Thursday, July 30, 2015


He didn't have to ask, he knew where to find it; he grew up there, on the corner of Cockamamie St. and Gilhoolie Dr.. The ramshackle shed beckoned, for yet another time.
Inside he found an old candy counter rescued, from Aunt Nell's Confectionary, before it was demolished by "Urban Renewal." By it's lonesome, under the glass sat a newspaper wrapped packet, dusty and faded.
Blowing and wiping, gently, the dust away He saw a date on the paper; 1866. unwrapping the newsprint he found inside just what he knew would be there; a packet labeled: Doldrums.
A convenience store was, just down the street, on the way back to his room. To go with the packet of doldrums he purchased a cigar and a fifth of gin. .....
Google photo

Friday, July 17, 2015

Peaceful co-existence

It's a sunny day at the river's edge. A brisk wind from the north, a skosh too cool, makes sitting in the sun imperative; especially if sitting quietly, reading a book.  As the shade from the cedars crept further and further, finally, covering the entire table at which I was sitting, reading, I decided to move to a warmer place; back out of the wind and again in the sun.  The break prompted me to detour into the cottage to fix myself a sandwich, pepper jack cheese on wholewheat rounds, slathered with spicy mustard, and take it with me to my sunny perch.  Basking, gnoshing, reading, movement in my peripheral vision distracts my attention to a scampering, hopping chipmunk scurrying past, within inches of my left foot.  This cute little critter made the back and forth trip numerous times, stopping one time, 2 inches from the side of my foot, to look up and stare into my eyes, as if to say in his best chipmunk ,Oliver Twist, voice; please, sir, could you share a morsel, if you please?  I spoke to him in my gentlest voice; "I'm sorry pal, you've come late to the table, and I've not a crumb left to share."

Reflecting on this encounter, I'm reminded at how many wild-life creatures come and co-reside with us here on our small patch of Mother Earth, for a season. With amazing frequency we see: birds: crows, robins, waxwings,sparrows, chickadees, grackles, sea-gulls, terns, cormorants, osprey, blue heron, tree heron, king fisher, and loons.  Some of these visitors are attracted to the feeder kept supplied with easy forage.  As well, furry creatures abound: rabbits, mink, ground-hogs, deer, fox, raccoons (not yet this season,) chipmunks, and meadow moles.

As the years pile up in memory lane, it seems to me, that these inhabitants have become less timid, in some cases actually friendly.

Let's not ignore some of the pesky biters: mosquitoes, red cedar mites, and spiders.

It all adds up to a pleasant R&R close to home.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Summertime; a week in July on the shore of the St. Lawrence River

I'm a spontaneous planner rather than a long range planner.  My wife is the long range planner, she's good at it, for which I'm grateful.
Waiting too long to submit my request for summer vacation, I was left with only 4 work days, if I wanted time off in July, available to me.  To be fair, there were bonafied reasons for my procrastination this time,  (aren't there always?), but still......  The last of those 4 days is today and you couldn't have picked more perfect days for a summer vacation; one hot humid day, the rest comfortably warm, low humidity days, cool nights for sleeping, placid river water with frequent ship traffic, time to enjoy family and slow the passage of time by drinking in every second of nature's offerings.

My favorite time is morning.  I arise with  my friends, the avian denizens of the neighborhood, calling to me from just outside my bedroom window.  As the eastern glow brings color to the river, the crows strut and caw, surveying the neighborhood and peruse the feeder. Rabbits, squirrels, red and grey alike, field mice, each in their turn, hop, trot, and scamper across the front lawn searching for sustenance.  The hammock swing hangs still in the cedar tree, waiting to cuddle a visitor wanting a moment of quiet reflection.  The empty bench on dock's end stands sentinel, waiting to greet down bound lakers heading for port, in Montreal perhaps.  A hot cup of freshly brewed coffee, a pen and journal starts my day.

Later, as the sun climbs higher in the morning sky, I'll be greeted by my wife, first to follow me to awakeville. Over the course of the next hour or so the grand daughters will venture, sleepy-eyed into the common area to slowly creep to full wakefulness, mutter reluctant good mornings, and make their way to the water closet for morning ablutions.

Soon the smells of breakfast cooking fill the camp; oatmeal simmering, bacon sizzling , eggs boiling, and bread browning under the broiler combine to provoke salivary glands to activate.

Then the planning starts.  But serendipity lurks at every turn, and that my friends is what summer vacation is all about.

Speaking of serendipity; the week following my "4 days" opened up unexpectedly allowing me to take the adjacent week.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

graduating 4th grade

Graduating from 4th grade; is it a big deal? Well if you're a 4th grader, it probably is. Perhaps not, but I remember "moving up" to fifth grade. Miss Murphy was my 4th grade teacher at Washington school, and I liked her. I was torn; I wanted to stay in her class but I wanted to go into 5th grade because it meant another move toward growing up. On the other hand, miss Murphy was a plump, warm, caring, giving lady, while the 5th grade teacher was a grumpy, frumpy old lady w...ith bad breath. (I've forgotten her name.). She did, however, feed my hunger for reading and language; giving me books to read, way above the average reading level. I didn't have a choice, of course, but it was the first Time I remember weighing, in my thoughts, the processing of moving on. So yes, I think moving up from 4th to 5th grade is a big deal, especially for a 9/10 year old.

Friday, June 19, 2015

That's a novel idea

Two years or so ago, my daughter-in-law, Kristy Chapman LaRock and her husband, my son Jacob, presented to me a journal and pen.
Until this morning I had failed to find a subject suitable enough to sully the pristine pages. But this morning the opening for my endeavor to pen a novel comparing my war time experience with my great grandfather's Civil war service came to me and the process begins!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hello..... HELLO!

image by Sarolta Ban 
by time, by space, by death.
fade, erode, shape-shift.
distill, condense, reborn.
Number please? number please.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

old friends, new projects

"This was a real a real nice clam bake,
we're mighty glad we came."
Lady Di and I traveled to Clayton, NY this weekend for our second annual luncheon get-together with my childhood chum, Marc Humbert , and his wife Carla.
"The vittles we et were good,you bet!
The company was the same."
Our 3 1/2 hour repast was served to us by the friendly wait staff at the new Harbor hotel. As the adage goes; time sure flies when you're having a good time. We had engaging conversation covering topics from the past, present and future.
"Our hearts are warm, our bellies are full, and we are feelin' prime."
One of the topics we shared was our novels. Marc has written two, as yet unfinished, unpublished, novels. I am in the process of beginning a second novel, while my first languishes, unfinished, in my desk drawer.
We agreed, if reluctantly, to each bring a finished novel to exchange at next year's meeting. Nothing like a little pressure to get us motivated.
"We said it afore
And we'll say it agen,
We all he'd a real good time."
Looking forward to next year Marc!