To start off the 2014… my first blog post on WordPress… and an entry in a new writing group for me…’ yeah write’!
Originally posted on TedBook:
When I was 15 my father thought it would be a great idea if I worked on a cattle ranch hauling hay… to teach me the lesson of why I should go to college. Well, I did go to college but not because hauling hay was hard work. (which it was) So, in 1958 I spent 4 glorious weeks on a cattle ranch in Modoc County near the town of Adin. Our family spent a few weeks each summer at our friends ranch… and I got an extended stay. The rancher’s wife took me to town in Alturas, and I got fitted with boots, jeans and a cowboy hat! It was Farmer’s Boot Camp for sure… they treated me as an adult and expected me to work. I learned how to do, and did, everything re: haying. I straightened and raked furrows, repaired broken bales, moved bales into rows, rode…
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SAINT PATRICK’S DAY REVISIT…
Originally posted on TedBook:
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What would you put in a 2012 time capsule? A ‘Daily Prompt’ by WordPress
I have no idea what I would put in my 2012 Time Capsule. But, the prompt did make me think of a time capsule I did do, almost 60 years ago.
When I was a kid… living in Sacramento… my best friend Jim Kiedasch and I made a Time Capsule. We placed some important items in one of those army-green ammo boxes my father had brought back from the war. I can remember a 45 rpm record by Elvis, some photos of us, copies of the Sacramento Bee and Sacramento Union, and a wire recording we had made, telling the events of the day, the biggest one being… burying our Time Capsule. We sealed the box with candle wax to keep out moisture. Dug a hole in the flower garden in my parent’s back yard, and covered the box with rocks before filling it in with dirt. We were very careful to replace the flowers on top. Our only witness was my sister Nancy… and a cat. She didn’t know what the hell we were doing, and neither did the cat, so our secret was safe.
We never dug it up. I would like to think it is still in the back yard, under the rocks and dirt.
|Press made by Steve Gutmann|
High in the Sequoia National Forrest somewhere, is a gathering of Musicians and Artists sharing music, dance and experiences during a giant two week camp out. There are a lot of talented people, from all around the world. What am I doing here? After hearing about Sweet’s Mill from my daughter, like forever, I decided to attend. Krista and her BFF Kristen have been going since they were kids, and now my granddaughter, Ula, has been attending for all of her 11 years. Krista is an actress and Kristen is a Belly Dancer. I have no musical talents and marginal artistic skills, but I do like to take photos, so I decided to chronicle life at Sweet’s Mill.
|soon the ‘bookmakers were deep into cardboard, art paper and paste…|
|making the binding|
|attaching cover plates|
|sizing art paper for cover|
|gluing cover together|
|adding the pages|
|Kristen & Sky|
And, that’s how you make a book!
I’m looking forward to Sweet’s Mill next month… I will probably make another book, but Sky is also the head of the Photography Department at Cal Poly… and I just bought a new camera… I have lots to learn.
One day, the actress took me to see Graceland Cemetery… I was living in Chicago, and she said it was a must see. It was a beautiful spring day, and we strolled the grounds… me snapping pics and she studying her lines for a play that was opening soon. Never one to miss a dramatic opportunity, she began posing with the statuary… giving me her reaction to each theme. When we came to the stone knight, she fell to the ground and played the ‘fair maiden struck down in the prime of life’. After she got up, I asked her if he had slain her. “Oh no”, she replied, “he stands guard, protecting her.”
The Crusader by Lorado Taft (1931)… Cemeteries are the perfect place for a history lesson. I learned a lot about Chicago history at Graceland. The place names I had seen around the city came alive with the dead. The men and women who created Chicago, or made her interesting, making their final stop at Graceland and the other cemeteries around town. Their gravesites were fascinating, not only for the artwork, but for how they wanted to be portrayed. Some erected huge mausoleums, and some preferred something quieter… like their name carved upon a rock. Victor Lawson got a Medieval Knight. Victor was the publisher of the Chicago Daily News, and the sculpture embodied his character. The monument does not bear Lawson’s name, but does have an inscription which reads, “Above all things truth beareth away victory”. At his brother’s request, Lorado Taft sculpted The Crusader out of a single block of dark granite.
Taft’s most famous sculpture also stands sentinel at Graceland… although of a different type… it is entitled Eternal Silence.
