Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, February 02, 2018

Four Things

1. Lately, my four-year-old son has gotten it into his head that the least bit of wind will rip away anything light and, I guess, lose it forever. He gets worried any time I wear a scarf when I am around him, and will urge me to hold on to it. One day, I had it draped over my neck when I was taking him home from pre-k and there was some wind. In a near-panic, he grabbed both ends so it wouldn't go away. I had to just hobble to the car since my hands were full and there's no talking him out of things like this in one shot at his age.

So now, when I might want a scarf, but will have him with me, I factor in doing without for convenience vs. using it so I can gradually show him the wind isn't always a big deal.

2. I always knew that the Navajo Indians were not the only code talkers employed by American forces, but I was under the impression that they were the first. Actually, the first code talkers were Choctaw Indians, and they fought during World War I:

Choctaw Code Talkers (Image via Wikipedia)
Unfortunately, there was little mention of the Choctaw Code Talkers after W W I mainly because the men did not discuss their roles during war. Both the term, and the Choctaw association to the term died out. It resurfaced again during World War II, when Navajo speakers were recruited especially by the Marines to serve in their standard communications units located in the Pacific.
The exact way the Choctaw started out code-talking is lost to time, but it appears to have started when someone overheard two men conversing in the language in a barracks.

3. I hate snow, and vastly prefer to enjoy winter from afar. With that out of the way, I loved these winter photos from north of the Arctic circle.

4. Here are the strangest roadside attractions in each state I have called home:
  • Mississippi -- The Devil's Junction/Birthplace of the Blues,
  • Texas -- The Cadillac Ranch,
  • Rhode Island -- Green Animals Topiary Garden,
  • Florida -- World's Smallest Police Station,
  • Connecticut -- Frog Bridge,
  • Virginia -- The Great Stalacpipe Organ,
  • California -- Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch,
  • Massachusetts -- The Museum of Bad Art,
  • Missouri -- Jesse James Home Museum, and
  • Maryland -- National Museum of Civil War Medicine
To find one from a state not listed, go here.

The states are in order of when I first resided in each. Of these, I have lived in only one, Texas, more than once, and I wouldn't mind living there again. I have split my life roughly in thirds so far among Mississippi (where I was born, but which lacks opportunity), Texas (which I would pick, but which lacks my wife), and the rest. Of the others, five were due to Navy moves and three to be with my wife.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

Speaking of small children and things blowing away...

My friend and I were headed to a Tae Kwon Do seminar in midwinter where we had to cross the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon. The flats on the way to the Blues are notoriously windy, particularly during the winter.

We stopped at a rest area where the cars and cold weather and insured that the snow had been packed down to an icy surface.

His 8 year old son, who was small for his age, pulls open the sliding door in the van, steps out from behind the vehicle, and immediately begins to slide across the ice, blown by the wind. He's doing his best to walk against the wind, but to no avail. It almost looked like a mime doing a walking routine, except he was definitely moving backwards and picking up speed.

He called to his dad for help. His dad gets out and hollers, "Just fall down!"

It got to be a bit of a tag-line for doing something simple and obvious to take care of what looks like a scary problem.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


I can imagine what went through the dad's head, if my own usual thought process is similar. From the time I watched my daughter gradually learn to crawl, I have managed to be surprised, despite the ample evidence to the contrary, at what kids have to learn. (Spoiler alert: EVERYTHING.) But being surprised at a kid not knowing how to do something is little impediment to being able to cook up advice on the spot. I have pretty much automatized imagining myself in my kid's shoes, thinking what I'd do and coming up with a simple way of expressing it.


Steve D said...

'so I can gradually show him the wind isn't always a big deal. '

Physics, geometry of the scarf (wrapped around your neck, vs on the top of your head), direction and velocity of the wind, etc.; sounds like a teaching moment to me.

For example: how do you determine when and where the wind is or isn't a big deal?

Gus Van Horn said...


Oh, it is, but he's four, so -- as I tried - saying, "the wind isn't very fast" doesn't really sink in. I think he has to see me with the scarf (or other things) a few times and have me point out (as I decided to do) that they didn't get blown away so he can first be receptive to the idea that wind alone isn't the problem.