Grand Pockets’s Blog

Genealogy, Family, Poetry and Peeves

Returned at last!!

Sorry, folks, for those of you who have visited and posted…and amazingly there have been a lot of you, I have been ill. Simply stated, a couple of heart attacks and open heart surgery has kept me offline and out of commission for almost two years. FINALLY, I am feeling good enough again to begin researching and answering messages and correcting the errors many of you so graciously pointed out. Nuff said – I ain’t gettin’ into bedpan talk, let me get back into this site and the pileup of messages and the research updates I need to get done. For those who have written, my apology for the lack of response.

Chuck (Grandpockets)


November 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Suicide in an Alien Night

It is discomfiting to experience a suicide taking place just outside your door, as happened to me in my home some years ago, when I’d just moved to the southend in Saint Joseph on Colorado Street, and a man pulled up at the curb, disconsolate over who knows what and put a gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. A total stranger yet the effect his last act had on me was lasting and profound. I can only imagine the pain his family felt and their anguish.

A Suicide One Alien Night

Sentry hours when a car passing draws you to the window,
squinting in the blackhole that is the rest-of-them universe,
disturbed that someone parks under your elm.

Alien nights are not for interrogatories,
astronomers just observe anomalies intently with
some calculation, this becomes a simple decision. Watch.

Hemingway sat in Ketchum, disconsolate and afraid. What
a novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was. It tolled for him,
sitting in Ketchum, alone, like the man in the car outside.

I can write about Hemingway. I know him from his works
and his biographers. You can understand a man from his
books. All I know about the man at my curb that alien night

was how I observed him in the darker-darkness of light
inside looking out and the gunshot that scared slash-strokes
of Van Gogh’s blackbirds from my elm, and the police

using my phone to call his next of kin.
I didn’t know his name, a stranger escaping the”rest-of-them” universe.
He left no books to read, no note to help us understand.

Alien nights
are not for interrogatories,
astronomers just observe
anomalies, hemingways
and dimly seen stars blinking out in the blackwash of night.

©Charles Elledge 2008

January 5, 2009 Posted by | Poetry & Art, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kansas City Chiefs have new Training Camp


Bricky red skyline of Downtown St. Joseph

Well, after a few years of wrangling Charlie Shields, Missouri Western and the City of Saint Joseph have come up with a plum for 2011 and beyond – the training camp site for the Kansas City Chiefs. It hinges on one criteria, getting enough money to complete new athletic facilities, new parking, and a couple new ballfields to replace the ones that will be under the new parking lot. The Chiefs, the University, the City and the County are kicking in, and yes, probably the taxpayers before long (besides the general use funds that will go to it already).

Some of Saint Joe's old architecture

Some of Saint Joe's old architecture

About time the Chiefs got their camp nearer home and supported somebody’s economy within their fan base instead of the money going to River Falls, Wisconsin in Packer territory. For my hometown, this is big news and it splits the community between the grumblers and the enthusiastic. The grumblers are ahead in the count. Too often in Saint Joe the grumblers win. Saint Joe has about as low a tax base as any city its’ size in the US – taxes are peanuts here, and the services reflect it. That’s the thing taxpayers don’t get. They want good schools, parks, police and fire protection, the streets salted and plowed the second it snows BUT they want someone else to pay for it. Anyone. Just not them.

Columns from the razed Robidoux Hotel stand sentinel

Columns from the razed Robidoux Hotel stand sentinel

Passing a tax in Saint Joe is about as easy as passing a boulder sized kidney stone. It doesn’t happen often and never without a bunch of screamin’ and hollerin’. So, as the city’s economic base crumbles, Snorkel-Economy just the latest casualty of the economic meltdown, people naturally want to avoid higher taxes but for crissakes, Saint Jo’ you have to have some taxes – or else no services.

Robidoux Row - a Museum for the city's founder Joe Robidoux

Robidoux Row - a Museum for the city's founder Joe Robidoux

The Chiefs situation is just one more blown opportunity to get the community rolling if this thing fails to materialize now that the Chiefs have said “Pony up and we’ll do it.”¬† Communities grow by an aggregation of attractions/amenities, services and conveniences. Saint Joseph has the convenience of a centralized location with good highways right through it, a river, a major airport just minutes away but it always seems to fail when it comes to capitalizing those other two things – services and attractions/amenities.

Rococco front of the Missouri Theater downtown

Rococco front of the Missouri Theater downtown

Add some ridiculously stupid government that can’t get anything done without deadlocking themselves in ego fights and ‘who’s in charge’ tug of wars and it’s not hard to see why the city always seems seems to teeter on the precipice if economic disaster. Poor services because of low taxes, mediocre schools, and a dearth of quality attractions, unless a second rate river casino is an attraction. I mean, this is a town that proudly hails itself as the home of Jesse James – a career criminal!


Pony Express Statue - Where Johnny Fry took the first ride

Thing is, it’s not a bad town to raise kids and it could be great if they’d just do a few things. Hire a professional curator to operate and run the museums for one. The city has a great but underutilized and poorly operated museum system, yet as a history buff I can state this is a very fascinating place with some great possibilities. Protect the parkway from developments of any kind. The museums are in place, their artifacts and the history they represent are great – they just need some funding and direction. The Chiefs camp is another step. It brings people here. It gets the name on front burners in season and increases tourism. I could be a pessimist and say oh hell, they’ll blow it again but this is my hometown. I’d like them to win one for a change.


Belt Highway - St Joe's Fast Food Mecca


December 30, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blogging Ain’t Easy

One thing I’ve learned is this blogging thing can be time consuming at first. There is so much to learn and you know the saying – “Old dogs and new tricks”. Already I’ve decided to migrate the genealogy stuff to pages of their own rather than posts. I’m just concerned about pages’ limited tagging. I’ll try inserting Technorati tags through WLW. That leaves me with the need to come up with content on a regular basis that isn’t genealogy. Thankfully, I’m a windbaggy type of person. One blog I’ve found essential reading for a newbie like me is Lorelle’s. I added it to my blogroll but having her blog on call is like having a primer on how to use wordpress.

Last night we visited my daughter and husband in their new house. Beautiful! But I choked at the size of their payment. When I started out many, many moons ago, a big mortgage was 200 bucks. That bought you a helluva house. Now that won’t get you a trailer in the worst park in town. (And that should tell you just how many moons ago it was when I was young!)

Anyway, as the blog evolves, hopefully I find that elusive “niche” the blogmeisters preach about. Or maybe not. Laser-like focus is NOT my life’s strong suit. Were I a weapon I’d definitely be an open choke shotgun not a rifle. I just hope I don’t waste your time and mine shooting blanks…


December 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment