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(Click the pic for a larger view)

My Mom and Dad visited Lake Bonaparte often before and after I was born. Luckily, they got to spend about 30 summers at the lake after their employment days. Talk about memories!?!? I wonder which ones mom recalled most of all during her last summer on Bonaparte?

You know they had fun! (With our next door neighbors, the Sherman’s.)

My Dad trained for WW II at Fort drum and rested many days long after sitting across the lake from that training Camp’s location. He loved to see the planes fly over.

This is an old map of Bonaparte…(our camp built in 1970 isn’t listed.)

There are so many beautiful days at Bonaparte.

(Picture taken from our overlook of Porter’s Bay)

And cool summer nights to enjoy with family and friends.

(In the Muse Lodge porch camp)

Or stay warm by a fire…

We love our fireplace—overhead fans above the flames circulate the warm air.

Lake Bonaparte has a knack for getting cold. The one span of three days I visited during mid January the night temperatures hit 40 below twice and then warmed up to 30 below.

Even while casting images in a glass window while overlooking Nagasaki, Japan, the memory of  daytime snows falling on our daughter in Natural Bridge, New York, stayed with me.

And speaking of fires by the lake on those skinny dippin’ nights—what was I thinking!?!?! I’ve looked at this ol’ timey picture by Priests for years and years,

AND, mom snagged this Northern right in our bay! Like how many teeth of a good reason is this not to skinny dip?

Forgive me  if you know, but I feel we all should know Cody got bit on the leg in front of the Sherman Boat house in Porter’s bay (broad daylight) by a bass so large he had to go to the hospital! Just maybe, it was this fish I caught about 15 years later?

Fishin’ at the lake. Love it!

Perhaps many don’t know my brother Buz, (Ed Franquemont) helped build the first house on Round Island? He owned Bare Bones, a building outfit.

Here’s the team that built that house….!

My brother, Ed. (This shot taken elsewhere)

However, this shot below is on location on Birch Island where my ex-brother-in-law, Paul Doherty, lived with Meta for 30 plus years. My niece’s husband, Craig Carlock, was in charge of nibbling down trees to clear for pathways on that Island long ago and everyone should know. We still call him ‘Beaver Man,’ though he also does the best drankin’ loon call you’ve ever heard.

This is Craig watching our dog, Shadow, clear 22 feet off our dock going for a ball….and we’ve built that dock again since.

Have you noticed, lake people wave back?

It’s all too much fun! There’s always some to do or think thing about…

Beware of Pirates…..at the lake! Them Morgan clan folk.

I’m thinkin’ even our dog Shadow is looking for fish!

Impossible not to love.

While at the Lake, my sister, Sharon Franquemot, with a book published in nine languages, You Already Know What To Do, remains humble with me about our family’s  Kingly Heritage.

(really….our ancestor’s home is below. Karl Eugen ruled as Duke over most of Germany and Southern France in 1750)

So, the thing about visiting this one of five castles Karl Eugen had… sure it’s large but,….it was hard to find the bathroom.

(Karl Eugen’s largest home in Ludwigsburg, Germany)*

Anyway, I take my love for Lake Bonaparte back home to where I work in Florida and share it on bulletins boards at the Headquarter’s branch of the Alachua County Library district….

What a place to know, right? Lake Bonaparte:

Random shot of another bulletin board and one of Dan Franquemont…at the lake. (Muse Lodge)

So much—

Bye for now.

Franque23 loves Lake Bonaparte—The place and people we never forget.

*https://www.google.com/search?q=ludwigsburg+germany&oq=Ludwigsburg+germany&aqs=chrome.0.0l8.5814j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 

 

 


I’m trying to earn my keep here at work! I’ve repeated this board four times over the past 20 years or so. Originally, the scene was of a moose looking up at a winter’s moon with its tracks in the snow–that was at Millhopper Branch Library in the late 90’s. Sue Patterson worked there at the time and she helped me design the moose which is a difficult animal to get right when drawing—about that large nose of a head…Ha!

This is the 2013 version…

I carried the moose theme to the down town Headquarter’s Branch Library in the early 2000’s and ‘re-built’ much of the background set of trees. This board offers an elaborate background scene that’s time consuming to create so I saved all that work when the board came down a second time. To make this board cost efficient to tax payers, I’ve reused the background pieces of this board two more times, though the moose gave way to a deer and the largest tree has changed as well.

I’m thinking this may be the 2016 version….

You can see this years version in two pictures below or in the time lapse linked here. Stop the time lapse when you want to get a better look and feel for how the layering works in this design. This is a time lapse of my Holiday Board… stop it any time to see the progression…  Ho HO HO…..https://www.facebook.com/alachualibrary/videos/2470169859892438/?t=

 

   

So far, our media department (thank you Chris) has videoed a time lapse presentation of two boards I put up this year: a Halloween board and now this holiday board.

