Posts Tagged ‘family

06
Mar
11

of long away and far ago …

At first thought I’d have suspected it would be like separating the wheat from chaff, but it has not turned out that way. I started late last fall to finish the organizing (or culling) of the items of my life that I have been dragging along in boxes and containers, and reminiscing on their importance to justify keeping them around in my old age to admire during my “ending years”.

To be able to look forward to retirement years with a clean, simple, organized home front seemed a proper way to start the final phase of my life. One thing was to do the ‘necessaries’ such as a living will, and the esteemed “last will and testament” which at first glance were for me, then you conclude they are simply to make your coming demise easier for those who will remain after you. So be it ,,, I shall dot those last few I’s and cross those T’s in the next few days and get the nagging relatives back in their burrows where they belong.

So I spent the winter remembering old loves, and great times spent doing things good & bad, and such as that so that I could judge the volume of my keepsakes and build the last of the shelves and cupboards for their display. I am doing the last task today, the Sorting Of The Books. Here is where I was a few hours earlier today:

Headed to the library

These books are now sorted by author, typed into an email by author and title, stored in several boxes. I love that wonderful smell that old books acquire with age, but like all the other trinkets, and letters, and photos that I have sorted thru this winter most all of these books will be delivered to the local library in the next few days.

The reason being, that despite my bloated opinion of myself or my self-worth, none of these items are important or meaningful. Nor will they fit thru the ‘eye of the needle’ so it makes no sense to put much of anything on a shelf, so I have saved myself many days of wood working over the next few weeks. Whew!

Neither is anyone clamoring to have me explain the importance of these items and to learn from the vast wisdoms that I surely possess. Nor are the multitudes stopping by to thank me for the items I’ve left them in my will, since it is considered in bad taste to make those announcements before your death. It certainly gives a new meaning to “delayed gratification”. 🙂

It is not a sad thing I describe, but a simple if brutal truth, things ain’t important (mostly), and if there is any importance at all it is in the minds of people, acquaintances, friends and family and requires no room on a shelf and need not to be seen or watched to be admired.

May he go forth in the sunrise boat,
May he come to the port in the sunset boat,
May he go among the imperishable stars,
May he journey in the Boat of a Million Years.

The Book of Going Forth by Daylight
(Theban recension, ca. 18th Dynasty)

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14
Feb
11

fire in the sky

Over the road


I’d called an end to the workday and had started a fire to fend off the coming chill this evening and was sipping a beer as the fire got rolling. Then I heard sort of a growl and thought I’d check the stove, as it can make noises when it’s drawing well.

After hopping the fence

I got up and then I heard a different sound, the clear burn of open propane flame and I knew a ballooner was right above the cabin. Down low on the creek it was a quickly cooling evening even though it had been 60+ just an hour or so ago. I stepped out on the back deck to scan the sky and it was apparent that my neighbor Allen Lawson was landing in the road as he was making tender pulses of burn to land rather than larger ones to make it ‘over’ the hill into Stanton, Salee or Pardo’s bottom fields.

I grabbed the camera and took the shot above then went out to see if this was going to be a ‘quality’ set down or a mess since the road is about as wide as a balloon and there is new barbed wire fencing there which cannot be good against the light fabric. He is a good flier, and the wind is dead, so when I get to the road I watch him drop on the wrong side of the fence and with the help if his ground crew, he burns & hops over the fence like a deer and drops the whole kit smack on the safe side of the road.

Packing Up - Sis & Steve

Course by then, even as sparse as people are out in the middle of the Mark Twain forest are, we got a block party going. Sis has ventured out from down the road, her husband arrives home from work, and Mike and his wife have also arrived. We all help bag the chute and Allen books a demo at the high school next week, then we all go home dinner.

Now, with a crowd there Allen cannot help but mentioning the “incident” last year where I had to ride bitch on his KTM ’cause I had poured ancient gas in the Beemer for a test ride and it had crapped out down at the bridge. Thanks Allen 🙂 no need to let a good story die a quiet death.

