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(Click the pic for a larger view.)

Anyone who knew me as a kid knows it’s an astoundingly, flabbergasting, jaw-dropping, stupefying surprise that I’m a father. Sure, I had a future even a wrong turn could help back then, but it also was clear from the get-go that another planet was, in fact, my home. I lived spaced out most of the time.

Still, there has always been a Father in me.

A fishing Grandpa….who knew?

 

Basically, my kid-self was a walking brain dent.

School was torture, a work around looking to happen, though girls were annoyingly interesting. Sports became my ticket to skate by on in high school. Next came a spin as class VP.  I spent a zillion hello’s on friends passing in school halls like a pseudo-millionaire with no money.

The politician in me continued to thrive through my non-formative years of college.

As a sophomore, the college paper deemed me, Apple Gerry, with a front page picture that showed me ranting about student dorm rights. Soon, I was appointed by the graduating head of , Group X, to be this organization’s next President. Now, Group X had two major agendas. First, our group wanted , ‘open,’ dorms with visiting rights for both men and women 24/7. (Seems my younger interests stuck with me). Secondly, we wanted visiting rights for women in the men’s dorms.  I know, these two agendas seem the same, but agenda two left men out of female dorms. Underlying our two hot pulsing agenda’s were rumors I made sure spread that Group X would host off campus beer parties. It all worked great until those beer parties took effect which is why I don’t remember how long Group X survived and when or why it ended…

Not to be detoured, my free-fallin’, dancing, singing self landed me a membership pre-facto of Phi-Kappa-Phi since I refused to go thru hazing but was made an off-the-record member of the fraternity house anyway. It was a great, wild , short year of being reprimanded by the College Administration. Before our house knew it, women weren’t allowed in our second story where the beds were, so, yeah, we moved all the beds down to the basement and slept there and stuff. This pissed Admin off but it wasn’t until we held a beer-bed floating party in the basement with strippers from Baltimore as hosts that our house got shut down! I mean, completely closed for a year!!! Can you imagine?!?! Of course, I had very little to do with any of this that I remember.

My successful political days weren’t over, but it was time for those college days to fog into post college days of running naked in the Ocala National Forest, jumping naked off lime pits east of Gainesville with 300 hundred others on any given Saturday afternoon and strolling by police cars while at a nude block party on NE 1st street here in Gainesville.  I know, I know, you’re thinking I was a nudist but, no, I wore clothes to job interviews and stuff all the time.

(Clothes on! This is the site of many Bonaparte late night ,’Chunky-dunks,’ but we can’t beat Ireland’s recent Guinness book world record-breaking 2500 nude swimmers at once!)*

All that college,’Fog,’ cleared into pot smoke that guided my way for a few more zillion years as I grew older without growing up. There’s a pill to take for that, but I forget the color!

Next thing I knew, my ears pretty much got too long for my face and my children stole my hair.

I remember waking up one day and staring into the mirror realizing very little.

I’d set down my principles and forgotten where they were unless I tripped over them while changing diapers. It was nifty earning money that was really other people’s money if I made it to the power company on time to keep the lights on. I was consumed with successful failure without notice or care but for my family. I have to say, that bunch got my attention.

I suppose it’s true to say one baby led to another and then another which led to seven others—so far.

(Here’s five of them being still all at once!?!?!)

But through it all I maintained my hat wearing image with uniquely obtuse discernment, a finesse of in-depth leadership and control.

Clearly, this is not me , but a look-a-like! Aaron is, however, wearing my glasses!!! Have you ever noticed children love to wear glasses, but that’s never good for the glasses?

As it turns out, I like to grow things, whether it be debates on issues (have you noticed), babies, grand children, properties, gardens and wrinkles….

Click the pic to see the start of hat construction and the  wrinkle lines I spent hours, days, weeks, heck, years putting on my face!!

I’m not sure what ticket I would have been on if you told me back in high school that I’d end up a  paper bag hat wearing, wrinkled eared, laughing Grandpa. Maybe, the one to the fast train to Berkeley or the over-life sleeper to the deep woods of Canada.

Yep. Throughout the laughs there was a Father in me after all. Man, this is great; a nice surprise, indeed. Who knew I had a plan all along? Me!

