Saturday, August 28, 2010

When Ya Gotta Go, Ya Gotta Go

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

When we were little, we lived on a small dairy farm north of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. There were numerous outbuildings, one of which was an old outhouse, painted red to match the other farm buildings. The outhouse stood very close to the back of the machine shed, with the door facing the shed. There was basically only enough room to swing the door of the outhouse open. The photo below, taken several years ago in Trempeleau County, Wisconsin, shows an outhouse in a similar setting.


The outhouse on our farm was pretty important because there wasn’t a bathroom in the old farmhouse when we moved there. It was several years later that our dad added a bathroom to the old house. And what a glorious day that was when the bathroom was finally finished! No more long trips to the outhouse. No more being scared of the spiders and bees that were often in the outhouse. And no more being afraid of what might be lurking down in that creepy pit.


Did I say “No more trips to the outhouse?” Well, in spite of all the major advancements in just about everything over the past several decades, many of the backroads we travel in our quest for rural scenes are just that – rural. And, often, the best we can come up with for a restroom is an old outhouse. We find them in parks, behind churches, at old schoolhouses and town halls, or in cemeteries.



Speaking of outhouses in cemeteries, I’m reminded of a funny incident many years ago at the old cemetery in the town of Hyde, Wisconsin. Just inside the gate, down the hill from the chapel, sat a dilapidated outhouse, which is now long gone. We had been out early, as usual, and I was in desperate need of a restroom. Since there are no parks or gas stations anywhere near there, I decided to use the old outhouse. Meanwhile, Ruth was wandering around the cemetery...or so I thought.


Most outhouses are very dark inside because there are no windows or there is only a small moon cutout in the door or side of the outhouse. This outhouse, however, was very bright inside because there was a very large window on the side facing away from the church. This is quite unusual for an outhouse, but what was even more unusual was how low this window actually was, which I didn’t really pay any attention to.


One thing you should know about Ruth is that she has a memory like a steal trap when it comes to movie lines. And she often throws them out during the course of our adventures, after which I usually ask, “Okay, what movie is that from?” Do you remember the scene at the end of the Wizard of Oz movie, where Dorothy is lying in bed after the storm, mumbling, “There’s no place like home” over and over? Just then Professor Marvel leans in the window and says something like, “Anybody home? I just dropped by because I heard the little girl got caught in the big storm.”


Anyway, a few seconds after I sat down on the worn wooden outhouse seat, Ruth suddenly leaned in the window (with our eyes meeting at about the same level) and said, “Anybody home? I just dropped by because I heard the little girl got caught in the big storm.” At this point, all I could do was to start giggling and we both laughed about this for a long time afterwards.


Having to use an old outhouse isn’t all that bad in the spring, summer, or fall. But winter is a different matter – trudging through knee-deep snow to get there, only to find that the door is drifted in or the outhouse has a padlock on the door (after all, no one will be needing it in the dead of winter, right?). And then there’s the cold blast of air from the pit or the need to bring your own toilet paper. But we manage to deal with it. After all, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go!


We hope you enjoy this view of a simpler time.

Happy Shunpiking!
Joann

Sunday, August 22, 2010

“Getting our Kicks” with Gary Turner on Route 66

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

In the spring of 2008, Joann and I decided to visit the Ozarks for our annual photography trip. As always, I planned the route to have stops every couple of hours to allow us to get out of the car for a while. My plan was to take us through Illinois and across the Mississippi at St Genevieve, Missouri. But Mother Nature had other plans and southeast Missouri had major flooding in early spring. I adjusted my plans, and we ended up driving some of Route 66 through Missouri.



Gay Parita Sinclair Station (Replica of 1930 Sinclair Station) on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri
Gay Parita Sinclair Station (Replica of 1930 Sinclair Station) on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri



A short distance west of Springfield, Missouri, and just off Hwy 96, is the Gay Parita Sinclair Station. The original station was built in 1930 by Fred and Gay Mason when Route 66 was the busiest highway in America and stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica. The site also included a rubble stone garage, built in 1926, for oil changes and tire repairs, along with tourist cabins behind the station for travelers.



