We don’t talk only about the weather

Much of the country is under a heat dome, because heat wave just doesn’t focus group well. One of the local broadcast meteorologists here pointed out that we were at seasonal averages, and a change was in the air. I called him many, many names for the implication, but he’s used to that, being a broadcast meteorologist.

I’ve admired those people, worked with some of them, taught some more of them, and I feel for all of them. They make models and they’re sometimes wrong. It happens so much they are common jokes. You’re doing the punchlines right now. They work at all hours. And when the weather is really bad, it’s all hands on deck, and the greats stay on until the weather has moved on. Most stations will send out their reporters on days like that for the cliched stand up, but it’s the meteorologist who has to help find a place their friends and colleagues can get the story, but stay safe. That’s a huge responsibility, to say nothing of the way they all mentally take on that role for their community. But pity the poor meteorologist who sees something on the radar that justifies breaking into the soap operas or the big game.

I try to be understanding and appreciative of meteorologists, especially the really good ones, in most every thing they do on air. If you can name every small county road across the DMA, I’ll talk about you with the reverent tones a legend deserves. There’s just two things you can’t do. One of them is this: you can’t, in the summer, talk about the change of seasons.

Longtime readers will be able to figure out the second thing easily enough.

Anyway, the high today was 82 degrees.

My cycling computer is a Garmin 705, which is now pushing 15 years old. I bought it, used, a few years back, because it did all of the things I wanted at the time and it has basic maps, which could be useful. That could be a very useful feature just now since so many of the roads are new to me.

I tried to get to the maps part of the device a few days ago, mid-ride, but couldn’t remember how. Another day, I figured. I’ll only think of it when I’m well and truly lost. But, he said with confidence, there’s always the map on my phone. Problem with that is, I’d have to hold my phone. And the computer is right there, attached to the headset.

Anyway, something I noticed for the first time a ride or two ago is that while the unit of measure is tenths of a mile, the first tenth of a mile is displayed as feet. It ticks up 10 feet at a time, through the first 520 feet.

So it was that on today’s ride, while I was watching those numbers tick up 280, 290, 300, 310, that I knew right away that my legs didn’t have “it.” So little “it” did my legs have that I chased my lovely bride the whole time. So little “it” that she sat up and waited for me once. So little “it” that I decided to add on more miles to the ride, because I keep saying I need more rides, but I also need more miles. I will get my legs out of this unproductive funk.

So little “it” that I didn’t even take any photos or videos of the whole ride, but I did get a shot of the Garmin during those extra miles.

I’d just passed the grocery store and was about to go through the roundabout, just plodding along.

Somehow, despite having dead legs, I set PRs on two Strava segments. They were on roads I’ve only been on twice, and they only shaved a few seconds off the first ride.

I had a nice long Zoom chat with a new colleague this evening. The goal was to help get me up to speed on a class I’ll be teaching this fall. She was very kind to share the time, and generous with her thoughts and materials. Answered a bunch of questions, helped put me at ease and offered to help me throughout the semester. She invited me to come visit her classes, which was especially considerate.

The class will be even better because of that conversation, and I was grateful for the help.

Also, the chat gave me my first look at how my home office will play as a Zoom background. I’ve got nice evening light and a great depth of field. I just need to fix a few things in the background. But I’ve got ideas about that.

While I was considering those, after the chat, I noticed the last light falling on the door.

It stayed like that just long enough for me to turn around, grab my phone, pull up the camera app and compose a quick shot. Seconds later, the clouds rolled in front of the sun, and, disheartened, the sun slipped behind the trees. The meteorologist was off tonight. A different guy was on, and I couldn’t bear to hear it again. I’ll also pretend not to notice that the time stamp on the photo said 6:27 p.m.

This is the fourth installment in my tracking down the local historical markers. There’s an online database with 115 markers in the county, so we’ll be at this for a good while.

You can find them all under the blog category, We Learn Wednesdays. What will we learn about today?

The first stop is the Friends Cemetery, which is a few blocks up the road from the Friends Meeting House. The marker says …

Three African Americans are interred in this Friends cemetery.
From the records:

“Rachel Mintiss (Colored), wife of Andrew Mintiss was buried 5th mo. 8th 1846 on the hillside, near the 1st Row of the 2nd purchase.

Andrew Mintiss was buried 28th of 8th mo. 18?? on the left of his wife. Aged about 82 years.

Abigail Mintiss, widow of Andrew Mintiss was buried 31st of 1st month 1850 next to her husband.”

Andrew Mintiss and Abigail Atlee were married 16 September 1846. He died between then and late January 1850. The location of these unmarked graves remains unknown.

Find A Grave thinks Andrew Mintiss died somewhere between 1846 and 1852.

Some 2,500 others are buried there, including at least one Civil War veteran, a militia captain. In his portrait, he’s seated, bearded, holding a sheathed sword.

The Bassetts came over on the ship right after the Mayflower, and a few hundred years later, there was Howard. He studied dentistry, but became a farmer. He married Clemence not too long after the war. They had seven children.

The oldest recorded grave was a Quaker who lived and died a British subject. He was interred in 1773. It’s still an active cemetery.

Not too far away is the Russell G. Garrison Memorial Park. It was rededicated as a memorial and environmental park in 2017.

All of those men were locals who died in Vietnam.

One of the town’s busier thoroughfares runs right by the park, but there’s something tranquil about the place despite the road noise. There’s a large rain garden that features hundreds of native plants helping collect storm water and prevent run off. The parking lot has a porous asphalt and the whole place has an underground filtering system to deal with chronic flooding. There are signs explaining all of this, the rain garden and the owl houses.

The mayor says the park is part of a growing greenbelt around the town. I kinda want to see the rain garden in action. I guess I’ll have to pay closer attention to the meteorologist.

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