I like this board; it’s a peaceful image that sets a good tone for our work space in Youth Services. I hope this board fills your thoughts and the minds of our little and big patrons with wonder while enhancing enjoyment of our public libraries! Visit your public library—they are ours to enjoy!

Have a safe, wonderful Holiday!

Franque23

2013

The moose was really fun to draw and I’m not certain which version of this bulletin board I like more: the Deer with a larger tree and different signage, or the moose in a smaller setting. The background color changes from silver to gold and there is a moon in some and not others….which do you like better? I have to tell you what I so like about this board. The frozen lake presented by the silver paper is actually vertical on the wall but it appears horizontal to add depth to the scene… I love it.


 

Peace….IMG_20190626_203722699_BURST001

My daughter is involved with a world-wide communication between groups who intend to better the world in varying ways.* It’s sorta like an umbrella for every organization that ever had a good thought for mankind. Within this group, there is this link with the very short film found below.  It’s amazing to see and listen to.

It’s a sort message; one of peace, enlightenment and hope for all Mankind. What could be better than this? It’s a great time for all of us to step back and give thanks…and thank you for reading my glob and for being you! Cheers.

The full credits are included within the film…Oh, I so hope you watch this, investigated the other link below and share with friends. Peace is ours to create.

Enjoy

Franque23

 

*https://www.jet.org.za/resources/jala-peo-newsletter-term-4-2019.pdf/view?fbclid=IwAR0SbowquGLHcMCo1YI5oh0sVY0UOr3b0FNnL1-clXekLvRYwc97KbIXcKQ


(A Morgan-Franquemont reunion about 1951) Click the pic for a larger view.

Maybe I thought my sister might drop me—why else would I be crying?—pretty sure that’s my best diaper.

Remember being young for just a minute. There’s no hassle waiting to destroy the next minute, no bus, train, plane to catch or deadline to meet. No, you’re just young. Your skin is soft without a blemish and your hair shines like  grass after a brief rain.  You’ve learned to comb your hair but your not exactly sure why you do it. There’s no need to worry and everything feels right once your parents are home; the fire place sets itself and your dog is always fed. T.V. goes on past bedtime but you’ve seen everything you wanted to see and the day has come and gone like any other. Dreams come and go like the wind without cause or problem or forecast direction.

Everything just is. Do you remember now? Shoes or belts seemed useless unless you were playing dress-up.

(Our Son-in-Law running after his son.)

The world is an empty beach to run with dad close behind.

The sky is endless and full of mysterious clouds to watch as they drift by.

(My cousin’s son, Ross Franquemont, takes a selfie as he flies by the Northern lights in his U-2 plane.)

Remember the first time you stared at the clear night sky and realized there were more and more stars to see up above as your eyes adjusted to the blackness. Remember the morning dew on your bare feet. This is about the time you discovered ,’brain-freeze.’

There was so much to take in and share with your cousins and friends.

A la speed-o suit; that’s me.(Morgan dock at Lake Bonaparte-about 1956) ( AND… the person who edits this glob weekly* asked a good question: why am I the only one wearing a bathing suit? The dock is clearly wet?!?! Hmmmm)

Days come as easily as picking up a pencil. The scribbling on the paper wears a smile and it seems your masterpiece is, in fact, a heroic depiction of something meaningful to older folks—it’s some miraculous sketch of objects you’ve yet to see or a panorama of places everyone hopes to go. It’s good to be loved. Daylight loves you; nighttime is a blanket. The rain sounds loud upon the window pane and snow dances in street lights with winds that come from the moon you can’t see.  The pets always sleep on your bed.

Everyday is safe. Every night is cozy. You get along with other  kids, even with those who seem so different!

Being young harbors within it a certain kind of peaceful hope.

(View of Lake Bonaparte from our ‘half-way’ dock.)

Without notice, you assume the older folks will always be here.

Life seems a garden of acceptance.

You can wear any hat you want when you’re young!

(And on Youth Services hat day because we could.)

Routines begin to form. If it rains, you stay inside. If it is sunny you go out. Parents rush off in the morning and come back later after your nap but you’re never really alone, not that you’ve noticed or ever thought about. Tooth brushing is a daily important thing, not the best, but you watch as globs of toothpaste slide out of your mouth onto your cheeks around your out-stretched smile in the mirror and it tastes sweet. Tooth paste types change from being white, then striped, sometimes dotted or with a hidden line of stuff surrounded by white. You just do it.

You think broccoli may kill you but not if you eat just a bit. Vegetables are stupid but they’re the gateway to dessert.

I once thought food first filled my feet, legs, then my middle section, then my arms and finally my head: that’s when I was full. I made sure to save room in my head for dessert.  People talked over dinner but mostly we all came to eat. Someone would say something funny and we’d laugh but always, without fail, my dog’s head was near my lap, soft, warm, nudging my legs occasionally for that bit of something I didn’t care to eat or wanted to slip him anyway.

