All Fun And Games Until Coffee Maker Gives Up The Ghost

Two weeks ago I read on Facebook about a woman from my hometown of Hancock that wondered if anyone had a coffee maker she could use until another could be bought. Her machine had passed over into the place used grounds go, and was thinking about where to get the next cup.

It truly made an impression on me when a woman in the village offered to bring her a cup on the way when the kids were taken to school. Another offered, in light of COVID still being a real concern, to bring her morning coffee and just leave it on the back table. No contact delivery! Small towns are known for that type of living and caring.

That post came to mind this morning as I went about my routine of turning on the coffee maker and then going about our home opening curtains and shades. I picked up the morning newspaper from the front stoop and pulled a mug from the kitchen cabinet. It was then I noticed there was no aroma of coffee to welcome me to another day. Instead, I was greeted with an error message on the machine which when translated from Google into frustrated caffeine-deprived lingo equaled ‘buy a new machine’.

James gave me a Burr coffee grinder for Christmas, with this photo from January 1st also showing the famous Yankee bean pot used back home in Maine. Also pictured is the recently departed.

While hot water was boiling for my French press, I needed to again be mindful of what a coffee expert suggested.

I then pulled up my favorite business in the entire world, Amazon, and started to pursue new coffee makers. Once the boiling water was added to the freshly ground magic from last night, I asked Siri to set a 4-minute alarm. Just as the alert was audible I noticed smoke was being strongly smelled in our office.

While I was in the throes of a coffee crisis James’ spring-form pan for his homemade lemon-vanilla and blackberry cheesecake with a ground pecan and molasses crust had a small drip, drip, drip onto the hot oven. Smoke was created of the type one might expect prior to a singer stepping through it to wow an audience in a stage production. With swift moves, the oven was wiped clean and a ‘hot-water bath’ style of baking his creation was found.

It was then I read an email from a man who was to install our outside french doors Tuesday morning, alerting me to a forecast calling for rain. The project, understandably, was delayed for later in the week.

This all occurred before even the first sip of morning coffee. Well, it is Monday, even if a Holiday.

The serendipity part of this story is this long weekend I am reading The Coffee Trader by David Liss. This author writes his remarkable stories with equal intensity with both history and finance. I am enthralled with his abilities with storytelling.

Amsterdam in the 1690s – a boom town with Europe’s biggest stock exchange and traders who will stop at nothing to get even richer. Lienzo, a Portugese Jew, stumbles across a new commodity – coffee – which, if he plays his cards right, will make him the richest man in Holland. But others stand in his way – rival traders who do all in their power to confuse the exchange and scupper his plans, his brother who is jealous of his financial wizardry and even his brother’s beautiful wife who both tempts and spurns him in equal measure.

I have seven chapters left in the book and if my Adirondack chair does not fall apart as I sit down, or a large branch of a tree let go over my head, or an errant neighborhood frisbee smacks me in the head the rest of the day looks better.

I can say that now since I have finished my first cup of java!

Freedom Of Speech In The Age Of Elon Musk

Many of my readers come from the age of basic common sense where those unseen guardrails on human interactions with one another are now just second nature. That does mean we are old but just seasoned with layers of respect for how the transactions of society take place. We, in many ways, resemble the charming patina that occurs on copper statues.

The majority of us would not cut in line at the grocery store any more than we would rashly make an unfounded charge, and as my folks might have said, then ‘run it up the flag pole’. Most folks would not distort election returns or argue that space lasers caused forest fires.

As a boy, the party line was (at times) the way local events became known in our rural Wisconsin home. My mom frowned on finding me listening quietly to conversations from others connected, but would then concede to ask what was the news. I never once thought that anything heard in those listening sessions was not true.

Nor do I ever recall a tirade or bombastic blowout.

The means of communication these days is a far cry from placing one hand over the mouthpiece and listening for information on the metal phone hung on the dining room wall. With today’s social media, communication has far less to do with listening, and far more to do with poking and riling others.

The discussions over the past days about Elon Musk, who bought Twitter earlier this week, have created many observers to wonder what that social media landscape will resemble when Musk allows for ‘free speech’ to reign on the platform.

Neil Steinberg a Chicago Sun-Times columnist wrote ” “Free speech” is now the equivalent of being free from the consequences of your malicious, deceptive, and toxic ramblings, the First Amendment a shield to hide behind. It’s like the worst nuisance on the beach buying a private swim club so he can freely kick sand in weaklings’ faces.”

