Art, blog, History, Kansas City, Story, Uncategorized

My House The Trading Post From The Crane

1960 Antique Store

1960 46th and Bell Antique Store

Work is like this old fable, The Wolf and the Crane.

“A Wolf who had a bone stuck in his throat hired a crane, for a large sum, to put her head into his mouth and draw out the bone. When the Crane had extracted the bone and demanded the promised payment, the Wolf, grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed: “Why, you have surely already had a sufficient recompense, in having been permitted to draw out your head in safety from the mouth and jaws of a wolf.”

Westport Missouri, from the time it was formed until present day, has been a working class neighborhood. Wars have taken place, the burning of Mormons, the Mexican War, Civil-War, Women’s Rights and other notable history. Business continued despite these events.

I write my blog from my house the trading post. The past owners of this property were young and old people. This building holds the ghosts of the pioneers, Indians, and business owners. Its greatest contribution to history is the fact that it just exists. It has to be noted that it is a wood structure. It is remarkable that the building has existed this long, despite the number of wars, battles, and fires that took place, and the capitalist nature of the city to knock it down and rebuild. And it survived Missouri weather.

The history of Kansas City, too often discuss the same characters, like; McCoy, McGhee, Yoacham, Boone, Ewing, Vogel, Harris, Wornall, Hickman, Thomas Hart Benten, Samuel C Roby, Henry Clay Pate. Here is a short list of who had a trading post or tavern in Westport in the 1800s.  It is important to note that this is not a complete census. The town was already, very big by the time the pre-civil war saloon, I live in, was built in 1853.

The goal or lifestyle of the Westport Missouri residents would have been work.  They were young working class men and women. Many of the first settlers would have been in their twenties.  As the town grew successful and Kansas City dug away the dirt and flattened the cliffs along the Missouri river, these pioneer families grew wealthy and moved into new homes and buildings creating downtown Kansas City. The growth in downtown Kansas City established new public-houses and buildings; built in a wise manner, with a more expressive display of dignity, even though some of the establishments were for the distribution of spirituous liquors.

This was the nature of the city, and has been ever since. Kansas City tends to invest in a new construction project, often centered on building another shopping and entertainment area, and then new construction for residential housing communities. Problem is, we haven’t run out of land. Kansas City has about 116 square miles of real estate. In Kansas City we don’t build up, we build out. Creating older communities that struggle for business. New city projects always bring in the newest technology, however, the consumer only needs the basic comforts from life.

To maintain a reasonable life-style I must work forty plus hours a week. The hours each day reserved for work are not my favorite. The work day begins at 5:30 am when the alarm goes off. I have to work at waking up. It is my habit to push the snooze until six or six thirty. I could stretch it to seven but then I wouldn’t get breakfast or have time to pack a lunch. I plan my lunch the night before. I usually have it set aside, in one area of the refrigerator. The extra time allows me to make last-minute changes as I fill my lunch bag in the morning.

I have to follow a routine to get through the hurried work morning. I shower, dry hair, moisturize, and dress. My wardrobe picked out the night before, it doesn’t have to be dressy. I choose between a blue or black, or pink uniform, and if they are dirty, I wear jeans. I prefer to wear the hospital uniform because I work in a laboratory. I perform medical testing, and I splash a lot of serum. If I’m in my scrubs when I get home, I remember I am still contaminated, but when I’m in my jeans I get comfortable, and forget I may have blood splashes on my cloths. Ack!!

By 7:30 am I am on the highway. I start the first mile or so at normal speed. By 7:37, traffic is 20 mph. I have never figured out why each day traffic slows to a crawl for several miles. Then a few minutes later I’m traveling the speed limit again and there is my exit. I manage to get into the parking lot at 7:57, my shift starts at eight. On Saturday’s shift, I get to work fifteen minutes earlier, because there isn’t any traffic.