(This is my brother-in-law and his wife and me with my wife standing in front of what we believe was the location of my wife’s ancestor’s home. They were hat makers in Denton, England. I was making leather hats in a barn in Gainesville in the 1970’s when my wife first moved in with me! See? That’s called a plan:-)

Franque23

*https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/11/europe/irish-women-record-breaking-skinny-dip-intl/

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Linda sang her song from day one, that’s the way she is. Linda can whisk tough times away with a slant of her smile that makes the Sun wear shades. Young, strong, beaming, this is how I remember meeting Linda who tantalized my young mind with dancing spirit.

Linda’s path has always been the high road.

I was lucky to see Linda recently(pictured middle)

I was lucky to see Linda recently(pictured middle)

Linda cares for her mom. Aunt Perla May Tarvin will be 100 this March 13th

Linda cares for her mom. Aunt Perla May Tarvin will be 100 this March 13th*

Strong, lean and mean, you get the picture. Holding a certain stature that stretches to the sky, this is how I came to know Linda. Lucky to be out of diapers—if I was—this whizzing top of a cousin first zoomed by. Trust was never an issue, nor place, moment, task or game at hand. Where do cousin’s come from; it all calls for wonder. Linda’s ease of being slipped that question into my childhood dreams.

Every life will own its challenges. Peaks, valley’s, ups, downs and spin-a-rounds, the first person to build a roller coaster was onto something. Still, the carol Linda brings with her contains a floating timbre that underscores any discord. If her life were a musical piece it would play allegretto, accentato, affettoa— light, lively, with emotion and emphasis—but always, throughout, the work would be in harmony.

But why do I tell you? It’s a simple matter, a solid truth, one I have known for so long. Linda’s true affection for my childhood self and everything else about her gave me a confidence that helped grow my spirit. Of course, I had mom, dad, the steady lead of my sister and strong hand of my brother to help me build my path. But, I had cousin, Linda, as well.  And, as dismantling as it must be for a child to not receive the love they deserve from their immediate family, it is equally uplifting to receive that same kind of love from a stranger, an associate, or from a cousin. I know.

Acceptance, hope, cheer and love, these are Linda’s calling cards; the notations of her life.

Sometimes, I hold the ceramic butter dish, a uniquely designed item, or the cut out clay plates I know Linda’s hands made. She did that for years, selling her pottery wares in craft shows and fairs. This was a perfect fit; Linda’s love of people, of creation, for the gift of giving and sharing her four calling cards bloomed everyday. In return, Linda still brings the warmth of her carol to any who listen.

She is a horse person. This means she gives tireless energy to four-footed pals who only speak back when a heart listens. Linda hears with her heart.

I can’t imagine someone as truly nice as my cousin, Linda, and I know her! Fathom that?!?!?

Now, there’s bad news.

“Hospice is here.”

Larry’s message marked the screen. It’s been years of struggle for Linda and Larry; years of prayers, hope. Even so, these have been happy years filled with promise—Larry will tell you.

Still.

Sometime, it seems, I may have to go on without Linda, this, a thought I’ve never embraced. Of course, we don’t know; our future that feels so ever present is truly veiled. But if that day comes, if I ever have to face it, I will never be alone. I’ll carry Linda’s laugh, cheer and all of her calling cards with me as I go. Linda will be in my vision as I look to the sky. The birds will sing, the wind will whistle the trees, but most of all there will be Linda Carol Martin’s song of Life in my head.

Linda’s carol will ring my ears. That tune, she taught my heart so well.

Thank You, Linda Carol.

Franque23

*

Aunt Perla May is the last survivor of her generation of Johnsons.

Aunt Perla May(1st in row) is the last survivor of her generation of Johnsons.

I love my Aunt Perla May and my cousin Linda. Today, this Valentine's day, we heard that each may ass within a week's time-maybe even on the same day.

I love my Aunt Perla May and my cousin Linda Carol. Today, this Valentine’s day, we heard that each may pass within a week’s time-maybe even on the same day. They have been a blessing to so many.


It’s fitting this first post of 2017 should be about the enriching world of children’s books. But first, here’s a picture of one of my grandson’s showing us all how to greet the New Year!15390983_10210312667325616_8515486221660551798_n

Oh yeah and Yay!

Moving on-

Written by  Scotswoman,  Helen Bannerman, and first published by Grant Richards in October 1899, Little Black Sambo is not only one of the very first books I remember being fascinated by as a kid, it did the same for children all over the world for nearly 50 years. Then, the  book attracted uproars from those who had issues with the text and pictures.

Things is, was Helen Bannerman a lifetime ahead of herself? Why do I ask? That’s simple.

