave sites (let alone vandals). But, in these cases, it is not the cemetery's staff to blame. If it has been raining everyday for 2 weeks, the grass will not be well groomed. If there was a hard rain the night before, there will be mud on markers and possibly partial sunken graves. A heavy wind storm will break-off limbs all through the cemetery. Workers appreciate you letting them know where the problems are, but generally, they will not be able to run and take care of it immediately.

These past 4-5 days I went through 7 cemeteries... and I saw limbs down, mud on top of the flat markers, standing water in flat & low areas and grass that was a lot higher than I like to wade through. However, we have had some very bad weather conditions for quite some time. Grounds crews were on mowers flying around leaving tire tracks in the rain-soaked ground in an attempt to mow down the grass! You could hear or see crews using chain saws cutting up large fallen trees & limbs. Tough time to show-off the cemetery grounds after all of the rain & high winds in the tri-state area. I saw some really bad spots that mud covered several markers completely. And, if that was my Mother's grave, I would be upset; however, it is not the cemetery's fault - Mother Nature gets the blame. I could go to the office and put in a polite work request to have the mud cleaned off at there convenience... I might ask them to email me when they get it done so I could return to pay my respects.

We generally go to cemeteries to show our respect for our lost loved ones, please show some respect to those who work to maintain their final resting place.

- Written by JGWest