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(Click the pic for a larger view.)

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

Still, there has always been a Father in me.

A fishing Grandpa….who knew?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Franque23

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

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Okay, so my wife has taken off for Africa for a while, but this post isn’t about that. No. It’s about being gone from Lake Bonaparte  for a year now, or , actually, it’s been three weeks. Thing is, time is relative, or is it irrelevant-I forget. Anyhow, it’s been a heck lot longer than a day since I last watched my puppy leap about 22 feet thru the air off the dock*. How did he do that? It’s all about the back monstrous legs on this dog…

hey muscles....

hey muscles….

click on the pic for back leg muscle shot....it all came to me yesterday as I watched him leap to the top of a six foot Sheppard's hook trying to get a squirrel...

click on the pic for back leg muscle shot….it all came to me yesterday as I watched him leap to the top of a six-foot Sheppard’s hook trying to get a squirrel…this Catahoula Leopard dog really is a bit like a large cat.

Okay, so about that Lake up north…not sure I’ve mentioned this, but it’s way cool, and not just the temps. It’s got just about everything-swimming, boating, majestic sunsets, crazy Loons(the bird-not people)**, almost deep dive potential, bluffs to jump off, and for fisherpeople it has 22 miles of shore line to plug.  But, as they say, I can’t take it or leave it. Wait. Did someone ever say that?

I'm sick of puttin' up with the good times day after day....

I’m sick of puttin’ up with the good times day after day….

What ever happened to misery? It’s a fact, you find people up at the lake roaming the roads looking for something bad to happen. The non-existent nearby Hospital is full of people suffering from cracked, smiling faces…

Nothin' to do outside forces kids and adults to interact inside...it's down right nuts.

Nothin’ to do outside forces kids and adults to interact inside…it’s down right nuts.

If I go back it won’t be too soon enough-I’m warning ya. If I hear one more whisper of fun I’m gonna go fishing, swimming or canoeing…I promise.

Go ahead, dare me to go fishin'

Go ahead, dare me to go fishin’

We have the poles to do it.

We have the poles to do it.

I know you think I'm just put up with this and keep the home fires burning...Ha!

I know you think I’m just gonna put up with this and keep the home fires burning…Ha!

But, I’m telling you-enough fun is enough. I’m Fini, kaput, done with the crazy fun,,and for what? The Fourth of July? If I see another beautiful firework display up there at the lake I’m gonna puke, though, maybe that was for some other reason,,I forget.

Parades of fun-it all makes me a bit nuts...okay, a lot nuts...or nuttier.

Parades of fun-it all makes me a bit nuts…okay, a lot nuts…or nuttier. Please pass the s’mores-thanks Mary and Joey…

I may see a doctor about all of this. Why? Why the Lake? If it’s sunny one day it may be raining the next, and if the fish are biting it means I need to rush to the hospital for those wounds. There are steps-so many I might one day get in shape-nah, squash that. It’s the stars that keep me up at night, and the ever elusive Northern lights…(I did too see them).

Actually, all people do up at Lake Bonaparte is crash..

 My sister is one hundred and fifty years old today--here she is trying to figure out how to read....

My sister is one hundred and fifty years old today–here she is trying to figure out what’s in her hand….sad-like the lake.

NO, he's not tired....

NO, he’s not tired….

In fact, this lake thing is such a downer, a condom tomato post from this past spring is in order–wait,, I mean , Random tomato post….gosh.

from my Florida yard....

from my Florida yard….

Hmmmm,,, still not out of the slump? How about a pineapple….

this year we have 11 coming or already eaten....some small, some large...I expect about 30 next year.

this year we have 11 coming or already eaten….some small, some large…I expect about 30 next year.

So why go to the Lake of Fun and be miserable when I could stay here and pick pineapples,,,Doctor? Shhh, I’m practicing and mediating.

this is the exact sunset I once told Cassie could never happen...Hahha...sock and foot in mouth.

this is the exact sunset I once told Cassie(family) could never happen…Hahha…sock and foot in mouth.

