Several months ago a number of area residents chipped in to help purchase a grave marker to honor the life of Mr. Wert Ash. I received word from Jay Hardy of Hardy Memorials in Greenfield, OH that the marker was installed on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. There has been speculation that possibly Mr. Ash was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. If so this was a great date to honor both his life and his service to America.
Thought is being given to hold a small memorial service in the spring of next year.
NOTE: Some time ago I wrote a story about Mr. Wert Ash. Click HEREto read and obtain some background.
FACTOID: Fitting factoid for this Veteran’s Day. The US Navy is completing construction on an experimental 140 ton ship that will be an autonomous drone submarine hunter. It will roam the high seas, totally unmanned, keeping track of both conventional and nuclear submarines. It foretells the future of the world’s navies and will operate at a fraction of a traditional warship. It’s estimate that this ship will cost between $15 and 20 thousand a day to operate versus the $700 thousand a day for manned ships.
On June 8, 2004 a group of five Greenfield veterans of World War II met at the Greenfield Library to mark and tell of their experiences during the war. Most, if not all, have passed on but on this Veteran’s Day I’d like to reprise a story told by one, James Mossbarger.
“As part of the 60th anniversary of D-Day, Jim Mossbarger spoke to an assembled group of interested people at the Greenfield Library. Here’s a little of what he had to say.
Following graduation from McClain High School, Jim Mossbarger entered the Army Air Corp and was trained as a waist gunner on a B-24 bomber. He left the US, headed for England, in early 1944, prior to D-Day.
For reasons he didn’t divulge, the trip took almost 2 weeks and took his group into the Caribbean, Brazil, the Azores Islands, the Western Sahara desert of North Africa and finally to England; very much the long way around.
As a member of the 8th Air Force, Jim, and his crewmates, flew 35 missions into occupied Europe. Most missions were against targets in Germany and France with side trips into Belgium, Holland, Norway and Denmark.
By the time his unit arrived in the European Theatre, American bombers were receiving long-range fighter support from planes such as the P-38 and the P-51. This meant he and his buddies rarely had to face the threat of German fighters but did have to contend with enemy anti-aircraft flak wherever they flew. Jim offered that except for testing his guns, he never had occasion to fire his waist gun in combat.
He also mentioned that Bill Collins, another of Greenfield’s WWII veterans, was serving with a fighter group in England that was involved in flying cover for the 8th Air Force. After D-Day, Collins’ group was detailed to providing air support for American ground forces trying to establish a foothold in France.
Jim and Bill had an occasion before D-Day to meet in London and spend an evening in an English dance hall. They inferred that the ladies were friendly and all had a good time. Also, as they wiled away the evening and without their knowledge, the city was under a major bombing from the Nazi’s.
Mossbarger related a story in which his B-24 was part of a much larger force flying a mission to Munich, Germany. The tail gunner of his plane, observing bombs falling out of their bomb bay doors, announced over the radio, “bombs away.” This was the signal for the other planes in the group to begin dropping their payloads. Turned out they had released their bombs 12 miles short of the intended target. An electrical malfunction had caused the initial bombs to be dropped prematurely.
Another episode “Mossy” told about was an experience where his plane had taken off from a small English airfield headed for a mission in France. At 11,000 feet and still over English soil, the tail gunner reported that he was witnessing hot metal flying past his gun position. The pilot immediately reported that one of the left engines was on fire and someone, probably the co-pilot, prematurely sounded the abandon plane alarm. Jim and the other waist gunner hiked up their courage and exited the plane via the escape hatch.
Meanwhile, the pilot, maintaining his cool, sent the turret gunner to shut off the fuel to the burning engine, thus extinguishing the blaze. So, as the B-24 shakily turned about and returned to base, Mossy and his crewmate found themselves quietly floating downwards into a small English community named Florida.
