Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ollie, ollie, oxen free.

Met this guy Gary at our Heritage Week festivities here in New Harmony last year. Lives somewhere near the Kentucky-Tennessee line. Used to be a museum director and now does this thing where he takes his beautiful team of four 6-year-old oxen around to these historical festivals, to show people how it used to be. He does other things, but this is the one with which I’m most familiar.

The oxen are amazing creatures. Rare to be around animals of their sort these days, unless one lives on a farm. He’s very kind to them, never takes to the whip, always praises good work. We could all learn a variety of lessons...

Gary looks a tough customer—visually reminds me more than a little of Picasso—but he’s actually a lovely, gentle man. Quiet force of nature. Not unlike his charges.

I didn’t photograph him last year. Friends Bill Steber and Pat Casey Daley were here and we had a great time talking and hanging out with Gary and the team. Wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by again when I found he was here this year (last weekend).

Monday, April 20, 2009

St. Looey.

We had a nice weekend trip to St. Louis recently. Got lots of good tips from a friend who just moved to NH from St. Louis a few months ago. Good bookstores, great meals, vintage records, wonderful architecture, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, oh, and that Arch thingy...

Like Brooklyn and Terry Molloy in On the Waterfront, St. Louis “coulda been a contender”—still a lot of fabulous energy to the place. Can only imagine what it was like in its heyday.

The nicest weather day, we mostly spent toodling around the botanical gardens. I didn't want to schlep my camera around, so these were taken with the trusty Olympus Stylus digital, little “Orangey.” Had just revisited some Dale Chihuly documentaries, so it was nice to have fresh eyes on three pieces of Dale’s work that the gardens purchased from a show he had there a few years back (pictured below).

Oh, and if you’re ever looking for a great but inexpensive place in StL., we stayed at a really great little weird mock-tudor 60s hotel called the Cheshire Lodge. On the southwest corner of Forest Park. Genuine (or at least well-intended) in a way that very few new hotels are. Themed without being “themey”—not exactly Ian Schrager.