1924 Fry Guaranteed Measure
1924 Fry Guaranteed Measure "Mae West" Visible Gas Pump, Gay Parita Sinclair Station on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri



The word parita means equality in Italian. Together, as equal partners, Fred and Gay Mason ran the station for 23 years, providing gas, groceries, sandwiches, car repairs, and a place for travelers to stay until Gay’s death in 1953. Fred kept the station open until 1955, when it burned to the ground. Rather than rebuilding the station, Fred decided to retire to Gay’s dream house behind the station and he died in 1960. The photo below, of a vintage gas truck that now sits in front of the old rubble stone garage, shows the castle-like facade of this structure.



Antique Gas Truck in Front of 1926 Rubble Stone Service Garage, Gay Parita Sinclair Station on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri
Antique Gas Truck in Front of 1926 Rubble Stone Service Garage, Gay Parita Sinclair Station on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri



When Gary Turner retired, he bought the old Fred and Gay Mason property. Soon he had a 10x16-foot wood-framed station designed by his brother-in-law Steve Faucett and built on weekends by Steve and his son, Steve Jr. The station is not an exact replica of the original station, but is true to the styles of the era. The station has two 1924 Fry Guaranteed Measure "Mae West" Visible Gas Pumps out front, and the words “gas war” under the 15¢ price sign.



Gay Parita Sinclair Station (Replica of 1930 Sinclair Station) on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri
Gay Parita Sinclair Station (Replica of 1930 Sinclair Station) on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri



When we pulled up that day, we were the only car and we soon met Gary Turner, the owner of the recreated station. You can tell from talking with him how much he loves the history of Route 66 and meeting all of the people who come to travel the road.



1924 Fry Guaranteed Measure
1924 Fry Guaranteed Measure "Mae West" Visible Gas Pumps, Gay Parita Sinclair Station on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri



Shortly after we arrived, several people pulled up on motorcycles and came into the small station to look around and speak with Gary. They were from Europe and had heavy accents. Since the station is so small inside, I stepped outside so they could come in, but Joann stayed inside, and several times found herself helping Gary to phrase things in a way they could understand.

After the motorcycle group left, Joann continued to photograph and Gary sat outside on the bench telling us more about his love for the road and the people he meets.



Gary Turner, Owner, Gay Parita Sinclair Station (Replica of 1930 Sinclair Station) on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri
Gary Turner, Owner, Gay Parita Sinclair Station (Replica of 1930 Sinclair Station) on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri



As you talk with Gary, you can tell that this station is his pride and joy, and meeting the Route 66 travelers is what he lives for. He has a guest book that is signed by people from around the world, and he talks about people from Europe who come to America to travel the road. Some of them ship their cars over so they can drive their own car on the famous road, taking several months and driving from Chicago to Santa Monica. Some come without their cars and rent either cars or motorcycles for the trip. Gary loves talking to all of them.



Gary Turner, Owner, Gay Parita Sinclair Station (Replica of 1930 Sinclair Station) on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri
Gary Turner, Owner, Gay Parita Sinclair Station (Replica of 1930 Sinclair Station) on Old Route 66, Lawrence County, Missouri



Gary asked us if we drove any of Route 66 in Illinois and if we had ever been to Funks Grove. We have been to the town of Funks Grove, photographing an old general store there that has a rusty old gas pump out front. There is also a small railroad depot across the road.



Rusty Gas Pump at Country Store, McLean County, Illinois
Rusty Gas Pump at Country Store, McLean County, Illinois



Gary said he hadn’t driven the whole road and hadn’t been to Funks Grove, but he wanted to get there some day to get some pure maple “sirup.” This spelling is preferred when referring to the pure product produced by boiling the sap down (without any added sugar). Joann has been to Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup, but I have not been there myself.



Railroad Depot, Funks Grove, McLean County, Illinois
Railroad Depot, Funks Grove, McLean County, Illinois



Gary’s recreated station is a welcome stop on old Route 66. He has an enormous love for the road and its history. He loves the people that travel the road so much that everyone becomes his friend for life. He said that he keeps the station open every day of the year, including Christmas Day. He also told us that, when we got home, we should send him a postcard and he would send us a Christmas card.

Before we left, Gary signed post cards for us and one each for our nephews, Sam and Toby. They are big Cars fans (Lightning McQueen and Mader being their favorites), and maybe when they grow up, they will travel route 66 and see it for themselves.