It’s a simple story: a boy with fancy clothes is caught by tigers who accept his clothes in lieu of eating the boy. The lions argue over who looks better in the new clothes, chase one another around a pole to get a different piece of clothing from the other and turn into a goo during the process. The tigers run so fast they heat up and melt.**

What Bannerman is describing is energy heat transfer-a solid becoming a liquid as a result. It’s a simple but remarkable thought. Of course, the boy  bringing the goo home so his mom can make pancakes out of it rockets the book up to yummy.

Today, this story just isn’t the warm and fuzzy book it was once thought to be. Time’s change and what we need to be thinking and reading about as people changes along with it.

Moving on—

Bonus picture:

 A one day pick of lemons this past fall.

A one day pick of lemons from my yard this past fall. Two kinds-small Meyer’s, large Meyer’s and a huge Pondarosa. My daughter makes a mean lemonade.

Books will never cease to surprise us if we can only find the time to read. Here’s one I’ve recommended before that will be well worth your effort: Collector of Moments. In my head it’s the Kafkaesque of easy on up to adult books. That’s right, you’ll find this book most often shelved in the children’s Easy section-a picture book- but it reads right on up to adult.collector-of-moments-lion2-1

An illustration from the book-did this picture help inspire the Life of Pi story?

You have to see it to believe it.

A bit like a Van Allsburg book, the NYT’s reviewed this 1999 publication, Collector of Moments , by Quint Buchholz:

“The unexpected details in the pictures demand equally imaginative acts of explanation. In addition, Buchholz often shows people looking at objects behind walls or through doors or even beyond the frame of the paintings — objects that viewers can’t literally see and must therefore envisage for themselves.

As the creator of images most interesting for what they don’t in fact show, Buchholz is himself an accomplished collector of moments. Not only does his book tell young readers things worth knowing about how to look at pictures, but the pictures themselves delightfully repay the kind of attention they invite viewers to give them.”

Enjoy.

You have to see it to believe it.

You have to see it to believe it. The book is a surprise package for sure!

Cheers–Moving on to 2017-it’s all ahead of us now.

Franque 23*

*I’ve been a Library Specialist in the Alachua County Library District for the past 21 years.

Oh my!15390983_10210312667325616_8515486221660551798_n

** The version I was read had the boy and the tigers running around the tree….different takes.


It's a good time to appreciate one another.

It’s a good time to appreciate one another.

I have to say that John Lennon’s song, So This Is Christmas- War is Over, often runs  on the background hard drive of my brain during the holiday time. The promise of peace looms in my soul somewhat like those three-day work weeks my generation was told we’d live to see, and all due to technological advances that were to come.

Some promises are hard to hang on to.

Some promises are hard to hang on to.

At times things don’t work out as planned.

Today, this glob writer has much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for readers in 82 countries who have clicked in almost 6 thousand times this year to check out what’s banging thru my head on a weekly basis. I have a home, and a lake home, a beach home and rentals to boot, and all from once having hitch-hiked 30 miles to a flea market with all the wares I had to sell on my back. I could go back to even worse times in my life, but I won’t. The simple truth is I’ve been lucky to live the American dream-moving from very little to something that is more than enough. And I have good friends. My job? Being a children’s librarian is about as good as it gets, but at 67 I can actually see the switch on the light at the end of the tunnel so, with luck, I’ll retire someday too soon for me. I’ve five books written. three are on Kindle and a fourth is about to come out -if I can just let go-and that’s all a blast.

This year could go head to head with any other I've had and come out well.

This year could go head to head with any other I’ve had and come out well.

It’s difficult at times for me as an American to realize much of the world’s people don’t have enough to live. It’s easy to look away.

It’s easy to forget the Lakota and other tribes still stand in freezing temperatures hoping to stop the pipeline.

I try to envision Isis truly being stopped, or morphed into a place where negotiation is possible. I still dream of massive food airlifts like the kind America ran in WW II being broadcast throughout the middle East as a huge international peace effort. Food, not bombs. I’d rather police use tranquilizer bullets when shooting people who are running away or held upon the ground by other police. Of course, our law people need to be safe as they go about their job of helping our society function.

At this point, American politics is a mosh pit of speculation. Is a boom or bust coming? Will the next four years or so be a drat splat dump we will wish to flush away in the future, or will these coming years be an awakening of a whole new kind of world-wide détente?Is prosperity our future?

Will Americans ever see anything eye to eye.

Will Americans ever see anything eye to eye.