My work days, at the laboratory, vary between Monday through Friday, or Tuesday through Saturday. By 9:00 am, I am homesick. But I don’t let on. I blow my nose, and keep looking for specimens. The morning is slow. Not many doctor offices have sent in any specimens, we are just working on orders that were added on, overnight. This is the hard part, the blood specimens have been put into a numbered order in the walk-in refrigerator. Some associates love the cooler, I hate it. But I’m responsible for the chemistry testing and must find seven specimens, in seven different boxed compartment, in the cold. My white lab coat provides some warmth. Burr!

The first weekend of every month I coach/teach a girls modeling class. A very long weekend. I feel kind-a catatonic. Zombie-ish. I try to incorporate some of that positive thinking I teach the girls, but I get tired, tired, tired. Then I don’t care, and find conversing to be a chore. Believe it or not, I like my jobs…but when striving to make another person a buck, I wonder about a lot of things. Like, why am I here?

Then it is ten in the morning, and I smile, because it is break time. I leave my white jacket on the chair, and I go to the little room that contains the only clean sink and food worthy refrigerator. I have fifteen minutes. In my pocket, I set my phone timer. During this time I wash my hands, blow my nose, wash my hands, go to the toilette, wash my hands. I nibble on fruit, salami, and cookies, while I guzzle a coke-cola. My stomach gurgles, and I give a small belch. A silly little tone vibrates from my pocket, it is time to go back. Later, I’ll take a thirty minute lunch and if time allows another fifteen minute break in the afternoon-right before I go home for the day.

With my lab coat on, I pray the hours will go by quickly. Number, after number, specimen after specimen; slowly I turn, checking name, identification number, and test order against the computer screen. Two computer screens, 1500 specimens, and a chemistry analyzer that has a mind of its own. I run several monstrous size equipment that divides the entire room. These analyzer perform the testing that once upon a time a scientist performed in test tubes with titration biurets and apparatuses. At four o’clock, I set the timer for 4:30. I try to bring the beast down, but the specimens keep coming in, I saw on the pending list that we only had 38 specimens left to complete, now there are 128. This happens every night. Doctors add more tests, after they have received the testing results. Thanks to modern computers, what the doctor sends in that day, the doctor can get results for. But, I’m contracted to stay till 4:30. We are technically, open until 5:00pm. I feel this is so similar to the fast food service industry. “May I help you?”

A few of those specimens will not get done tonight. The laboratory manager will be tense and I do not want to tell the doctors whose test results will be delayed. The lab will open at four in the morning and start the whole process all over again.

The work day may bring the blues, but the treasures within this house can almost always brighten my mood. In my bed cloths I move from room to room in this huge saloon from long ago. I carry a load of laundry through the house. I put the load of dirty cloths in the washer. I drop a quarter into the juke box. A 1954 Wurlitzer plays my selection, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” With no one in sight, I dance and sing along. At work I have my I-phone tunes, but at home I have the treasures the wolf left behind.

A Saloon’s Treasure 

A 1954 Jukebox, left behind by, plays only 50's tunes.

A 1954 Jukebox, plays only 50’s tunes.

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, Story, Uncategorized

What Boys Like, my house the trading post

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Kansas City pecans are some of the tastiest nuts around. The nuts are sweet and oil rich compared to southern states. Missouri river towns, like Kansas City, offer fertile soil and sunny conditions for pecan trees. Many pecan trees were planted in the 1800s.

We have a friend who has a pecan tree; he gathers up a bag full that have fallen to the ground. The shucks starting to split open. It is easy to remove the shells. The price of pecans at the local grocery store is about $18 a pound. I wouldn’t pay that much. I enjoy my nuts fresh and free from the ground. Making pecan pie from scratch is often cheaper and tastier.

Since our friend dropped off a bag of pecans and our pet duck (Squeaky) has started laying eggs again, I needed to do something with these God given gifts. As a food ‘snob’ I prefer store bought chicken eggs for breakfast. However, anything with enough sugar in it, I’ll eat. My husband never objects to anything I serve.