That’s it. I refuse to go back until I do. There’s no middle water about it. I’m not gonna get all slobbering and sob on about it. Heck, I wouldn’t be caught dead up there- not with so much livin’ to do around them shores.

132Oh splat…..I guess I’ll go mow in the 95 degree heat with 150% humidity summer day here…that should help. Like I’d wanna be up at the lake right now, as if.

Go ahead, make a splash, see if I care.

Go ahead, make a splash, see if I care.

sob.

Franque23

*

Shadow road the wind....now about 8 feet past Craig....

Shadow road the wind….now about 8 feet past Craig….

**Many would disagree-the looney’s are at the Lake..

 


Owning a pool in Florida can bring on a number of problems…

but we haven't had this one, yet.

But we haven’t had this one, yet.(We have had baby ducks…?)

Our in-ground pool isn’t covered, and it features lots of plantings around it as well as over hanging orange trees and palms….therein lies the rub.

lots of plants around the pool

lots of plants around the pool

It’s about the ton of sand in my backyard swimming pool. Ours is an in-ground, standard 10,000 gallon one, and it gets plenty of use. Five grandchildren from ages eight on down have finessed the beginning art of swimming in these waters, and our 2 and 1/2 year old Catahoula Leopard has invented one thousand ways to dive bomb the heck out of the place.

dive bomb 101

Dive bombing,  101

family crowds

family crowds

About that dog-of course-it wasn’t always this way. No, the first year of his life or so he’d run around the perimeter of the pool refusing to so much as touch a toe in the water. Then, the damn broke and now I’m thinking he’s about to learn how to scale the privacy fence so he can take a dip when we’re not around.

And sometimes the our five grand children, the dog and us makes it a bit crowded

And sometimes our five grand children, the dog and us makes it a bit of a crowd

What all this means is sand-the four letter word of pools. Sure, I clean the pool often, skimming, vacuuming, changing filters, whatever, but still, the dreaded sand build up has happened over time. It all makes me glad I don’t have to clean the bottom of Lake Bonaparte up north.

You're hired, fella!

You’re hired, fella!

We have to care for the lake, but not clean it.

Anyway, about the sand at the bottom of your pool, the stuff you vacuum continually and watch as it seeps through your filter basket, your skimmer, your whatever to return back into the water. There’s hope.

simply leave the keys in your front door and walk away--there, you're done cleaning the pool.

Simply leave the keys in your front door and walk away–there, you’re done cleaning the pool.

let the dog have it.

Let the dog have it.

I’d watched that fine sand dissipate and stream through my cleaning basket long enough. This year, the year of the Meme, was gonna be different. download (4)

I immediately called the local pool supply stores or went in person to ask what could be done? Could I sell the fine sand and retire with the profit? Beside the mention of back washing sand filters, something the salespeople talked about as though it was the kiss of death that would , in fact, never work, I came away from my quest with one thought in mind: nothing was gonna help solve this problem.

What to do?

What to do?

I turned to U-tube video’s and began to read links and comments on the subject- that’s always comical. One guy writes,,,,’Problem with sand? Try vacuuming your pool, duh!’ The response was something like: ‘Hey nut-ass, if people could vacuum up the sand, why would this thread exist-you dart brain.’

After laughing, I got back to work and watched several really stupid ideas like buying one million dollars worth of stuff that might do the job. Then, THENNN, I came across this video put out by a Zen like foreign Kung-fu guy. Here was some soft spoken whack-job telling me not to spend anything, just about, and the sand would be gone… Ha haha hahahah….yeah-no, was my first reaction.

taped on hose to rod; floaty cut off for siphon tip end---

Taped on hose to rod; floaty cut off for siphon tip end—

It was only desperation that lead on to re-me watch the, ‘I can solve this sand problem free’ guy.’ Here’s the link.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVusj7KjnI0

I followed his brain dent idea to a tee. Riggin’ up my hose, I first selected the length of hose I thought I’d need to do my pool-it’s seven feet deep on one end. I cut part of a floaty off and taped it to the hose siphon end.