Some things are certain; the sand-hill Crane still fly south in the winter; migrations continue all over the world. Species extinctions are too prevalent and the sea levels are rising. Whether or not we have global warming, we all know CO2 emissions are not the way to go for the future of Mankind-so why the debate about global warming when the issue is emissions/pollution? Sometimes, I wonder-what’s up with the misdirection.

The graph reveals the human toll due to outdoor air pollution in 2008,… Of all major global health risks, outdoor air pollution in the form of fine particles is found to be dangerous for public health - contributing annually to over 2 million premature deaths worldwide. The WHO global study ranks air pollution as one of the top 10 killers in the world.

The graph reveals the human toll due to outdoor air pollution in 2008,… Of all major global health risks, outdoor air pollution in the form of fine particles is found to be dangerous for public health – contributing annually to over 2 million premature deaths worldwide. The WHO global study ranks air pollution as one of the top 10 killers in the world.

In the end for now, we did just have Christmas, and we can hope for a happy New Year. Let’s hope together that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Let’s hope those who want to move forward in a kind, loving way that ‘s good for all species, the Earth and it’s people win the day.

One million children meditating for world peace in 2016

One million children meditating for world peace in 2016

So many of us pray for World Peace.

So many of us pray for World Peace.

Kindness, Truth, Justice and Life has to prevail. We can make it so-that’s the great part.

I looked different at 23 than I do today at 67, but I feel about the same inside, my hopes, dreams and aspirations for Mankind remain about the same. Is it the same for the Earth? Is there an ongoing, eternal hope we know little about?

23 doesn’t look like 67, but I feel about the same today inside as I did back then. My hopes, dreams and aspirations for Mankind remain about the same. Is it the same for the Earth? Is there an ongoing, eternal hope we know little about?

Peace. It's a wonderful bloom.

Peace. It’s a wonderful bloom. Let’s plant that flower.

Franque23 hopes you’ll forward this glob. Cheers

Thanks for being you.

Thanks for being you.


I’m there, at that age, and I can tell you- every middle class , upper middle class and anyone below these classes needs to have the benefits of their hard-earned paychecks(investments), a pension from the jobs they have served long-term, plus social security when they age. Really, getting old is not a walk through white daisy fields-the ones we will one day push up

download-5— but a daily struggle of will and body that differs for each person who gets to ripen with age.

It's a journey-we all needs hats and safety nets.

It’s a journey-we all needs hats and safety nets.

It’s not that things fall off when you get older.

Hey look! It's not me!!!

Hey look! It’s not me!!!

Heck, in some ways at 67 I’m as strong as I ever was, maybe less distracted, more focused. The early years are swamped with wonder. The middle years filled with responsibilities, trials, tribulations, too many bills, phone calls, the ‘What the hell are my kids doing?’ moments, booze, parties, I’m  absolutely positive thoughts, mistakes and breakthroughs, couches that need to be replaced and ‘If only’s’.

It's the year of the Meme...

It’s the year of the Meme…

Welcome to the inner sanctum

Welcome to the inner sanctum

The older years are when things start to slow down though Grandchildren, if you have any, can keep things spinning but not, usually, twenty-four seven like immediate family chores. Older years give a person time to reflect, hear the birds, feel the breeze, garden,  and finally take time to sit in that rocker bought so long ago. It’s a great time to read and to forget the worry-a silent apprehension that things may not work out. Heck, if you reach the older years, things have worked out. Congrats.

You've won.....

You’ve won…..

Sure, everyone should count pennies as they go but this shouldn’t be a full-time job when you reach retirement, not unless you’re some sorta mathematics savant who loves the pastime. This is why every American should demand a pension from jobs they have held for long periods of time, and a social security check. Oh, I know, I know-owners, the ruling class, and some workers clamor on about investing  in stocks rather suffering through Social Security paycheck deductions. The thing is, I do think workers should have an investment scheme going on for their lives, but also Social Security. The stocks can wobble up or down, and sometimes down for long periods of time just when a person reaches an age when they need them to wiggle up. Social Security stands now as a constant income as should be.

The notion that Social Security should be disbanded or its funds stolen for other government programs is a trash heap of garbage that stinks for workers.

Dumping Social Security and eradicating pensions smells fishy--don't go donw that road.

Dumping Social Security and eradicating pensions smells fishy–don’t go down that road.

What a load....

What a load….

Those opposed to Social Security keep flappin' their jaws spewing crap.

