Home News Archives June 17, 2015


My Two Cents

by Stephen Scalf

Encounters with Wildlife

I grew up on the outskirts of a big city - Fort Wayne, Indiana. Although technically still within the city limits, I considered where I lived to be out in the country.
We lived on a 1.5 acre lot, with the half acre a wooded lot. On the remainder we had a 10-acre garden and a 25 acre lawn - or so it felt to me when it came time to weed the garden or to mow the lawn with a 20-inch mower. It took forever.
With five apple trees and three huge maple trees in the yard - not to mention what blew over from our woods - raking leaves in the fall seemed like a never-ending chore, as well.
Right across the four-lane township center road that ran in front of our house was a large farm with pigs, cattle, and... well, now I have to tell you a different story:
When I was about 12, we visited my cousins out on the family farm in Blackfoot, Idaho. My cousin, Scott, who was just a few months older than me, was eager to take me on a tour and show me the chores he had to do every day.
As we walked past a field, I looked at the plants and said, "What are you growing here, soybeans?"
"Soybeans?!" he mocked, making fun of me for being a dumb city-slicker who didn't know his plants. "Those aren't soybeans! Those are potatoes!"
Duh... Idaho... What else would they be.
Anyway, a couple of years later, Scott and his family came east to Indiana for a visit. Scott saw the large field across the street and said with surprise, "You grow potatoes out here?!"
"Those aren't potatoes!" I said, enjoying my revenge more than I should have. "Those are soybeans!"
Anyway, just beside the soybean field was a 150 acre woods where I spend most of my afternoons after school, hunting up fresh deer tracks and seeing how close I could get to them before they'd notice me and run off. So, yes, I grew up "in the city," but for all intents and purposes, I lived in the country.
When I was in high school, we had to read John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. I never did understand that whole bit about the turtle trying to cross the road. Since moving to Nicholas County, however, it now makes perfect sense, and I think about that book almost every day as I drive along Persimmon Ridge Road, swerving to keep from running over turtles "hurrying" to get across the road - or content to just sit there and soak up the warmth.
Last week I was coming home pretty late one evening and saw a doe standing in our driveway. Even as I turned in and started heading up the drive, she stood there until I was much closer than I believed possible before she finally turned and sprinted down the hill and into our woods.
I saw her a few mornings later grazing in our lawn, but really didn't think much about it until this past Saturday. I was mowing the lawn, working my way around a section near our lagoon that doesn't get mowed when I notice two fawns curled up in the tall grass. Then I understood why the doe kept hanging around. She was a mama with twins.
Although the fawns didn't care much for the noise the mower made, they were too young to associate the sound with any particular danger and just stayed hunkered down.
A few minutes later, one of the fawns bounced out onto the lawn and then curled up in the taller grass where I was trying to mow - except the grass was short enough, the fawn was in plain sight. I had to get off the mower, walk over, and shoo the fawn away so I could continue mowing. I couldn't believe the fawn let me get that close, just staring up at me, studying me with those over-large, beautiful eyes. He (yes, the spots were in neat rows) started to bound off, but then he stopped, turned and looked at me for a moment, then flicked his tail and took off again.
Almost every time I mow, there is this red fox that will go flying up the hill right beside me, and then a few seconds comes zipping back the other way - probably just showing me who is "King of the Hill."
And not long after that, the purple martins show up, darting and swooping all around me, snapping up the bugs. They come so close, sometimes I duck because I think they're going to smack right into me. But they never do.
Even though the cardinal is the state bird, and I love whistling an imitation of their call and getting them to answer, I must admit that there is something about the bright blue indigo buntings that warms my heart. Every time I see one - and there is a family of them at the corner of Goose Creek and Persimmon Ridge - I feel good inside and I think, "Today is going to be another great day!"
And you know, it usually is. We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful part of God's green earth. Don't forget to enjoy it!

