My last and most-favorite newspaper had a major passenger/product pair of lines running past its back yard. Oh. Meetings? Took my weekends mostly Wednesday-Thursday and thus exempted me from the morbidity of weekly strategy sessions. Planning news? Like looking for the next gulp of air! Why? My publisher/editor did not so much as agree as he recognized my counterinsurgency sympathies had long-ago withered and I now was The Enemy (of good order and fat-chewing for its own sake whilst there were fish to slay, crabs to trap, shrimp to dip, gardens to hoe and beer-n-books to consume. He said sometimes to the others: get your sections out consistently 20 minutes pre-deadline, win editing, writing, columnizing and photographic awards consistently, and be a damn pain in my ass when I insist you attend and maybe you too can take mid-week off: but that would interfere with your Friday-Saturday-Sunday all-day most-night schedules, wouldn’t they. The man was pure Ho Chi Minh – or a fellow traveler at least, though he did spend WWII flying patrol craft up and down Florida’s coastlines, having escaped earlier from The University of Florida a year or so early. Yep. His dad had pull. But Bob Hudson loved that train whistle, too. Thanks, Juice. You mem’ry unplugger, you.

Cat Nap Revue

endless meetings
the far away song
of a train whistle

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“A Less-Nice Tale Of Towed-Tyke” Tanka 2356

(June 13, 2019)

she pulls up in new

SUV, does not ‘butt’ smoke

and tugs two young boys

toward the ‘free breakfast-lunch

signs: the menu’s child abuse!*

*(At the library here in Sanford it’s just lunch – sugary and salty and crunchy – but elsewhere it’s a continuation of US Department of Agriculture commodity-controlled free breakfast and lunch (free? someone paid, no? Guess who? You) for those under 19 years-of-age which has grown out of reduced- or free-fare for breakfasts and lunches in our public schools. And not just for walk-in or bike-in or skateboard-in kids but those clamboring out of clamshell SportsUtilityVehicles if not brand new then so close as to make little diff. Seems poverty is more of parentlessness than of parents’ pride in jones-keeping. If they did not allow their progeny to stay up past Johnny Carson (classical reference: lookitup!) they could have kids ‘roused in time for shower and slurp at table as a possible dad rushes past for a quick peck and a sausage and egg sammich which did not come via a drive-thru. but then I display my cultural insensitivity and lack of semi-pro political scabs calling themselves sensitivities. With one of the major food pyramids (so, tell me, when did the pie chart die?) tied into chips or crunchies or cookies, where did the soft buttery rolls go and hide? No eggs except putatively put into the fillings of whatwasthatagain? newfound ways to process and over the next snack food of incredible nutrative value? Of course in any five-day follow of menu one finds the obligatory celery and carrot conditions called “sticks” and the half-pint (one presumes) of milk which caused me and my brothers at school lunches to buy three additionals, much to gentle smile on Mrs. Fessler’s beam. Today: a fruit medley cup. A cup? – only if you call a triple-thumb-width not even past-the-knuckle-deep a cup. What? No sprinkles? Surely someone should call a congresscritter or a federal departmental secretary’s secretary! Meanwhile, mom and two boys are ‘most free from the ciggy-smoke-filled tortoise and – right on time – take to the feeding station just past the front door but still another door from The Books!. Wanna bet they do not stop for books after?

Actually, a composite. With a side of conjecture. The modern version of vignette-snacking.)

“Inside All Those Grey Clouds Lurks A Monster”

(June 13, 2019)

lowing graydark clouds

cover our town from the East

hiding horrorstorms*

*(Before my walk downtown to the library a last listen to weather radio and its talkative radar: a warning storm of severe intensity lurks just behind the on-rushing storm front a shade less than a half-century of miles from Sanford, Florida. Stay home, bake, putter, write, read, or bank some more zees? Nah, I like storms, and more often than is good for me or statistical certitudes, I choose the perambulation instead. Never know what you will find. High adventure? A never-before seen scene? Unmute distemper? A just-washed white terrycloth half-towel draped over a newspaper rack to replace the one you lost last week? Some less-than-gentle human-crowing to make a rooster ‘shame? A disputatious pair discussing each other and shared foibles?A friendly cat wanting a tail-pull or a shy dog looking for a willing leash? Or just a stray puddle hoping for a soon-ocean into which to stray: I did ditch the tennie-pumps in favor of beach clogs. Decidedly not risk-averse, I do enjoy tossing my old bones on the life’s felt; but, recall – inside the backpack, sans camera gear, is a motorcycle-grade rain jacket and zip-locked book and snacks. And, of course, the construction-grade flip-flops. That puddle’s ocean has just arrived. Goody: much foot-stomping to ensue.)

“Not A Rock-Song, No, Indeedy”

(June 13, 2019)

Standing at Heaven’s

Door*, but no ‘Pete’ on Duty:

it’s the ‘Li’Berry’

(A quaint ‘Southernism,’ Li-berry – at least one hopes the language has not got universality. Some of the nicest, more-educated and most-sophisticated and ethnically- and culturally-diverse use the – what is it? contraction? colloquialism? – “word.” I just use the library and patiently await the ‘lectric-eye door to recognize it’s 9 a.m. and J wants in. A parade of bright, helpful and eager people await on the other side of the glass to allow entry – sinless or no allowed, but behavior inside “inside,” please. Since I outgrew toddle-shorts I have walked the mile or so to Sanford (Florida’s) libraries – early when it was but the city depository and much later county-systamatized when I returned from gaggling-lolly about this ever-entrancing world though often dowdy or less in appearance, it is a refuge, a repository and taxpayer-provided air-conditioning during our nine-months – and often more – of effective Summer hereabouts. Besides, books are a wonderful device to distract and dodge when encountering ill-pleasant people: carry a thick paperback – when confronted by a mugger or merely another city councilman, toss it high in the air: their eyes will follow and you then may affect an escape, should you so choose. Other options: chakra-swipes or jabs with book-spines – especially if it’s a great book and you just have to know what comes next…)


Prickly pear cactus: formidable or user friendly

Thanks, Beth, for the photos and copy: the “sap” from gently frying sliced “nopales” performs much like that of okra’s used to thicken most any kind of stew such as gumbo. I grew up dodging prickly pear as a Central Florida barefoot boy slightly more than a week ago. The spines, I always figured, were just a small price to pay.

Small Simple Things of Life

An early morning walk at a nearby park reminded me of two things.  First, that it is August and everything is pretty much dry and brown as it usually is by this time of summer.  The scenery along the trails is rather blah except for the occasional color of prickly pear fruit.

IMG_7048[1].JPG Fruit – with some kind of bug on it! These colorful bulbs gave me my second reminder: the usefulness of the prickly pear cactus. Long before the Europeans came to the Americas Native Americans were well accquainted with the many varieties of prickly pear and the usefulness of the fruit and the paddle like leaves known as nopales.

IMG_5472_edited-1.jpgSpring flowers

The paddles and fruit are edible and are commonly used to make a variety of dishes as well as soups, beverages, jelly, and candy.  Obviously, the small spines must be removed first (which is not easy!). The small…

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