I’m Going to Leaf It Alone After This

Tree in front of Mark Steinhoff's house in St. Louis, near the Botanical GardensThis will be the last tree and leaf posting for a long time. I know you non-Floridians are wondering why we’re so obsessed with leaves when you are already tired of raking, blowing, burning and disposing of them.

It’s because we don’t have all these spectacular colors down here. Most things stay disgustingly green year-round.

Wife Lila was so disturbed by the lack of colorful leaves in Florida that my Mother had to send her a care package of them our first Fall in the state. Every year when I’d go back home, I’d have to bring back leaves for my friends at the office.

(As always, click on the image to make it larger.)

Free leaves

Leaves at Southern Kumfort on Kentucky LakeSo, here’s the deal: I scored a small trash bag of leaves on my way out of town last weekend. There were some really spectacular ones earlier in the week, but several days of rain managed to knock them down.

Most of them are yellow Maple leaves

Red leaves found along Broadway in Cape Girardeau, MOI’m willing to dole them out to anyone who leaves (no pun intended) me a comment telling my why they need a leaf fix. You have to be local enough that we can arrange a physical transfer. (I suppose I COULD fax them to you, but I think they’d lose something along the way.)

Most of the stash is made up of yellow Maple leaves because they were low enough in my Mother’s yard to snip off without too much trouble.

Lady Bugs are confused

Fallen Leaves at Steinhoff residence in Cape Girardeau, MOThere must have been a bunch of Lady Bugs on the leaves because every time I turned around, there was another one crawling on me or my car window.

I bet there’s a dozen Lady Bugs flying around in Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida wondering, “Wow, how in the world did I get here?”

Trees are already turning brown

I stopped in Thebes, Ill., at a scenic overlook to check out the rising Mississippi River.

You can see that the trees over on the Missouri side are already starting to turn to dark orange and brown.

When I rode the Cape LaCroix Recreational Trail on Saturday, it was so covered with leaves that you could hardly tell where the trail was in spots.

Give me a holler if you want your share of leaves. My Mother was happy to send them down to Florida so she wouldn’t have to rake them.

View of Mississippi River at flood from Thebes, IL, scenic overlook

President Taft Visits Cape, It’s a Big Deal

I stopped by Port Cape Girardeau to see an artist about having some business cards designed and to see if anything was happening along the Mississippi River.

Port Cape Girardeau and Common Pleas CourthousePort Cape Girardeau with Common Pleas Courthouse in background

Someone in the bar mentioned that the local paper had a story that today was the 100th anniversary of the day President Taft and a flotilla of boats visited Cape Girardeau.

In fact, if I’d step outside, that very occasion was depicted in a mural on the floodwall right in front of us.

Indeed, there was President Taft

Mural on seawall depicting President Taft visiting Cape GirardeauIf you go to the historical pictures in The Southeast Missourian story, you’ll see that the townsfolk built an arch over the street that looks a lot like the one in the mural.

I apologize for the quality. It was taken at night under marginal lighting.

I visit Cape Girardeau more than Taft

I’m miffed. Taft shows up once in 100 years and it’s a big deal with a special painting on the floodwall. I show up at least once every year and nobody even throws me a parade.

Coast Guard buoy tender keeps boaters safe

Coast Guard buoy tender moored at Cape GirardeauA Coast Guard buoy tender was moored at the waterfront on the other side of President Taft. They’re the guys who maintain the red and green buoys that tell barge pilots where the shifting Mississippi River channel is safe to run.

Captains have a lot more toys than in the Mark Twain days, but the Mississippi River, which is rising rapidly with all the recent rains, is still an unpredictable place.

Mother’s Birthday Season 2009

Mary Welch Steinhoff on her 88th birthdayWarning: Non-biking content

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate my mother’s Birthday Season. She determined several years ago that when you reach a certain age, a single day just won’t cut it. We arrived in town a week ago and she’s been going hard at celebrating her 88th doing things like getting her driver’s license renewed.

(She missed identifying two traffic signs on the test – “I know what to do, I just don’t know what they’re called.” She came home, studied like a teenager going after her first license and aced it the second time around. She’s spent the past two days calling out traffic signs to me while we’ve been tooling around SE MO.)

Mary Welch Steinhoff with flowers on her 88th birthday“Never had a bad birthday”

Mother has always said ‘I’ve never had a bad birthday.”

Last year we documented some of her other Birthday Seasons.

Not only did she get a whole herd of presents, but we took her on some interesting r0ad trips, including Grand Tower Natural Area, where she ate her fill of persimmons; a stay with Bro Mark in St. Louis (whose furnace is broken with temps in the 40s); a stop in a karaoke bar (that’s a story that will be covered in great detail on our future Central High School site) andĀ  a visit to a fellow who lives in a pre-Civil War home alongside the Mississippi River.

We can’t wait for the next Birthday Season to come around.

Digital Photography vs Large Format Silver Film

Cape Central High School in the mid-60sCape Girardeau (MO) Central High School at night circa 1964

I shot the black and white picture of my alma mater, Cape Girardeau Central High School, in 1964 or early 1965 for the 1965 Girardot yearbook. It was taken with a Crown Graphic 4 x 5 camera. That’s all the tech info I have.

Cape Girardeau Central High School October 13, 2009

Cape Girardeau (MO) Central High School 10/13/09This picture was taken Oct. 13, 2009, at 21:39:50 with a Nikon D-40 digital SLR. The zoom lens was at 18mm (27mm in 35mm-speak).

I underexposed the picture 1-1/3 f/stops, with an exposure of five seconds at f/5. TheĀ  “film” speed was ISO 200.

I did a little tweaking with Photoshop, but I also remember doing some burning and dodging of the original B&W print.

(Editing film on a lap top is a little hit-and-miss. Everything looks different depending on the angle of the screen, so I don’t know how optimized the image is.)

Cape Girardeau Central High School Girardot Photo Staff

1965 Girardot Photo Staff

Left to right: Jim Stone, Ronald Dost, head photographer Ken Steinhoff, Skip Stiver, Joe Snell, Gary Fischer. Taken in CHS darkroom c 1964. (NOW do you see why none of of the majorettes dated me?)

The more things change, the more they remain the same

The high school has been converted into a middle school. There are a bunch of new trees in front of the building (and it looks like it’s air conditioned now). The big sign that my senior class voted to put on the front lawn is gone. (I voted against it and thought we should buy books for the library). Another sign has popped up in its place.

Still, it looks remarkably like it did when I walked through the doors as a scared freshman.