Walking in the Hood on a Snowy Day

What hood this is I think I know.

I walk and think while the hood fills up with snow.

Old Louisville is where I walk around

As the snow flakes fall gently to the ground

I linger here a while

And what I see makes me smile

The pretty little houses with the snow piled high

I  take a few pictures to remember by.

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The North Face

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Which Way did they go?

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Walking in the Hood on a Snowy Day

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Now that’s a horse of a different color

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Pegasus

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Believe

 

 

 

Appointment in Louisville

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Of Lions and Pineapples

A few months ago, I had the good fortune to move to Old Louisville. As fate would have it, I moved into an apartment on Third Street just four houses down from a house I used to live as a young man during the turbulent 70’s. As a matter of fact, my family actually owned that house and sold it in 1993. Fast forward to 2018.

My friend Victoria was looking for an apartment and I have long been encouraging her look in Old Louisville as it was a very interesting place to live with a lot of old Victorian Mansions which have been subdivided into apartments. And there was Central Park nearby.

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Victoria

One day she was over at my place and we went out apartment hunting together. She had several picked out over on Fourth Street to look at. It was raining that day so we took our umbrellas.

We walked down Hill Street to Fourth and as we were about to round the corner, I noticed a For Rent sign in the yard of a house that I had long admired. I called it the House of Lions and Pineapples. It was a beautiful three-story red brick Victorian home with two lions and pineapples outside in front and a black wrought iron gated entrance. I said, “Why don’t you give them call?”

She did and we were able to see it right then. They had just put it on the market and were in the process of cleaning and painting it when we went in. Victoria fell in love with it immediately and I did too.

After looking at a couple of other places in the area Victoria decided that the house of pineapples and lions was the one for her, so we called the owner and asked for a meeting. Sure, come on over they said. They told us their address and we headed over.

They lived on Third Street, just a few doors down from where I am currently living. What was that address again, I asked Victoria? 1461? Why I used to live in that house back in the 70’s.  As a matter of fact, my family owned that very building back then!

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The house on Third where I used to live

When we got there and knocked on the door a little old lady round and short answered the door. She had a big smile on her face. I introduced myself and told her I used to live this building back in the 70’s and wasn’t it ironic that we were here? Oh, did you know Dr. Bell? Why yes! I am his son!

We sat down and had a nice talk. Joe and his wife Arden bought the house in 1993 from my parents. At that time, I was part owner of the house myself and received some of the proceeds from the sale. Arden gave us a tour of the house. I bet it looks a lot different now than it did then, she said. Yep It sure did!

So, there we were. My friend Victoria was about to rent an apartment from the couple who own the house I used to live in but was sold to them in 1993 the same year Victoria was born. What kind of alignment of the planets was necessary to bring us to this point? By what chance occurrences was Victoria destined to cross my path and rent the apartment in the building of the lions and pineapples?

It put me in mind of a story I once heard when I was living in Philadelphia.

It seems there was this college professor living in my building who sent his servant to the Italian Market one day for supplies.  In a very little while the servant came back, shaking and trembling. It was clear he had been greatly disturbed by something that had happened at the market.

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Italian Market in Philly

He said, “Mister Coffer, sir, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd. I turned to look to see who it was and I saw it was Death staring me in the face.  She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. I ran from the market and came back here. Mister Coffer, will you please lend me your car so that I can ride away from this city and avoid my fate?  I will go to Salem and there Death will not find me.”

The college professor gave him the keys to his Mustang, and the servant got in and rode away as fast as the car could drive not first without leaving a stretch of burning black rubber behind him as he pulled out of the parking garage. Later that day the professor went down to the Italian Market and he saw Death standing in the crowd and he went over, not afraid, and asked her, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant this morning when you saw him?”

“That was not a threatening gesture,” Death said, “I was just surprised to see him here in Philly, as I had an appointment with him tonight in Salem.”

Thomas Wolfe wrote in his book, Look Homeward Angel, “The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern because a London cut-purse went unhung. Through chance, we are each a ghost to all the others, and our only reality; through, chance, the huge hinge of the world, and a grain of dust; the stone that starts an avalanche, the pebble whose concentric circle widen across the seas.”