Whitehall Mercantile, Originally a General Store, Post Office, and I.O.O.F. Lodge, Built 1900, Halltown, Lawrence County, Missouri
Whitehall Mercantile, Originally a General Store, Post Office, and I.O.O.F. Lodge, Built 1900, Halltown, Lawrence County, Missouri



If you find yourself with vacation time on your hands and no plans, maybe you should go and “get your kicks on Route 66.”

Happy Shunpiking!
Ruth

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Visit to Penn’s Store, Gravel Switch, Kentucky

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

In the spring of 2006, Ruth and I took our annual photography trip to Kentucky. On one of the last days, we headed for Gravel Switch, a town in central Kentucky that was probably named for the trains that stopped there to pick up gravel from the creek. A short distance from Gravel Switch on a lonely dead-end road is an old weathered general store that has been owned and operated by the Penn family since 1850.



Penn's Store, Casey County, Kentucky (at the Boyle County Line



The store is set against the hillside, or knob as they are called in Kentucky. To the left of the store, beyond an herb garden, sits a wooden outhouse that is referred to as Penn’s Privy. To the right of the store sits a pile of coal for the Warm Morning wood and coal stove which is the only source of heat for this old store.



Coal Pile at Penn's Store, Casey County, Kentucky (at the Boyle County Line



As we approached the front of the store around 11:00 am, we realized that another car had just pulled up in front of us. A couple got out and the woman, realizing that the store wasn’t open, said, “Darn, it’s closed. They’re supposed to be open at 10:00 and they’re supposed to have the best bologna sandwiches. We were planning to have lunch here.” Then she showed us a magazine article about the store and the bologna sandwiches. She was quite distraught over the whole thing and they soon left us to ourselves at this wonderful old store.



Penn's Store, Casey County, Kentucky (at the Boyle County Line)



It was a lovely overcast day and the place just radiated a feeling of peace and quiet. We wandered up onto the front porch of the store and read some of the signs that were posted there. One of them gave a brief history of all the Penn family members who had operated the store over the years. Another said, “If you came and no one was here, we’re sorry. We must have had an emergency. Please leave your name and address or email address.” Another said, plain and simple, “Please don’t steal our cats and kittens.”



Hand-painted Sign at Penn's Store, Casey County, Kentucky (at the Boyle County Line)



There were cats and kittens lounging on the gravel road in front of the store, which was embedded everywhere with rusty old bottle caps that, years ago, had been tossed on the ground. My first thought was that they were from old-fashioned Coca Cola bottles because everywhere we had been in Kentucky we had seen old Coca Cola signs. But above the porch on the front of the store, hung a fairly large square metal sign, a light greenish yellow in color with a large, but faint, Pepsi Cola bottle cap just barely visible.



Gray Tiger Cat on the Porch of Penn's Store, Casey County, Kentucky (on the Boyle County Line)



There were also cats relaxing on the old porch or getting into mischief with each other. There was one very large tiger cat who seemed to be at the top of the pecking order because every once in a while he would cuff one of the other cats upside the head to let them know he was the boss. And occasionally, one of the cats would balance on the rim of an old barrel that sat on the left side of the porch and then disappear into the barrel.



Tiger Cat on a Barrel at Penn's Store, Casey County, Kentucky (at the Boyle County Line)



We spent about two hours there that day, just soaking in the ambience of this piece of American history. The true age of Penn’s Store isn’t known because historical records only date back to 1845 when 21-year-old William Spragens ran the store. In 1850, Gabriel Jackson "Jack" Penn purchased the store and it has been known as Penn’s Store ever since. Around 1870, the store was passed to Jack’s oldest son, Martin Wilson “Dick” Penn. Dick Penn was a druggist and was given a grant by the Governor of Kentucky to practice medicine and administer drugs. Penn’s Store dispensed drugs to the community from a large assortment that the store carried. Dick was also a dentist and part of this one-room general store was devoted to dentistry.



Window on the Post Office Wing of Penn's Store, Casey County, Kentucky (at the Boyle County Line)



Dick and his family lived in a small log house to the left of the store, with a rock walk running between the house and the store. In 1882, Dick Penn opened the area’s first post office in the small left wing of the store. He was the postmaster until around 1910 when the post office was moved to Gravel Switch. On a hot July 4, 1913, Dick Penn died on the front porch of the store from a heat stroke at the age of 61.



