My Heart Is Down

Sad to say I’m on my way,

Won’t be back for many a day.

My heart is down, my head is turning around

I had to leave a little house in Wrinkle Town.

 

Knights of the Blind

A scene as it might be viewed by a person with...

A scene as it might be viewed by a person with diabetic retinopathy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On 30 June 1925, blind and deaf Helen Keller charged Lions to be “Knights of the Blind.”

Frankfort Lions have a tradition of focus on service projects related to supporting the blind. Among them is the Sights and Sounds raffle in April, the Candy Day collection on street corners around town in October. Another is STRIDES: Lions and Lincoln Way Walk for Diabetes Awareness.

Why support STRIDES, and why make people aware of diabetes?  Before answering that question here are some statistics from the American Diabetes Association. The answer follows.

***********************************************************************************

Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet (released Jan. 26, 2011)

Total prevalence of diabetes

Total: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.

Diagnosed: 18.8 million people

Undiagnosed: 7.0 million people

Prediabetes: 79 million people*

New Cases: 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.

* In contrast to the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, which used fasting glucose data to estimate undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes, the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet uses both fasting glucose and A1C levels to derive estimates for undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes. These tests were chosen because they are most frequently used in clinical practice.

Under 20 years of age

  • 215,000, or 0.26% of all people in this age group have diabetes
  • About 1 in every 400 children and adolescents has diabetes

Age 20 years or older

  • 25.6 million, or 11.3% of all people in this age group have diabetes

Age 65 years or older

  • 10.9 million, or 26.9% of all people in this age group have diabetes

Men

  • 13.0 million, or 11.8% of all men aged 20 years or older have diabetes

Women

  • 12.6 million, or 10.8% of all women aged 20 years or older have diabetes

________________________________________________________________________

The answer for why the Frankfort Lions promote STRIDES.

Blindness (taken from the ADA website to read the entire article click here)

  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20–74 years.

  • In 2005-2008, 4.2 million (28.5%) people with diabetes aged 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy, and of these, almost 0.7 million (4.4% of those with diabetes) had advanced diabetic retinopathy that could lead to severe vision loss.

    Donate to STRIDES

    Proceeds from STRIDES is donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Diabetes Association

Late Summer Evening In Frankfort

Old Plank Road Trail

Old Plank Road Trail (Photo credit: reallyboring)

Yesterday, after supper I took a long walk into town. I went by way of the mushroom water tower on route thirty and then south to the Old Plank Road Trail. I arrived in historic Frankfort and saw the remnants of cruise night. At least what was left of cruise night. It was after seven when I ambled into town and the sun was only a glow of pink in the western sky. There were still a few die-hard car guys sitting around chatting in front of their hot-rods. There were about six in all. Too dark to take pictures I thought. I kept walking to Oak Street and Kansas. There across the street was Francesca’s Fortunato restaurant lit up with mini-lights. Patrons sat on the new sidewalk seating area enjoying the warm humid evening while eating and drinking with friends. Neat, I thought to myself as I continued to walk. Then the same scene unfolded in front of the Smokey-Barq restaurant on the opposite corner. I’ve got to take a picture I told myself.  I will be  sorry if I don’t at least try. Besides, what have I got to lose, a few electrons? The only camera was in my phone. What the heck, point and shoot. Surprise, an image froze on the screen. That started me thinking about another photo essay on Frankfort.

Here are the few pictures I took.

You may read my writing about Frankfort, many times I whine about the high cost of living and the latest infra-structure improvement we don’t need, but overall I love this little (16550 souls) town, and will most likely be buried from here.

What Is Your Happiness Index?

2012 Monet Vision

This data came to me from a friend by e-mail. I’ve seen it many times before, but this time it struck me funny. Do people really understand what they are doing to their cities? Do they care, or do they move to the suburbs to get away from it? Running isn’t the fix to the problem it is a part of the problem. We must stay and defend our turf. It has taken me sixty years to understand this phenomenon.

