Subject of Last “Random” Photo: Georgie White

Anybody miss me while I was out of town and away from the Interwebs?  Well, I missed you–or “yinz guys” as we like to way in western PA.

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives. Photo by Josef Muench. Call # NAU.PH.2003.11.4.3.H3828A

I had several ideas I thought I could write about today, but a second look at this morning’s “random” photo inspired me to do a little digging to see who this woman is and what she’s about.  Fortunately, this was an easy one to run down.

As I’ve said before, most of the photos represented in this series have come by way of  Tumblr and Pinterest, and are either unattributed, or have been reposted so many times that it’s difficult to figure out the original source.

This Sunday’s photo has a lot of clues, and while it shows up all over the net, I had no problem figuring out that the woman in the photo is Georgie White Clark, a fairly famous georgiebookand historically significant river guide who made her mark floating the Colorado River through Arizona’s Grand Canyon (among other places) –which she first descended in the mid 1940’s.  It deserves notices that while most people run the Colorado is rubber rafts, Ms White and a friend did a 60-mile stretch by…swimming it, wearing lifejackets.

Just so we’re clear on what we’re talking about, here’s a glimpse of one of the rapids:

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives. 1955. Call # NAU.PH.92.17.1

Not only was she the first woman to swim the canyon, she was the first to row a boat through the canyon, and the first woman to run an outfitter service to guide others through the canyon as well.  Her story is easily found spread across the web, and deserves a look.

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives NAU.PH.
Glen and Bessie Hyde

And what a good story it is–“controversial” in life–though, for the record, after an admittedly cursory bit of research I’ve found little explanation for her “controversial” resputation beyond the observation that she wasn’t a modern-style feminist and that she liked to pack tin cans for her float expeditions and I suspect, had she been a man that word would not been been applied to her, her legend grew in death. Numerous, but nebulous, clues suggested that her auto-biography was filled with manufactured information, and that she may have been someone entirely different, possibly even a murderer, in the part of her life before she began running the river: Bessie Hyde, who infamously disappeared, along with her husband, on a honeymoon float down the river in 1928 that would have made Bessie the first woman to run the canyon.  Was Georgie actually Bessie, returned 20 years  later to finish what she’d started?  It’s an exciting story that reads like a movie, and can be read in detail here:


My Favorite Christmas Recordings #9 Christmas With The Rat Pack

Bitter, cynical, and borderline misanthropic for most of the year, I reform for the holiday season and from mid-November to the last minute of Epiphany I’m all about the season.  Readers of Old Road Apples will find themselves under a constant barrage of holiday fare this season–from themed essays to book reviews to a countdown of my very favorite Christmas recordings.


Pushing into the top ten, these records could be stacked in just about any order and I’d be happy.  It’s that close.

“Frank Sinatra. Dean Martin. Sammy Davis Jr.” Really, what else do I need to say?  As genres go, my favorite Christmas tunes lean towards cocktail-ready, hipster-jazz/swing, and these songs are classic.  Most notable is Dean Martin’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” that suddenly controversial chestnut that’s drawn the ire of a few cranky feminists (trying to raise, happy, healthy, empowered daughters–rather than sullen and paranoid defeatists, we’re partial to confident, bright-eyed, and joyful feminists around here) and some sallow young men who would curry their favor: the argument is that it is a song about date rape, that the woman wants to leave but the man won’t let her, and that the line “say, what’s in this drink?” very clearly demonstrates that the man has drugged her cocktail.

If you’ve never savored the joys of something largely because other people think it’s naughty, then this is your chance.  Turn up the stereo, pour a glass of eggnog, and bask in the smooth Dean-o delivery while reflecting on the simpering paranoia of the articles cited above.

The entire album is wonderful–these guys recorded a lot of holiday music over the years, and the folks assembling the collection clearly chose the crispest versions of the most classic of the lot.  Most of the tunes you’re looking for are here–and there’s nothing to make you want to scoot forward a few tracks to that song you’ve been waiting to hear.

1. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Dean Martin
2. Mistletoe And Holly – Frank Sinatra
3. Christmas Time All Over the World – Sammy Davis, Jr.
4. The First Noel – Frank Sinatra
5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Dean Martin
6. I Believe – Frank Sinatra
7. Silver Bells – Dean Martin
8. The Christmas Song – Sammy Davis, Jr.
9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Frank Sinatra
10. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Dean Martin
11. The Christmas Waltz – Frank Sinatra
12. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Dean Martin
13. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
14. Medley: Peace On Earth/Silent Night – Dean Martin
15. Jingle Bells – Sammy Davis, Jr.
16. White Christmas – Dean Martin
17. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Frank Sinatra
18. Winter Wonderland – Dean Martin
19. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams) – Frank Sinatra
20. A Marshmallow World – Frank Sinatra
21. Auld Lang Syne – Frank Sinatra