Category History

Cheese: From Sandy Creek to the White House

On occasion, one experiences a confluence of comments on the same subject that amounts to a sign, a call to action. And so it was last week when Shannon and Marcia both mentioned cheese. Shannon turned my attention to a list of legendary parties that included President Andrew Jackson’s Cheese Party at the White House. […]

Watching Golf

My wife thinks I have gone around the bend because I have begun watching golf on television. I have never played golf, unless you count courses with a windmill hole. But I enjoy watching, and I have a regimen that I find very fulfilling. First, I place a pint of excellent beer within my reach. […]

My Aunt Mary Meets Big Bertha

Big Bertha I didn’t know my Aunt Mary. She was my grandfather’s sister, and he never said a word about her. But I do know that in May of 1916 she helped out at a 10-day bazaar raising money for the widows and orphans of German soldiers who had fallen in battle in the Great […]

Why Grandma Hated Catholics

I grew up in a family that taught its children to distrust and dislike Roman Catholics. My father’s father believed that if John F. Kennedy became President, the Pope-o-Rome (one word) would relocate to Washington D.C., and rule the nation. I believed his attitude came from his rural Baptist background, a distrust of The Other, […]


I don’t know where you stand on reincarnation, but let me give you a tip: Given a choice, don’t come back as an elephant. Especially if you’re going to be anywhere near people. :: Old Bet – 1816 :: In the summer of 1816, Hackaliah Bailey took Old Bet on a tour of New England, […]


Talaat Pasha taught me a new word: escheat. When a person dies with no heir, his land and estate escheat to the government. The term comes from the Latin ex-cadere, to “fall out”, via medieval French, escheoir. As Interior Minister and one of the leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress that controlled the […]

Guinevere Sinclair Gould Brodrick

  I love stories about rich people. They have a fairy tale aura about them, but they actually happened. I especially like those among the wealthy who are eccentric or hapless, whose foibles and follies are writ large. Such a gem was George Jay Gould. Born in 1864, he was a son of Jay Gould, […]