Rushville Republican

Opinion

November 1, 2012

Ward: Some things never really change

RUSHVILLE — For some reason I feel that this autumn is one of those I will always remember. The foliage is beautiful and prolific, which is something of a surprise to me after the dry summer. And like most things any more, it brought back pleasant memories of my youth in Rushville.

Dad would come home from his auto agency around 5:30 or 6 and we would have supper and then he and I would go out and rake leaves. We, as our neighbors, would pile the leaves up in the cement gutters by the sidewalk in small, long piles. The road was chip and seal but the gutter and sidewalk were cement. We would then light the leaves and stick with them until they were nothing but ashes and no flame or smoldering leaves were left.

This was our daily (no later than every other day) event. We lived on Main at 13th Street and had some trees in our yard as well as several along 3 in front of the house. If we didn’t rake every evening we would find ourselves with more leaves than we could realistically burn in the road. And everyone in town burned leaves in the road at this time. The smell of burning leaves tended to smell up the town for weeks in the fall. And I loved that leaf burn smell almost as much as coal smoke. If it rained we had our hands full with the wet and non-burnable leaves. We would pile them up in the lot next door and allow them to dry out and rot. If they got dried enough we might take them and make small piles of them then burn them in the field under close supervision.

Everyone did the same thing, burned leaves in the gutter. Even on the Main Street and other heavily used roads many would burn leaves. We always used 13th Street because dad felt the state may well frown on us using their road way. Not only that, 13th was a lot less used than Main and thus less apt to spread burning leaves as the cars passed.

We always had rakes and hoses available to be able to keep the burning leaves under control. The fire department and police did not feel it was necessary to stop us from burning and we all took advantage of that attitude. There was a town dump where the Riverside Amphitheater is today and the city would take excess leaves and leaves from the parks and other city owned properties there to be burnt.

The dump was free and under city administration and there was a gentleman there who would tell you where to drop off your leaves or other junk to be sure they would be where he felt they should be. At times the city would have a pretty good fire going on at the dump, but always under control and usually with the fire department there watching. Looking at Riverside today it is difficult to remember how messy and stinky the old dump could be. Any and every thing was dumped in the area and usually only moved around rather than actually disposed of.

Another fall event that we had every year was the starling invasion. Starlings would come to town and nest in trees around the homes and make a lot of noise. Boy, could those small birds make noise! They would also leave droppings on the sidewalk and street as well as trees and anyone passing under the trees. So everyone felt it was their duty to do all they could to rid themselves of the starling nuisance we saw twice a year. In the spring and fall we were starling heaven and few if any cared for that occurrence. So, out would come the shot guns, BB guns and anything else that might scare the birds off. Dad and Mom would take metal spoons and pans outside and bang the daylights out of them to keep he birds going and not nesting in our trees. Of course, that meant that the birds would then visit our neighbors, but they were ready and out banging just like us.

Shot guns were at times frowned on, but in dire circumstances they were used (and effectively, too). BB guns and numerous supposedly good scary things were also used. Stuffed owls, fake owls, fake hawks, anything that the starlings would be afraid of were used. We even tied aluminum strips in our trees to scare the birds away. Didn’t work either. Did make our maple trees look a lot like Christmas trees, but the birds were not impressed. At times the local police would come out to an area and fire their shot guns and pistols in the air to scare the birds away, for a few minutes. After a time we figured out if we let the birds nest then we could use our BB guns and easily kill 30 or 40 a night. Of course, that meant the next day I was to go out and pick up the bodies and dispose of them away far away from the house.

In that day every one would do about the same thing with and for leaves and birds. Some worked, some didn’t, but it seemed everyone was open to try anything that came along that said it would scare the birds or kill them; we didn’t care as long as we got rid of them.

We still have starlings which, I guess, shows just how good we managed to get rid of their ancestors. And there is still the problem of how to get them to not roost in Rushville or Milroy or anywhere. But we dare not burn leaves in the road way today; our local constabulary, I am sure, would take a dim view of such going on.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • The best years of your life

    As people age they often look back to fondly recall the best years of their lives. Natural timeframes are the college years or that certain age before the daily grind of work and family take over the bulk of the day. Associations are to being carefree with limited responsibilities, a light and airy existence.

    August 13, 2013

  • Ziemke: My Summer Homework

    Even though session has been out for a little more than a month, the General Assembly still has much work to do. I had a brief break where I got to go home and mow the lawn, spend time at my restaurant, the Brau Haus, and attend a few festivals in addition to continuing to work on constituent concerns. The time has come for work on summer study committees to commence and I’m ready to get back at it.

    June 28, 2013

  • Mauzy: Rush County: The hope and the despair

    Moments arise when hope and despair briefly intersect. During these emotional overlaps, it’s a toss-up as to which energy will win even though we desire the best. Two recent high-profile events present the overlapping calamity often noticed in this community.

    June 28, 2013

  • Asbestos awareness is an important topic

    Dear Editor:
    My father, sister and husband all died because of asbestos. Now my brother has asbestosis. I set up my website because of the death of my husband to let people know of the dangers. It was the first website designed by a person on the internet at that time instead of by lawyers. The stories are to honour those effected by asbestos and to make sure they are never forgotten. I had just finished the last sentence when I heard of Janelle’s death.

    June 27, 2013

  • Proposed parade route

    Dear Editor:
    I see room for compromise on the 4th of July parade route. Up Main Street to 5th Street then take 5th Street to Harrison Street to 11th Street.
    Gene Monroe
    Rushville

    June 26, 2013

  • Barada: Good advice for parents and college students

    This week’s column is more for the parents of kids about to head to college than unsolicited advice for students about to go. Why? Because kids going away from home, some for the very first time ever, can be an even more traumatic event for the parents than for their children!

    June 25, 2013

  • Stop the student loan interest rate hike

    The key to a great life is a good education. But paying for a college education is tough. Many families are taking out second mortgages. Some are putting-off deserved vacations. Others are telling their kids they just can’t afford to attend the school of their choice.

    June 19, 2013

  • Mauzy: Recent graduates are free to explore

    Two weeks have now passed since Rush County Schools released new graduates from a state required academic curriculum.

    June 18, 2013

  • Parade should be on Harrison Street

    Dear Editor:
    There was good reason for not moving the parade back onto Main Street after the third lane was rammed through: we learned Harrison Street is a better route for both the participants and the spectators.

    June 18, 2013

  • Barada: The right people in key places

    For the first time in years, this community has exceptionally good people in key places within organizations involved directly with helping make Rush County a better place in which to live!

    June 18, 2013