I ran from my childhood neighborhood to a more modern neighborhood thinking I was better than old houses and small lots. I wanted fresh air and the country, so I moved to a suburb where the lot sizes were barely double what they were in the city neighborhood. The closest shopping was three miles away. There were no public buses, and worse yet, the distance  between taverns was five miles. The small town politics rivaled those of Chicago. There really wasn’t any difference in graft. The tax rates were higher than Chicago, the services were fewer.  It took me twenty-nine years to move from that town.

Now, I live in Frankfort. I don’t really care how big my property is, big or small is okay, The taxes are gigantic, the rules are stupid and many. The town is designed for travel by car with little regard for pedestrian traffic. Shopping is central with one super market within a 2 mile drive. It is nice, but is it worth a thousand dollars a month in tax to live here?  Not really. I could just as well live in the 100-year-old house I was born in, or in the second house where we raised our kids, and be just as happy. In the meantime, I abandoned two really close-knit neighborhoods for a third really expensive one without advancing my happiness index one iota. So look at the data below and analyze where you fit today. What would have happened had you not abandoned the town where you grew up?

TEN POOREST CITIES

City, State, % of People Below the Poverty Level
1. Detroit , MI 32.5%
2. Buffalo , NY 29.9%
3. Cincinnati , OH 27.8%
4. Cleveland , OH 27.0%
5. Miami , FL 26.9%
5. St. Louis , MO 26.8%
7. El Paso , TX 26.4%
8. Milwaukee , WI 26.2%
9. Philadelphia , PA 25.1%
10. Newark , NJ 24.2%

What do the top ten cities (over 250,000 population) with the highest poverty rate all have in common? 

Detroit, MI (1st) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1961.

Buffalo , NY (2nd) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1954.

Cincinnati , OH (3rd) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1984.

Cleveland , OH (4th) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1989.

Miami , FL (5th)has never had a Republican mayor.

St. Louis , MO (6th) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1949.

El Paso , TX (7th) has never had a Republican mayor.

Milwaukee , WI (8th) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1908.

Philadelphia , PA (9th) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1952.

Newark , NJ (10th) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1907.

Einstein once said:

‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’

It is the poor who habitually elect Democrats yet they are still POOR!

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”

I am Grumpa Joe and I approve this message!

I Prefer Hot Rods with Fenders

1932 Ford DueceThe yellow thirty-two duece hot rod in American Graffiti is the icon of hot rodders across the states. It is mine too. I love hotrods, especially street rods.  The car that drives me wild is a thirty-four Ford three window coupe that has been channeled, chopped and modernized with a hot fuel injected engine, power disk brakes, and air.  I prefer my hot rods with fenders. 

Every summer the Frankfort Car Club sponsors “Cruise Night,” in the historic area. Cars come from all around the south suburubs and fill the streets. Owners sit by their vehicle and answer questions. The evening brings out the locals to gawk. Most of the hotrods elicit  memories of our father’s car, or the first car we owned.

 I grew up watching a kid who was just a few years older than me build a hot rod. It was my habit, to ride my bike to the alley where he rented a garage. Dick lived in the house next to the alley. He could see the garage from the kitchen window of the second floor apartment where he and his mother rented. I watched the garage door, if  it was open,  Dick was working.  The thirty-four coupe he built was his second hot rod, and it is the one I fell in love with. Someday, if I win the lotto, I’ll buy a thirty-four Ford.

Each time I visit cruise night, I find another car to love. I can’t make up my mind as to what I really want anymore. Is it the thirty-four, or should it be a thirty-nine roadster, or a fifty Mercury? Confusion, confusion, confusion. I”ll have to win a big lotto, so I can buy one of each, and afford a place to keep them.

The beauty of a street rod lies in the builder’s vision to take an antique car, and re-style it into a sleek modern vehicle. They have all the features of a two thousand nine Chevy.  Each is a unique work of art designed by the builder who  is  usually the owner too. They are craftsmen with a pocket book, often spending over fifty thousand dollars to complete a project. Many owners limit the use of the car by driving them only to cruise nights or to other shows.

