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(I received this letter my sister, Sharon Franquemont, had written to a cousin….as it is, our extended family is about 50/50 Democrat or Republican, though some would be libertarian/green party etc. It got me thinking that, as it should be, we are all together, living through trying times. Internal and external forces are always at work in every society and it remains of utmost importance that here, as Americans, and elsewhere that we keep our dialogues going, open, accepting and informative.)

Thanks, sis, for the read.

“A couple of weeks ago a work colleague who voted for and admires Trump and I had a debate about voter fraud.  What we soon discovered is that we both have completely different streams of news and facts. It was illuminating.

I wondered if our exchange was rooted in Russian generated disinformation campaign with the goal to create division and chaos in our country. Or was this stark reality difference guided by something more internal in USA?

BTW, I think chaos, confusion and undercutting of our Democracy was already in the Russian playbook,  regardless of who won the election. if Hillary had won, we’d be hearing about her email fraud, her corrupt murders and bribery, so I don’t think this is a Trump issue. He is far worse than I expected and I expected pretty someone horrible—never believed he was a wise businessman capable of making ‘deals’ that would lead us through to the other side.

And, I never forget that many of my Republican friends were equally horrified by Obama’s Presidency.

As to Climate Change, in 1993 I met my beloved friend and soul brother, David Berry. We worked collaboratively on the volunteer Prayer Vigil for the Earth in DC for 20 years.

At the time I met David, he was working for the Department of Interior and was interested in interdepartmental sharing of environment data  He formed an after hours working group across many of the departments and they began sharing data. This after hours working group eventually lead him to an assignment in the White House working directly for Katy McGinty’s Council on Environmental Quality.  He later became known internationally and is now an honored elder member of the Balaton Group, an elite global sustainable group, and also chair of the USA Roundtable on Water.

Somewhere around 1999 he started very privately telling me and others that statistically there was no turning back. Humanity was over the edge and the Earth would become increasingly hot, seas would rise, and environmental degradation was already on the way.  I worked through a lot of horrible thoughts and feelings about this, but landed on this may or may not happen.  Thus far, it looks like it is happening.

Beyond David, Maurice Strong, the ‘father’ of global sustainability in that he convened the first UN global conversation on the issue in 1972, the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio and 1995 follow-up, and his wife Hanne Strong have been friends since 1995.  Although Maurice died a few years back, I’ve followed via them the perilous path of bringing these issues forward.

I have zero interest in debating Climate Change’s reality with anyone. Ultimately, time will reveal the truth.  Will I stand for Climate Change work? Absolutely.  Do I think, given the state of everything now, Climate Crisis is on the horizon? Yes, I do and not sure what we can do about it, but acknowledge its high probability. Humans have amazing ingenuity and adaptability, so I remain more hopeful than many, yet preparing honestly for different future topography and weather patterns seems like a good idea.

But the issue with you is far broader than Climate Change. I have zero trust in the sources you’ve been quoting and advocating since we began our conversation. And, it even goes deeper than that. Our 2016 conversation on the dock reached for me a critical point when realized how very different our values are. From that perspective, I wasn’t sure how useful our exchange could be for either of us, so was glad when we switched to saying that the systems were suspect.

You and I have been close for many decades and, perhaps lifetimes, if one believes in those things.  May I request that you stop lobbying me from Breitbart or similar news sources.  No, I don’t believe in Bannon’s philosophy or predictions for coming world wars, unless of course, he and the administration are instrumental in creating them.

I cannot fathom your and others continual support for Trump and his administration.  God help us.  I mean that literally.

With abiding affection from a different world and world view,”

Americans hold many world views and freedom of speech is a building block of our society. I have to say, it does bother me how those who oppose the views held by the Alt-right or Neo- Nazi ideologies are often referred to as Leftists in many columns. Thing is, while some who oppose the KKK and Alt-right may be leftists, the basic truth is many claims made by the alt-right, KKK, or Nazi sympathizers are not within the fundamental frame-work of ideas most thought to be American. Many who oppose the radical right marches are simply, Americans.

Simply, American.

Peace-

Franque23(Thanks for the writing, sis.)


(Click the pic for a larger view…)

There’s nothing like untangling fishing line between twelve wrapped together poles. Snaggin’ a finger with treble hooks while organizing the tackle box or sitting on a lure as you get into the boat all make the top ten of fishin’ moments as well. Basically, these memorable times mean one thing: you’re going fishing so what’s not to like?! Maybe, that thunder in the distance isn’t perfect, but it could be Fort Drum?—anything’s possible.

Where, when, how and what to use to catch fish is the question few sane people ask on a daily basis. Me? Yeah, I think about this about non-stop while up at Lake Bonaparte, that and where is the bottle opener. Of course the wind, cloud cover, angle of the sun, water temp and where I put the bottle opener plays big in the exact answers, but that’s all too much for now.

Where to fish: I have to vibe it out.

Anyway, before you go skinny dipping thinking a Northern can bite your butt cause you didn’t catch one that day, it might be better to switch to bass when it comes to this retort. Thing is, kid you not, years ago a fellow* was actually bit on the leg by a bass so large that he had to go to the hospital!??!?! Where? The fishermen ask?…..near the Sherman’s dock in Porter’s bay…daylight hours with the lake temps good for swimming.( That’s the drop on that Bass attack.)

It’s August and maybe the dog days of fishing at Lake Bonaparte.

With nothin’ to do, it’s time to fish.

The water temps go high for bass so most big fish go low. BTW, when I was a kid a century ago, my Dad and Uncle Moe Morgan used to fish high Rocks with three colored lead line to troll deep for Walleye and Northern. I thought, back then, the line ran fifty feet per color but it must have been about 25 feet…Anyway, the color would help them know how much line was out and how deep they were running those ten inch long, wooden lures-much like an un-jointed Rapala.