Penn's Store, Gravel Switch, Casey County, Kentucky



After Dick’s death, his only son, Martin Penn took over as storekeeper. Martin ran the store while also farming with his five sons. Unfortunately, Martin died in a farming accident in 1933, leaving his wife, Sue “Mammy” Penn, and their children to run the store. In 1972, after Mammy died, her son Haskell “Hack” Penn took over as storekeeper. Haskell kept the store open seven days a week and when he died in 1993, his youngest sister, Alma “Tincy” Penn Lane continued this practice. According to an article about Tincy, she was once asked by a visitor to name the oldest thing in the store, to which she replied, “You’re looking at her.” When Tincy died in 2001, her daughter, Jeanne Penn Lane, and granddaughter, Dawn Lane Osborn, took over ownership of the store.



Calico Cat on the Porch of Penn's Store, Casey County, Kentucky (at the Boyle County Line)



Penn’s Store was the heart of this rural Kentucky community. People came from miles around to purchase goods such as clothing, shoes, hardware, dry goods, farming tools, fabric, and the salt cured country ham and rolls of bologna that hung from the ceiling on large spike nails. It was also the local gathering place where rural farm families could connect with their neighbors.



Tiger Cat on the Porch of Penn's Store, Gravel Switch, Casey County, Kentucky



Throughout the long history of this family-owned and operated general store, change was rare. The store still has the original board and batten siding and the same rusty old seam metal roof. Although we didn’t get a chance to see the inside of the store, it was known to still have the original sagging wooden floorboards and shelving, old hand-rubbed countertops, and turn-of-the-century glass showcases. The “cash register” was reportedly a King Edward cigar box.



Old Sled on Porch of Penn's Store, Gravel Switch, Casey County, Kentucky



In addition to the store and log house, there used to be several other buildings on the property, including a storage building used to stock a surplus of drugs, a spirits shop, and a chicken coop used to house fowl that the local folks traded for goods at the store. In 1992, Penn’s Store celebrated the opening of its first restroom facilities – an outhouse built of poplar wood and “christened” by country music legend Chet Atkins who was the first to use the new Penn’s Privy. This celebration was called the Great Outhouse Blowout party and it has become an annual event with music and an outhouse race.



Penn's Privy, The Outhouse at Penn's Store, Casey County, Kentucky (at the Boyle County Line)



As I began my research for this story, I discovered some disturbing news about historical Penn's Store, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a Kentucky Historical Landmark. On May 1 of this year, Ruth and I were returning home after many days of photographing in North Carolina. As we came through Kentucky intending to spend our last day photographing on the back roads, we got caught in some terrible storms that began to cause flash flooding. So we headed for higher ground. What we didn’t realize was that the floodwaters basically consumed Penn’s Store, with water rising to the roof of the porch and heavy damage to the structure and the store’s contents. Some of the Penn’s Store animals were rescued by neighbors. Others died in the flood.



Orange Tiger Cat at Penn's Store, Casey County, Kentucky (at the Boyle County Line)



Ruth and I are extremely grateful that we visited Penn’s Store this year for the second time on our way to North Carolina, a week prior to the flood. We will tell you about this second visit in a future blog post. In mid-July, owner Jeanne Penn Lane said she didn’t know what would become of the heavily damaged historical landmark. She has been at a loss on how to proceed and the store remains closed indefinitely. One ray of hope is that on August 4, on the Penn’s Store Facebook page, it was announced that the annual Great Outhouse Blowout party will be held on September 11. We hope this will be a successful fundraising event. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in more information on the status of Penn’s Store, click here.



Penn's Store, Gravel Switch, Casey County, Kentucky



As always, Happy Shunpiking!
Joann

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Star Barn

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

I don’t remember the first time I saw a picture of the Star Barn in Pennsylvania, but right then, I knew that I had to see it in person some day. I love barns, so I can see the beauty in most of them, but this barn was gorgeous! I had to show Joann the pictures of the barn, and she was as excited as I was to actually stand in front of it and to photograph it.


Soon after, Joann and I began planning a trip to Pennsylvania. Our starting point for exploration in Pennsylvania was going to be Harrisburg, so right away I had to find out how close that would be to the Star Barn. Score! The Star Barn was only a short distance away, and would be the first stop of our inaugural week-long photography trip.