I hadn’t a care when I was young. Music filled the air and dancing had no steps, just movement.

Of course, I learned later in life that my life was not a universal experience. No, while I was in college there were children in Vietnam who awoke in the night to run out of their homes in fear Napalm bombs would hit their homes and burn them alive as it had some of their friends the night before. And other children weren’t lucky enough to live at all but died without ever knowing what a refrigerator was. Somehow, learning the truthful horror about some life on earth during my twenties put much of my childhood experience in a time-capsule that I cemented in a corner stone of myself.  My memories were too good sometimes to be shown in the face of another’s reality.

I’d been given so much and never knew. I’d been raised in the midst of modest but successful homes full of choices, flavors, designs, music,  friends and surrounded by mowed yards and shoveled driveways all owned by smiling people.

If you’re life was like mine, it’s okay. It’s okay that we may have been born some of the luckiest people on earth. Thing is, now it’s our time to give thanks. Now, if we haven’t already, it’s time for us to payback life anyway we can.  We have to fight for what we believe is best for this earth and give thanks to those who died for our right to do so. If we have something to teach, we have to do it. I think Thanksgiving has never seen a generation who has more to be thankful for than mine. Now, more than ever before, it’s time for my generation to stand up and speak about what we feel is right.

My generation owes the World a difference.

We can do this. It’s time to be young again, strong, wide-eyed, questioning and full of spirit. Spirits don’t age like our bodies, not really. Look in that mirror as you did as a child and see your face, see your smile and remember who you really are. You’re one who can make a difference.

We all can get along; we have to get along and help each other prosper—this is our task and purpose.

Franque23—Happy Thanksgiving.

*Barbara Mullenix gets all the credit for anything spelled correctly in these globs and none of the blame for all the rest….

 

 

 

 


Man has always made weaving’s. Why? We are part of one.

It was just a small spool of thread lying upon the bed in the morning. Two inches of the thread lay extended beyond the spool as if it were searching for a binding that needed stitching. The colored thread was red but not as deep as fire, but rather subdued in a way that mellowed my attention to its purpose.

It all got me thinking about that Abercrombie and Fitch woman, Jamie, I’d met up at Lake Bonaparte who worked in the upper spheres of their purchasing department. She stood tall, but not too much so, and held a strong image of elegance. We bantered and shared the this and that of our lives.

“You must have fun picking out patterns and materials; it feels real artsy.” A few seconds of images passed in mind. “I like patterns; love material. I do leather craft.”

“You work in leather craft?” I watched Jamie’s eyes shift left to view a memory she might have stored about the media.

“Yes. It’s been over ten years now. My wife and I have made about everything you can imagine to do with leather craft.” I was proud of our three shops and success. “I love material; you’re lucky to be working with the designs, material purchases and decisions for such a large outfit.”

Her nod gave way to question.”So, what do you think is the most important part of what I buy for Abercrombie and Fitch?”

The query was unexpected. “Maybe the thread is the most important.” It was an off-hand answer, the first that came to mind when thinking about a blouse, or jeans, or about anything that had sewed pieces.

Her eyes glowed as a full moon in the deep night, “Yes! That’s it completely! Without the best thread, the finest material is lost, so easily torn and soon cast aside. The bindings are what matters.”

Bindings are what matters….

It’s thirty or more years since I heard the words but they somehow still hover near.

The deepest blue waters of Lake Bonaparte glistened around our conversation that day. I can still see the sparkling sunlight dance off the water and spring around the dock as though magic was in the air. Even back then, Lake Bonaparte had become more than a lake to me. The lake was a thread in my life, something that held me together before that day, then, and would well into the future.

My thoughts drifted off that morning just as those past days up at Lake Bonaparte have fled from view. I stared back at the spool of thread on the bed and wondered where it might belong, where it might go should I pick it up.

In truth, that red spool of thread had reached out to me. It had magically asked for me to realize how the threads of my life came together to make me whole, to bring me peace.  But, I have to tell you, that peace hasn’t come easily as a soft wind in the most subtle morning light, not like the evening stars up at the Lake.

My life has never been a smorgasbord of hurrahs, no not that. The red thread had stretched out to me and asked what passed through me, what tied me together. That answer ran a thin line through my eyes to my heart, wrapped around my brain and tightened into a knot.

