The only thing to believe in

In the Netflix series “Ozark” the male lead, Marty Byrde, is asked, “What do you believe in?” Marty, a well-intentioned money launderer for a drug cartel, replies, “I believe in numbers.”

I’ve often used numbers but never thought seriously about them. I was good in math up until high school when I made a choice between athletics and trig. But it seems true. Numbers make our world go round, make sense out of chaos. Sports, astronomy, politics, healthcare, travel, business, investing, you name it. Maybe even religion. On the 7th day God rested.

The problem with numbers, though, is this.  Are they the right numbers? If you take a fake news figure that 80% of Americans support Donald Trump when the truth is 30%, then you are out on the wrong side of a limb with a saw.

But, since I’m headed for a significant birthday next year, I am going to make a resolution. I’m going to try to emulate Marty Byrde.  Numbers are the only things to believe in.



“Brodie Mansion”

The boyhood home of A. O. Brodie, aka the Brodie Mansion.

I had hoped to eventually get back to Edwards, NY, and find the “Brodie Mansion” that eluded me four years ago. The opportunity arose earlier this month during our second visit to Lake Placid and Adirondacks Park, upstate New York.

The boyhood home of Alexander Oswald Brodie was important but not key to my research on the Walnut Grove Dam Disaster of 1890 in Arizona Territory.  Brodie, a West Pointer and a former Army officer who fought the Apaches, was chief engineer at the dam the night it broke and sent a flood of water downstream to kill dozens of workers in a camp along the Hassayampa River. He did not design the dam or build it and was never held responsible for its failure.  Not that it was essential to my story but Brodie had later served as territorial governor of Arizona, 1902-1905.

We were in the Adirondacks primarily to hike.  But when Sunday, September 3, turned rainy, we decided to travel the 87 miles W to tiny Edwards, population 1,156, just outside the Park.

I had a better idea this time where the home was located.  Thomas Freeman of Edwards had sent me a note describing it and where I would find it.  He should know. His family had owned the “mansion” since the 1880s, he said.

A first stab at a house up Talcville Road seemed a fit, but the owner said it was not the place I was looking for.  But he knew exactly where the “Brodie Mansion” rested.  With his information, we steered north on Gouverneur Road driving toward town,  At one point I looked west and there it was, about 150 yards off the road.  Painted white, four-pillars.  Had to be.

A few vehicles were parked in the driveway as we approached.  I got out of the car and yelled, “Anybody here?”  A man came to the door.  It appeared he was remodeling a room in the interior.  He said it was OK to shoot some photos of the exterior but we couldn’t come inside.  His name was Fuller, I think.  His mother was a “Freeman,” he said.

The man didn’t seem to know much about Brodie.  He seemed surprised when I told him that “Colonel Brodie” was a friend of Teddy Roosevelt and had fought as a Rough Rider with him in the Spanish American War.

It appeared the Brodie family of the 19th Century had been well off.  It was a beautiful site with the languid Osegatchie River behind it, on its way to the St. Lawrence.

I shot three of four photos and we left,  Satisfied at last.