I cut about a six inch piece off

I cut about a six inch piece off

and taped it to the end of hte cut hose to make the suction end...this way I could push it against the bottom of the pool without hurting the  fiberglass.

and taped it to the end of the cut hose to make the suction end…this way I could push it against the bottom of the pool without hurting the fiberglass.

Because I hadn’t paid attention in kindergarten, it took me almost two hours to drop this hose and contraption rigged vacuum end into the pool so it became water full-this was, in some ways, the hardest part of the operation….I had to wait until all the air bubbles were out of the entire length of hose.

Two days later, I had the time to try the crazy free idea out. I screwed on a hose pressure  nozzle onto the the submerged  hose end opposite the rigged up siphon end while it was all still all underwater….I lifted that nozzle end up and out of the pool,,,and dragged the hose out so this nozzle end was lower than the surface level of my pool. I unscrewed the nozzle and the hose started to siphon water.

well, shoot, you can't see how much sand came out of the pool--it was about a pound

well, shoot, you can’t see how much sand came out of the pool–it was about a pound

In a delirious shock, I ran to the pool and grabbed the rod I’d tapped to the siphon end of the contraption. Slowly, the key word, I started to run the siphon over the fine sand and it vanished up the hose and out into the yard. S-L-O-W, that’s the task at hand….move too fast and that fine sand you’re trying to siphon up merely turns to dust and escapes into the pool water around and away from your siphon. So yeah, It took me three hours and about no money to completely eradicate my pool of sand…..

Weeeee, time to dive in!

Weeeee, time to dive in!

How long will this last?

It lasts at least a day. I waited this long to write this glob.

Patients is key

Patients is key

when the time's right-dive in...

when the time’s right-dive in…

Meanwhile, I’ve kept my dog out of the pool and I’m pretty sure he’s called several shrinks in the area, even the dog catcher to see if anything can be done about me.

 but hey, for free but for time and work, my once sand crusted covered pool bottom is super clean....

but hey, for free but for time and work, my once sand crusted covered pool bottom is super clean….

I mean Super Clean....

I mean Super Clean….

so cheers to Florida pool owners who put up with the sand…you can rid your pool of it for about free…go figure.

 

Franque23 loves a clean pool


The Lake seems like a dream.

There are so many great shots of our Lake posted on the Bonaparte site-this one is an aerial view of our camp in Porter's Bay, East shore road. Follow the road as it forks left and it leads right to our camp-the roof and yard is fully visible. (click to make larger)

There are so many great shots of our Lake posted on the Bonaparte site-this one is an aerial view of our camp in Porter’s Bay, East shore road. Follow the road as it forks left and it leads to our camp

Now, I can’t watch those morning  Lake water’s mirror the day to come. The easy, breezy mornings, the why am I so hungry noontime meals, the peaceful afternoons and cooler, crisp nights have whisked away into memories. The Lake’s wind and clouds that stretch to the horizon beyond reason are gone from touch and sight. The calling loons, their sounds so audible above the whining motor boat engines or belly splashes made by air-borne people during the day, the same calls that preside with a magical presence throughout the evening hours and echo off the distant hills, no longer nudge my imagination.

Our camp has always had one of the best views on the Lake....sixty feet up, facing the sunset....

Our camp has always had one of the best views on the Lake….sixty feet up, facing the sunset….

Lake Bonaparte’s sandy shore has once again slipped between my fingers.

dang it! Even the Loons are flappin' goodbye

dang it! Even the Loons are flappin’ goodbye

It was a year of do’s and do nots. My sister and I sat one night and  listed the things we’d planned to accomplish on our stay but hadn’t as this year’s vacation came to a close. I’d so looked forward to reading but had hardly opened a book. (Fart)I planned on fishing every day but only got out once by myself and only three other times with my grandchildren-hardly a record pace.(Splat) I knew I’d pause on the dock, rest, but always seemed so busy!(Oy Vey!) I hoped to catch up with relatives and friends but was lucky enough to share a meal with most of them. (My time was gobbled up!) Long drives were in order but, though there were some, none went to the heart of the Adirondacks; the mountains stayed on my horizon. (Heeellllo over thereee) I’d get stuff done, right? I remember all the record keeping, re-organization, the strategic planning I’d hoped to get done.(Whahahaha.as if-whiplash on that wishful thinking.)