There’s so much to say about them days……sigh.

Dave Morgan with his parents; me with mine-only one left, now.

Okay, back to task. While it does matter if you’re fishing for numbers, size or with children who need to catch one when it comes to where and when to fish, I’ve a few basic tips to share some may not know.

I’ve fished the Lake for more than 60 years that I can remember.

The early morning is a sight to see; a miraculous glorious sun rise while mist rises above the water as a cloak of rainbows that usher forth the call of the loon.

We got close to beating the light.

It’s super quiet, but for your motor noise most are cursing as they turn in their sleep. A heavy mist veils the sky and might give one the opportunity of nailing a bass near shore—I’d be using a white Texas rigged worm through the grass in the shallow Hotel Weed bed or in the stumps in mud lake. But, tellin’ ya, once the mist lifts(which is always too soon) the deals about done til nine through noon that AM. The first light shoots the fish for cover as birds take flight over head.

This light won’t do you much good; time to go kayaking.

Wanna fish the early morning so you have bass for breakfast? Go the night before.

The night before.

There might be a way to have a good time…

There’s a curious thing about the lake that doesn’t entail the fact that you can drop a spinner bait in the middle of Bull Rush bay for a 14 to 17 inch Northern whenever you like.

You can skip dinner if steaks aren’t on the grill and head out. You might try elephant Island, Hammond’s point, the shoal off Beer Island or cast the bays west of Round Island if you need practice casting. But, catching fish at 6ish to 7:30 PM? Drag those lures through the stumps on the south side of Hotel Weed bed. And, I’m sorry about the big foot print fancy boats that ride high on the water with the convenient foot pedal troller–you might as well be marching a band into the area announcing your arrival.

They call it, “Old School.” But for now, something like this will catch the bigger fish. Cane pole in with your oar. Bring drinking water.

Nope, the noise, boat size and motor all matter. Can and will you catch fish using big boats? Absolutely…but, mostly, not the one you’re after; not on Lake Bonaparte.

not a bad night

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Caught em large

9-21-2009 Bonaparte and fish-1

Larger…..!

And small(that’s me on the right with Joe Morgan.)

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Me catching a first fish with big Joe Morgan

Give up the zillion dollar boats and get a flat-bottomed John Boat or V-hulled 10  to 14 footer, two sturdy oars and cut the engine at least twenty yards out. Use your oars to get closer and cane pole with one of them as you get inside the stumps. I usually stay seated unless one is on. If you make a wake you’re moving too fast. The key is watch the water, the drift, the pads and for the movement of fins. Good luck. Use a Texas rig for everything big that hits, they inhale the lure, but for plenty of action use a double hook, most like a Herring set-up, on your single worm.

This best pictures the idea-but I use a plastic worm not live bait. Pre-tie on several sets so if you get snagged you have another double-hook set to use.

This way you catch the tail nibblers, but unhooking small fish or snags can be a pain.

Used to be after 7:30 PM you could back out of the weed bed and head to Hammond’s shoal between Porter’s Bay and Bull Rush Bay to plug around the southeastern shoreline until night fall and catch the limit-not anymore.

44960017

Hammond’s Point east side of Potter’s Bay

Thing is, David Morgan’s friend from the west shore line dumped years(like 20 of them) of bass off at these locations in a catch and release as a favor for David. Dave’s been dead for thirteen years now, and the fish drop off ended years ago. Small mouth still frequent the shoal, but mostly the large ones are gone.**

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“A friend’s been dropping fish off at the point for years.” Dave Morgan 2000.

Nope, if it’s near eight PM you might head out to Mud Lake and know you’ll have the best luck in the last rays of daylight, up tight by the shore.***  The split Rapala can’t rake the lily pads but you won’t miss seven out of ten hits, either. It’s a choice: action or a high percentage of catches per strike. I like the plastic worms unless I know their hitting and the light-of-day is about gone.

There’s more to write from experience and from the histories I’ve heard. Can’t wait to share that, and Lake Bonaparte Fishin’-3 is coming soon.  See ya on the water, at the counters while snagged by those lure sales or at the docs getting hooks removed!

Cheers

Franque23

*Ask Joey Heukrath about this…..or, Mary Sherman may know.

**If you slide around Hammond’s point and cast the shore on down to the huge rock by a camp, you might get action. Lately, I mostly caught the over-hanging cedars here. Paul Doherty and a friend got a big one off the point a few years back, but I swear it was the same fish I’d released from my dock a few months earlier.

***They say a dark worm in light and a light worm for the dark. Mostly, I don’t think so unless you’re fishin’ that nifty shoal off Birch Island.

OH, one more thing,,,, the newer heavy-headed plastic worms imitate the Carolina rigged plastic worms and work best over the open shoals…..


This has to be.

No words can describe the, “He said; she said.”

Slap the continuum of statements coming from our White House that derail their intent into the middle of Eisenhower’s  era and our Representatives would have flown to Japan to commit hara-kiri.

It’s as if White House officials cannot extrapolate the end-all meaning of their words.

I had a dream: An orange haired man stood before a crowd and yelled, “I am a liar.” Immediately one half of the crowd became outraged while the other half simply took the man for his word and deemed the statement not true. A band struck the tune, The wheels on the bus go round and round… Meanwhile, no one noticed as the crowd debated that the orange haired man had left the stage and gotten away with everyone’s time.1526512_731339736885721_343453593_n 

Was I born a snowflake? Me on my first day at home….

I awoke to read Kushner defended Trump’s political machine by claiming it was too inept to have colluded with Russia.  I scratched my head through two hours of silence from Kushner thinking he’d heard the fat lady singing or read the waving sign that said, “Shut up.” But, no,  I’d just caught my breath from a laughing fit when Kushner added: ‘We couldn’t even collude with our own campaign offices.’