Given what passes for ‘conversations’ in too many cases with social media across the nation it is hard to think Steinberg to be wrong. Reading many of the comments on Twitter about heavy topics of the day makes it painfully clear that not only is the nation needing some lessons on logic, but also about how to navigate in polite society.

I do find it most telling, however, when it comes to those in the nation who talk loudest about ‘free speech’, that what is really desired is the ability to anonymously spread harmful lies, conspiracy theories, and outright bogus slime. Which runs counter to the folks who know this grand freedom of speaking freely comes with the responsibility to speak responsibly.

As they did on the party line of my youth.

And so it goes.

Waushara County Gay Youth Have Positive Role Model In Pete Buttigieg, Non-Verbalized Lesson Mighty Important In Coloma

On Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was in Waushara County. There are many reasons to cheer when a cabinet officer visits any small community, but in this case, there is an unstated reason which deserves comment.

As one of the crafters and motivating voices in the passage of the much-needed $1.2 trillion infrastructure law passed last year, Buttigieg is now visiting places across the country helping locals understand the goals to be achieved. Coloma was where ‘Mayor Pete’ spoke about the construction trades that will need more workers as a result of the federal dollars being pumped into local economies.

The visit was aimed to talk about the national investment into our infrastructure on the day that high school students from around Wisconsin were able to get a first-hand look at the operation of heavy machinery, hands-on experience with mini-excavators, and meetings with industry professionals about apprenticeships.

And with the ample projects that are needed to be completed around Wisconsin, it goes without saying that the industry needs workers.

Buttigieg being in heavily Republican and conservative Waushara County allowed for something else to manifest itself, in addition to infrastructure needs. High school students who may come from homes where gay people are belittled or laughed at had an opportunity to see an openly married gay man with children. who ran for president. and now serves as a top federal officeholder.

Without a doubt, and statistically speaking, there were a few gay students in attendance on Tuesday. Having grown up in that county–in fact, about 10 miles from Coloma–I well know the tone and type that reside in this rural part of Wisconsin. That is not snarky wording but just a plain fact.

So I can also clearly state the non-verbalized lessons for gay youth concerning the power and potential for their personal lives were a lesson they were able to see up close. Whatever information they may have gleaned about potential jobs is far less important than the fact that living authentically matters.

All the snide comments and bigotry in these small towns can not stain the truth when Buttigieg walks up, smiles, and shakes your hand. It does not take your average student very long to discern the truth. The folks back home with their bigotry were just wrong.

Gay youth in these small towns must learn they can live their lives and have every single part of the American dream, from spouses to kids, just like their fellow classmates. Just like Pete Buttigieg.

When I grew up it would have been helpful to have had openly gay role models. Rural Wisconsin had such a man among them today. Thanks, Pete Buttigieg for just being you.

And so it goes.

Memory Of Dad, Royce Humphrey

“Home is where one starts from.” —T.S. Eliot.

I want to post about my dad, Royce Humphrey, who passed away at our Hancock home on this date in 2011.  This would seem like the place to share a fond picture of him, as I have done over the years on this day at one of my social media locations. But this year, I wish to take a different approach to pass along a memory.

While I am sure many other dads in the area of my youth were very proud of their homes and the land they owned, I, of course, can only speak about my dad.

As such I can confirm he had a decades-long effort to make sure the lawn was always mowed, and with mom’s attention also trimmed and decorated with flower beds. When national holidays would take place, and with certainty more car traffic on County KK, dad made sure all was spruced up. When relatives would visit for a week with my grandparents across the road there was also a solid effort to weed the garden and have the lawn look just like he wished it to be.

This was not in any way a ‘putting on the dog’ as dad was one of the most self-effacing people I have ever known. Rather I think it stemmed from the hard days of the depression which underscored that one takes care of what one has in life. And it needs to be noted that dad made sure the lawn had the ‘July 4th look’ in the middle of August, too!

That appreciation of a well-manicured lawn along with the small projects that all add up to complete the feel of a home is one of the values and traditions he passed along my way. After mowing he would sit at the picnic table with a Mountian Dew and look at the results. After each mowing in Madison–which will start again in just a couple of weeks–I drink a cup of coffee and never forget where such a tradition originated.