I’m thinking I had a smorgasbord of nothing getting done this year.

Lake Bonaparte-great place to get nothin' done.

Lake Bonaparte-easy to get nothin’ done.

It was, however, great to bring two grandchildren up to meet some of their cousins and for us to see our own relatives and loved ones. Those meeting pushed the clock. The weather did not disappoint, always offering a wide variation in temperature, skies clear to rainy, and a wind fierce enough to top the lake with whitecaps or so still that a feather could stay in place on shore. Looking back, the three consecutive days of a still lake-a rarity-seems a miracle. Was any of it real?

Dale enjoys her morning , worship time....

Dale enjoys her morning worship time….

It's as silent in the morning as if the snow had just fallen

It’s silent in the morning, as if the snow had just fallen…

There were exotic evening boat rides that appeared to hold the sunset up in the sky as we raced to the opposite east shore with our motor churning to ‘save the day’. The Clue games left me without one; playing Go Fish was the luckiest I got at that sport.  Yoga on the dock was matched well with filling boat gas tanks. The Lake water stayed warm and oh so clear. I didn’t twist, strain or break a single bone while rolling down our stairs or slipping on the dock. Our only night fire was spectacular and helped fend off the black fly and deer fly hatch we’d hit just right during our stay.

"Mornin'! Are the flies gone?"

“Mornin’! Are the flies gone?”

BTW-what the hell is the black fly and deer fly hatch doing coming out mid July at the Lake? Don’t I remember that as being an early June nemesis type of a thingy?

I kinda like The Lake...

I kinda like The Lake…flies or no flies…..

I haven’t mentioned the crashing down of a six-foot long-range of dishes off the wall in our kitchen on purpose. First off, memories have privileges and, when the 100 or so broken dishes and glassware were all cleaned up, we had about just the right number of dishes left in tact to run the camp. It’s called God’s grace that no one was hurt and collecting if you take the high road on the amount of glassware we had.

The high road....thanks to Mary S for the pic,,I think,,actually, I forget....

The high road….thanks to Mary S for the pic,,I think,,actually, I forget….

I saw Pat and Sue who I haven’t seen in eight plus years and Kate McGraw(sp) who I haven’t seen in forty-five or more! Good neighbors were there, too. Hi to Bill, his crew with mighty Max the 2 1/2 yr old, Laura, and Mary and Joey plus the cool dock crowd! Tom Morgan stopped by this year; Paul and Meta look great. The Fourth was a real kick….thanks to everyone for those fireworks around the Lake. Boom..it’s all fun.

The dream will keep until our next visit. Then, we’ll start a new one. See you…

This float lasted at least two days,,,,maybe.

This float lasted at least two days,,,,maybe.-we highly recommend the Wave Kayaks for children up to 130 pounds…..they are Gggggrreat!

Franque23 loves the Lake and won’t miss a single dish.

Psst–to the fishermen: I can absolutely tell you where the fish weren’t….


the Lake is still--it'll be a great day.

the Lake is still–it’ll be a great day.

The men chilled on the dock

The men chill at the Lake

the, Wave", kayaks went out in force

the, Wave”, kayaks go out in force

But despite it alll, something was wrong...I could hardly get a laugh in edge wise.

But despite it all, something is wrong…I can’t hardly get a laugh in edge wise.

As all dogs have that special sense when something isn't quite right, Shadow came up with an idea and intercepted me up the stairs on my way for a beer, soda, fruit juice-you pick.

As all dogs have that special sense when something isn’t quite right, Shadow comes up with an idea and intercepts me as I go up the stairs on my way for a beer, soda, fruit juice-you pick.

I try to ignore Shadow…I’m miserable; nothing can change the number of limited days I have left at the Lake.

But our Catahoula Leopard dog, Shadow, wouldn't stop cdrouching like a Leopard as the breed does often...his nose pointed to the object of his interest.

But our Catahoula Leopard dog, Shadow, won’t stop crouching like a Leopard as the breed does often…his nose pointed to the object of his interest.