This was well before our trusty GPS Irwin, and this barn complex is now in the middle of the city, next to an expressway. The expressway passes right by the back side of the barn, but you can’t imagine how you will possibly get to it. We had some vague directions that I had found, and a map I had printed from the Internet to assist a little, but we still had to sort of feel our way there. Our persistence paid off, and we made it to the dead-end street where the barn sat proudly, but sadly unused.


The history of the farm predates 1778, and it passed through several hands in the next 100 years until John Motter purchased the farm in 1872. The farm at that time consisted of 164 acres with a stone farmhouse and a bank barn. Motter hired a master carpenter named Daniel Reichert to transform the farm. Reichert designed all of the buildings in the Gothic Revival style.


The original bank barn was not retained, and was instead replaced with the current barn. The barn originally was a horse barn, as Motter was a horse trader.


The barn is a five bay frame barn with many decorative features. It has large ventilators in the shape of a star and a large steeple-like cupola. The ramp to the second story of the barn is built over a stone vaulted cellar.


The outbuildings are also in the Gothic Revival style on a smaller scale, including the signature star-shaped ventilators and large cupolas.

The chicken coop had originally been on the other side of the road behind the farmhouse, but was moved to sit with the other buildings when the farm was divided and the farmhouse was sold.


The carriage house was built to allow a wagon or carriage to be pulled inside and stored. The side walls of the carriage house were built as corn storage, so they include the evenly spaced boards for ventilation of the corn.


The farm passed into the Nissley family in 1925 and was converted to dairy farming. It was at this time that the milk house and silo were built.


We spent several hours that day walking around the complex and puzzling over some of the buildings and what their use might have been, and marveling at the workmanship in the design.


The Star Barn complex is listed as a National Historic Landmark with the National Register of Historic Places. It was constructed in 1872 and includes a large barn, pig barn, carriage house, chicken coop, grain silo and milk house. The buildings remain on 3.6 acres of the former farm and are surrounded by development.


The Star Barn complex is now owned by Agrarian Country, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Pennsylvania farmland and farm buildings. Their plan is to move the complex to a site near Grantville, Pennsylvania, where it can be useful once again.


If you’re ever in Pennsylvania, see if you can find the Star Barn. It is well worth the trip!

Happy Shunpiking, even if it does take you into the city on occasion!
Ruth

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Stupid Photographer Tricks

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

I’ve been photographing with expensive cameras, lenses, filters, and tripods for about 30 years now. I’m always very careful with my equipment, but no matter how careful I am, unexpected things happen. These things are sometimes due to traffic, sometimes due to the forces of nature, and sometimes due to equipment failure. As much as I hate to admit it, though, these unexpected things are mostly due to my idiosyncrasies and absent-mindedness.



Grand Haven North Breakwater, Ottawa County, Michigan




I think my first absent-minded trick happened in the early ‘90s on a trip to California when I left a backpack full of camera equipment lying on the ground and drove off. By the grace of God, it was still there when I went back. The bad thing about forgetting to put something back into the car is that you don’t realize it’s gone until you go to use it again. By then, you might be many miles down the road.



Bowen's Mill, Built 1864, Barry County, Michigan



In the spring of 2007, Ruth and I took a 10-day photography trip to Michigan. By the 8th day, we had been burning the candle at both ends and Ruth desperately wanted to get to our motel early for a change. So that was our goal and we were on schedule to arrive at our motel around 5:30 (as compared to 9:30 or later). We spent a couple of hours that afternoon photographing at a beautiful old grist mill. Normally this wouldn’t have taken that long, but there were also turtles and a robin feeding babies in the nest, which can be time-consuming to photograph.



Robin Sitting on Nest, Bowen's Mill, Barry County, Michigan



When I finally finished, we headed toward the town where we would stay the night. Ruth was very excited that things were moving along as planned. An hour later, we arrived in the town with the motel, but we decided to see what the evening light was like at an old feed mill we wanted to capture there. If it was good, we would get it then; if not, we would get it first thing in the morning. When we got to the mill, I decided the light was good, so I grabbed my camera and then reached for my tripod. But it wasn’t there. How could it not be there? It’s a good thing Ruth didn’t have a camera to capture the sick look on my face right about then. Had I really driven off an hour ago without putting my tripod back into the car? And then there was the look on Ruth’s face as she realized that, once again, we would be arriving at our motel very late.



