Where’s Heckle?

Posted on January 14, 2013


Do you remember Heckle and Jeckle? They were, for those of you too young to remember such things, Terrytoons characters featured in movie and TV cartoons and comic books from the 1940s up until 1980 or so. I guess they were supposed to be magpies. I always thought they were crows, which is why I thought of them when Babs wrote: We lost most of our snow last week, but had a few flurries today. This is an empty place along M 88 between Eastport and Central Lake. I love the crow in the top of the tree.

Crow in the treetop Jan122013_0364

First I managed to look in the wrong tree, and then I spotted the bird and wondered how she could tell it was a crow.  Then I thought about how all large black birds look alike to me, and the next thing you know I was pondering issues of race and bias and general idiocy and forgetting to write the post.

The last several weeks have been full of interesting reading, a compelling documentary, the promise of a challenging exhibit at the Dennos Museum, and a couple of surprises inside my own head.  I have no gift (or patience) for writing book reviews, but I have some Interesting Suggestions for you, in no particular order:

  • Them: Images of Separation–“a traveling exhibition from the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University that showcases items from popular culture used to stereotype different groups”–at the Dennos Museum in Traverse City, now through March 3.  This exhibit has special resonance for someone who has been obsessing over Civil War veterans and their descendants for the last four years – and for anyone who’s paying attention to Life As It Is Right Now.

THEM exhibit images

Jim Crow Museum THEM images

  • Brother Outsider, a PBS documentary about activist Bayard Rustin.  Friends had rented it from Netflix and we watched it after a good dinner on Saturday.  It took waaaay longer to watch it than it would have in a theatre, because we kept pressing PAUSE.  This is partly because of the age range – I was the oldest bat in the room and the youngest bat was a bit younger than Rob the Firefighter – and partly because there was more peach blackberry crumble out in the kitchen.  The crumble needs no explanation in this crowd.  As for the extended age range relevance, some of us were there on the Mall, live and in person, in August, 1963, and some of us weren’t even born yet.  The best conversations take place among people with diverse life experiences and perspectives.
  • Steve Yarbrough’s novel, Safe from the Neighbors. Narrator Luke May is a local historian trying to untangle what really happened in Loring, Mississippi in 1962 – on the night before James Meredith registered for classes at Ole Miss.
  • Steve Luxenberg’s memoir Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret. Luxenberg is a former investigative reporter for the Washington Post who tried to understand why he never knew he had an Aunt Annie, and how his mother had managed to keep the secret. He writes: The easy answer–shame and stigma–is the one that I often heard as I pursued the story. But when it comes to secrets, there are no easy answers, and shame is only where the story begins, not ends.

And here I am at the Elk Rapids Library after dark.  This almost never happens, on account of it means that Miss Sadie and the Cowboy have been alone all afternoon, and have probably figured out some way to make me sorry.  I’m going to pack up now and go home for a good supper.  Back tomorrow.