I was born lucky, white, in America, with a loving dad and mom and all the Christmas tree trimmings any kid could ask for. Still, while others skated free in my childhood I seemed sidelined with some things I can’t even write about now, not yet. Of course, life is a mix for all of us, full of ups and downs we have to turn around and make straight.  We’ve all had our hearts torn out by first loves that were never meant to last but to teach. We’ve all had friends who turned out to be enemies; victories that ended in the loss column. But having a sixth grade friend at a scout meeting ask me for help in a way I could not understand and then hang himself in his parents basement that same night hasn’t been perfect—and so much worse for him. It’s as if the memory of his smile funnels me down along side his pain, one I can’t imagine. Later, not much, my best friend drown before me within hearing distance but beyond site in a lake at Marlborough Vermont. I’ve written about this event before, and there are too many premonitions that led up to this happenstance to recall here now, but I’m not sure I’ve ever left those three days of waiting that it took to find Bobby’s body. Let’s face it: part of me is still in that water and I know it.* Is it a stretch to think we all have pain in life?

We all have to move on; we all have to stitch our lives together the best we can.

So, without a mirror but a cast aside spool of thread I came that morning to reckon what pieces me together, what keeps me balanced, on my feet, smiling, working in the garden and saying hello to those I never think of as strangers. I’ve dug down, tore it all up and realized why I say hello to plants, birds, the sun and the rain. I’m happy; basically, I’m happy.

But, why am I happy?

Though my wife and I have had a small amount of success in our lives, I’m certain no amount of wealth or holdings brings happiness.  A simple, pure joy is a different animal than a bank account. Life is the thread we cling to as we live and in those moments lies the bind of happiness. My wife will tell you there are plenty of mornings, afternoons or evenings I’m doing the happy dance. Sure, I may be blocking my wife’s TV view or arousing our dog, Shadow, to uncontrollable fits of barking but you know what: I’m still happy. I’m happy to see the morning, the rain, the fog, the cold, the lonely stars at night, the snake that slithers away as I call it, the post man who waves back and my work mates who nod as they go by.  I’m happy to hear the wind as it vibrates my ear drums and becomes an inseparable part of me.

I understand the immense hardships humanity has suffered through in the past and is currently having to endure. None of that is good, and, like you, I wish it could end. Still, I cling to the notion that if we are here for a purpose in life it’s to blossom as we can through it. The smallest seed can sprout thought the most solid rock; this is what we must do.

It all comes down to the threads of our lives and how we spool them together to carry with us. If you hurt, unwind that thread and re-spool. Bind yourself to a joy you have known no matter how small and plant that to grow inside you.

Many ask how they might be happy?

In a world of advice, I say know your world.

Know the people, places, animals, land and thoughts in your life as much as possible. Don’t walk though your time as though surrounded by unnamed mysteries: learn the name of the trees, plants, your neighbors, tools, clouds, birds and sights that fill your ears, eyes, mind and heart. Learn the way of everything you can. We are all surround by thousands of threads of life that want to bind with us. Make it happen. Then, the fabric of you will never be alone, and you will bind with the life around you, forever.

Franque23 loves you.

 

*https://franque23.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/the-dream-i-lived/

 


IMG_20191020_125528523_HDR.jpg

It’s that time of year again and I’ve decided the scariest costume I can wear is myself. Hey, it’s a free costume so what’s not to like? Yep, I’m gonna go out there as a bald headed, near-sighted, long eared seventy year old specimen featuring wolf-man like nose hair—that should do it! One look at me and my fellow younger trick-or-treaters will know all of life is a mistake; it’s a one way road to ruin loaded down with wobbling turkey neck, mouth drool and very thick glasses.

I’m gonna answer my door this Halloween and place handbills into trick-or treat bags: “Look at me! This is what life gets ya!”

People like to set weird lighting effects around their doorstep for eerie effects for this special night. Me? I’m using bright lights with a beam on my face at the door. Then again, maybe I should lay outside on the lawn like a snoring dead-man—this could save on printing costs for the handbills and candy alike!

Me on the lawn-

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It’s an odd day when the truth is the scariest thing of all!

BTW, my grandchildren drink blood..

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(Okay, it’s dragon fruit.)

I know, I know, people with facial wrinkles like to say, “I’ve earned every one of them!” Thing is, if we’ve already paid the price for those wrinkles, why do we have to wear them for the rest of our life?  Okay, maybe facial wrinkles would be fun to see in the mirror for like a day or a week, but forever?!?!?

Of course, many facial lines are,”laugh wrinkles,” as they say. “Cheer up!” they say! Okay, I’m asking: what was so funny back then to be worth this now? And, I wonder, if I keep laughing will my face eventually fall off. Anything is possible at this point.

Mom used to say I’d go blind if I kept that up but back in the day I guess arms fell off first! This is why so many statues from antiquity have no arms.

Image result for greek statue whose head or arms have fallen off

No one told this guy, and then it was too late.

What is it about wrinkles anyway? I’ve never seen a bird, rabbit, cat or dog have wrinkles!

So, why do people wrinkle? Is it a warning to others that a rotting corpse is still walking?  “Look out! This mistake still has feet!”

