August 27, 2014

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Jim Langham


The literal world of a child PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 1:35 PM

By Jim Langham

When I was a child, my parents were close friends with several families. About once a month, they would all gather at one of the homes for a Sunday afternoon meal and time of games and fellowship following church.

Since there were several boys about the same age out of that mix, it would be fairly accurate to assume that the fellows would sometimes get into a little mischief, not exactly like Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, but not exactly unlike him either.

I can remember one Sunday afternoon that we all arrived at the same time. While the parents were finishing lunch, several of the boys began playing, “knockout flies.” One of the guys, Brice, was often one of the first to get into trouble, whether he was actually misbehaving or not.

 
'Some day you'll understand' PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 2:59 PM

By Jim Langham

She calls me “Booger,” and laughs the moment I walk into the room.

“Grandpa’s funny,” she said last weekend as we sat in the backseat together on our way to a lunch on Saturday. Of course, we had just broken a rice cake together, our own little special, “breaking of the bread.”

The joy of hearing her say, “I like Grandpa’s food,” was a moment of ecstasy, an epiphany of the heart as three generations of memories converged on my mind at the same time. I recalled how I used to stand beside my Grandpa Langham’s pipe stand in Woodburn and threaten to stick my hand down into it.

“Oh, you don’t want to do that,” he would say. “There’s alligators down there.”

 
'The Sounds of Silence' PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 12:59 PM

'The Sounds of Silence'

By Jim Langham

The tune of the oldie, “The Sounds of Silence,” is playing in the back of my mind as I think about the unexpected gift that continues to grow within as I walk on trails in area reserves and rustic quiet spots.

Especially on Sunday afternoons, the Black Swamp Reserve has become a refuge from the ensuing stresses around me and God’s creatures seem to agree. One evening as I pulled into the parking lot, two beautiful female deer were standing in the parking lot.

Surprisingly, rather than breaking away from me, they stood and eyed me over as though they were greeting me to a balm of quietness in the midst of a busy world.

On that particular evening, wild gold asters lined the path surrounding quiet ponds as a relaxed egret seemingly turned the body of water into its own nature spa.

 
Take me out to the ballgame PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 1:50 PM

By Jim Langham

The first time I have any memories of the Chicago Cubs was inside the barbershop where my dad would take me for a haircut. Barber Punk Pontius in downtown Geneva, Ind. had two glass cabinets sitting on the stand across from the barber chair where I sat on a board to elevate me for a haircut.

One cabinet was full of fancy scissors, razors and other tools utilized in giving an old-fashioned haircut worth a sucker and a nickel to those who wouldn’t squirm while he was giving a Mohawk, butch, flat top or pineapple haircut.

The other cabinet was filled with Chicago Cub memorabilia, autographed baseballs, baseball cards of players from the 20’s and 30’s that had captured Punk’s fancy and programs from games he had attended at Wrigley Field.

 
Oooo.... white bucks PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 2:17 PM

By Jim Langham

Keeping white bucks clean was a challenge during marching band days

I can feel it as though it were yesterday, especially during the hot and sticky days of a few days ago, a wool band uniform, heavy hat, complete with plume, white shirt, tight necktie and the infamous white buck shoes that seemed to attract rain storms and street messes with every stomp of the foot.

Marching in the high school band in the late 1950s and early 1960s was anything but comfortable, especially in summer parades and early fall football games.

 
I can tell by your accent PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 2:18 PM

By Jim Langham

When I was a child, our family visited my Aunt Norma (who once ran The Green Pantry Restaurant in Antwerp) and my Uncle Art at their home in Jacksonville, Fla. As we started back to the north, my parents decided to purchase pecans at a road side stand in Georgia.

At the time, I-75 was a thing of the future and markets lined the old U.S. 27 south of Macon. When my mother approached the cashier to pay for her purchase, the lady behind the cash register said, “You’re from Indiana, aren’t you?” It must be understood that at the time, we had traveled very little out of northeast Indiana.

My mother acknowledged that she was and asked the lady how she knew. The friendly cashier responded, “I could tell by your accent.”

My mother didn’t say anything until she climbed into the car. Then, with a bit of huffiness in her voice, she said to my dad, “Well, of all the nerve! How could she say that? She was the one with the accent, not me!”

 
Walk a mile in my shoes PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 3:01 PM

By Jim Langham

I can’t imagine what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a waitress, but both of my daughters used to fill me in when they came home from an evening's work at a nearby eatery.

“This one lady is so nice, she always asks us how we are doing and seems like she really cares about us.”

“There’s this couple that comes in and you can never make them happy, never! They are always going to find something wrong with their place setting, food and the way that I serve them. My heart droops every time they walk in.”

 
The writings of Gene Stratton-Porter PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 1:37 PM

 

By Jim Langham

There’s not a day goes by that is not inspired at some point by the writing and philosophy of an author who was referred to in her time as the “first woman botanist” in America.

 
The 'tales and tails' of Tia PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 2:47 PM

By Jim Langham

It has been 12 years since our home experienced the loss of our last dog. Our Benji, which really did look like a Benji, had gone to his reward, the end of a lifetime chain of “departing dog broken hearts.”

Two of the children were out of the home and Jason was just a couple of years from graduating. A general consensus had been given that there would be no more training sessions with a new doggy and no more sorrow from departing dogs.

So I was quite surprised one Saturday late when I arrived home, opened the door and was met by two little creatures that both ran across my shoes and excused themselves.

It was a rather solemn greeting to the news that Jason and Joyce had made an executive family decision to adopt not only one, but two new pets into our home.

 
I still have some work in me yet PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, August 07, 2013 1:51 PM

By Jim Langham

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet a 99-year-old man across the line in Indiana who just retired from his management of a small rural store, just retired, as a matter of fact, two months ago, at the request of his family.

Howard Pharr claims to have retired after a 95-year career of working, beginning with field work on the family farm on the side of a farm in northern Georgia. That worked increased by the time he was 7 years old and his father was disabled with health problems.

When he launched out, he was still a teenager and he and his brother would haul produce from Georgia to Michigan, then load Michigan potatoes and return to Georgia. Along that route, there was a small “truck drivers’” restaurant with a young waitress named Ruffine serving coffee.

 
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