The town’s folks took them in and tended to their needs while they waited for the Air Corp to pick them up. Jim said that one of the ladies asked him if he needed something to settle his nerves. He replied that he was okay but could stand a cup of coffee. Not having coffee, the lady offered him a cup of hot tea served on a saucer. When he reached for the saucer the cup went flying in to the air spilling its contents. It was then that he realized just how, “shook up,” he was.
He offered an accounting of the losses his group experienced and, though they were bad, they were not near as bad as those suffered by earlier fliers who ventured into Nazi held Europe before the advent of fighter support and a weakened German air force.”
In 2005 I decided I wanted to take a class in becoming a certified barbecue judge. So off I went to Memphis for a day in the classroom of the Memphis Barbecue Association. Afterwards I headed south into Mississippi on what may have been my first field trip into the heart of blues history. I spent several days in and around Clarksdale which literally is ground zero for the blues. The following is an article I wrote for one of the local newspapers and a couple of years ago Ron Coffey asked about it. There was something I said that he liked and I was unable, till now, to find the article.
Anyway, I found it and decided to republish it as my offering for this day. Hope you enjoy.
Originally published in August, 2005.
For many years I’ve been interested in Southern culture and food. About fifteen years ago this interest evolved into a love of blues music and blues history. The blues that most people are familiar with is probably that performed by such greats as Stevie Ray Vaughn and B.B. King. The blues that I’m most interested in is far more raw and basic. It’s the blues that was born in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta and came out of hard times and hard living.
I’m probably like many of you, lived most of my life in Highland County, Ohio and never heard of this thing called the Gist Settlement. It wasn’t until moving back to Greenfield in the early 1970s and starting to read some local history that I first became aware of it.
The settlement, which resulted from a wealthy absentee Virginia slaveholder wanting to settle his conscience as he neared death, is located about half way between Careytown and New Vienna on Gist Settlement Road ( Click HERE for a Google Map of the area). I’ve driven by several times and besides a couple of homes, a church, and an old cemetery, there isn’t much to see these days.
FACTOID: According to the Social Security Administration fifty-one percent of American workers earn less than $30,000 a year. The simple reality is, one cannot call them self middle class on that level of income. Another simple truth is, there are not enough jobs in America that pay a high enough wage for a strong middle class to exist.
FACTOID: According to the World Health Organization two thirds of the earth’s population under the age of fifty have oral herpes. That amounts to 3.7 billion people. Another 417 million people have genital herpes.
There is absolutely nothing scientific about the following video and I can think of some questions that probably would not show the degree of consensus displayed in it. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see there can be agreement between the two parties.
Remember when being a serious candidate for a serious political position such as governor or president often involved stories of great deeds, sacrifice, gallantry and honesty?
I grew up hearing stories about George Washington’s truthfulness, his daring, his bravery and leadership qualities. About Abraham Lincoln’s honesty and humble beginnings and Teddy Roosevelt wanting a fairer deal for all Americans. Stories about the first President Bush being a combat pilot in WWII and John Kennedy saving lives when his PT boat was destroyed during WWII.
When you mature you come to know that these people were never perfect but they never found it necessary to tout their mistakes as a means of gaining political position.
Just in from CGS’s senior downtown correspondent, Phoenix Hartsworth, Parker’s Pizza will soon close its doors and a few weeks later reopen under new management and with a new name. The restaurant will be known as 4545 Bistro and Pizzeria.
I’m seventy-three now and have learned a lot about people. One of the things I’ve learned is that many people, when given a chance to acquire what they say they want, don’t reach out and take it.
This reality occurs in politics all the time. For decades I’ve heard Americans bitch and moan about politics and politicians. They can tell you what’s wrong, they can tell you the kind of person they want leading them but they cannot make themselves support and vote for that person who might be best trusted to help realize their wishes.
A friend who said she trusted my views on politics (can you imagine that?) ask me what I thought about Ohio’s upcoming Issues 2 and 3? I told her that I hadn’t done my homework yet but would do so and get back. Well, the homework is finished and here’s what I think I’ve figured out.
First of all, this shouldn’t be an issue in Ohio. As a people we’re just not supposed to be this liberal. These things happen on America’s two coastlines.