Nope, dogs don’t wrinkle; even mice don’t wrinkle! You’d think Mankind might have figured old age out better than a mouse by this  point in time!

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Sometimes, I sit in my chair watching birds and wonder what the hell happened?!?!?

But, do I really regret being seventy? No—as long as I can have 50 years back I’m good. “Okay the joke is over; now lets get back to being 20!” I don’t recall making a deal about this aging thing: I want a lawyer. And, please, not  trump’s, ‘I only hire the best people,’ Giuliani. I’ll be selling wrinkles forever if this is the case.

I need to sail free of age like Caspar the ghost—I need to earn wrinkles that fly away: it’s Halloween after all.

Special!! Here’s a 20 second video of me putting up a Halloween Bulletin Board at work.

To be honest, things are looking up for me and my buddies; I think the tide is turning! But, it won’t be high tide, right?

Just hanging with my gang.

Do I regret being older than dirt? Of course not! I hate it!!!  Oh, I know,  I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for all my years of life! And, you might miss me if you stumble upon a random rock, fall into a pile of dog shit and think…”Oh yes, there was that guy who wrote a glob about this!* Whatever happened to him?” (So, you see, I could matter in certain situations, maybe.)

I finally realized this guy is wondering where his clothes are!

If clothes can be wrinkle free, why not people? Scientists need to be working on making people come through this drying out life process wrinkle free…

Fortunately, we never lose our energy.

Happy Halloweenie me. I’m looking perfect for the part.

In the meantime….maybe ramble thru the last ten years of globs I’ve written… some of them are spookier than me.

Franque23

  • I never did.
  •  Barbara sent me this today…..

    Non Sequitur 10/31/2019

 

 


Greta Thunberg sails to America. She breezes into town with a boiling luster of avid belief full of conviction. There are those who mock this sixteen-year old who dares to stand and speak her mind, strongly, frankly, without regard for the pitfalls honesty can sometimes bring when speaking to those thought to be superior. They’re not.

Because I’ve worked in library services for almost twenty-five years now, this fired-up youth, Greta, conjures up memories of one of the bazillion books I’ve read—or at least in part scanned—over the years.

This book:

This book is a Juvenile Bio of a young man who really lived, Alexander Selkirk, though his true name was Alexander Selcraig. He was a Scott and it’s thought the name deviance as recorded was perhaps due to poor spelling or a rocking boat during the time of transcript.  His relative is alive today and reports that his research suggests, “Selkirk (as a young lad) was a bit of a bastard, more respected in his absence than in his presence.”*

My take is that Selcraig was a bit wild as a child, always in trouble, gifted in math and stubborn as the morning when it came to rising up to defend his right of opinion. Selcraig’s troubled youth may be what led him to become a sailor—it was a means to get away from his past. For whatever the reason, this youth so filled with fury was the real Robinson Crusoe; he lived marooned on an island for four and one-half years, and mostly by his own doing. He chose his path fueled by his own determination, you can call it a hot headed mindset if you like, and thereby set his story forever in history.

This brief description of Selcraig, or Selkirk, the one whose life is now known as Robinson Crusoe, brings to mind Greta Thunberg. Think about it. Though Greta apparently didn’t go around beating up people with sticks as Selcriag may have, she is, by her own admission, somewhat estranged from people by the very nature of her Asperger’s condition.

When Greta headed out with this sign, she was alone with only the company of her determination.  Greta knows she is right when it comes to the issues surrounding climate change and she’s willing to leave whatever she left behind to sail half way across the world to prove her point. Of course, Alexander Selkirk may have left his home to get away from his past while Greta has left home to make her future but, in the very least, the two seem to exhibit the same type of bold, unflinching spirit.

You see, Selkirk, in the year of 1704 approached his captain, Captian Stradling, while they moored by an uninhabited island and insisted the ship wasn’t worthy to sail. He demanded that the crew go ashore and make needed repairs before setting sail. (It’s reported that Selkirk was 28** and a worthy sailor and first mate of the vessel.)  Captain Stadling refused and the young lad, Selkirk, elected to remain behind on the desolate island rather than risk death at sea. It is recorded that, “Selkirk was put ashore with his bedding, a musket, pistol, gunpowder, hatchet, knife, his navigation tools, a pot for boiling food, two pounds of tobacco, some cheese and jam, a flask of rum and his Bible. He had made the biggest decision of his life. No longer just a complainer, he had taken action.” No doubt our Robinson Crusoe to be thought another ship would sail by his island soon enough—that took four and one-half years to happen!

Greta has set herself out upon an island of belief surrounded by a sea of media attention, slashing rhetoric and attacking foes who fiercely disagree with her opinions. She made her decision. and watched the easier life she might otherwise have had set sail. Her standing ground is conviction—but is she right?