That’s how we roll down here. It was a good and adventurous day, and a very lovely and talented lady got recognized by very few by winning a Grammy for the best new artist. Ms. Esperanza Spalding

Allen, wife and daughter 🙂

18
Jan
11

Liz & Li’l Jimy – adventure girls

Their mother just grins like the Cheshire Cat any time I mention their activities, but both of the girls are a spitting image of her, so it should come as no surprise that I am the odd one out. They are the beauty of my life, her two children, they wouldn’t harm a fly, and can charm an Eskimo into buying ice cubes.

Liz was the firstborn and probably a typical baby up ’til about age two. By then she was ramblin’ around on both feet and talking like a Maine sailor. Then Li’l Jimy came along and I had three redheads to care about. I shouldn’t have worried though ’cause if Jimy wasn’t asleep or at mom’s breast, Liz was there to nurture her. She taught her how to talk, how to behave at tea, and how to act in any situation. By then Liz was a first-order princess of the highest, proper of demeanor, smarter than any audience, and a damned snappy dresser.

Li’l Jimy followed Liz around like my old pet duck for the first year, crawlin’ and squawkin’ as hard as she could to keep up, but it wasn’t long before she found her feet and and her voice. Since then those two have been joined ‘at the hip’, although by now Li’l Jimy always seems to be a step ahead of Liz. They run the local fields and woods, know all the farmers and have a fondness for Jenkins and his goats.

Liz with Li'l Jimy at the controls in Sequatchie, TN

They ignore the divide between boys and girls.. if anything can be done that means they can do it. They’ve been helping me in the shop for years and can take anything apart and put it back together. They could both read, write and do numbers before they started school. ‘Course we’ve taken them to the library in town two times a week for years so I suspect they’ve read their way through it as well as the encyclopedia we have at home.

Age 10 & 8 today, they are scary-smart and more capable of things than even I can imagine. I don’t worry about them per se but they are beginning to shock adults that don’t know them.

Like last weekend when the three of them went over into Sequatchie, Tennessee with the Everett family to watch them race motorcycles. They had a great time and are making plans to do it again this summer.

After they got back and the girls were asleep, Jane showed me a picture one of the spectators had taken.

She said “You know how Li’l Jimy is always one step ahead?” then she just grinned like that Cheshire Cat. 🙂

I knew they wouldn’t be content to be spectators !

06
Dec
10

ify:3 radiated baby

Drive through Sequoia

Drive through Sequoia

The folks set out in 1951 with me in tow to see the sights in western America. Sequoia trees, Yosemite, Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam. I find out we have been to Phoenix and Pueblo, CO where sis was born, and other places all over the west. I remember when Mom woke me up inside the Great Sequoia back when the road went through the tree.

The folks took a break from touring in ’54 and found a trailer park in Las Vegas. I rode my bike to kindergarten every day, rolled out the mat for ‘nap time’ on the floor and rode home to play in the desert or swim in the pool at the trailer park. On occasion we cooked out when they blew an A-bomb over at White Sands, totally cool. Some nights dad took me outside and we watched Sputnik circle the globe, once every 90 minutes. Mom had me check with the government a few years ago, we were unfortunately 2 blocks away from the radiation dispersement line for the A-bombs so we can’t get a “reparation payment”. I guess I must be radiation free. 🙂

Chevy Suburban

Chevy Suburban circa 1950 - the orginal SUV

Dad helps build the Showboat casino and saves money, I don’t meet Bugsy on those occasions when we go to the strip. Then we take off for Anchorage, Alaska. Back then you had to have $200 to drive thru Canada. We take about 3 months to get there and I realize much later in life that house and home mean entirely different things, up until now home has been the front seat of a Chevy Suburban or a tent.

This is great, driving thru Canada up the AlCan highway, gravel rattling on the undercarriage, stopping to check out each creek, river and lake. If it passes the test we might camp for a day or a week. Hunting and fishing for grub to go along with a bit of store bought goods.