Those opposed to Social Security keep flappin’ their jaws spewing crap.

Don’t buy into that premise.  Invest in stocks-go high or low risk as you like- work your ass off when you can during your life  in pension rich jobs, and demand Social Security. Do this and you’ll not only hear the birds but have time to learn their calls and name them during old age. The Life scheme as it was set for workers and running so well in the 1950’s still works.

Don’t let the politicians steal, erode or flim-flam your mind with gobbledygook.

Americans should expect and demand a Federally insured, defined benefit pension option for every job…Social Security with viable health insurance and a healthy investment market-that’s government by the people, for the people and security.

Cheers-keep up the fight. Slough off the crap and sling the truth.

 

Franque23

Diversity of incomes helps...

Diversity of incomes helps…


I can’t quite put my finger on it…

"Put your finger on your ear" story hour at the lake.

“Put your finger on your ear” story hour at the lake.

But as much as the Lake is about the people you see there, the Lake has a life of its own.

A perfectly normal gathering of family and relatives can tune south quickly around the lake....

A perfectly normal gathering of family and relatives can turn south quickly around the lake….

Just when you think things are under control, you’re using power tool while standing in the water. Maybe, even drinkin’

Zzzzzzzz sawing sounds....

Zzzzzzzz sawing sounds….

Hats are available, especially when working….this I learned at work

Hats and shirts

Hats and shirts

Hats work at work as well….

working it

working it

All of us-working…..

something about hats

something about hats keeps the ticker tickin’

or hats keep you head from fryin'

or hats keep you head from fryin’ (backyard pool zone in FL.) Title: Floating Heads.

And it's all about fishin', too

And it’s all about fishin’, too

Three fishin' fools make a basket full of brains-Einstein.

Three fishin’ fools make a basket full of brains-Einstein.

So, there’s dinner for five hundred biblical style…

You need the protein to get things done while watching family work...

You need the protein to get things done while watching family work…

11753271_10153523779459254_8791904667751748415_n

The lake floats plenty of boats….

Lots of different types

Lots of different types

Funny, but I thought about this floating scene while floating down a river in Xcaret, Mexico with my wife a few months ago….BTW-a must do if you can

Rolling down the river

Rolling down the river

It's easy to think of the past when you're floating down a river...only one left, now.

It’s easy to think of the past when you’re floating down a river…only one above left, now.

Me? I'm still fishin'

Me? I’m still fishin’

We'll all come and go

We’ll all come and go and like John Lennon sang, “There are places I’ll remember…

some are gone or changed forever.

some are gone and some have changed.”

But the Lake will stay a treasure to those lucky enough to visit her shores.

But the Lake will stay a treasure to those lucky enough to visit her shores.

It’s a great time to be going to the lake; anytime is.

Good luck fishin', and I hope to see you cruising by

Good luck fishin’, and I hope to see you cruising by

Bye for now….off to the Lake…

gotta try on a few more hats...

gotta try on a few more hats…

 

Franque23—fun times ahead.


I recently read that ten heads explode everyday from not reading at least three Meme’s per day. It’s a fact; I’ve already gone back in the bathroom and checked on that wall again. However, there’s no mention about the size or shape of the Meme-that’s troublesome.

What?

What?

To compare me to what I once was you’d simply have to have a very good memory and a bunch of mirrors. Looking back, my fellow employees once asked if they should nominate me for Survivor. Now, that show might consider me if they needed a drift wood prop.

Often, learning a bit of history can teach an ear -full.

Once, there was this guy….

I'm saving my expanding hand made paper hat we bought in the Bahama's for tomorrow....

None of this should be allowed…WTH happened?

(In case you missed the lead up..this post from 2010 is funny-promise. …https://franque23.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/40-in-a-25-mhp-zone/)

Decaying, ruinated, defunctafied, squishated, flatasided, finishatored and donered-that’s me at 67 going on 100. If my asthma gives me a breath, my splitting fingers still find the sharp end of a hook. My eyes can’t see the stairs I fell down and my bursitis-afied knees feel almost better for the fall. I’d duck to see this all coming-as if. This bent over twig of a frame of mine would snap in two at the thought. Then there’s my center of gravity belly issue-what the hell is that? Some alternate dysfunctional bizzaro universe has landed upon me and absorbed the middle of me.

wife pointing to he middle of the problem

wife pointing to the middle of the problem

Thought may be the worst problem of all, if I could remember one?  Somewhere in my house is a drawer full of dusty, moldy ol’ thoughts that are completely deadified. But there’s a bright side for those who are not yet 67: you’re not yet 67, end of story…*

Oh, I’m not bitter about being this old. Please don’t get me wrong. Harsh, haggard, burnt to beyond crispy, horrified by old pictures, I used to wear turtlenecks not be them, a craggy, draggy,  bottomed butt roast with skinny chicken legs, a funny mole farm with no hair, no grip but ton’s of gripes, a loose cannon of dropping balls and feet that wouldn’t feel a rhino step on them, yes, I’m all that ,but not ever bitter. Bitter would be way extreme.

