The Rafts Go By
And the kayaks and the boats and the inner tubes… From trudging through the heavy snow of winter to floating on water, fishing on water, paddling on water. There is a constant stream of traffic through the town headed for the Blackfoot River or the many lakes. Everywhere in the country, summer begins on the 4th of July. We are no different. But how does a town of 50 celebrate the 4th, you ask. Here is how: (A short fun video I made of the event filmed from my window). The theme was Back-to-the-Good Times.
Something else that comes alive in the summer is our Brand Bar Museum, which was the site of the original Trixi’s Saloon back in the day.
At the entrance, you will be greeted by this short description of the town’s history.
Local artist Angela Bennett produced a beautiful map of the Montana Watershed, which you will find there.
One entire room reproduces a room from the early days of Ovando, including furnishings, table settings, and clothing. Members of the community have donated from their own collections. The treasures in early photographs and accounts of the first settlers are not to be missed. If the museum isn’t open when you come, check with the Blackfoot Store to see if there is someone available to open it for you.
For those seriously interested in the history of this exceptional little town, I have produced a History of Ovando, Part 1, which is available on YouTube. Part 2 is in production. If you haven't seen it, here is "Simon Hoyt's Legacy."
While we are looking back, I have unearthed some fun short clips of early clog dancing. I’m especially fond of this one, filmed in a home in Appalachia that is testimony to the way families enjoyed themselves before screens took us over. We know that similar events that took place in early Ovando.
In contrast to the lively foot work, have a look at this next dance in which the woman appears not to be on her feet at all but merely floating in a wedding dance in Kyrgystan. It is amazing to watch. Two other short dances follow. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=560508065123815
In the next pieces, the feet are still but the fingers move. I mean really move! I continue to find very young musicians who astonish me. I could never have imagined a 5-year-old who could play Chopin’s Fantasy Impromptu. How ever did he learn it in the first place, not to mention small fingers playing it? And looking about so casually as he does it! Meet Jonah Ho.
Now here are 40 deft fingers giving Beethoven a new sound on Flamenco Guitar. You have never heard Für Elise sound like this. I know you will enjoy these four superb musicians.
I often hear a new song from birds, hidden away in the leaves of trees, which I would love to identify! Cornell Labs (ground zero for birdwatchers) has created an app for smartphones to do just that. Here is the link to get it.
Identify Bird Calls Easily with the BirdNET App – TechAcute
The skies seem to have been especially busy this month, including the Pleiades Meteor Shower that just ended. Unfortunately, smoky skies over many areas prevented viewing. But the eyes of telescopes large and small never close and as they improve, bring us ever more news of the universe. In 1990, the Hubble Telescope was the first to be transported into space (347 miles!) to provide us with a vastly more detailed picture of the universe in lovely photographs like this one of the Veiled Nebula.
As I have commented before, it is amazing to me how individuals confined to their living rooms, found ways to make contributions to the pandemic and honor especially those first responders who put themselves in harm's way to help their fellow citizens.
My favorite visuals from the virtual continent Pandemica are the collages of "people at home" gathering virtually to make music together. The technology behind this boggles the mind. Here is how the leader of the virtual Quarantime Choir describes the project.
"This was recorded in April/May 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everybody from home with a smartphone and some in their home studio. It was a great experience to unite more than 50 people who would have probably never met in this constellation in 'real life'."
For many of us, these offerings did indeed provide "A Bridge Over Troubled Waters." Here is the Quarantine Choir performing Paul Simon's classic song. in "real life".
On the lighter side, here is an old favorite of mine featuring Carol Burnett and Tim Conway in a sketch of Mrs. Wiggins and her boss.
The quiz program Jeopardy has been in the news as it searches for a new host, following the passing of its long-time host Alex Trebek. This reminded me of the entertaining shows of my childhood that we never missed: Pantomime Quiz (later Stump the Stars), I've Got a Secret, Password and What's My Line.
I dug up some of the oldies-but-goodies and was amazed to see that all the great Hollywood actors and other celebrities seemed eager to appear on these programs, which made them doubly entertaining. Everyone from John Wayne to Audrey Hepburn and Bette Davis joined in the fun. Here is just a sampling of these from the archives.
On this What's My Line show, actor Peter Lawford and the most famous ventriloquist of the time Paul Winchell, with (dummy) Jerry Mahoney are guest panelists and Frank Lloyd Wright and Liberace, a popular pianist, appear as "mystery guests."
I will add one more to this collection--a Password show that features in this episode Lucille Ball and her entire family at the time: Husband Gary Morton and her two children by Desi Arnaz, Lucy and Desi Jr. (I am enjoying these so much that I plan to make it a regular feature of the Occasional Communique. Great shows ahead.)
The Arnaz children on Password give me a segue into two offerings for children (of all ages!) BBC has a series that is not available here called CBeebies Bedtime stories. Famous actors do the readings, which make them all the more delightful. This one is read by Bridgerton star Regé-Jean page: Rain Before Rainbows.
Some children's stories never grow old. I'm sure there are homes where the Tales of Beatrix Potter are still being read, with their memorable illustrations. Few people know, however, that they even inspired a ballet film for children called, aptly, "The Tales of Beatrix Potter." It is performed by the Royal Ballet and even included renowned choreographer Frederick Ashton as Mrs. Tiggy Winkle. Here is a short clip from the film. (The complete film is available to rent.) Enjoy!
Until we meet again, wherever you are, stay well.