It should be noted that Selkirk was. “Dampier(the captian who saved Selkirk) told Selkirk the bittersweet news that he had been all too right about the decrepit Cinque Ports. Soon after abandoning the Scotsman in 1704 the ship sank off the coast of Peru, killing all but Stradling (The Captian who would not heed Selkirk’s advice) and a dozen or so men, who wound up in Spanish prisons.” In fact, that ship sank in a matter of two days after leaving Selkirk on the abandoned island.

It’s also a sad truth that Selkirk became somewhat of a notoriety in England once his story became known, and he had more than enough money, but his life never lived up to the joy he found in solitude.  This is why Selkirk returned to the sea at age 44 to sail once again. However, fever soon took hold of much of the crew who died and they were thrown over board. It was recorded, “On December 13, 1721,………..North to northwest. Small Breeze and fair,” it read. “Took 3 Englishmen out of a Dutch ship and at 8 pm. Alexander Selkirk . . . died.”

Will Greta also find herself living a world she’d rather not see as time goes by? Will Greta Thunberg’s greatest moment be that she set her sights on what is right, but only to see that her message is left behind?  These are turbulent times and it seems those more powerful than her may strand her intentions in a tide of lawyers, business and money. I hope not. I hope Greta Thunberg finds a sea of people ready to right her sail and lift her message as an ocean of truth.

I’m willing to row her boat. You?

The earth is our ‘ship of state.’

Franque23

*For a more complete story

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-real-robinson-crusoe-74877644/

** Some facts differ from the book listed and the postings in the link. For one, Selkirk is said to be a young lad of 18 to 21  in the book when he was left on the island, not 28 as listed in the linked article. Here, I’ve deferred to the article linked.

 

 

 


 

(Click the pic for a larger view.)

Sometimes, none of it seems possible. It can’t be that our family dog, Socks, has been gone for over 55 years. I still feel him sleeping in my bed. I still can feel his curly haired ears as I run my fingers through them… I still see him resting by our fireplace on cold winter nights.

Socks was always there to keep us company. Maybe, it doesn’t seem possible I once was young. I know it happened, but where did it all go? Where did my smiling grade school friends go? Where did the innocence of thinking that ice cream guy liked me go?

Of course, we kept busy. Time for growing up is a spring board made of hope, longing and foggy vision. It’s just impossible to focus on being 70 when you’re 10, 15 or 20 years old. Life doesn’t work that way. We arrive to life never intending to leave, or thinking it possible. The view from Christmas as an eight year old is a glorious thing.

6th Grade school  picture;  I’m 6th from the right in back row…So much of my life was unknown.

It seemed time might stand frozen still. How could anything really change?( My dad, Mr. Freeze, me and my dog’s tail. )

Later on, the prom corsages and carnations would be pressed to never be thrown away. All those promises were etched in stone and building blocks we thought we’d stand on and never leave behind. So much gets left behind.

Swimming in Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma was a great moment…cousins on my mom’s side lived out west.

My cousins were all well and growing like me…

My father’s brother, his wife and son.

We had the best time without any sense of it.

My dad was from Iowa and he grew almost an apple orchard in our backyard on Long Island, NY. Some years we picked 40 bushels. We’d eat the apples, bake them and exchange so many bushels for a gallon of cider pressed by a cider mill that was still up and running back then in Suffolk county.

Life, it seemed, would always be this way. I even dreamed of being a rock star. Dreams are free unless they shackle your understanding.

Me with Aunt Edna and my gold plated stereo Gibson ES-355 guitar.

I drifted as many do and had my first child after falling in love with my wife. We were at the most happy schedule in life when my brother and his wife visited us in Micanopy, Florida.

Ed came once again many years later…

Ed is gone now but never from my heart—time can only steal so much.

At seventy, I’ve a view I could never have imagined in my younger, rubber boned, look at me now years. Now, I’m thankful to have the sight—so many of my peers have died without the chance. It seems a lifetime ago when President Kennedy was killed, when Martin Luther King was assassinated. I was only in high school at the time but I remember thinking these two were my brothers in a fight against evil—together we could change the world. Then, even my brother died and anything became possible. For those of you who have parents living, hug them right now if possible. The voices of the dead continue but you can’t hug them.

My mom having a great new year with my mother-in law. Just wow for me.

Mom’s last year at Lake Bonaparte. Her face says it all.

No matter your age, find at least a sliver of a second to tell the ones you love that you do.  A hug lasts forever in the mind and heart and it’s so easy to give.  Feelings are as real as the table or chair you might be sitting by or on. So much in our hurried lives gets unsaid. Go to the ones you love and say it.

Giving  what you can to others is the best thing you can do for your own life—trust me

I believe in you.

Where does it go? It all goes inside of you,  and that’s forever.

Franque23

 

 

 


Yard work is exercise which is a good thing. Really?