Turkey neck for sale....it took two to hold me up for the shot....

Turkey neck for sale….it took two to hold me up for the shot….

So all you new fangled people under 67-don’t say I didn’t write on the wall-check the three-way bathroom stalls-it’s all there. Simon once wrote, “It’s all happening at the zoo.” There’s a sense of humor for ya. My zoo is sorta centralized like my weather report-hazy, foggy, unwanted precipitation, cold, hot, random gusts of flatulence accompanied by belching sounds all out of tune with my ringing ears.  Head’s-up! Those ding-dong sounds on the T.V. are actually words-go figure.

It really isn’t that bad; once you’ve lost about everything, then your mind goes. What’s to worry when every day’s a new day and every face, place, word, thought, fart or burp is  new, too! Greetings to my old friends who ever the hell you are! Let’s party, dance, maybe romance (try to remember those kinds of September) or maybe, just party-skip the dance- or sit on the couch to talk before we need the potty, or even better, let’s nap. Yes, stay home and nap at 67-it’s easier than trying to recall how to dress.

I remember being able to tie my shoes and stuff

I remember being able to tie my shoes and stuff( Lake Bonaparte.) I could even go out in a boat and make it back by myself!

Example: I once knew a guy (me) who went to the beach, like three days ago, and pulled down his shorts to go swimming before recalling  he meant to wear his suit under his shorts….if only. Fortunately, there were no witnesses who didn’t see.  Remember those dropping balls I mentioned? I signed autographs most the afternoon-no wait, were those police and lawyers/ I forget-**

Franque23

Me! In another life with a big fish.

Me! In another life with a big fish.

*Of course, I couldn’t leave turning sixty out……enjoy- https://franque23.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/60-my-speed-limit/

** Okay, I did have my boxer’s on so even asking to sign autographs didn’t work. People are soooo demanding these days.


When I was young, the sun came as a surprise.

The new day was a friend that came knocking at my door. The birds sang in harmony while dandelions bent in the wind or beneath my toes. There were smells I didn’t know. People smiled and it seemed my presence gave them a laugh-I was small and knew so little.

The start of it all for me-maybe day seven?

The start of it all for me-maybe day seven?

 

I trusted my brother and sister to not leave me in the snow.

I trusted my brother and sister to not leave me in the snow.

Houses in our community were huge and the lawns, though fenced, really had no boundaries. There were hidden places to go between the yards and secret paths to run.

Remaining still was not an option.

Life was a new bloom that would never wither. Leaping one day meant I’d jump further the next. The phone was never for me when it rang it but, still, I heard the call from everything else, the sky, the moonbeams, the stars that really did twinkle, the train that always blew its whistle and the beach waves that circled my ankles. Being young was never a cumbersome potential I had to carry with hope. No, I lived suspended in a stream of unspoken understanding. Yearning had no place in dreams.

The silence knew just what I was thinking.

Parents in our community knew me and my friends by name, and they were always watching or made it seem so. The entire community was our home. We ran without fear. We hadn’t an inkling that we could age and move on to the next day, or month, and then through so many years.

Still, changes did come and some were harder to deal with than others. My sister went to college while my brother got on a bus and went to camp over the summer.

Why would my brother leave for camp?

Why would my brother leave for camp?

I kept the home-fires burning while my sibling’s were away.

A tree’s nooks and crannies offered the surest foot holds; my fingers grasped each branch as if I’d never let go.  Friends, and music, became part of my family.

Pete and I climbed a tree to see the world.

Pete and I climbed a tree to see the world.

we laid 'tracks' down hoping to make it Big.

We laid ‘tracks’ down hoping to make it Big.( My hat is on my knee; 1962ish)

The light in my friend’s eyes could shame the sun.

Friend’s laughter dazzled my imagination, a spark that ignited my new adventurous frontier—the one someone had called, Life. Kindness was never a decision, it just flowed through me and my friend’s lives as a waterfall we loved to see.