I know what boys like. They like my pecan pie. So here’s my recipe for Pecan Pie. Enjoy!

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PECAN PIE
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Corn Syrup
2 tablespoon margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/4 cups pecans

Pie Crust
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup fake butter/ shortening
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
4 tablespoon cold water

Make the pie crust first (or use a prepared pie crust). 
In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. 
Next, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until pieces are the size of a small pea. 
Combine the vinegar and water and slowly sprinkle into the flour. 
Gather the moistened  dough into a ball, refrigerate for ten minutes or more.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. 
Place all the pecans on a greased cookie sheet/baking sheet. 
Roast pecans for a few minutes, carefull not to burn. Cool.

Beat the 3 eggs in a medium bowl. 
Add brown sugar, corn syrup, melted margarine, vanilla, and nutmeg. 
Stir in pecans. 

Roll out pie crust and line a pie pan. 
Pour pecan mixture into pie crust. 
Bake 50 minutes. 
A knife inserted into the edge should come out clean.

Serve warm, cold, with ice-cream, or just on plate. 
Yummy!

SQ-qnd-Eddie
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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, photography, Story, Uncategorized

Job Search, my house…

Why-Lie

 

Are there more job search sites than there are jobs? The online job sites include Monster, and Career builder. And more like, Career Experteer, USA Staffing, Jobs.com, Hire America, Jobungo, Snagajob, and once you go to any of those sites there are a number of employment agencies advertising openings.

However, they all have the some job. I have given my identification to so many hiring sources with no response. I have applied for the same position through a dozen employment agencies. I still can’t find a job. (I had my identity stolen and have to monitor everything now.)

There may be 6% unemployment recorded and the news media spouting long term unemployed are lazy and have too many government services available to them that they have no incentive to work. Well, that’s bull.

Many members of my extended family have experienced a strange change in society and the economy that has left a once proud middle class family to fend for themselves and muddle in poverty. Some family live on only $200-400 a month with children under five. Other like myself are older and the job market has squeezed us out. The only thing saving the over 50 group of unemployed from jumping off the bridge is the blessings of family and a home that is paid or nearly paid for.

Unemployment is hard work. It may mean waking up early to walk the neighborhood collecting aluminum cans. Or spending the afternoon counting pennies to cash in for a gallon of milk. I have ambition, talent, and skills that go to waste because of the computer human resource trends.

As for the guy in the photo, Bob and I saw him sitting along one of the popular beaches in California, during one of my business trips (a few years ago when I had a job). We thought it was really funny. The guy didn’t appreciate that we took his picture; I can’t repeat what he said to us after the shot was taken. What is not funny, is homelessness. I feel that we are closer to losing everything despite all the good work  we put into our lives.

Times are getting rough for some, others remain gainfully employed. If you have a job, you are one of the lucky ones.

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, Story, Uncategorized

1868, my house the trading post

Fashion in KC-Westlake

My favorite story, Little Women, is a novel by Louisa May Alcott. She lived between 1832 and 1888. In 1868 she published her book. The black and white movie version, made in 1949, was on T.V. the other night.

Inside the 1860s general store, preserves, sewing material, and winter coats are for sale. The matriarch of the family, working at the store, comforts an elderly customer. The audience is introduced to her four daughters. Jo, Beth, Margarete, and Megan. The girls are getting ready for Christmas.

Jo reads to an elder woman, Aunt Marge. In the background a dog and a parrot. Their father is off at war. Jo shows her disobedience as she tries to slip away when her aunt dozes off to sleep. Suddenly, the Aunt grabs Jo’s arm, and as she scolds, gives Jo a few dollars to spend for x-mas gifts then criticizes her for not cleaning the dusty bannister.

Another sister, Megan stands with a naughty sign in a classroom as school lets out. Ashamed and crying for drawing sketches during her English lesson. The tears convince the school master to  dismiss the incident without telling her mother. As she leaves school she taunts  her peers.