I thought of my photo, taken in 1988, while watching Game of Thrones last night. The knights protecting their charges… and some not with protection in mind.
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For my friends hanging out at the Still. Here is one I wrote a while back… I thought of it when I advised one of our yeahwriters (the girl in Chicago… do you know who I mean?) to visit Graceland Cemetery.
For my other friends, check out this week’s other stories at yeahwrite’s Moonshine Grid
Last week I saw the most amazing sight.
I had gone to the mainland to see my grandson play in a baseball tournament. Hayden graduates from high school this year, and my chances to see him play ball are dwindling. So I headed North, with Ashley and my sister Mariya, to the utmost edge of the U.S.A. (not counting Alaska) near Blaine. Washington.
We got as far as Bellingham before a stop at a coffee shop was needed. I was actually surprised we got out of Anacortes without stopping to see Ashley’s favorite barista, but that was a good thing, as she stopped in Fairhaven. Bellingham is made up with a bunch of little towns that kind of grew together. Fairhaven is the oldest, and the buildings are of the historic type. Reminded me a bit of Old Sacramento. I bought some licorice, while they got their coffee and some fab cheesecake… and took photos.
We neared Baine and started looking for Pipeline Road and the baseball fields. Driving country roads is always a treat. “Stop the car!” We had just passed 15 ponies lying on the ground. All of them lying on the ground. And they were all Palominos. It was something to see and we went back to take a photo. When I got out of the car and went to the edge of the road, a few stood up. By the time I jumped the ditch and got to the fence they were all looking my way… like dogs expecting a treat. I wished then I had some apples in my pocket rather than licorice. Those little ponies made me think of my friend Jaime, who raises miniature horses to be guide animals. They did their bit for a unique photo-op. I will never forget the sight of those horses.
We find the baseball tournament, and Friday Harbor wins one and loses one. I take a bunch of pics. The usual baseball pics… Hayden at bat… Hayden in the field… Hayden running the bases… that kind of stuff. Later, I notice one shot I took with my phone… I think it’s pretty cool.
The other day, Stephen Elliott of The Rumpus said this… “I’ve been reading about Bob Dylan in 1965. He was tired of music and fame and he went to upstate New York to live in a cabin and be alone. He didn’t even bring a guitar. He said he quit music. After five days he started writing what many consider the best songs of his career.” That got me to thinking…
I saw Bob Dylan in 1965 at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento. A girl I was interested in at the time suggested I take her, as she had no money to buy a ticket. I had no idea who Bob Dylan was, but thought it was in my best interest to buy the tickets.
The Auditorium seats 3,000… there were about 600 in attendance, scattered all about. Bob came out on the stage… a skinny guy with a guitar and a folding chair. He sat down, strummed his guitar and sang a song. After a few songs, he told everyone to come down and sit in the chairs on the main floor. In those days no one stood at the front of the stage and lit matches or waved Bics… and certainly not cell phones. I thought that was a cool move on his part.
I enjoyed the concert and my introduction into the World of Bob Dylan. I didn’t get laid that night, but I did get a Bob Dylan record the next day.
Highway 61 Revisited was that album.
I came across her… sentinel on a country lane… green mottled skin slowly rusting to a different hue. I was conflicted in my feelings toward her. First surprise, then awe at her beauty. But so many questions. Whose? Was she afraid, tucked away in the woods beneath a blanket of leaves? She looked so forlorn in her abandoned state… yet, somehow majestic in her loneliness. I was in love. I wanted to paint her.
I would always take a moment to visit.
Then today… Gone! Whisked away by an alien starship, the ground dusted for prints and wiped clean.
It’s Friday, and time for 100-word Flash #FridayFictioneers…
Flash Fiction over at Madison Woods
When I saw Madison’s photo, I knew exactly what I was going to write about, except I didn’t know how I was going to do it. After all, this is supposed to be fiction, and I had been kind of cheating lately with the memoir thing. I think this may be a combo.
I was on Kanaka Bay Road one day (and no… this Island isn’t Hawaiian) and came across this old truck, parked next to the road. It was beautiful, sitting in the shade, and I thought it would be a great subject to paint. I love paintings of old abandoned things. My friend Matt, had painted one recently and I thought he would be the perfect guy to do the job. He may have been in his Hay Bale Period by then, because I begged him to do it and he wouldn’t budge. But in his defense, he really would rather do boats, and he is very good. Next, I begged my friend Jill, but she was more into crows and nature. I tried to explain that there were trees and things, but to no avail. Lately she is doing landscapes and has just done a rooster that I think is wonderful.
