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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.)


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

 

 


Dale and I had the pleasure of seeing two friends who live in South Korea. One is a top IT person for Korea’s internet fire wall…In fact, she was here in the U.S. , in part, to meet with the owner of Google and then Facebook to discuss her country’s excellent firewalls’ security. Her husband is a communications director for the government, a PR person for communications with the outside world and internally. It was nice to speak with them about the issues surrounding South Korea.

The Skinny:

THAAD, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, has been set in place by the US throughout the region of South Korea. This task has not been easily accomplished and it has been met with protests in Soul and other areas of South Korea-many don’t want the U.S. presence. The new President of South Korea, Moon, has gone back and forth on this issue since May, 2017…but now, with North Korea shooting off longer range missiles like they’re a kid who’s found a new play-thing, well, President Moon is open to the system.

By my best estimate, I’d say President Moon is what most Americans would call a Liberal. He was stampeded into office after ex-President Parks was removed from office…  

President Parks is a conservative but was impeached for several kinds of illegal activity (using her position to earn bunches of money). She’s currently in jail awaiting a long trial.

So, the chips are on the table in clear sight: there’s the new President , Moon, of South Korea; the THAAD system; KIM-Jong of North Korea and their missiles and, hmmm  oh yes;  China and Russia

Putin has a long range of things to consider when it comes to North Korea and the THAAD system. But, this isn’t his first rodeo, and he knows how to ride things out. China likes her position.

It seems, after speaking with our friends about the issue of North Korea, that they believe Russia and China are more concerned about our missile defense system that’s now located in South Korea than they are with Kim-Jong and North Korea.

BOTTOM LINE:

China and Russia may like the buffer North Korea gives them from our military presence(THAAD) in South Korea enough to thwart any advancement we might initiate in the region.

Russia will let Kim-Jong ride this one out.

It’s an odd mix of happenstance that finds us in August, 2017. President Moon of South Korea wants to negotiate with North Korea to open the borders, at least somewhat, but Russia isn’t loving the idea…North Korea’s Kim-Jong may have no idea…while some Americans think we should open that border with a bomb fest. More, we’ve experienced a strange paradox of Presidents in the U.S. and South Korea. President Obama appeared to be willing to double down on relations with South Korea but the President of South Korea at that time was  doubling dealing, stone wallin’ and now in prison for bribery and stolen funds, Parks; no negotiations were possible.  Now, South Korea has landed a President who is open to the type of negotiations President Obama may have carried out, but the U.S. has Trump as president! And for all the crappy things people can say about President Trump I just wish instead they’d clear up one thing: what the hell is Trump talking about, like ever? I’d think it difficult to negotiate with a rambler.

So, life goes on.  South Korea has a neighbor who shoots off rockets that sometimes get off the ground, but who knows where they might land. America is locked in tight with THAAD. Russia and china know Kim-Jong is nuts, but he gives them space. President Moon wants to open his border to the north so people who are now 80 years old, those who were separated by the border line since the Korean War, can get a chance to come together.

Who has the winning hand? In many ways, I think America holds the ‘trump’ card for now.

North Korea is a rough spot…but I think THAAD is Trump’s ace in the hole.

Peace.

Franque23

 


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.

Sometimes Lake Bonaparte’s morning mist calls you to do something else.

It’s time to head out with the fresh Adirondack air blazing our bodies with energy.

There’s a falling stream not too far off-

I don’t recall the name of this park, but a sign hangs for it just east of Harrisville, New York,  off of Rt 3. A right turn leads you down a small road that seems much longer than the mileage advertised by the signs….Yes, this park has a name but I don’t recall it and can’t find it on google, but trust me. If you drive east on RT 3 past Harrisville, farther than you think you should, you’ll come to the sign-and then to this blast of a rock climbing place.( reader Jacqueline writes the name of this park is Greenwood state park)

If you leave THE LAKE early it’s easy to make the place for a lunch time snack; there are tables, a few cookout pits and ,yes, real bathrooms. Keep driving until you see a few parking spots on the left.(you’ll come to a house first and think you’re there-you aren’t..keep going.)

Children can make the climb(s) but it’s rugged enough to give adults a sense of accomplishment and wonder.

We spent about four hours here exploring, calling, side-stepping crevasses and fallen logs. The water rushes by in most places or neatly pools for your tired feet in others.

You can slip away from the stream and meander through some beautiful woods.

The way back down brings you to a widened area of babbling brook and smooth stone.

It’s the kind of place that makes a person want to crow with raised arms.

Oh yes, we did it!

A joyful morning/afternoon lunch and it’s time to say goodbye.

We’ll be back.

Lake Bonaparte and the Adirondack region never ceases to amaze.

Back at out camp well in time for a 4 PM dock-time swim….

Well in time for sun-down

And a night-time fire…

Peace-Enjoy exploring!

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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