So the photo of dad for this post comes from 2000 as he looked through the care of his yard. The line of rocks which ran to the road is now a border to flower beds at our home on the isthmus.

Great memories, for sure.

And so it goes.

Mary Nellie Parker: Hancock Woman’s Inspiration Makes For Article In Wisconsin State Journal

Mary Nellie Parker is recalled in Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal (Feb. 13th edition). The woman who was born in Waushara County and called Hancock home is being known today around the state. And for the best of reasons.

Several weeks ago, the newspaper wrote about the COVID-19 pandemic entering its third year and the challenges that presents for so many in our state. The paper wondered if we could take inspiration from earlier generations who struggled with crisis and hardship. They wanted readers to offer ideas.

My mind went at once to Mary Nellie Parker. In my researching The Hancock News for my Doty Land podcast episode about the 1918 pandemic, I came across the most touching, uplifting, and memorable news article concerning Parker. While there were many stories and accounts of locals who suffered from the virus, and then also from WWI, which was being fought at that time, it was Parker who best exemplified the human spirit in those troubling years.

Here then is the way the story looks from today’s paper. It was requested to keep the article to 250 words….I wrote tightly and came in at 249. I wish I had been able to know this woman. She surely was most remarkable.

‘1918 Radio Ad’ For Hancock, Wisconsin Walker Company: New Suit Custom Made!

I was just messing about with some audio on this cold winter night and recorded this ‘1918 radio ad’ for Hancock’s Walker Company. The ad content is from a copy of the town’s newspaper, The Hancock News. Imagine a custom-made suit for only $15.00! The photo is from Main Street at about that time. I have not used this online platform before so this is not visually how I want it to look….but the broadcasting side is something I am pleased with. I did the ad in my recording studio in exactly 60 seconds. Ready for radio! With music, too.

Given one small technical flaw in working with this new platform it might be necessary to hit the restart button in the lower left corner of the YouTube video below. The icon is the arrow in partial circle.

Or watch it on YouTube.

New Doty Land Podcast: “Sure Does Feel Stormy Today”

Podcaster Gregory Humphrey goes back to childhood days in Hancock, Wisconsin to prove weather of all sorts should be viewed up close.  Nothing is better than grandma’s arm around a shoulder as the thunder crashes or as a boy walking into the bracing winds of a winter snowstorm.  Nostalgic warm memories for anyone wishing to trek back in time. (7 minutes)

Sparking Moments Of Joy And Remembrance During The Long Goodbye Doty Land

With contemporaneous accounts of smiles and trying times while dealing with a friend's  Alzheimer's disease come stories of laughter and also tenderness.  The final chapter of the life of Albert Trull, and the way it weaved with the personal life of podcaster Gregory Humphrey as his father was dying, makes for a somber podcast.  But one that is aimed to reach out and ask what role all can play with the elderly people needing friendship and companionship within our communities. 
  1. Sparking Moments Of Joy And Remembrance During The Long Goodbye
  2. Acting With Humanity In Time Of War Makes For New Film
  3. "Sure Does Feel Stormy Today"
  4. Tribute To Classic Country Music, WSM Radio, Grant Turner, And More!
  5. Hancock Boys Go To WWI

You can hear Doty Land and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartradio, Spotify, Castro, and many other sites.

Geneva Schwarz Humphrey From Hancock, Wisconsin, And Ozone, Arkansas

My mom, Geneva Humphrey, would have been 93 years old today. I made a YouTube video with music that has pictures of my parents and our family along with our old home place on County KK in Hancock. There are also some photos from the Herman and Anna Schwarz farm (my grandparents) who lived across the road from us.

Mac Wiseman sings the type of music that mom enjoyed hearing broadcast on the radio as she ironed clothes in the family home.

Pictured on the video are my dad, Royce Humphrey, and my siblings Gary Humphrey and his wife Pat Humphrey, Ginger Humphrey Pfaff with her husband Darvin Pfaff, along with my nephews and nieces Troy Humphrey, Trevor Humphrey, Tricia Humphrey, Katrina Pfaff, Darren Pfaff, and Quincy Pfaff. In 2000 my husband, James Wilson, from Corinth, Maine was added to the family.

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” ~Thomas Campbell, “Hallowed Ground”