The confidence builders just keep coming, don’t they?

President Trump claims saying he’d received phone calls means he had conversations and that telling cops to rough up offenders is code for, “Isn’t that funny?” I love the visuals as well. There’s streams of tons of pot flying over the Mexican wall so duck and cover if you’re nearby and the 1.6 billion Congress just approved to spend on building more of the wall is another way of proving Mexico will pay for it.

Look, politics is rough, tough. That’s why Comey got fired for bungling investigations into Hillary while he was investigating Trump.

I think it amazing that Mooch, Scaramucci, reveals that Bannon is part giraffe and no one looks into Bannon’s background?!?!(How else could Bannon do that thingy Mooch went on about while talking to a reporter who nearly begged him to shut-up since, well, he’s a reporter.)

BTW-Head’s Up White House: reporter’s report stuff.

Now, it seems, the White House collaborated with some rich guy and Fox news to infer a murder had been committed because the victim had the drop on Hillary..(all a lie)..and all the while the White House had pounded other news sources for being, “Fake News.” I just can’t figure if the term gave the White House the idea to make stuff up or if it happened the other way around.

Now, after Trump, we need a law for just about everything a President can or can’t do. Who knew we needed a law that said the head of our American Office of Science has to be a Scientist? That no-brainier simply changes the face of everything American’s ever thought about their President. “Hey! Is this guy nuts? If so, we need a  law!” The cashew and peanut farmers want to know!

At least there’s one thing….Trump who claims to never have spoken with Kushner about Russia now says, “Of course, I did.” So, does that make it all okay. I mean, if your son-in-law goes to shoot a neighbor because you told him too but he’s such a bad shot that he misses does that make it all okay? Thing is, the smoke signals say that 26 state voting precincts’ tallies may have been jeopardized during our past Presidential election so, really, did that ‘bullet’ miss?

The so-called health care bill reform (better known as a tax cut for the rich) fails to pass, it’s a big embarrassment to the White House.  So what’s next? How about a motion that says all immigrants (green card applicants) must speak English and be well-off? How more American can you not get? That’s a winner, right?

At least Trump is a winner: his recently reported assets to liability ratio places his debt at only 316 billion dollars.(Fake news sources say its more like 1/2 billion.) Plus, the man knows who and how to hire, and fire, continuously, like one after the other, over and over. America is truly tired of firing…but at least we’re firing on all cylinders—one round pie hole after another, blank cylinders that love to fire off this or that as they pop off without a clue as to the meaning of anything said.

Still, sometimes Trump is right. The White House is a dump as he says. Heck,  one room in the White House has this dusty ol’ yellowed paper lying around that Lincoln wrote by hand more than 150 years ago……!Doesn’t anyone there ever throw stuff out!?!?!Disgusting!

We will be tired of winning-

Health care cost will come tumbling down-

Mexico will pay for the wall-

I won’t change Social Security-

I may never see a golf course I’ll be so busy *(must read.)

What Russians?-

I won the popular vote-

Massive voter fraud-(does Trump know something about the extent of  Russian involvement in our election/Is that what he means to say?)

I respect women.-

The jokes just keep coming…some laugh, other’s yell.

Franque23

*Trump has golfed 41 times since becoming President….and

Cost to Taxpayer: At least $55,451,041

 

 


And we thought Fukushima was bad-actually it is, and maybe worse than anyone can write about- but for the US it’s about America. Right now, America is steaming from every side of the aisle, from every corner in the hood and from every classroom that can’t supply pencils to students.

It’s time for me to thank my first reader in everything I do, Barbara, for pulling me up above the cesspool of our politics and giving me a much-needed laugh.

My question is: what’s happened to the missing parts of our constitution? Now, protesting certain governmental policies are illegal? Say what?

It’s hard to say who started the mess we are in…

Or, when you start to think that America is on the brink of being torn apart by political agendas and led away from common sense leadership.

Internet privacy certainly is on the table. But so much more as well…

No, none of us are irrelevant; every side counts in the battle America is now facing. How will we shape the coming years so our children live in freedom and prosperity?

I read today-

“As House Republicans frantically seek support for legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act, the biggest sticking point is whether the bill fulfills one of the GOP’s central pledges: preserving protections for people with pre-existing health problems.

More than a quarter of adult Americans under 65 have a pre-existing health issue, which includes everything from asthma and diabetes to heart disease and cancer, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.”*

See, the trouble, or devil in this detail, is that the Republican plan will cover pre-existing conditions but in ‘special high-risk’ pools which will be charged more than most people who have these conditions can pay. So, is coverage at a cost few can afford to pay actually coverage? Who foots the bill for those who can’t pay?= US.

Case in point: me. I have adult onset asthma. Right now, Medicare would cost me about 320 per month for complete coverage. The estimates I’ve seen extrapolated from the Republican so-called health care/tax cut for the rich plan now puts my year’s cost at $7,465.00 more for me and those who will be  put in , ‘high-risk’ pools….or a total yearly cost for those(me) who have asthma at  $ 11,305.00 dollars per year for Medicare…How many retirees with asthma can pay that?

Oh, and there’s this..”The number of people with asthma continues to grow. One in 12 people (about 25 million, or 8% of the population) had asthma in 2009, compared with 1 in 14 (about 20 million, or 7%) in 2001. More than half (53%) of people with asthma had an asthma attack in 2008. More children (57%) than adults (51%) had an attack.May 3, 2011″

We all need to breathe a sigh of relief if this bill is drastically altered or defeated in Congress…call your Senator today.

Franque23

*http://www.consumerreports.org/health-insurance/got-a-pre-existing-condition-your-premium-could-rise-sharply-under-new-gop-plan/


Isn’t that the question? Are those who have gone before us still here? Or, are those departed here some of the time, for a second, hour, day or week and then gone for a while? Could it be the dead are never, ever here at all, gone for good, silent, an empty place in our heart and mind only?

Sometimes I can hear my dad’s voice. “That a boy!”; “Keep your nose clean!”; ” Up an’ at em'”; “Mow today.” Wait, what???*

Really, sometimes I can hear Dad asking me to mow, and I mean asking. Dad was a sweet guy so he’d always asked, never demand, and added a “Hon.” to it. “How about mowing today, hon.” And when Dad did ask me to do something it was a done deal-that’s the way our family rolled.

I’d say dad’s patience and understanding could move mountains.

I’m thinkin’ Dad was successful at about everything he tried to do. The oldest of five siblings, we got it that Dad helped his brothers and sister go through college while he was in school as well. We have accounting books he kept during his younger days and every penny mattered and was tracked. He was on the Queen Elizabeth as it sailed to England loaded with troops during World War II and he was in charge of some of the troops on board. As a chief engineer, he helped in the restoration of Europe after the war, and here at home my family actually drove over a bridge out west that he had designed.

In the end, Dad became a Full Colonel, and upon his death Fort Drum sent an honor guard to play taps and present mom with an American flag on Dad’s behalf. An officer on the base researched Dad’s history of service and told me, “He deserves this.” Later that same day, Fort Drum  flew a missing man formation for him over Lake Bonaparte.  There, low, just above High Rocks, a line of helicopters flew but one was missing in the line formation. My eyes stared at the empty spot and saw my dad’s spirit there. It was quite a send off for a man I’ll never forget.

Thing is, just how, ‘off’, is Dad? Of course, he lives through me since I still hear his voice, remember things he said, still follow his advice when I can and think of him often. I imagine most who knew him remember his kind and gentle way. But, is Dad here, here, as in here.(This my most descriptive sentence ever:-)).

Dad is 72; Kelly one. He gave me so much. I was so happy to be able to give something back.(Thanks to my wife!) He loved his grand children.

If a person lives long enough, they learn that life’s a long road-the long and winding road. Life twists and turns at the drop of a hat, a gift, an accident, a brilliant idea or mistaken one, it tumbles along but always with effort. Perhaps, the best thing I ever read about life is that one lived full of good intention will become a beautiful memory.

The red single Hibiscus… Dad loved flowers and grew all kinds around our home.

To this day I think of Dad as I garden, check the flowers, pick the oranges and smile at the sky. Maybe the question is, How much more could my dad be here?

I was cleaning a spot off the bottom of our pool with a long brush when I noticed that I couldn’t see the spot once the water rippled. Then, as the water return to calm, I could see the spot once more. Is this it? Are the departed still within our medium but the substance is somehow rippled so we can’t see the other side of life? Wouldn’t we all like to know.

Dad shared our joys in life, and gave us so many…

Heck, Dad gave us the camp at Lake Bonaparte! How completely cool is that? The next time I gear up and climb in the boat, hear the engine kick up and head out to fish, Dad will be in the boat, but he won’t need a life jacket.

Bye Dad , for now.

Max Franquemont, July 18th, 1911- October 31st, 2001.

Franque23.

  • Pictures: Dad,  David Morgan, Aunt Virginia(Dad’s sister)  and Uncle Moe Morgan. On the 1/2 way dock at our camp.

 


 

(Some of the pics enlarge with a click.)

Two hundred feet. That’s all that separated my dad’s life from death…

Never were three children so happy over two hundred feet!My brother, Ed, sister, Sharon and my thirteen year-old self owe the distance our lives, too.

Thing is, as miraculous as this story from 1928 truly is, I may have never told my Morgan cousins and extended family the tale?!?!

 come gather around  the Indian and listen up!**

It was long before mom and dad were living on base.

. 

Long before dad was stationed and posed with friends in uniform.

This is the tale I first heard in my house on Pinetree Lane, South Park, as the snow fell and mounted outside. (Yikes! Did I help shovel that?)

 

*****

The Tailspin Story
A True Story by Max R. Franquemont*

Background: ( As my sister, Sharon Franquemont writes:)

One year after Charles Lindberg’s first flight across the Atlantic, my 17 year-old Dad, Colonel Max R. Franquemont, took flying lessons from Sept. 11, 1928 to Oct. 19, 1928. He still had the receipts when he died the fall of 2001 at a little over 90 years old. His 1928 lessons cost $8.75 per 30 minutes. Later, he flew for the US Post Office between Des Moines, IA and Moline, IL. We discovered this story and other young man philosophical and romantic musings in a bottom drawer the night he died. It felt to all of us as if his spirit was reaching back to us as if to say, “Take a risk. Life is an adventure.”

Story: (As my dad recorded it…circa 1928)

We were spiraling in wide curves already above the first layer of clouds with the nose of our speedy scout pointed every upward. The powerful Wasp was running smoothly and evenly, and outwardly everything seemed just the same as it did on any of my many flights the last three months. Inwardly though, my mind was a seething maelstrom. Stunts! Today I was to stunt. At last the day had come that I was longing for and yet feared most. I was to maneuver the plane into the deadly tailspin and out again…if possible! Wing-overs and Immelmans (a flying term) I had mastered before, but now…

I came back to reality with a shock. The motor was laboring and I felt my instructor, fearless fellow, wobble the “Stick.: We were almost in a stalled position, so I edged the stick forward and instantly the motor resumed the reverberating motion which brings victory to an intrepid airplane. My instructor’s voice came through the tube calm, encouraging, “Take it easy! This won’t be so bad.”

Dad’s plane-of any color- would have looked like this one.

I leveled the ship off, gave her a little right rudder, and decided to look about a bit. My eyes sought the distant horizon where etched against the sky I could pick out the spires and water tower of a distant town. I relaxed and watched the ground. Twelve towns were within my vision as my eyes moved from the horizon. I could see a train moving like a caterpillar slowly across the ground; a white ribbon stretching endlessly, crowded with hundreds of black dots, automobiles; and a silver streak, winding between the green and black checkerboard farm land, which I knew to be a mighty river. At last, ten thousand feet below me, appeared the airport dotted with planes looking like dragonflies at rest with smaller mite-like specks—men. Then I spoke into the tube, “Are we high enough yet?”

“No,” said Rip, “better go up to fifteen thousand. About 10,000 now, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I said, “just ten thousand,” and marveled at this judgment of height. He had on instruments in the forward cockpit.

I eased the stick back and held a gentle climb. The ship did not climb so fast now because of the rarer atmosphere, but we gained gradually. Try as I would, I could think of nothing, but the coming spin. Why, of why, had I not insisted on a parachute? On the ground my fears seemed silly and I had not the courage to ask for one. No one in the field ever wore one unless testing a plane so there was only one chute available and it would have seemed funny had I asked for one and left my instructor without. I had my first doubts as to my ability to fly through any situation. Heretofore, I had been unafraid, in fact over-daring, but suddenly I found myself afraid. Only last week a man had been killed before my eyes. Would I be the next? I glanced at the altimeter and my heart jumped. Fourteen thousand! Only a few minutes more and…but what had I to fear? A veteran of a thousand tailspins and crises sat in front of me. I wondered what he was thinking about. What if I should freeze on the controls? What could he do? Well, I just wouldn’t freeze on the controls. I certainly wouldn’t get rattled! I’d let go at the slightest touch on the stick or rudder bar. My instructor’s voice brought me back from my reverie. “This’ll do now” I glanced at the meter—14,500 feet!

“Better do a Immelman or so to get the feel of the ship, “ said Rip.

I put the nose down and gathered speed and then pulled the stick back. Up we went in a zoom and just before the stall I kicked over the rudder as she fell over the wing into a steep dive. I quickly revered rudder and shoved the stick forward. The plane leveled off traveling in the opposite direction.

“Fine,” said Rip. “All right, you keep your hand on the stick and your feet lightly on the rudder bar and I’ll take you through a spin. Safety belt fastened?”

“Yes, let’s go!” I replied affecting bravery I was far from feeling.

Forward went the throttle and back came the stick. The nose went almost straight up and then as he kicked over the rudder and closed the throttle, the ground changed places with the sky, and we were falling. I felt a jerk and knew we were spinning. I closed my eyes because looking at the ground made me dizzy. Suddenly, the controls reversed and the mad whirling ceased. The stick went forward and came gradually back as we flattened out. Then Rip gave her the gun and zoomed within a hundred feet of our altitude.

“Now, you try it,” he said, “and let her spin longer than I did.”

“All right!” I shouted.

The ease with which we came out of the spin had bolstered my courage considerably. I gave her the gun and zoomed. As we approached a stall, I cut the throttle and kicked over full right rudder. The ship fell over on the right wing like a crippled bird and plunged downward. Again I felt that huge jerk and knew we were spinning. I tried to keep my eyes open and watch the ground, but I could not see much from there. I looked at the altimeter and watched the needle swing back 13,500—13,400—13,300—13,200—13,200—13,100—13,00 feet. A thousand feet in less than a minute!

“Well, I guess that’s enough,” came through the ear phones.

I was more than ready to pull her out, so I kicked over the rudder and pushed the stick forward. Almost instantly the spinning stopped, but I was anxious to level off so I pulled the stick back too quickly. For an instant everything went black! I had pulled up so sharply that gravity had drained the blood from our heads.

When I regained my senses, the ship seemed to be hanging in the air, and before I could move it whipped madly over on the left-wing and we were plunging downward in a reverse spin! I kicked over the rudder. No result! The whirling continued. I shouted through the tube.

“Hey! You take her.” No answer.

I looked into the cockpit! I could see nothing! Down we went whirling faster and faster! I fought the controls wildly. Why, oh why did I ever do this! What happened to Rip? How could I stop this d… thing anyway I half sobbed to myself. The wind in the wings and struts rose to a weird scream. Going down. Ten thousand feet read the meter and the needle was racing backward. What should I do? I grabbed the stick savagely and jerked it around. I tried the rudder at all angles, but it seemed to be spinning faster.

I glanced down through the wing and saw the airport directly below me. I could almost imagine the spot where we going to hit. Again I looked at the needle. Nine thousand feet! Only seconds to live. I looked back to see if the rudder or elevator was broken. They were working smoothly, but nothing touched that mad spinning. I tore savagely at the stick. It broke!! It was snapped off at the socket. I threw it furiously over the side and then leaned forward, sobbing hysterically. I threw the goggles off and prayed for a tree. What had I done to deserve this? Why hadn’t I known better than to pull the stick back so soon? Here I’d killed us both!! I could see tomorrow’s paper. Student pilot freezes at the controls, but I hadn’t frozen on the controls. No one would know that though. What would mother think? If we crashed at this speed there would nothing left of me to bury. I looked at the instrument board—only three thousand feet to live. Was I to die this way so soon? Would I never see my folks again? I leaned forward against the dashboard and sobbed, heartbroken.

Suddenly the rudder bar moved magically beneath my feet. Was I dreaming? No! There was Rip’s head! Suddenly the motor broke into a deep roar. We hurtled down fast and faster, but gradually the spinning ceased. The ground came up. Would we make it? Now the plane was in a screaming nose dive, but gradually it flattened out, and at least we leveled off with a scant two hundred feet to spare. I collapsed weakly in the seat and, while I was still trying to comprehend the miracle, Rip spoke weakly into the tube, “You take her now!”

“I can’t!” I gasped. “My stick is broken.”

“All right, “ he replied, “I’ll do the best I can. I bumped my head against the cockpit and it knocked me out. I’m still dizzy.”

We were in a long glide now heading into the field and, as I watched the ground gradually come up to meet us, I wondered if anyone on the field knew that anything was amiss. I thanked God that Rip had not allowed me to stop at ten thousand feet as I had wanted to do. Now we were over the field in a shallow glide. The wheels hit, we bounced, and then settled gently to the earth and rolled roughly over the field until we stopped. Rip climbed out and smiled at me. He face was white and there was a bump the size of an egg over his left temple.

He said, “Why all the tears on your cheeks?”

I hastily wiped my cheeks, and said, “Nothing, only the wind in my eyes since I threw away my goggles.”

Rip shook his head wisely, and turned to the excited crowd coming across the field.

Now, with my dad long gone and me an older man, I still recall dad telling me how he followed the road ways below as he flew from town to town delivering mail as a young man of seventeen. One time, as he told it, he hit a storm that left him back where he’d started from an hour earlier that day! His cockpit was open-we’ve all seen those pictures-and his guts were on display!

Cheers! I’m so glad dad’s plane leveled off and rose.

This camellia is for you, dad.

Dad singing, Sweet Ivory Soap, for about his last time, some 74 years after his fateful flight.

Dad, you are my co-pilot.

Franque23

*Max Franquemont, July 18th, 1911-October 31st, 2001.

**This is the old Morgan store in Natural Bridge, New York. My uncle Mo owned this and the Natural Bridge caverns that were located right next store. We all so loved that Indian!

 

 


(Click on the pic to get the drift)

Florida has its moods. Hot; yes. Hurricanes; of course. The rains come as do two tropical isle paradise weather months per year. It’s all here: a big sky, deep forests*, flying, grunting, clawing, watching wild life. Florida.

Another storm had passed and the ocean hadn’t failed to notice. Visiting our Barefoot Bay home north of Vero brought our two grand children and us to the shore once more. My Catahoula Leopard insisted.

Our place has the luxury of making us a member of a lock and key access to part of the Atlantic shore. It’s quite a perk. We headed out, though the weather wasn’t even good for ducks

 

.

The shore line as we knew it had a distinctive different look. The crashing waves after a storm had displace thousands of tons of sand, ripping the beach in half, and by no small margin.

What to do with a six-foot drop off a sandy cliff?Let the games begin!

 Everyone got excited. The jumping-fantastic. The sliding-perfect. The water-scary!Dale and I choose the high road; the kids, not so much.

Let’s hope the kids don’t follow Shadow.That was a funny thought to have for about a minute.Okay, thirty seconds.

Who can resist climbing cliffs on a beach?

 And we were the only people in sight. This is often the case, even on a great day.

This was a great day earlier that same year.

For me, there’s nothing like the beach. I love to body surf, catch a ride and tumble in the surf. Of course, nothing stays forever, and this year we find that sometimes as many as ten people can be seen on our beach-the crowds.

This day was super fun. Don’t miss the beauties of the Vero Beach to Cocoa Beach coast of Florida, and here in Northern Florida we have treasures as well-the springs are amazing.

See ya. We had to go home and eat ice cream.

Cheers….

Franque23

  • The Ocala National Forest is the Nation’s second largest  National forest.

By most fishin’ rules ya never give up your secrets. Not your lures; not your places. You fishing spots could get fished out! But, to me, one old enough to know the hills, Lake Bonaparte was fished out about  75 years ago or better.

Old Man Priest could attest to the fact. In my earlier years, Priest’s was not only a great penny candy shop, soda fountain, but also a place where huge fish that hung upon the walls told of an era past even then, some 65 years ago as my wide child-eyes gazed at the mountings in wonder.

I was a boy then and learning how to fish from my dad and brother, Buz Franquemont. Some of my earliest memories are tugging at my Dad’s arm as he lay sleeping in camp way early in the morning, “Go fishing with you ,dad?”

 I never stopped asking.

Time moved on and I found I’d developed a good sense of where the fish might be in the summer time. I’ll tell you a secret, sometimes, I can hear the fish. I know that’s not believable, so let’s move on.

 To be clear, I’m only up during the summer months and for a week or two at a time between June and August. So yeah, ice fishing reels in the Northern’s, I know, but I’m fishing for small mouth and large mouth almost exclusively when up at the lake.

So when to fish?

During the day, I’m hunting for a still water with light wind.  Of course, if you don’t have this you can drift Bull Rush Bay (a name hardly descriptive now as it was in the sixties) and cast semi-mid bay to the western side and snap up Northern’s. Northern’s will eat anything when they’re hungry, even people if they could. But, the lure I have in mind is a off-set red-feathered hook and silver spinner bait. Drag it up thru the weeds and wait.

I’m not sure what bait mom was using in Porter’s bay in front of our camp when she landed this fish-a fish of her lifetime.

Mom never stopped encouraging my children when it came to fishing or learning just about anything!

I prefer June for fishing for bass-you’ve a much better chance basically at this time though all my records defy that rule? I like June cause the season has just opened and the evening sky lingers forever until 10 at night most often.

 

My cousin’s son, Lach, couldn’t have caught the time to go fishing off our dock any better. I might leave 15 minutes earlier, but wouldn’t need to.