Next, there’s a riff between the old stoners and the new stoners, those new kids on the block who are in it for the money. The old stoners all about pot belonging to the people, “man!”
Issue 3 would permit recreational marijuana in Ohio. But, the number of stores licensed to sell it would be limited and only ten companies would be allowed to grow it. Individuals would be allowed to grow up to four plants for their personal consumption.
The old stoners don’t like these limits and see it as those with money grabbing a monopoly on weed. I guessing there’s also something I’ll call the “real” stoner and that is the person who just wants to cop a buzz without worrying about doing jail time.
The opposition to Issue 3 comes from exactly where you think it would come, churches, conservatives, some law enforcement groups, old woman flower clubs, and people who just have overly tight sphincters. Surprisingly, you’ll also find some of the old stoners in the opposition. They’re just pissed that legal weed is not happening the way they thought it should. It’s not a grass-roots (pun intended), power to the people, thing.
Those in opposition are using confusion to fight their battle. They jumped on the anti-monopoly bandwagon and created Issue 2. Issue 2, if passed, would essentially make it illegal to form a monopoly in Ohio, thus making Issue 3 illegal.
So, here’s the deal. If you want legal grass in the Buckeye State and you don’t give a crap about who grows it and who sells it, vote NO on Issue 2 and YES on Issue 3.
Okay, that’s my summation of the question about legal marijuana in Ohio. If I missed something please bring it to my attention.
And by the way, I’m casting my votes to make marijuana legal in Ohio. There was a time when marijuana was legal and freely grown in this nation. History says that when Prohibition passed in the 1920s the alcohol interest lobbied for declaring weed to be an illegal narcotic. Their reason was fear that weed would become the people’s favorite high and if alcohol ever became legal again, people wouldn’t want it. How true this is I’m not sure. But what I do know is that marijuana is not a dangerous substance, that it does not drive people insane, that it’s not a gateway drug leading straight to shooting heroin into one’s veins, that marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol, and that for too long, too many people have been fined too much money and spent too much time in prison. It’s time for a change and that’s what I’m voting for.
And, if Issue 3 passes I’m going to look up Alice B. Toklas’ recipe for brownies and wash one down with a Miller High Life. Don’t Bogart that brownie my friend, pass it over to me.
Most people know that the secret to turning tough cuts of meat into tender, juicy, and delicious barbecue involves cooking it in a smokey, low heat environment for a long time. Low and slow as the saying goes.
Over the years I’ve tried lots of different smokers and seen many more being used by others, including competition BBQ teams. Just about anything can be used if the temperature can be controlled while introducing smoke. At the Georgia State BBQ Championship I even saw a guy using the interior and front trunk of a VW Beetle for a smoker. You couldn’t see what was inside, however, because the windows were blacked out by layers of smokey residue.
Several years ago I got tired of tending to hours of charcoal and wood fires and began trying to create smoke with my Weber propane grill. The problem is, wood won’t smolder and smoke at the low temps needed to cook a pork butt slowly.
My solution turned out to be creating a separate “hot” fire for the wood chips, and a “low” fire for the meat. I took an aluminum pie pan, punched some ventilation holes in it, built a small charcoal fire in it, and once the coals got hot enough I piled on the chip. I then lit off the gas burners, adjusted for a temperature of about 225 degrees, and let it do the low and slow magic while the charcoal kept the smoke rolling.
In a recent TV interview Jeb Bush asked the question, “Does anybody actually blame my brother for 9/11?” Well the answer is, yes, there are many who do and apparently it includes Donald Trump. Trump spent last week laying responsibility for 9/11 on Jeb’s big brother, if for no other reason, he was living in the White House on that day.
Jeb continued to defend his bro by saying it wasn’t what happened on 9/11 that Dubyah should be graded on but what he did afterwards, “It’s what he did afterwards that matters. And I’m proud of him and so are a bunch of other people. You don’t have to have your last name be Bush to understand that.”