Archive for May, 2008

Green, Man

Green has always been my preferred color.  (Orange runs a close second, but that’s another story.)  I’ve often wondered why green clothing is hardly ever worn.  Military association?  I think this would be positive, not negative, but perhaps it is a taboo of sorts.  Beau Brummel probably ruined green at some point, drawing associations with […]


A recurrent image from trips to the Middle East is the caravan.  I saw two, in Tunis and Sudan, scruffy versions of movie ones.  Noisy and smelly, they resembled nightmares.  Modern trucks have replaced them in volume, but only where the original routes were charted centuries ago.  Some trucks haul several containers in a bizarre conga line, like those crossing the Australian deserts.  Faster versions, then, of the old caravans.


Queens, Part Two

Company towns are strange holdovers from the middle ages. In my mom’s hometown of Ware Shoals, the bank, church, clothing store, housing and, of course, work—all were owned by the textile mill. Money didn’t matter—whatever the company paid out, it got back in profits and rents. Step out of line and you better move along. […]

Queens, Part One

Recently, on a lovely Saturday, I drove up to New York City to see the site where my grandfather, Jacob, worked in a nursery in Queens. He had just moved from Cincinnati, where he’d finished an 1890s era, “live-in” apprenticeship in his early teens. Then he spent a few years in rural western Long Island, outside the town of Flushing, known for its many German immigrants and nurseries, as well…