So I brake down, crack the shroud that has so encompassed my head,,,,and pick up the ball…..I begin to throw the ball into the lake for the one-thousandth, seven hundred and fifteenth time this day, but something remarkable happens.

Shadow begins to run, but every watching fan knows this might be the leap, the one that clears all records and ignites the crowd into uproarious cheers.

The approach....

The approach….

Shadow ran and it was game on

Shadow runs and it’s game on

Shadow lifted to the sky while Craig( a six footer human) watched by--Craig is over 8 feet from our dock ladder.....easy

Shadow lifts to the sky while Craig( a six footer human) watches by–Craig is over 8 feet from our dock ladder…..easy

Shadow flies as fans gasp….

Shadow road the wind....now about 8 feet past Craig....

Shadow rides the wind….now about 8 feet past Craig….

His legs come under his chest as he prepares to hit the water.

You call it? How many feet was that? I've measured Shadow's jumps at 16 feet before....but this one....wow

You call it? How many feet was that? I’ve measured Shadow’s jumps at 16 feet before….but this one….wow

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As shadow comes up the ladder to the acclaim of fans, I can’t help remember how athletics has run in my family, my dad, a track runner for Iowa State and then his dad ran in the American Games in Texas during the early 1900’s.

This dog is an incredible athlete. Last year, here in Gainesville, Florida, it was not uncommon for other dog owners to clap for Shadow as he ran and jumped into the air to catch a ball at the dog parks. He has out run almost ever dog he has faced at the park during his first 3 years of life-greyhounds included. It’s hard to believe, but this little 52 pound dog is 1/4 greyhound, and he has the will to win of a giant. It’s his desire, his will, to run the fastest or leap so far that amazes me most about this dog.The crowd stayed for more....

The fans…..line up.( Shadow’s way back in the pic.)

And it went on for two weeks…..

the splashin'

the splashin’

Sundown would bring another day......perfect.

It’s good to hang…….Sundown would bring another day……perfect.

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We had so many wonderful sunsets.

We had so many wonderful sunsets.

I found myself wondering if Shadow knows why people are clapping, cheering or why we are laughing our asses off as he leaps through the air, all in good faith. I smile and laugh every time he leaps….it’s all good.

Thanks buddy…..you’ve come along way….

Franque23

Let's get a move on!!!Shadow at about 6 months….

 


I can’t quite put my finger on it…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zzzzzzzz sawing sounds....

Zzzzzzzz sawing sounds….

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

Hats and shirts

Hats and shirts

Hats work at work as well….

working it

working it

All of us-working…..

something about hats

something about hats keeps the ticker tickin’

or hats keep you head from fryin'

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

And it's all about fishin', too

And it’s all about fishin’, too

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

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

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

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

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

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The lake floats plenty of boats….

Lots of different types

Lots of different types

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

Rolling down the river

Rolling down the river

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

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

Me? I'm still fishin'

Me? I’m still fishin’

We'll all come and go

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

some are gone or changed forever.

some are gone and some have changed.”

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

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

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

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

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

Bye for now….off to the Lake…

gotta try on a few more hats...

gotta try on a few more hats…

 

Franque23—fun times ahead.


When I think about it, maybe I should just stay home and stick fish-hooks in my fingers instead of going north to do it.

There may be a healthy amount of iron in fish hooks?

There may be a healthy amount of iron in fish hooks?

Up north or down south, hooks hurt like any other. And why go through the trouble of driving 22 hours north to spill gas or oil on myself as the boat rocks? I do that servicing my lawn mower here at home.

 A body tune-up

A body tune-up

I can sun burn out back in our yard or slip on these steps here-who needs a dock. Sure, I don’t have 49 steps in Florida, but falling’s falling, peeling’s peeling.

Florida burns like any other.

Florida burns are like any other.

I have a choice: reel in weeds from the lake or pull them from my yard at home.  One hawk’s cry echoes any other, and my neighbors here shoot off guns from time to time with almost the same regularity as Fort Drum’s boomers shake the windows up north. Of course, the Lake has those magnificent jets flying around now and then, but Gainesville has an old twin prop plane that fly’s overhead occasionally.