It felt all wrong when I realized I was no longer young.

One day, my friends had grown up. The dizzy bee games and tangled bodies on the lawn had vanished from sight and only shadowed my mind as a memory. Friend’s went places I might never see; some of us would lose touch, completely. Other’s called occasionally until there was little left to say. Where we would go or why—really, none of us knew. Still, in a sketchy note, in a brief visit or between bursts of laughter during a short phone call, all that could not be said was heard. Too much had changed for us to ever make it back, so with an unsigned agreement each of us had moved on.

Separate paths become so distant, and time so rushed. Life is full of new, surprising turns and all hands must grip tightly to the wheel; all eyes must look ahead.  For most of us, the love for our younger days remains but it’s crammed for space in our minds, challenged by infinite choices, by signs of every kind that point us in every direction. It takes a lifetime to read them all.

When I was young, I loved the sun, the birds, the trees, the endless wind and clouds that drew pictures in the sky. Now, I hope they love me, too.

When old friends do call, or write, or send those almost obsolete seasonal cards, I hope they’ll know I refuse to say goodbye. I hope they’ll look into the mirror and see their young, shining eyes as I once saw them blaze. Next to that wondrous view will be my eyes equally aglow as we once were, running unbridled by time, without worry or care.

The morning sun should always be a surprise, no matter if you’re young or old. Of course, the past can never be changed—I get that. Thing is, the youngest years never die, not really. Those days are all here, so distant but easily touched if we take the time to reach out, or remember, and smile.

It’s so easy to forget tomorrow is only a wish.

Not so long ago.

Not so long ago.

Too long ago.

Too long ago.(My dad and his sister, my cousin Dave and my Uncle Mo-now all gone.)

Now, at sixty-six years of age—how could that be?—I realize there comes a time in life when every meeting feels like it might be, goodbye. But as the Beatles sang long ago, I say hello.*

The youngest years come once in a lifetime and last forever.

Franque23.

*Early Beatles…

Not even long hair?

Not even long hair?


The bugaboos in America’s health care system are unexpected expenses, catastrophic loss and/or cost as we age, plus the way our health care industry separates the haves from the have-nots in our society. Inherently, by design, our health care system creates another way for us to hate one another, or think of ourselves as better or worse than the rest.*

But, I  should start from the beginning, from a conversation we had in small waves…

We hit Cocoa Beach early this past Saturday just before the crowd arrived. It was a calm morning; no waves, no wind, the heat index would be high later on for sure.

The beach we prefer in Cocoa is one filled with tourists from all around the world-and you see people doing about everything on the sand.

The beach we prefer in Cocoa is filled with tourists from all around the world-and you see people doing about everything. We did have someone doing hand stands in front us, but  I’d no idea that I’d hear something this day that would turn me on my head as well.

My wife had already struck up a conversation with a Canadian by the time I’d waded out to her side, standing in ripples of waves beneath clear blue skies, the ocean horizon so easily seen.

People could stand anywhere they wanted, while big shrimp boats, cruise lines and others tanked their way well off shore...

People could stand about while big shrimp boats, cruise lines and others tanked well off shore…

It's a casual beach where people wear what they want-but mostly the college crowd goes further south to Coconuts...

People wear, or not, what they want-but mostly the college less-dressed crowd goes further south in Cocoa to Coconuts…Here, the beach is somewhat conservative, but internationally accepting of fashion and preference…I like the meeting of diverging cultures.

The surf made it easy for people of all ages to stand around in chest deep water, others did crawl strokes, or paddled a surf board. Beginners road there first ripple.

Calm waters have the advantage of teaching the young or novice how to ride out those waves.....

Calm waters can help the young or novice to learn how to ride out those waves…..

With no big swells to  body-surf, I was all ears as my wife stood in the sea and talked to her new-found Canadian friend. The man hailed from Toronto, a ‘coincidink‘ since that is the only Canadian city my wife and I have ever spent time visiting. In his late fifties, a business man, the Canadian talked about the guns in America as opposed to those not often carried in his country, but what I wanted most to hear about was his take on his country’s National health care system…

He pays a lot in taxes, but stressed what a relief it was to not worry about end of life expenditures that are bound to come, and those costs related to being a father of two and an aging man.  He remembered various family health issues, ER visits, broken limbs etc.(his son plays Hockey) that were taken care of quickly and at no additional, unexpected cost to his pocket-book! He added, Canadians have a prepaid world-wide health care system! Canadian citizens can seek health care anywhere in the world for treatments not given in his country, or for those procedures attended to better by other providers world-wide, and Canada pays for  it ALL  but for the airfare it cost Canadian citizens to get to where ever they need to go.