Just living, having fun.

Anchorage and Mt McKinley

Anchorage and Mt McKinley

Juneau, White Horse and Dawson’s Pass, Skagway with giant totems everywhere. We rent a quonset hut in Anchorage up on top of Government Hill which requires that we share the bathroom the with lady who rents the back half.

Mt. McKinley sits out toward the north and it’s like living in a painting, blue/green glaciers sliding down into the lake in Denali Park. Matanuska Valley is about an hour east where they grow the giant vegetables.

The salmon run twice each day in the creek in downtown Anchorage, silvers and humpbacks are the main catches. From almost anywhere in town you can hear the occasional iceberg calf off in Cooks Inlet.

Space in the schools won’t fit all the kids at once, so we do split days – morning and afternoon shifts. Morning kids keep supplies on the left hand side of the under desk, afternoon kids on the right. Sledding is like the state sport and you can ice skate everywhere downtown. Once a year the place changes completely as downtown is filled with dogs and sleds for the start of the Iditarod, Aleut and Inuit are camped everywhere, and everyone keeps an ear to the radio for the ‘moose alerts’. A scared and hard charging moose running thru the city is a danger to all.

Early in my 3rd year of school there the folks decide my newest baby sister needs to be born in the USofA not in some territory so we wing home on a DC3 to Springfield, Mo. Dad stays on and goes out to Kodiak in the Aleutian Islands to help build up the army base there, as two of the islands had been occupied by Japanese forces during WWII.

So my 8 year long ‘trip’ takes a turn to the unknown land of Ozark Mountains and what’s called house & home.

I’ve learned you don’t lick a flagpole 🙂

04
Dec
10

ify: a custom touch

Red's Giant Hamburg, Route 66, Springfield, Mo

Red's Giant Hamburg

My favorite eatery in Springfield, Red’s Giant Hamburg, was about 15 blocks from the house. A converted former motel/gas station into a cafe. Standard issue was a burger, fries, and root beer from a barrel. Motel courtyard with picnic tables in the back.

World’s 1st drive-thru, you can see the service window on the right of the building. Your options at the window were not what to order, but how many. Ray had the grill right behind the window and separated from Julia and the inside seating. You ordered it and Ray cooked it.

This was before some idiot invented ‘fast food’, back when you went into the gas station and someone came out to fill the tank, clean your window, and chat about the day. Interacting with the necessaries of life was not an inconvenience to hurry through, but a custom touch to savor. We never “waited” for our order at Red’s, it was part of the experience, an anticipation. A bit later Ray set up a speaker at the window and another at the grill and he could chat with customers while he cooked your order.

Later, when Ray set up a speaker out at the end of the hedge (out of his sight) the full drive thru experience was complete and the personal touch was degrading. You were then one step removed from personal as you had to stop out front and order, then pull up to the window. Certainly unnecessary for us ‘old pros’.

Ray brought the order to the window and slid out a large paper tray filled with fries, root beers in the corners, and burgers on top and we’d pull into the back courtyard and have a family dinner on one of the picnic tables.

Back then we took the time to enjoy life, to experience, to revel in it. It didn’t make sense to call it an inconvenience, or turn things into “waiting”. It was always over too soon for me, and I always looked forward to the next visit to Red’s.

In the 80’s some buddies of mine did a video featuring Ray and Julia, so I hope the guys in “The Morells” won’t mind a link to their YouTube video. Please enjoy 🙂 and yes, that IS Ray and Julia.

03
Dec
09

The Last Place You Look

“I can’t find it! I’ve looked everywhere!!!”, so Mom says “Where’d you leave it?”.

Deductive reasoning at its best, to look for something where it is rather than look for it where it is not, I never would have thought of that.

“Right.” I say, withholding the sarcasm.

Dad smiles but doesn’t speak since he knows and so do I.

I won’t continue to look for it once I’ve found it either.

Damn you, Sherlock Holmes.




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