The garden was a bit overgrown by last week.

It’s true, I can look forward to losing some weight this fall while doing this garden/yard work which means I can drink more beer, right? Hmmmm, maybe all this exercise is a bad thing? I have to weigh (haha) my options: 1) I could sit like a lump in front of the tv or computer or get carpal tunnel from turning pages in books I read and grow larger like a fungus on tree bark or, 2) I can work my ass off outside keeping the same weight while supporting beer companies.  I’m pretty sure this is what my dad meant when he never said, “Son, there’s a lot to think about as you age.”

It turns out our neighbor’s chickens love our overgrown garden!

Here’s another good shot of the weeds and volunteer papaya….( I had 12  papaya growing in the garden this year, I guess from our compost-but it hasn’t ever happened before?!?!?)

That’s a sage bush in the foreground.

I clipped some sage before beginning the task of clearing the weeds from the garden. I’ve enough sage growing to keep me wise for three lifetimes. ( Would you believe for a day?)

Recently, I had some nice harvesting just before the weeds won, ….greens, rosemary, Kale and more…

 

 

It was like the weeds and my plants loved one another!

There’s no time like the right time, especially when it comes to working on gardens unless you’re asleep or napping. To be clear: nap time and midnight are absolutely the wrong times to plant a garden. You might dream you’ve planted and spend four weeks wondering why nothing has sprouted. Then, once it dawns on you that you never planted you’d be late planting and still need a nap! So planting gardens may not only support beer companies but it may be bad for one’s mental health.

Plus, growing a garden ties it’s owner to the seasons generally and the changes of weather specifically so it comes with strings—as in beans—attached. Plant too soon in Northern Florida and the seeds might get washed away, burned to a crisp or frozen solid depending upon what season you’re planting for. So gardens are like dinner in that it depends upon the season.

Right now, it’s Fall planting prep time: the weeds have taken over the spring garden and they gotta go  before the soil’s turned over. Weeds, BTW, don’t read signs. ‘GO Away,’ ‘I hate you!,’ ‘Never come back,’ signs posted in the garden don’t work at all—weeds are either impervious to being cursed at or they enjoy it, not sure.

So I got busy clearing…it’s a ritual I keep twice per year….and the hawks over head always come to call from above as worms squiggle in the dirt as I pull the weeds.. I only learned recently after twenty years of wondering that Hawks love worms.

Shadow knows the routine so he was ready to inspect the job.

There’s a torture embedded in garden work. It’s much like cleaning house in that once you start the task the more you see there is to do. So yeah, I pulled garden weeds for two hours and that led to another three hours of cutting down random jungle plants that now own the rest of our property.  Right now, because I’ve been busy,( i.e. lazy), I could cut bush off our property fences for about 10 hours before getting to mowing, cleaning flower beds and weeding the pineapple garden. This is why I’m moving out…nah, not really. Okay, maybe.

A pineapple flower-so beautiful to see. The plant can take two years to bring the flower forth, and then another 3 or 4 months to create a pineapple. But when they do, as  co-worker said today at work as I brought one in to share..” This is the best pineapple I’ve ever had.” Yes, bar none.

The garden owns me. I’m addicted to garden growth and a slave to the insects, moles, deer and weather that torments me. Speaking of moles, I once bailed our pool since it had rained enough to have it over-flow (something we’ve since learned is stupid, useless and plain annoying) only to finish and have a mole spurt out of the ground by the pool’s edge and land flat on its back deader than a, well, dead mole. Now? I wish I’d thought to perform CPR on that rascal.

Age has a way of making a person care for others no matter how small.  I don’t even mind that last spring a deer hopped my garden fence, a garden full of growing crops, and ate only three things: all three of my basil plants down to the ground! In my younger crazy years I might have wished for a shot gun but now at my age I laughed my ass off searching for any trace of my basil plants…(not really, not even the fatty part of my ass went missing.) I imagined that deer jumping in the garden and deciding what he wanted to eat that night.

My Grandchildren ate some dragon fruit(I didn’t grow it) and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t care about the mole.

They got busy swimming.

I took a photo of the sorta finished garden—there’s about 4 more hours of weeding and planting left before the fall garden is in.

In the end, or is this the beginning—we never know, right?—the garden keeps me in touch with some neighbors who walk bye and smile or who I give produce to. It keeps me in touch with the world as it turns and the seasons change. It keeps me young at heart and a bit more fit than I’d be if I wasn’t working it. And, it supports  micro-brewery’s!

Here’s to the basil eatin’ deer, condolences to that one mole long ago. I hate you inch worms and I’ll get you! About those weeds? We have to talk; I’ve been pulling you out of my garden twice a year for twenty years now and it’s not because I don’t like you: I freakin’ hate you!

I’ll be workin’ it, turning the soil and planting the seeds soon.