There is nothing quiet about a street rod. Not the rumble coming from the powerful engine, or it’s squeeling tires, or from it’s paint. Some of the most eye appealing colors are applied on hot rods. Some have very ornate flames and pinstripping. Other’s have multi-colors with silver and gold sprinkled in.

1934 Ford Sedan Street Rod1959 Mercury Sedan1950 Mercury Coupe with Sculpted Hood and Fenders1934 Chevy Three Window Coupe1937 Ford Coupe1934 Ford Tudor Sedan

Great Odds, Big Prize

Lions Logo
Lions Logo

In nineteen forty, a small group of men chatted over a beer. The subject was how to make a difference with their lives. One had heard of Lions Clubs, and suggested that they form a club in their town of Frankfort, Illinois. By the spring of nineteen forty-one they chartered the Frankfort Lions Club, and adopted the Lions motto “We Serve.” Over the years, the club grew to have more than a hundred members. Their primary mission was directed toward helping people with blindness and vision problems. It remains the focus of the club to this day.

The club required funds to serve the growing needs of the community. Again, they discussed the matter over a few beers, and the idea came to them to hold a raffle. Members brain-stormed a formula for raising money that has served them well for the last twenty six years. It was simple, Lions sell tickets for twenty dollars apiece, but limit sales to two thousand. The idea grew. Why not rent the entertainment tent for a dance on the Thursday before the Frankfort Fall Festival begins? They would serve beer, food, and hire a band. A single sweeps-ticket will allow a couple to enter. On that night, Lions, friends, and neighbors fill the tent. They dance, listen to the lively music, or just socialize. The grand finale is the draw of the winning tickets.

Initially, first prize was a new car, but inflation took over, and cars became too expensive. First prize is now ten thousand dollars in cash, with thirty-one hundred and fifty dollars of additional prizes. Lions continue to limit the ticket sales to two thousand. It makes the odds of winning good. The sales effort is more challenging because the club membership is down to forty. The decrease in members is typical of service clubs around the United States. In spite of fewer members, and the reduced value of the dollar cutting the charities budget, the Frankfort Lions Club continues to “Serve.” Please help support by participating in the “27th Annual Charities Sweepstakes Dance,” Thursday, August 28, 2008.

For more information on where to buy tickets visit our website at http://www.frankfortlionsclub.com

Cherry Pie and the Kids

Grumpa Joe Looks at FlowerWhat a great weekend this has been for me! Yesterday, I had the honor of being with my three children and their families. We celebrated the birthday of my namesake grandson. All of his cousins and uncles were there from my side of the family. From his dad’s side he had his one aunt and his grandparents.

Today, Peggy and I ventured out to mass at Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church. Afterward, we visited the Frankfort Farmer’s Market. She bought a fresh cherry crumble pie. We were home only an hour when Peg’s grand daughter Shannon came by. It is her birthday, she is twenty seven. Our plan was to have a party for her, but her mom had to work and her sister was out of town. Instead, we accepted an invitation to eat lunch with my daughter and her family. We haven’t done that in quite some time. They took us to the Brazilian Steak House in Tinley Park. The food was good, and the wine was even better. Afterward we adjourned to our house for cherry pie and ice cream. Peg and I are so stuffed, we can’t move.

Later in the evening, son Mike came over with his three kids. We sat and chatted for over two hours. Its even more fun when the children are old enough to participate in the adult conversation. I showed Danny my cukaracha shirt. He wasn’t impressed, he still likes his shirt better.

Kids, I love you and cherish every moment we spend together.

This afternoon, Peggy called her son to wish him a happy father’s day. She reached him in a car on Interstate 65, eighty miles south of Indianapolis. He is on his way home from vintage drag races in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I spoke with Larry and got a first hand account of the day at the races.

It rained this afternoon, and that kept us in the house. Tonight, our Concerts on the Green begin with a SInatra Impersonator.  If it is not rained out, the program should be very good.

How much more could a father-grandfather ask for? I’m not sure my  heart can take any more excitement.

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