 

Leaving my dock from Porter’s bay gets me to Mud lake in time to fish for about an hour or so. I fish until the May flies, mosquitoes and gnats are thicker than the night. I don’t always fish Mud lake, but these two pics are from there, about 5 years apart. 2012–Two of these are huge bass…way beyond normal.

This year I headed out just as late in June having been skunked on two previous trips I took earlier in the visit.2017—one fish is 17 inches, two are 16 and one is 14. All were caught within 1/2  before sun down.

 

I’ve caught some monsters in previous years. The two on the wall here are something like 8 pounds, and the smaller one, one my cousin Joe says is the largest small mouth he has ever seen, tops five pounds or more.

Then, in 2009, mid-day in a driving rain, around the bend of Mud lake, a white plastic worm wiggling, this baby snatched my lure. I let him go only to hear from my ex Brother-in-law, Paul Doherty,  that he was most likely caught again near Hammond’s point about two months later as he fished with a friend. 

 

 

Oh, he had to top 8 pounds by a bunch.

 

Fishing. There’s a great joy to it. A silence; a solitude. Catch and release only adds to the pleasure. I generally eat only a few. The large ones must get off to breed another day. In all, Lake Bonaparte still offers the unknown; anything might hit at any time. Case in point: fishing for perch and sunfish with my grandson with worms he snagged a 27 inch northern that nearly tipped the boat in the ruckus….what fun.

Cheers to all my fellow Lake lovers! We are a force.

Franque23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Pics enlarge with a click….)

I’m not going to saw on and on about the $3200.00 dollars’ worth of dead pine we had to cut down at our home in Gainesville, Florida the very day we left to vaca at Lake Bonaparte-that would muck up everything.  Nope, why think about money flying out of my wallet when it’s time to vacation up at Bonaparte?

Every trip up to Lake Bonaparte starts this way; there’s a long car trip to plan or plane tickets to buy and a car to rent as well. The 1900 hundred mile trip to Bonaparte takes time and money no matter how you go. This year’s journey was no different.

The vision was planted in my brain, and no amount of fishing tackle on sale could stop me.

The plane ride up landed me in Syracuse New York a quick five hours after my 5:30 AM departure time from Gainesville, Florida. That airport isn’t the cheapest ticket, about $450.00, but it’s by far the most convenient one for me to use. Syracuse landings always require a car rental and I chose to hook up with an off airport site to save money ( Whaaahahhaa-as if: still over 400 bucks). Roughly, this whole-I can’t believe I got up at 4 AM- procedure lands me up in Watertown around 2 PM when I get into Dicks(the store mind you; I can’t believe you thought that!) where I buy my fishing license. Thing is, try as I might, the lures for sale always snag my wallet and won’t give it back until my spending makes it considerably lighter to carry. Worse, a nearby Gander Mountain store had a going out of business sale which meant I was going out of mind buying stuff. A three-year supply of hooks, all sizes, sinkers, leaders, fishing line, reels, boat whistles, flares, twenty-five pounds of worm scent, too many bags of plastic worms of all colors, shapes and sizes, did I mention hooks, and I left the store with $298.00 less to my name. Whew…..

The trip tally, plane, car and Gander Mountain just rang up to $1150.00 and change-er, so far.

Thing is, even a fisher man thinks he might have to eat once in a while. That’s where $57.00 dollars at the dollar tree condiments, etc., and another $300.00 of food from Price Choppers came in. Bingo, if I add in the fishing license, gas for boats, oh yes, the boats-that storage and prep fee rang a gentle $900.00 or more for the year along with dock delivery—-

Hmmmm, did my trip just clear 2 grand and I’m not even up at the lake yet?

No worries!!! Home sweet home up at the Bonaparte Lake camp still hasn’t cost what one day of cutting trees tallied back at our southern home! What’s not to like? Well, maybe the weather could be a problem. The forecast has it raining every day during my 11 day stay, but weather men don’t know you can fish between the rain drops and risk your life if you’re a fisherman/woman.

My first night up at the camp always finds me diving in the freezing water (to see if I’ll survive) and then taking out fishing tackle and gearing it up for the next day. Right on deck I had over seven strung poles for my kids to use and my other six open face reels of mine lined up. A quick inventory of my surplus stock reeled in eight unopened new reels; ten other opened but new unused reels, many more  hardly used reels and rod combos, twenty packs of plastic worms, over thirty-three lures(not counting most of them), along with one hundred pounds of lights, hooks- stuff.

Nana tried to explain the rules: no diving in after fish, lost lures or rods and reels.Plus hooks hurt….

We were about set to fish. Why a frog -type thingy on the head was in order is still a mystery.

Tension mounted that first night. Were forty-one reels and rods enough for an 11 day stay?

Thing is, there would be at least three of us fishing so you had to divided the 75 poles and reels by three to truly understand the balance.

Worry clouded my mind. What if one reel should break? I’d be left with only 79 rods and reels for the next ten days-horrors. Doubt, apprehension, beers, all clouded my head. What to do? Shop more? Risk a mere eighty-five plus over carriage of rods and reels?!?!? Decisions had to be made. While watching the fire flames lick the stacked hard woods in the fire-place, the question quickly became: what was the question?

We raced out between the white caps and caught our limit of endurance; blue gills and perch were on the line. We still had about ninety rods and reels left.

But that first night,  now so long ago, I’d searched high and low among line, lures, reels and my hope to find the answer to the question I was looking for. Tellin’ ya, by midnight the questions were gone; work was gone; worry was gone as I relaxed before a northern fireplace at Lake Bonaparte. Then, in a flash of brilliance-sorta- I realized what my question was. Here’s the deal,  I had some doubts after swimming that evening…

Had the winter ice on the lake really gone out?

My always optimistic 8-year-old grandson, Isaiah, would answer that question nine days later.

