Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Our Australia trip was the most exciting for me, because I was able to make several side trips. We drove north of Sydney into the wine area. Australian wines are excellent, and one of the members of the trip filled the back of the station wagon with cases of wine. As far as trees, valleys and views, Australia is most beautiful underwater in the Great Barrier Reef. The extent of my experience, though, was to walk up to my shoulders, testing my bravery. But the fear of sharks and the cold water sent me back to the shore.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Baby Talk

In the good old days, we traveled quite a bit. In those days, a gas station attendant did the gas filling at the pump. Self-serve was unknown. The driver remained in the car and requested one of the two choices, unleaded or regular. "Fill it up," was a common phrase of the time. While the tank filled, the attendant would wash the windows.

Once after one of these pit stops, our daughter, who was 3 or 4 at the time, asked her mother, "Is his name 'Regular', Mama?"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

Sunday afternoon an Amish congregation visited us, the residents of Sedgwick Healthcare. It was a great pleasure to welcome them. They dressed in their usual early 18th century style and sang in perfect harmony the standard Protestant hymns. Their minister offered a short homily teaching from the basic Protestant doctrine.

If I Were a London Taxi

If I were a London taxi, I would drive around town, never exceeding the speed limit.

I would show you the fabulous London tower, Buckingham Palace, home of the Queen of England.

I would ride you on a slow boat to China, eat lunch from a brown paper bag, server Foster's.

If my engine grew tired and cranky, I would fill it up with premium fuel and call "Click & Clack" on my radio Saturday morning.

If I had a fleet of Mercedes, I would throw them into the drink so no one could envy them.

-Dave Sparlin

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The nicest feature of Addis Ababa is the moderate climate, just like Mexico City and other cities located at high altitudes near the equator.

I was surprised to see the eucalyptus tress. The Ethiopians imported them from Australia years ago because they grow quickly and make good firewood.

A picturesque sight. As you ride the bus from the airport to downtown, all along the way you see the troops of drovers with their little burros carrying loads of firewood moving toward the downtown in the morning and returning to the countryside in the evening to reload for next day's trip.

The foreign embassies are located along the same road. Most of them are very small modest bungalows and some are just tin shanties.

We're talking here about a third world country, you know. Most of the building in the city center were pretty shabby, dilapidated, derelict, run down, whatever. ("Too many notes, my dear Mozart.")

The Hilton hotel was in relatively good shape and a comfortable place to stay. The hotel compound looked like a medieval fortress or a prison with a high, thick concrete wall enclosing several acres including a nice, large swimming pool.

I never tasted any coffee as delicious.

5/2/2005 email

The Snowbirds

I have never been a party of the snowbirds*. To vacation every year to the south to the same spot would be boring to me. I like some camping site usually at a lake, but I love to park campside then and like to drive, drive, drive. I'm happiest when I'm blazing new trails. I'm always looking for the new scene, most to stretch my imagination.

*This entry is relatively garbled, but it appears Dad was referencing a specific poem or book, not just the generic idea of migration. Maybe someone is familiar with his reference. If so, please share with me.


We lived in Chicago in approximately 1935 while our dad was doing research for his Ph.D degree in political science at the University of Missouri at Columbia. Our family rented a small apartment in Chicago. The apartment was built in a row of tenements. It was the poorest and cheapest housing in the windy city. The cold gets below 0 degrees, but it was summer in Chicago, hot, many degrees over 100. We just walked five blocks from Lake Michigan. We would pester Mom to let us go swimming at lunch, but she would refuse until an hour after eating. She believed you would drown.

Remember these were the early days, took place during The Great Depression, but Dad always fed his young family by working as a linotype operator, which was a semi-skilled job, and he was well paid.