And that's my two cents,
Stephen Scalf

Sharing a Smile

by Tom Metcalfe


MRI? What in the heck do those letters mean? I know that some may think it stands for “My ridiculous ideas.”
For some time I have been dealing with a sore back. Recently while visiting my doctor, Tim Scott, I mentioned that I continue to have back pains – I had talked to him about this problem before. In the past, we have tried stretching exercises suggested by The Healthy Back Exercise Book: Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Back by Fielding and Fielding (2001 The Ivy Press, East Essex, England).
I was given another copy of the same exercises to attempt. But this time Dr. Scott also ordered a MRI. Of course, since I know more than the doctor, I decided that maybe I should wait until we get the results of the back scan before starting the exercises. (Besides, it’s exercise, right?)
I checked in at the MRI location in Lexington. After catching up on all of the news from the 6 month old “Time” magazine that was located in the lobby, they called my name. I was taken back to a dressing area, where I was instructed to take off my trousers and get into a pair of their fashionable plastic pants for the exam. The pants were obviously custom made for the circus tall man, since the pant legs extended 18 inches beyond my feet.
When the medical technician came for me, she asked me if was ready. I told her I was waiting for the person in charge of alterations. Without a second thought, she quipped, “The pants are made for one size fits none.”
She led me back to the room where the deed was to be done and took my glasses and the key to the locker where my clothes were stored. She led me to a long table that was shaped like a shallow trough. The trough was connected to a huge machine that was hollowed out so the trough, carrying the patient, could be mechanically inserted into the hollow.
I was instructed to get onto the trough and lay on my back. She had a set of earphones that I was to wear and she asked me what kind of music I would like to hear during the procedure. I chose “easy listening.”
Before we started she said I needed to slide a few inches toward my feet. The covering on the trough was some sort of rubber sheeting and worked like Velcro, causing me some consternation when I tried to slide. I managed to slide down and the trough took me into the huge machine.
After the short ride into the inside of the large tube-like apparatus, the music started – nice soft music – the first song was “Ghost Riders in the Sky” – nice choice for someone lying on a “Velcro” rubber sheet and being slid inside an oven-like tube.
Suddenly there was noise all around me that sounded like I had been placed inside a concrete mixer. My “easy listening” music had instantly been turned into “acid rock.”
There is no pain associated with this procedure, if you disregard the sound of being in the midst of two tons of rocks being circulated in a huge food processor. The procedure took about 15 minutes and the last musical selection was “Surrey with the Fringe on Top.”
I survived the medical scan and now am waiting for the results. I don’t think this will be a popular ride for an amusement park, but then United Health would probably not pay for the procedure if it were located at Kentucky Kingdom.

And On That Note...

by Ross Haney

Art: Unappreciated

There are many great artists – encompassing musicians, visual artists, dancers, actors, and writers – in our small town. In our schools and in our community we have people who can sing well, people who can dance well, people who can play an instrument well, and so on and so forth. But sometimes, being a “new local artist” (as Gayle Kelley likes to call me) myself, I feel that our community does not appreciate the plethora of talent that lies here, and often takes it for granted.
Recently – upon visiting the local high school after my graduation – I took a quick glance into what once was Mrs. Margy Fugitt’s Spanish room, and walked right on by, until I realized that something seemed odd about the situation.
When Mrs. Fugitt was at NCHS (she retired after the 2013-2014 school year), this room was a beautiful getaway from the otherwise bland walls that lined the hallways and other classrooms. (Aside from Mrs. Johnson’s room, of course.) On the ceiling, tiles were painted with a design of a flag from a Spanish speaking country or symbols pertaining to Mayan civilization, and around the walls were eloquent paintings of prominent figures in the Spanish culture.
But when I turned back to the room to see what was wrong with this mental picture, I discovered that these paintings and ceiling tiles were white. It was as though the artwork that soothed many students’ minds as they walked into this room was just a distant memory. And there would be a whole generation of students who just wouldn’t understand why we just loved that sweet escape of a room so much.
It didn’t really bother me that the walls were white. I mean, they’re solid white in every classroom. What began to anger me was the thought of the time that many talented students had put into making that room being gone in a matter of seconds, covered by white paint and never to be seen again.
The project of converting that classroom into a beautiful wasteland from the rest of the dreary school took decades to complete, yet it was decided in what I’m sure were mere minutes that these works of art were “distractions” and “unnecessary in the classroom.”
Now, in the defense of the school, I do not know their intentions behind the covering of the artwork. The classroom could now possibly be for English, or Social Studies, and the artwork would have little relevance to those subjects.
But what I do know is this: Countless hours of work went into each and every ceiling tile, and each and every painting on the wall. And to see that fabulous work simply covered and left as a faint memory for those of us who looked at it every day is just a crying shame.
I love the arts; I think we have many talented students throughout our school and community. But if we don’t appreciate the art we have, how do we expect it to grow and flourish?

And on that note, I’ll leave you!

The Carlisle Courier
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(around the corner from Deposit Bank)
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Carlisle, KY 40311
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