This begging went on for years with those two.
San Juan Island is blessed with many fine artists, and one of my favorites is famous for her dog paintings. I should have asked her, but Jaime has moved on to bigger animals now and would most likely not be too interested in my truck. I might have been able to con her daughter, Jennifer, into doing it… she did a tractor design on one of her County Fair T-Shirts one year… wearable works of art.
I, of course, am far too insecure to try to actually draw or paint the truck myself, although I fully intend to hand tint a black and white photo I made. I once took a course in hand tinting B&W’s, from Dianne Poinski in Sacramento.
I was walking through the Sacramento Airport a few years ago, and was stopped in my tracks, just like with the truck, by a photo of The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. That building is another obsession of mine. It was part of a display of Dianne’s works. I copied the info, and ended up purchasing a hand tinted photo… it is one of my proudest possessions, right up there with the sketch Christopher Young did for me, of Madame X (another passion), at the Met in NYC. And a favorite photo of the State Street Subway Entrance, that I had used so many times in Chicago, taken and printed by Jamie Powell Sheppard. So, I guess I could have done the truck, and still will someday. When I took the course, Dianne gave us prints of her photos, on special paper, to learn on. She is a pretty good teacher, because I thought one of my efforts came out pretty well, and I love the photo.
Two days ago, I went back out to Kanaka Bay. I had not been on that road for about six months, and was looking forward to seeing the truck again. But, it was gone. I wasn’t sure I had the right place, but it had to be, since the old fence with the weathered ‘No Trespassing’ sign was there. There was not a trace of the truck to be found. I was amazed and a bit disjointed to have lost an old friend. Perhaps someone is restoring her beauty somewhere… and I will get to visit again.
Lost in endless space
My first telescopic gift
Moon, Stars my new friends.
Backyard after dark,
Oohs and awes with each focus
And, Steely Dan says
‘That The Stars Come Out At Night’,
Oh, they do…they do!
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I don’t know how ideas come into people’s minds. When I looked at Quill’s Haiku photo prompt, I thought… “what in the hell am I going to do with that?”. Then it hit me… My telescope!
When I was in college, I had to pick an elective science course. I chose Astronomy. One night the class went out to look at the stars, there were only a few telescopes and about 30 budding astronomers. The next day I bought a telescope. That night I set it up in my parent’s backyard, and marveled at the Moon. The stars were not that big a deal with my little telescope, but the Moon… That was Fantastic! The telescope also came in handy at the next field trip… there were a lot of girls in that class.
When my daughter Krista went off to Chicago to attend The Theater School of DePaul University, she too had to pick an elective science course. I suggested Astronomy.
I don’t know why I thought of that, so I called and said “Hey, how did you like that Astronomy class in college?”. She said “Oh, I don’t know. I was an acting major, and it was at 8 o’clock in the morning. The lights were always out, and it made me sleepy”. She did say that she thought she enjoyed it. But, I am reminded, that recently when a comet or some such celestial phenom was due, she stayed up half the night in sleeping bags outside, so her daughter could witness the event.
Two years ago, I was staying with a friend in Sacramento. Her neighbor had a big telescope in his backyard. He invited us over for a look. As I focused the full Moon into view, I got the same chills I had experienced over 45 years before.
Looking for an elective science? Astronomy!
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Quill Shiv took The Haiku Bombers into Space this week… here’s the link if you would like to try… https://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/haiku-bombers-prompt-4/
1959… Modoc County, California
Cruising down a rutted farm road. Clinging for dear life to the hood of a ’48 Mercury… engine purring, one of those Moon footprint gas pedals on the floor. Searching for rabbits, frozen in their tracks by blare of the headlights piercing our way through the darkness. I’m scared, cold, excited and have never seen ‘so many stars come out at night’.
I blast away with the 10 gauge… it’s a wonder I don’t fly off the Merc. I didn’t hit any that night.
What else would you expect from a city slicker?
This story is a contribution to Friday Flash Fictioneers… see what it’s all about @ Madison Woods and read the many takes on her photo prompt.