Alabaster alligators, giant white dogs, spherical ivory beings with stony eyes and smiles—the forecast is for snow and I can’t wait! I’m planning neither to ski nor go sledding and I find driving in the white
stuff tedious and tense. Of course, with flakes gliding to earth like a rain of stars, I enjoy falling snow’s beauty as much as anyone. Nevertheless, even a blizzard’s eye-appeal isn’t my principal attraction. It’s the aftermath which I find most intriguing. Before the nuisance of shoveling is complete, impromptu sculptures begin arising in backyards, on front lawns and school playgrounds, in public parks and along roadsides.
It may be the last working phone booth in America someday. I certainly hope so. A block from my home and located in LaSalle Market, the sturdy red communications cubicle lends this eatery and convenience grocery an old timey feel as much as the tin ceiling. It’s the real deal with a bifold glass door that closes easily, an overhead light and fan, a seat, and a telephone that takes coins. It’s a sung place where outside sounds are muffled and a phone conversation can be held in privacy.
Common less than a generation ago, phone booths were typically found in movie theaters, at gas stations, pharmacies, municipal parks, on busy street corners and elsewhere. By the 1980s, booths began giving way to pedestal style public phones because they were easier to maintain and less subject to vandalism. Today, even these are disappearing, victims of ubiquitous cell phones which, depending on coverage, enable individuals to make calls from wherever they find themselves without the effort of reaching into a pocket for coins.
Join Celebration program host Charlotte Neild for a wide ranging interview with me in search of wonders hidden in plain sight. We explore everything from Quonset huts to abandoned cemeteries and talk about the power of positive looking to make every day life more vibrant. Go to http://126.96.36.199/Cablecast/Public/Show.aspx?ChannelID=1&ShowID=27582 to see the program. It may change the way you look at the world.
A map fell from a cluttered pile of papers as I tried putting them away. Within an hour I found myself on an unexpected journey. As representations of places near and far, maps beckon with the sweet
mystery of precincts unexplored. Brown contour line squiggles indicate elevation, green colors are thick with trees, ribbons and bulges of blue signify rivers and lakes, and veins of red and black roads have an allure that draws me with irresistible magnetism to places both familiar and strange. Sometimes a mere place name captivates me, and on a clear, cold day before the recent snowfalls I found myself hiking several miles to Rome Spare Outlook, a location whose lettering stood out as I picked up the map.