And although chance may have something to do with our lives and though we make a move this way or that we are still bound like an ant on a leaf rushing down a river to the sea.  And there is precious little we can do about it but enjoy the ride.

Victoria rented the apartment and she is living there now just one block away in the building of the lions and pineapples. And if you squint your eyes and hold your mouth in a certain way you can almost see the flapping wings of the butterfly in the rain forest that made it all possible.

 

PINK HOUSE!

The Story of a Victorian Mansion

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On one fine day in May I was strolling through one of old Louisville’s beautiful “walking courts” with my good friend and trusted side-kick Victoria Mansion. When much to our surprise we came upon a phenomenon down toward the end of the block for which neither of us was fully prepared. A Pink House! Now this wasn’t any ordinary sort of pink house it was an extra fancy with raisins sort of pink house. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t a house at all but a palace.

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What caught our interest was a small gathering on the porch. Everyone had a drink in their hand and seemed to be having a good time. Come on in, they beckoned. Well it was just too hard to resist. Turns out it was an open house put on by a local real estate agency. The old Pink House was for sale!

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Now let me tell you what they had to offer for refreshments: beer, whiskey, two kids of wine, cheese and crackers, and sushi. Well, we came right on in and helped ourselves. We were invited to explore the house which we did.

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A little of the history of the place. The “Pink Palace”, circa 1896, features beautiful period architectural details and a massive turret. The entry foyer and elaborate and ornate staircase are impressive to see as you enter the front door. You will see quarter-sawn “Tiger Oak” floors and woodwork throughout and magnificent stained and leaded glass windows. The “turret” rooms are located on each level of the house are as you might imagine round and filled with light. Great for sitting or reading.

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This glorious mansion began its history as a Gentleman’s Club and Casino for the male residents of St. James Court and Belgravia Court to relax and unwind. They enjoyed a good cigar, brandy, stimulating conversation and cards, as well as other past times including the services of  ladies of the evening.

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The Gentleman’s Club was in existence for only a few years before it was sold to the local chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union who bought the mansion for  their headquarters and promptly painted the red brick structure pink. Hence the “Pink Palace.”

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It is said the Pink House is haunted by a friendly ghost named Aviary.

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He only appears at times of danger to warn the residents…

You can see Aviary in the mirror above the fireplace.

It was on a very merry day in May…..

 

 

 

BLACK LIVES MATTER

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There is such a “shit storm” going on in the world everyday these days one hardly knows where to begin. Let’s start with the NFL situation. Compelling football players to stand during the national anthem is at the very least a violation their free speech even if the NFL is a private concern. Free speech is a basic human right and is protected in the First Amendment to the constitution of the United States. It is perhaps the most patriotic thing one can do. And what are the players protesting? Injustice. They are not protesting the Anthem, or the flag, or the country. But, rather, injustice.

What’s to be done? My suggestion is to boycott the NFL. Stop watching football. I know this is going to go over big with football fans of whom they are legion, but I am going to say it anyway. Football is a brutal, violent sport that injures its players and brings out the worst in it’s watchers and participants. And it is boring to boot.

So, I say don’t watch it. Read a book, take a hike, go to a concert, or do something creative or helpful. But don’t watch football.

 

MY NEW DIGS

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In a few days I will be moving into my new digs located in Old Louisville. I’ll be moving there from St. Mathews which is in the East end of Louisville and rather tony, if you get my drift. This will be my fourth move since I moved back to Louisville in  2012 maintaining a life long habit of moving every few years.

First I lived in the Highlands, which I loved, then out Westport Road which is even further to the east, and now, finally getting back to my roots and a more urban environment, Old Louisville.

Old Louisville is a historic neighborhood in central Louisville nestled between Downtown Louisville and The University of Louisville. It is the largest preservation district in the United States featuring almost entirely Victorian homes mostly made of brick. With its wide avenues, beautiful treelined streets, and magnificent mansions it is truly a wonder to behold.

Old Louisville also sports a number of fascinating and interesting taverns, bars, and grills, and an odd assortment of restaurants. And I have been having quite a time exploring the area. Here are a few snaps of my new digs, and my new neighborhood.

See you in the hood!

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Mag Bar

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Fourth Street Tavern

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Vis-a-Vis

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Granville Inn