The Year Of The Rat

Leo Dodd watercolor Brighton Baseball Sheehans Field 15"h x 22"w
Leo Dodd watercolor Brighton Baseball Sheehans Field 15″h x 22″w

My father would so proud to know that Historic Brighton, a group he was one of the founding members of, has an annual award that they present in his name, the “Leo Dodd Heritage Preservation Award.” This year it went to Mary Jo Lanphear, the Brighton historian and someone my father thought very highly of. When she was appointed town historian she went back to school to earn her masters in history. My father was a history buff. No degree the subject. When a photo didn’t exist he illustrated the source. There are no photos of the ball field that used to sit at 12 Corners so my father envisioned it (above). My father’s uncle, Paul Dodd, played baseball there for money.

We celebrated the Asian New Year last night at the home of my brother’s Vietnamese lady friend. One her son’s friends gave us this riddle. “A lawyer in New York has a brother in Jamaica but the brother in Jamaica doesn’t have a brother in New York. How can this be?” The women sitting around him were all stumped. I was too. Of course the brother in Jamaica had no brother because the lawyer In. New York is a woman.

Last year I was lucky. My red envelope had a 2 dollar bill in it. I was not so lucky at the start of the year of the rat. My envelope had a five dollar bill in it.

We recorded the Grammys and came home expecting to cut to the good stuff but our recording quit about an hour in. The show was still on so we switched to live tv and found we were not getting the station through our cable. All the other stations worked. How does something like that happen? We were happy to see Billie Eilish clean up. A breath of fresh air! And recorded in a home studio with her brother.

Turned out the cable outage was just a warning shot. We were out walking this afternoon when a tree, a tree on our property, came down out back. It took all three wires down, power, cable and phone and it stopped traffic in both directions for hours. I took my saw down there and we grabbed some firewood.

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Into The Woods

Leo Dodd presentation on Edmunds’ Woods in Brighton, New York
Leo Dodd presentation on Edmunds’ Woods in Brighton, New York

Cobbs Hill near the aptly titled Pinnacle Hill in Rochester, New York was named after Gideon Cobb, the quintessential pioneer and brick company proprietor in the Brighton neighborhood. Saturday was Gideon Cobb Day and about fifty people gathered in a lodge near Edmunds Woods for Leo Dodd’s presentation on the old-growth forest. The annual event was sponsored by Historic Brighton and a boxed lunch was included. The woods, an integral part of the old Edmunds farm, is now trapped between a suite of medical offices, parking lot, mosque, retention pond and expressway but it is a real gem with abundant wildlife.

The event started with a series of technical issues, first of which was helping my father find his glasses. They were in the side pocket of his car. My dad constructed the presentation in Keynote (Mac version of PowerPoint) and he transferred it to his iPad. The projector had a hard time recognizing the iPad so a restart was in order and then the wireless mic which my dad had charged up the night before wouldn’t work even though the red on light was lit. That turned out to be the “stand-by” position so that too was a relatively easy fix.

The first slide had an audio file on and I tried holding the iPad up to the speaker which only caused a screeching feedback loop. I was in charge of swiping the iPad to advance the slides while my father talked and I had a quite a time trying to anticipate when to swipe so he wouldn’t have to say, “next slide please” between each graphic. I jumped the gun a few times and had to go back and I clearly caught him off guard a few times as he looked back up at the screen and saw that I had already advanced the slide he was talking to. But the presentation was flawless on my dad’s part and thoroughly enjoyable. Afterwards he led a group out into the woods.

The presentation is available here.

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Welfare Of Humanity

Monroe County Almshouse built in 1930
Monroe County Almshouse built in 1930

Leo Dodd, past president of the Historic Brighton, bought us tickets to their group’s tour of Monroe Community Hospital in West Brighton. We had helped the group out with their website and this was a thank you. We took Peggi’s mom along. They provided a box lunch and a slide show/lecture on the many homes in the area that helped with the Underground Railroad effort in the early 1800s. And then we toured the hospital.

Originally built in 1826 as the Monroe County Almshouse, they had 75 residents and a staff of two. The beautiful new building, constructed in 1930, has 566 residents and a staff of 700! The residents used to grow their own food and provide for the upkeep of the facility. There must be other reasons for the narrowing resident-to-staff ratio but I can only guess. Thomas Boyd, Rochester’s first black architect, designed the place and it is so beautiful that critics started calling it “the million dollar poor house”.