Doster Mill, Barry County, Michigan



So we just turned the car around and headed the hour back to the grist mill. When we got there, my tripod was standing there in the parking area where I had set it while I was putting my other equipment into the car and telling Ruth what to write down in our photo log. The good news in all of this is that we took the backroads on the way back (since I was no longer in a panic) and we passed some beautiful paint horses. As I was photographing them, the owner’s daughter came past and asked if we would like to buy one of them. I told her they were beautiful, but it would be a long trail ride back to Wisconsin.



Paint Horses, Barry County, Michigan



The other great thing we stumbled on was an old blacksmith shop that had a sign that said “Doster Blacksmith Shop.” We’re always pleased when we aren’t left wondering if a building that looks like it might have been a blacksmith shop actually is one.



Doster Blacksmith Shop, Barry County, Michigan



Many years ago, Ruth and I were in Trempeleau County, Wisconsin and had stopped to photograph a round barn. We’re grateful to have captured this barn because it was taken down a couple years later and there is no sign now that it was ever there.

We left that area and drove to the Dells Mill near Augusta, Wisconsin, which is probably about 45 minutes away. As I was grabbing some equipment out of the car, I couldn’t find my wide angle lens. I looked everywhere, but it just wasn’t in the car. This really puzzled me until I realized that I had switched lenses back by the round barn and had laid the wide angle lens on the back of the car “for a minute” while I took one more shot with a different lens.



Dells Mill, Built 1864, Eau Claire County, Wisconsin



Thinking about where we had been parked, I realized something else. We had been on a hill on a very busy highway, so I had pulled out rather fast to avoid being hit from behind. And there was a rather steep embankment on the other side of the guard rail. I decided that my lens was probably broken and lying at the bottom of the embankment. Ruth, however, was pretty confident that we would find it beside the road. So we drove back and, sure enough, it was lying there at the edge of the road and it wasn’t damaged. I was amazed… and pleased, to say the least. Below is a round barn similar to the one that started this whole adventure.



Round Barn Complex, Jackson County, Wisconsin



My most recent act of senility occurred in the spring of 2009. Ruth and I had spent the day photographing on the backroads of Crawford and Richland Counties in Wisconsin. I had taken what I thought was the last photo for the day so I took my loupe (an $80 gadget used for glare-free viewing of the LCD screen on the back of the digital camera) from around my neck and laid it in the back seat. What I should have done was to put it back in its case in the box of camera equipment that is always sitting on the back seat of the car, but I didn’t.



Vintage Chevrolet 3100 Truck, Sauk County, Wisconsin



As we headed toward home on Highway 14 and were approaching Peck’s Farm Market, Ruth pointed out an old red pickup truck that was sitting in the woods with a skeleton in the driver’s seat. So I grabbed my camera and tripod, snapped a couple of pictures, put the equipment back in the car, and then we headed home.

The next day, we went photographing in Sauk County, Wisconsin. It was early Sunday morning and we stopped at the church in Leland so that I could capture it in the early morning light. Since the sun was beginning to shine, I reached in my box for my loupe, but I couldn’t find it. Then I searched everywhere in my box, under the seats, in the back, and I was stumped. So I spent the rest of the day photographing without the loupe.



St. John Ev. Lutheran Church, Leland, Sauk County, Wisconsin



At the end of the day, we decided to go to the place where I had taken the final shots the day before – back to Peck’s Farm Market to see if it had fallen out of the car. When we got there, as we were pulling off the road near the old red truck, Ruth said, “There it is!” I was excited because I didn’t want to have to replace an $80 item due to my senility. So I jumped out and picked it up, only to discover that it was smashed to bits. When I got back in the car and showed it to Ruth, she said, “Oh, shoot, someone ran over it.” I said, “Yes, and I believe that was us. I think it fell out and rolled under the car a bit so I didn’t see it, and then when we left, I drove over it.”



St. Fall Color, Sauk County, Wisconsin



The sad part of this story is that Ruth had given this loupe to me for my birthday a couple months before as a replacement for my first loupe. I had purchased my first loupe shortly after the product was introduced and it had some kind of design flaw that caused the lens to loosen (unbeknownst to me). As I was photographing fall colors at the end of the prior autumn, the lens fell out and smashed on the pavement. And, unfortunately, the warranty had expired by that time.

These are just a few of my “stupid tricks.” I hope they made you chuckle. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all in a day’s work. In the end, what’s most important is that I get the shots.

Happy Shunpiking!
Joann