Go ahead; plant something and watch it grow.

Franque23

BTW, it’s called flash eyes, but I call it spirit photography. Here’s to National Dog’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Click the pic for a larger view)

Imagine, you were born and once lived happily in a Levittown community on Long Island.

Your home town of Roslyn Heights was a Levitt built community….this pic is of a Levittown that was built further away from NYC out on the Island than your home, but it was the same type of community.

You didn’t mind the winters and made piles (ahahah) of dough out of shoveling snow as a kid.

This was my life as I grew up.  Here is a picture of South Park, Roslyn Heights and the house I lived in. Back in the 1950’s we got Nor’easters (snow storms) that blanketed the homes and streets and, thank God, stopped school!

But during college, maybe before, something snapped inside of me and I wanted wide open spaces….I wanted the wild, the untamed, the jungle or was it the wild west? Okay, I really wanted to see, Where the Boys Are*, in Fort Lauderdale and be one of those guys the gals were after. That worked out well and Florida became just that sort of jungle I was after.

I had no idea how Florida, land of melting sun, would attach itself to my soul but it did.

Now, I’ve lived here since ,errr,,, 1972ish?

I’ve had a wonderful time in the surf—I love to surf waves.

This is me catching a good ride.

My wife and I had a rabbit who lived out back in Micanopy in his cage. One morning we awoke to look out and find a bob cat on top of his cage…..that started me thinking….(Don’t go out at night to pee…..)

Apparently, I’m not the only one to have found nature at my door step here in Northern Florida

Heck, I knew I loved this place of wonder, a place of untamed nature.

But I never lost my eye for the power of that nature as well… We landed on the moon, but maybe we don’t control gators?

It’s okay to count on fences to a certain degree…

So there’s a beauty and danger to Florida none of us Floridians should forget.

How about a night dip in the pool?

And then, only twice, I saw in person and close up by mistake, a Great Horned Owl…They can fly up to 40 MPH and have been known to pick up and kill 60 pound pets!! Our dog, I suspect, was attacked twice by one in our fenced in backyard—where he never goes at night anymore.

 

This is a shot tripped by a night camera….

I was running in the woods about thirty years ago when I saw a beast of a bird…it seemed to stand more than three feet tall and when he took off his wing span was about five feet! Just wow. I once saw another Great Horned Owl as I drove down Rochelle Road outside of Micanopy. The bird took off before I reached him and traveled over the road for about one tenth of a mile right before our car. That bird’s wing span seemed to almost reach from side to side of a double lane road–no joke. It was as if we were seeing a dinosaur.

I’ve fished the swamps for over ten years in my younger (err risky?) days….and there’s a beauty to a swamp—not a McDonald’s or Starbucks to be seen.

But always, there are gators. How many gators?

( Those eyes all belong to gators.)

This is the Alachua Sink in Alachua County, Florida. It’s about  one mile from our home. And this shot, by John Moran got him nation wide PR. His photos have appeared in National Geographic, Life, Time, Smithsonian, the New York Times Magazine and on the cover of the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida. Dale and I were lucky enough to canoe down the Suwanee River with John, a time I’ll never forget for many reasons but one of them was having a wart hog pushing against my head from the other side of our tent as I slept at night as he rooted for food.

So, I’ve rooted here in Florida. I love the ocean, always have. And, I love to grow food as my father from Iowa taught me to do. Of course, we have a garden as any Floridian with the space should.

At six months , Shadow, didn’t know he wasn’t me, or human, exactly, and he helped me weed…I miss that help now.

You might be able to see, but at one year old, Shadow figured he should eat green beans right off the plant as we did as we picked them! He stopped eating green beans at about age two.

Once, I was drying herbs out in the front yard in foil sheets when a cop came by, stopped, and walked my way with a grin and his hand on his gun…I smiled and said hello… He looked down at my tins of herbs and said, “What do you have here?”.. “I’m drying herbs!” He wasn’t convinced so I walked him over to the garden and showed him the plants….”Well, I thought I had you busted for pot!”

I can’t blame him….but I didn’t add that I might have learned the entire process by growing and drying pot in my twenties:-)

So, we grow pineapples, too….

Mounds of oranges and grapefruit, too.

It’s all good. This city slicker found a home in the Northern Florida woodland, and I love it.

Heck, the tomatoes came in like a champ this year; Dale canned many.

From Levittown to the wilds of Northern Florida, I’m good. I don’t miss the hustle up north, the quicker pace of life or the traffic. No, I’m good with the gators, bob cat, owls and other critters. The sky here is open to see, and the ocean wind still washes the peninsula by four or five each afternoon. Gainesville is just 60 milers north of the Sub Tropical line. We live in a jungle of 24/7 year round growing just about. The birds love it, and so do I.

Cheers– thanks for visiting.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Franque23

*https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054469/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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