The Porch: Feb. 9

WELL SAID (Valentine version): “Grown ups have great power. They can order candy on credit cards over the telephone and have it delivered.” — George Carlin

HE SHOWED THEM: Author Ben “Flaps” Berry, former Army Air Corps pilot in World War II, signed copies of his book, “To the Moon, Mars and Beyond,” on Jan. 12 at Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum.

Visitors young and old were justifiably awed upon meeting this true American hero and achiever. Berry was among the Tuskegee Airmen, the select group of elite African-American flyers who broke through racial barriers serving in the U.S. military of the 1940s.

Asked about enduring racism (a lynch mob once tore through his house looking, unsuccessfully, for his older brother), Berry said society has “come a long way” but when asked how a person can overcome prejudice in any form, he said this:

“Excellence in performance. If you perform everything you do in an excellent way, you can overcome adversity, but it’s always by recognition. Show ‘em what you can do.”

KIND(s) OF BLUE: Miles Davis’s landmark 1959 record comes to mind with “The Blues,” showing this month at Columbia Art Gallery. The exhibit, curated by Mt. Hood artist Rachel Harvey, looks amazing.

It all started Feb. 1 with a rare acoustic performance by local blues musicians Tess and Patrik Barr, but the musical moods (Indigo, Duke?) of the show remain on display throughout February, in works such as oils by Katey Price and glass-on-tile by Leila Prestia.

— Kirby Neumann-Rea


“The Porch” returned this winter after a long hiatus, just in time for spring training. Got something whimsical or unusual to share? Think of this space as fungo in words.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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