I keep expecting this plane to drop from the sky...it's s-l-o-w..

I keep expecting this plane to drop from the sky…it’s s-l-o-w..

Traffic cops here; traffic cops there. The bugs are about the same. Used to be the beer brands were different up north, now, not so much. The traffic jams home give me time to think while New York State RT 3 is one long country road populated by drivers who wave as they go by. Oy Vey, the arm strain up north is almost as bad as the back pain you get from visiting Japan.

What is a stop sign?

What is a stop sign? NYS RT Three.

If that friendly clerk at the grocery store asks me one more time how I am….down here there’s no time for a polite hello; we’re all busy, in a hurry and completely bummed out by searing heat, too many lunatics and raging jobs. Crowds and one million fast food joints-that’s more like it!

Harrisville's version of a New York City deli.

Harrisville’s version of a New York City deli.

We have no internet connection and choose not to hook up our TV up north. Basically, there’s only morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night, one day after they other. Pesky, friendly neighbors say hello and every one smiles, plays cards, fails at puzzle making, swims, fishes, boats, floats, and laughs the time away. It’s a crap load of fun, day in and day out, always the same, tireless, never-ending, on and on, repeated mirrored days that reflect in the lake*.It's so easy to reflect upon the beauty of the world up at the Lake.l

My mom enjoys the quiet during one of her last years up at the lake. In her day-people still prayed to make it home before leaving Beer Island at night...oh the fun!!!

My mom enjoys the quiet during one of her last years up at the lake. In her day people still prayed to make it home before leaving Beer Island at night…oh the fun!!!

The air itself, purified by the Adirondack trees and the lack of major industrial pollution, is much purer than the air found almost anywhere else on the planet-it’s work, breathing the fresh air in and out-improving health takes some adjustment. The energy you feel up at the lake is one big pain in the ass…who needs energy when they could’ve stayed home and melted into a couch while flipping TV channels.

Nothing comes free, and nap time up north cuts into daily pleasures. That’s pressure right there. You can catch people power napping all over the lake trying to hurry up the process so the day doesn’t slip by too fast. Even blinking seems a waste.

The trip was one worm after another, and sometimes fish.

The trip was one worm after another, and sometimes fish.

Ho-hum, the day is done...

Ho-hum, the day is done…

So why go north when I can sweat at home? Hmmm,,,ya know, thinking about it all, maybe 22 hours driving with a wife, two grand kids and a dog isn’t really that long of a trip.

There might be a way to have a good time...

There might be a way to have a good time…

Maybe, I would survive the fun, live through the air-breathing task and haul in some fish with those weeds?!?!

Come to think of it, my bags are already packed, and why not? We leave for the lake in 108 hours and 14 minutes. The boat’s callin’…

Let's get a move on!!!

Let’s get a move on!!! The ears have it!

Times change, but I still think boats floated better with beer in them.....but that was long ago.

Times change, but I still think boats floated better with beer in them…..but that was long ago.

Cheers.

Franque23

*Dale, my wife took these amazing shots of Bonaparte…

From the 1/2 way it's 30 more steps to the lake bottom---but what if I rolled down from here?

It’s 30 more steps from the 1/2 way dock down to the lake—but what if I rolled down the steps from here? Giant slides and elevators come to mind.

 

 


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

What?

What?

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

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

Once, there was this guy….

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

None of this should be allowed…WTH happened?

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

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

wife pointing to he middle of the problem

wife pointing to the middle of the problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

I remember being able to tie my shoes and stuff

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

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

Franque23

Me! In another life with a big fish.

Me! In another life with a big fish.

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

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


I’m thinkin’ this was the entire clan in 2014?(Click on pics to enlarge.)10253849_10152642095434254_1132655158881258983_n

It was an arousing, disturbing time, a tale of two camps fraught with desperate devotion to the diversity of character. But, before the frolicking could start, there were reading lessons to give.

Our plan was to work slowly with the new readers, first by way of picture and really large print.

Our plan was to work slowly with the new readers, first by way of picture and then really large print.