We’d been swimming in and out of rain for nine days, sometimes four times per day, when Isaiah mentioned as we toweled off on the dock, “Bapa? This really isn’t as bad as swimming in ice cubes.”

That was the good news.

There’s a pride in this. We had worked; we had won. We’d gone out and had fun. Me? I’m so glad the perch are back. It turns out 150 rod and reel combos was enough after all!

 

I’d put our perch catch in a bucket of water on the dock to await cleaning when a brown mother duck who we’d been giving bread came up on the dock and stood by the bucket. “No!” I said, firmly. “I’m not giving you our fish! Period, end of story!” I did, however, release the two smallest of our eleven off at our dock…..Pals for life!

Cheers…I loved every second.  Lake Bonaparte can make a second last forever. What’s not to love?

Franque23


(Click on pics for the big picture–oh and my bank refund for buying camp items this year after willy-nilly spending over ten days came to some dollars and 48 cents!-read on to get that… bye)

Certainly not. I didn’t wait all year to return to the Lake as Bonapartian people do via happenstance. No. The time off work, the camp openers, plumbers and inside clean up, plane fare, car rental, fishing license, boat storage release and delivery, mail, phone activation, countless checking of weather forecasts for the duration of our visit, packing, hoping, waiting…it all adds up to a muck load of anything but Happenstance…

Lake Bonaparte lovers keep the Lake’s image glistening in mind.

Bonaparte can be difficult to get to, pricey for those who don’t live nearby but every cloud has a silver lining at the lake: the purest air, the purest water and the Adirondacks for starters.

In the middle of a glorious, cool-Oh My, the water’s cold this year- afternoon I drifted into the happenstance of the bazillion times the number 48 has come up in my life as part of my address, phone, the lot number of two houses we’ve bought, my college dorm room number-heck, it’s enough times to sink the titanic. Anyway, as I thought my head skipped across the lake waves and floated here-

Some things are happenstance, but at other times we have experiences that seem a bit off the beaten track of reality—derailed from possibility, skewed so far beyond reason that our mind snaps like a rubber band wound too tight and then let go. You know the times: you’re visiting New York City and you drop a book while walking thru Grand Central Station and the person kind enough to pick it up for you is the first girl you ever kissed twenty-five long years ago and you haven’t seen her since. Maybe, you’re cleaning out a drawer in an attic dresser and you come across a childhood keepsake that you haven’t seen for thirty-five years, the one you dreamed about the night before.

Certainly, Life as we know it, the one we neatly wrap up with our birth, learning years, working years, parenting years ,old age and then the dying years has more layers to it than we choose to see.  It’s all too complicated- a bother to think about. And who ever finds the answer to the unseen but often felt other side of Life? There’s a veil between us and the ultimate state of being that keeps us from entirely understanding the why, wherefore and how of our existence.

There’s something vast about Lake Bonaparte that somehow ties into the place of forever.

It’s odd to think a universal ignorance or inability on our part to understand a reality beyond the mayhem we call living is a sublime gift-a gift that sets us free to tinker here while the big wheel keeps on turning.

I’ve a cousin, Tom Morgan, who lived most of his life in Upper State New York but also had the good fortune to live in New Zealand for a number of years.  One day while in New Zealand, Tom looked to catch a quick beer, a break from his day of running his large New Zealand  sheep farm, so he slipped into a nearby sit and set er’ up bar. An American tourist quickly sat beside him….

“Hi, you from around here?” The American was full of questions.

“No. I live here, but I’m from America.” Tom had time to talk.

“Really? I’m from America, too!” Tom thought the tourist a bit too over joyed by his answer-lots of people are from America. “Well, what part of America are you from?” See? The tourist guy had to know.

“New York State.” Tom enjoyed his beer and found his new comrades’ inquisitive nature amusing.

“Really? I’m from New York State! What part of New York?” Tom smiled at the man’s enthusiasm.

“Up State.”  Tom Nodded.

“Oh, I’m from Long Island.” The tourist got a faraway look in his eye.

Tom decided he might as well join the man in his hunt to find more solidarity between the two of them. “I’ve got cousins on Long Island.”

The tourist’s eyes beamed as if bacon had just been served at breakfast time. “Where do they live on Long Island?”

Tom took another sip of beer noting that over ten million people live in the greater New York City metropolitan area, Long Island included…. “Roslyn Heights, Long Island.”

“What!?!?!” The tourist nearly leaped from his chair and shouted. “I live in Roslyn Heights! Where do they live in Roslyn Heights?”

Tom put down his beer, wondering if this new guy in town was making it all up. “South Park.”

“I live in South Park!” The tourist was livid, now standing by his bar stool in disbelief. “What’s your relative’s names?”

Tom was laughing so hard he could hardly answer. “Max and Claudia Franquemont.”

The jig was up; Tom knew by the man’s face: the coincidence was over, kaput, fini. But then, the man’s solemn face began to break into a joyous smile! “My God! I’m John Kemper, Max and Claudia’s next door neighbor! They live right next door to me!”

I don’t know how many more beers those two wayward Americans who meet half way around the world to discover they were bound by uncanny coincidence had. But for sure, they had a lot to talk about.

We all have a lot to talk about; I don’t even have to ask you to know this is true. Life is a web we can’t break through when it comes to how it’s threaded, wound, layered and kept. Still, each of us knows of countless experience we’ve had or ones others have had that escape our every day understanding.

We search for answers every day and get tested in countless class settings to see how many answers we know as we go to school. But, is half the fun of Life not knowing the answers? Maybe.

Sometimes, it’s good to chill on the facts and thrill to the wonder of it all. That’s so easy to do up here at Lake Bonaparte.

The Lake Bonaparte chill-out comes highly recommended.

Cheers….

Franque23

 

 

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