He poo-pooed the idea that there were long waiting periods or waiting lines for health care in his country, but he’d heard that was the rumor. I decided that anyone could come up with thousands of examples of people dying in U.S. waiting rooms if they wanted, anecdotal experiences, but that wasn’t the norm in the U.S.  And, I guessed rumors in our country were the same when it came the truth about the Canadian health care system-just anecdotal crapola.

They have secrets......American health providers, and one is that they spread endless rumors, fear, into the hearts of Americans that national health care doesn't work...especially for them, that is. Think about, where are there lines of Canadians dying to get into America????Not.

They have secrets……American health providers I mean. Their industry spreads endless rumors, fear, into the hearts of Americans that National health care doesn’t work…especially for them.

Not that I draw my conclusions from one conversation, but from many readings on the subject and simple observation. Think about it, where are there lines of Canadians dying to get into America for health care, or for any other reason????Not-!

Thing is, it gets worse, for the U.S. workers……

The man’s job, like most professional business jobs in Canada, has a paid for non contributory pension. As listed, his employer pays one-half each month of his pension cost, and then his employer also pays the other half of his liability which he can claim as a tax deduction! (In effect, he pays nothing, but gets to claim 1/2 of his pension contribution cost on his taxes as a deduction as if he had paid it! )This is routine in Canada-a working man’s benefit.

The small ocean waves rolled by as I thought this over. The man has paid for life health care for his entire family, no worries there, and a routine, run-of-the-mill pension in Canada that ensures his well-being in retirement. I started to think about the Canadians’ I’d met while in Toronto and how relaxed they all seemed-happy. No wonder.

To be fair, housing in Canada is something like California’s housing market on steroids, but those snow hounds can afford the prices, and sit back as their pensions add up, and the people are covered for every medical emergency. This is a far cry from what it’s like to be a working American. Sad, for us.

So about those waves that eased on by-I thought I’d glide with one for about ten feet to get the nothing of a thrill.

No one was worried about the big waves coming, but bobbed about in the easy up and down drift of the day's ocean current.

No one was worried about the big waves coming as we all bobbed up and down in the easy drift.

I launched off my feet to hit the top of a two footer when something completely unexpected happened!  I hit some sort of vortex, not a rip tide mind you, but a weirdness that sunk my relaxed body straight down through the water and smashed me face-first along the ocean’s bottom. The non-wave then pushed me along the sand, scraping my nose and, actually, I’d thought I’d possibly broken it. I stood up in calm waist-deep water where children played nearby and couldn’t fathom what had just happened. It was all too shocking, and that small wave made me totally get the power of the ocean-it all starts with small waves.

The thing is, society usually starts to bring about powerful change with small conversations that build between people as waves do in the ocean, as one small wave builds to the next. Eventually, those conversations can become a roar that is heard nation wide, one that can’t be ignored by the leaders anymore. The Vietnam protests are a perfect example of a powerful wave of change. That protest didn’t start with hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, D.C. It started with small, connected conversations. Maybe, like this one.

Start or keep talking about the wave of changes you think America needs to go through in the coming years. Voices have ways of echoing, expanding, and if we continue talking, eventually our leaders will have to listen.

Franque23

*Result of listening to my wife think out loud…..

Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.


I was just talking to Shadow about Time the other night. I'm not sure he got it.....

I was just talking to Shadow about Time the other night. I’m not sure he got it…..

This link below is so full of mind-blowing,( http://safeshare.tv/w/ntjwDrwEwh) shredding, bending, warping, splatifying, grinding, lumpy, hard to grasp or imagine, stupefying zingers of  facts that ,well, I had to get it off to you. Anything else I might write can wait, maybe forever. But, I do have questions…..

But after watching the link below--I'm not sure I have any ideas...

But after watching the link below–I’m not sure I have any ideas…

Once a computer contains more knowledge than all of mankind put together, will that computer then be able to explain what Time is, what the universe is or could be, and correct my spelling mistakes before I make them?

Obviously, this Camel has seen the link....

Obviously, this Camel has seen the link….

You really should watch this….you don’t need the sound-just music playing- but the info is way far out…. http://safeshare.tv/w/ntjwDrwEwh Franque23

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