The Kingdom, the king and queen,  had serious business to consider.

Blue Jeans were new to the realm so I wore the pair to perfection.

Blue Jeans were new to the realm so I wore the pair to perfection.

But would the Ne’er do wells learn? We sent out our number twelve and one half scout….

12 &1/2 scout who in truth was our number beaver and a bunch of other things.

12 &1/2 scout who in truth was our number one beaver and a bunch of other things. He’d get to the bottom of the mug.

The place was crawling with bounty hunters……

Black as night and under a full moon sometimes ,too.

Black as night even under a full moon. They call him, Ben the Mysterious.

And dang, we had to work around the cops, too. The Northern kind, cold, cunning, always cooking up something.

A badge toting hash slinger....

A badge toting hash slinger….

There were stories about those who could not read, the cops, the ‘body’ hunters….they all to be told to those who might listen.

Only a few, like one, believed it all.

Only a few, like one, believed it all.

Of course, in the middle of the grueling learning process, there was the , “Everyone Stand on a Boat Trailer,” day..

Exactly what?

Exactly what?

..All hands were on deck, but for the few snookered pirates who wore dangerous hats.

Don't ever let the grin beat cha....

Don’t ever let the grin beat cha….here or from the other wanna be dangerous hat person.

Aye----

Aye—-

We set our sails out to see what the he*l?

Ship off and drink up, though maybe it's the other way around, not sure.

Ship off and drink up, 2014, though maybe it’s the other way around, not sure.

And who could remember, trying so hard to forever forget, the famous, “Wear a Sticky Note on Your Nose,” day?

The Universe is full of mystery.

The Universe is full of mystery.

Very little had been planned, but still subjects lined up to walk the plank/dock?10547644_10152641130119254_2725586665697732552_n

The Princess called for a retrieve…we had a dog.10527489_10152641107679254_3109956687433018332_n

A woman named Rachel plotted on how to escape-but could she make it?!?!?!10527338_10152641098749254_5162423330591262251_n Shadow and bearded wonders came in one fall of a swoop to do even less than anticipated.

Shadow, the life guard.

Shadow, the life guard. And two wonders with beards….

completely saved the day

completely saved the day

Order had been restored in a pantry.

Order had been restored in a pantry.

If truth be known, I took every order from a person so important that to this day there shall be no mention of him…..

He who will be never mentioned....

He who will be never mentioned…. So wise; so inspiring….

No this doesn’t end it for 2014, the Bonaparte Mistake. There are so many other pictures I meant to leave out!  Here’s to Meagan,,a random guest who secretly took the pictures….

Every load of disaster has worth-here, in 2014, we learned that the kayaks really belong in the water. There was the testing process, hard to the knee work, rowing, rowing, rowing…..whew!

bright side---we all learned a thing or not about boats and water.

bright side—we all learned a thing or not about boats and water.

For now from then until we meet again, I squish you ado. For now from then until we meet again, I squish you ado.

Franque23 loves the lake-


Arriving at the lake makes ya lucky.

Arriving at the lake means you got lucky.(click on the pics for bigger views)

The 22 plus hour drive from our Florida home up to the lake always means we count our blessing if we get in before sundown on the second day of the trip. Towing two grand children, 5 and 6, plus a year and one half old catahoula made the trip a bit longer… But no worries-out of the car, the bags stowed inside our camp and then a quick splash in the water made it all good.  Last summer’s first sundown was rated an average of 6 out of ten points…I gave it a five, since I’m spoiled rotten, but others pulled up the rating.

The next day was time to get the games out

The next day was time to get the games out

We were waiting for our boat to be delivered, so the whole day was a bust.

we had to spend time swimming -no one had fun

we had to spend time swimming -no one had fun

Oy Veyish, we had to wait a whole 5 hours for the boat to arrive….so I got the tackle ready while Dale worked hard to over turn the kid’s kayaks. What? I mean, this is the Lake. Who hasn’t been thrown in with all their clothes on? See a shrink if not; you have no true friends.

Dale's on the bottom right, making her move...

