Memory Blocks and Cans I Remember

Do you like to go to antique stores?  Nah, me neither.  Well, at least not in terms of shopping.  Antiques are too expensive, if you ask me.  And they’re really OLD, too…and that means that they’re bound to collapse in a pile of wood, glass, metal or whatever because that’s what happens to old things, right?  Why, even the pyramids are crumbling!  And they’re only about 5000 years old!  I rest my case!!!!

But, I must confess that I’ve found a new appreciation for going into antique stores.  I take my camera along and take pictures while my wife wanders around looking at every single thing in the store.  But you know what?  I don’t mind if she does that because it gives me more time to shoot photos!  And that is NEVER a bad thing….!

Today’s photo is from an antique store in Oakdale.  There are two things in this picture that really caught my eye.  The first is the wooden blocks that are contained in the glass jar.  I used to play with blocks like those when I was a kid.  I can even remember how they smelled!  Did you play with blocks like those, too?

The second thing is the milk can on which the blocks rest.  My grandfather was a farmer for 95 of his 102 years.  He had some cows that he’d milk and when we went to visit them, my sister and I liked to “help” with the milking. Next to the barn was a small shed that housed the “separator” machine.  It was a machine that would separate the cream from the milk.  The warm milk right out of the cow would be poured from a bucket into the top of the separator (it had a cone-shaped part at the top that would spin rapidly) and there were two spouts farther down the machine.  The cream would come out of one of the spouts while the remaining milk poured out of the other..and you guessed it, it poured into a large milk can like the one in the picture.  Ah, the memories!!!!  Amazing how well we can remember some things decades later.

_MG_5092ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  With the Anglo-Americans closing in on Germany from the west and the Soviets approaching from the east, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler ordered a massive attack against the western Allies by three German armies.

The German counterattack out of the densely wooded Ardennes region of Belgium took the Allies entirely by surprise, and the experienced German troops wrought havoc on the American line, creating a triangular “bulge” 60 miles deep and 50 miles wide along the Allied front. Conditions of fog and mist prevented the unleashing of Allied air superiority, and for several days Hitler’s desperate gamble seemed to be paying off. However, unlike the French in 1940, the embattled Americans kept up a fierce resistance even after their lines of communication had been broken, buying time for a three-point counteroffensive led by British General Bernard Montgomery and American generals Omar Bradley and George Patton.

Fighting was particularly fierce at the town of Bastogne, where the 101st Airborne Division and part of the 10th Armored Division were encircled by German forces within the bulge. On December 22, the German commander besieging the town demanded that the Americans surrender or face annihilation. U.S. Major General Anthony McAuliffe prepared a typed reply that read simply:

To the German Commander:


From the American Commander

The Americans who delivered the message explained to the perplexed Germans that the one-word reply was translatable as “Go to hell!” Heavy fighting continued at Bastogne, but the 101st held on.

On December 23, the skies finally cleared over the battle areas, and the Allied air forces inflicted heavy damage on German tanks and transport, which were jammed solidly along the main roads. On December 26, Bastogne was relieved by elements of General Patton’s 3rd Army. A major Allied counteroffensive began at the end of December, and by January 21 the Germans had been pushed back to their original line.

Germany’s last major offensive of the war had cost them 120,000 men, 1,600 planes, and 700 tanks. The Allies suffered some 80,000 killed, wounded, or missing in action, with all but 5,000 of these casualties being American. It was the heaviest single battle toll in U.S. history.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Agatha Christie claimed she did most of her plotting for her books while sitting in a bathtub munching on apples.



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