Hanna the maid, sets the table as the school girls are arriving home. As the girls cross their yard, they notice the young man living next door in the old man’s grand house. Once in their own house Beth greets them. Jo shares the money Aunt Marge has given them. Each distants themselves as the discuss what they will buy. The sisters want to buy according to their talents and likes.

Jo is a tom boy and almost a lady. Jo aspires to be a famous author. Her sister, Amy is a girl. Jo directs a play in the family parlor. She instructs her sister Amy to swoon. The girls giggle.

Mother arrives home. “”Mommy!” They greet her with kisses. She reads a letter from Father. He tells them he is proud of them. Each girl is encouraged; they want dearly, to be better, to please father in his absent. Mother leaves to fix tea and dinner. The girls make plans to best use the money from Aunt Marge, to buy mommy a gift.

After dinner mother and girls fold cloths near the fire. Later, Beth, afraid of people, is a gifted musician, plays the piano as the others sing a hymn like song. Mother then sends them off to bed.

In the morning, it is Christmas. Hanna the maid has breakfast ready. The girls have put together their money and bought a large bottle of cologne for mommy. Popovers and sausage delight the girls. The war has caused them poverty and such food was indeed a treat. However, Hanna remembers a time when the family was wealthier and food plentiful. She apologizes for not having more.

 

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, Story, Uncategorized

Streets Covered In Snow

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I think the Kansas City Mayor follows my blog. Several weeks ago I wrote a blog story about the three snow trucks in a row. The snowplows were barely skimming the pavement. It appeared that the Kansas City snowplows were traveling too fast and the shovel wasn’t engaged low enough to move any snow off the street. I also twittered their technique didn’t look right and that the ‘Kansas’ side was clear.

This morning the snow laid on the ground, all the neighborhood covered in white. The Kansas City snow plow trucks are out and working. They just did my neighborhood. I didn’t expect the street to be clear’d so soon. In fact, I had cancelled my doctor appointment because of the snow.

In Westport Missouri, an icy snow is several inches thick on the roads, and unlike the last time the snowplows are doing a much better job. I love the snow. I don’t like the cold.

Snow-angel

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Tuesday, my house the trading post

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Do reality shows make you angry? In the evening, I watch my favorite housewives reality shows. From a cultural anthropologist view the whole range of reality shows from the fab, catty, vastly over privileged to the most low rent and crude have the combined effect of reconstructing and reinforcing a system of class awareness, distinction and perhaps resentment that society had tried to banish through the twentieth century.

Sigh.

“But if someone who suppose to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him–how can God’s love be within him? Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.” 1John 3:17-18

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I have a picture of a Picasso and a wine collection. Sounds like I’m rich? (Not) My daughter wrote me a troubling text message earlier today.

“Lol when you die you can’t take nothing with you. Money is worthless and all your fancy stuff. I am done talking. I shouldn’t have to explain myself to a 50 year old mom. You should already know this. Don’t tell me you are happy, tell God, because you will face him on judgement day. He knows the truth. “Forgive and repent, and move on in life.” Stop living in the past. You should cherish what years you got left instead of staying away from your family. Eddie and I might see you twice in two months. You and Bob can’t ever just come to our house and hang out for hours. Somebody is gonna have to die before you start to see things clear again. Mom you do have family that loves you, and Bob is just someone that blows money on you. When he’s gone you will see.”

Later she wrote, “Mom, I’m short $112 for light bill.”

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Monday, my house the trading post

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I’m missing summer very much. Should a fifty year old woman be wearing a bikini? I may have to reevaluate my wardrobe. The photo site is our favorite Missouri destination. Tan Tara.

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Kansas City likes to brag about their fountains, and have even dared to call this the City Of Fountains. Eddie can’t wait to play in the many Kansas City fountains.

Look around my blog, many of the stories are fun to read……

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