Dale’s on the bottom right, making her move…

Finally, after boring games, swimming, kayaking, swimming more, throwing a ball one hundred times for our puppy Shadow to retrieve in the Lake,,,,we got to go out, we got to answer the call of the fish, we got to prove the engine would start and put hooks in my fingers.

The trip was one worm after another, and sometimes fish.

The trip was one worm after another, and sometimes fish.( about 80 in one hour-really) We had three stringers full.

I’m not sure what Isaiah had done to his brother so that he alone could be in this picture… Thing is, I’m certain I don’t want to know. On another note-I was thrilled to see some nice perch keepers come up…It’s been awhile since those tasty fish were on my plate. And, I see from FB shots that the Walleye have been caught lately, too…..very good indeed.

I discovered how to bait one hundred worms on moving, swerving, lookout duck! slap in my face hooks in less than one minute.

Bapa’s Epitaph should read: Survived teaching Grandchildren how to fish-for a pretty good length of time.

More stupid games came out plus a good book while I hunted for antibiotic to put on hook holes.

More stupid games came out plus a good book while I hunted for antibiotic to put on my finger’s hook holes.

The early morning fishing trip was my revenge plan. The three of us went out early, way early, but in June, as Lake Bonapertian’s know, the sun only pretends to set at about 10 PM-it’s actually rising then but you don’t get to see it until just after 3:30 AM. Plus the AM trips lets us guys rev the motor to let everyone know we’re out and about. Good morning!

We allllmmmost beat the light.

We allllmmmost beat the light.

What my grandchildren didn’t know is this: what Bonaparte fish do best in the morning is sleep. Heck, they’ve been tearing one another up all night long. So it was a good laugh while we filled the boat full of nothing time and time again, and then headed back home in a glorious morning light. I couldn’t help but think of mom and dad who’d given us, their children, the camp.

.mom and dad with hummingbird…..(Claudia and Max Franquemont)

The cabin was a bit cool when we arrived back home; I lit a fire while the kids tried to forget about wanting to throw me over board the next time we went out-I hoped.

I kept my fingers crossed and hoped the kids would find some inner peace.

I kept my fingers crossed and hoped the kids would find some inner peace.

When it came time for breakfast, everyone had a face for the 4 AM fishing trip idea….

What?

What?

Okay, with 4 AM fishing trips put out on-a-line, it meant we had time to finish a very difficult puzzle. We gathered for a shot to celebrate two weeks of hard work, and the completion of a master piece-Bonaparte style…

Completely done, and with an added brown overlay tinge for effect.

Completely done, and with an added brown overlay tinge for effect.

Trouble was, the sun kept rising and then the day vanishing before yet again another sunset had to be rated…We turned around, took one swim, a short nap and the dang vacation was over! Someone really needs to look into the time problem up at the Lake. I’ve got my buddy, Paul Doherty, hot on the case-He’ll fix this crap , I just know it.

There's just no way that was 14 days...Pllllease.

There’s just no way that was 17 days…Pllllease.

And since when does time speed up in Mud Lake worse than a Formula One X 2016 at the Daytona speedway?

Ya know-it's like impossible to take a photo of Paul without having a loon photo bomb the shot...really--try it.

Ya know-it’s like impossible to take a photo of Paul without having a loon photo bomb the shot…really–try it.

Anyway, we watched our last sundown-

A most beautiful and untouched up photo--I had to think about the rating.....

A most beautiful and untouched up photo–I had to think about the rating…..(thanks Daley for the pic!)

I spent the next hour thinking of how I might fake falling down the cliff, break a few bones here and there, and get to stay a couple of extra weeks….None of it seemed likely.

I bet our visit put a smile on mom's face...so we to leave, and in just

I bet our visit put a smile on mom’s face…

So we had to leave, and in just 11 and 1/2 weeks we’ll be back. That’s a mere one thousand nine hundred and thirty-two hours….a piece of cake. Actually, I think just under three months sounds better. Anyway, the whole crew is coming back, and I can’t wait for that next early morning fishin’ trip.(Gonna wear my life jacket this time.)

 

Franque23 loves the Lake.

 

 

 

 

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