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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bindings are what matters….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, why am I happy?

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

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

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

Many ask how they might be happy?

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

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

Franque23 loves you.

 

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

 


My friend and great artist, Oscar, used to say it was the angles in college football that kept her attention.

Butt, I digress.

Sometimes, things don’t make sense. Walking into a door before we open it is one of them. And I kinda feel like these Gainesville Gator Football hot shots—the movers and shakers of this world—have stepped into a swamp of muddy thinking they’ve inflicted upon all of us. Why? (— scroll down to the part of the publication by U of F on dehydration precautions. It’s in this post.)

Yeah, so if you read that dehydration bit for even a bit you now know the extreme extent the Florida Gator Ben Hill Griffin Stadium group has gone to in order to hopefully prevent the dehydration of the 90 thousand plus fans expected to witness the Gators play Auburn.  That’s nice, and I get it: people who die of dehydration always resurrect lawyers who ask why. Reading the linked article above got me thinking….WT????

How is it possible folks who know enough to publish warnings about the midday sun dehydration, folks who provide thousands of free fans and tons of bottles of dollar water, folks who provide three thousand cooling towels for free, folks who display a map of drinking fountains and even how to locate a very expensive stand alone cool down mist room on wheels can’t think to maybe, duh, change the time of the game from 3:30 baking sun time to 7ish PM cooling sundown time?

It boggles the mind that some northern college football teams in the US will play TV games at night while the smoking hot sun-burned Gators will play at 3:30! Oh wait, I know, it’s all about TV scheduling. See? This is where the rubber meets the virgin? Say what? That’s right,,, the football teams that are forced to play within TV constraints are the rubber meeting the road and doing the work while the TV owners are the virgin schedulers that everyone thinks are beyond reproach.

But, I say the thinking and exchanges going on between college football programs (the SEC) and TV channels is all wrong. Listen up: the football players do the work while the TV stations make the money.

Oh sure, TV may pay Florida $$ for airing the game,,, but the station makes $$$$$$$$ for doings so!!  Check this out! “….TV-ad prices are rising. In the 2011 season, the average price of a 30-second ad during regular Saturday college games airing on ABC, CBS or NBC cost about $93,700, up 12% from the prior season, while the average price of a spot during the Bowl Championship Series was about $810,000, up 9%, Kantar said. So far this season, ad prices are up between 10% and 15%, it said.”**

So, I say it’s a holding call on the 50 yard line of robbery! I say TV channels owe their time outs and talking heads to the blood and guts being spilled on the turf, not the other way around.

Here’s the deal in simple language: football players make TV stations tons of money.

So, if those stations want the money then football teams, their coaches, and staff and administration should get to say when the game will be played, not the other way around as it is today.

Listen up: I’ve been the head of a Union for ten years in my life and if ever one side has the other by the cajones it’s right now. Let’s say the Gators want to play at 7 PM  against the Auburn tigers since people might die of dehydration if they play at 3:30??? Just bring it up and the TV station HAS to submit to the request or lawyers will eat them for lunch should one person,, even a 99 year old, die during the heated game! See???? It’s right there for any wide-out to plainly see. The path to beneficial game times for southern teams is right here to hold and do, but no one seems worthy of the thought.. Why?!?!?!

Florida Gators Administration: stop providing web links and cool down mist trucks. Just a few simple words by you and from now on the Gators will forever play prime time games at 7 PM. “We request that our starting TV broadcast time be moved to 7 PM in order to protect our players and fans from any effect due to dehydration during the game.”

Bingo! The liability due to dehydration now moves entirely upon the broad caster… Take it from me; it’s a done deal.

You are welcome.

So, please forward this to every Bull Gator you know. Please forward this to every Administration member you might know of in U of F. Thing is, if U of F doesn’t do this …they can be sued for forcing a player to play under adverse condition for the want of money…think about that as well…Parents , sue if your child has serious injury while playing in adverse conditions…it’s that simple.

UF…tell the stations to carry our games at night or we’ll find another broadcast. Let’s see who really wants the money.

No more hot September games; no more hot games at all. Just read this to know everyone who should know does: it’s too hot to play at 3:30 in Gainesville—it’s a public health risk for players and fans alike.

*Here’s the gist of the link:

“With high temperatures expected during the early part of the season, heat initiatives will be in place for the first four home games including misting stations located throughout Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Gate 9, Gate 16, Upper North Endzone), free cups of ice and cooling busses outside Gates 2 and 13. Fans are also encouraged to stop by the Comfort Temp Chill Zone at Alligator Alley (west concourse between Gates 1 and 4) to cool down. There will also be 3,000 cooling towels distributed at the Gators Fan Fest prior to the game. Florida Lottery will have 15,000 hand fans to pass out at the Tennessee and Auburn games at select entry gates.

Empty Water Bottle
Fans are permitted to bring one (1) commercially branded (i.e. Aquafina) EMPTY plastic water bottle, no larger than 20 oz. There are several water bottle filling stations inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Non-disposable water bottles, sport bottles, Nalgene-type bottles, cans, heavy plastic, glass bottles, and thermoses are NOT permitted in the Stadium. There are 12 water bottle refill stations throughout Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Hydration Stations
There are eight large Hydration Stations located inside and just outside the stadium, which offer FREE filtered water for fans and visitors to drink. Cups are provided, and inside the stadium fans can also fill their empty water bottle (see policy above).

Hydration Stations are located inside the stadium at Gate 2, 7, and 16, as well as behind Section 1 and 45, along with the upper north end zone behind Section 322. The two locations outside the stadium—which were purchased and sponsored by UF Student Government are outside Gate 8 and 16.

Fans are reminded that all you can drink refill stations are located at concession stands H40, H20, H6.

Complimentary Sunscreen
There will be free sunscreen for fans attending football games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium available at the Guest Service Kiosks at Gates 1, 7 and 16.”

Ya know you’re guilty of taking the money at the risk of us all. Stop opening the door to TV providers while slamming the door on the lives of those who play or care to watch the game. Shame on you.
Franque23 bets on the lawyers.

*https://floridagators.com/news/2019/10/1/football-game-day-initiatives-auburn.aspx

** some random site I was lucky enough to find after 30 minutes of search..this stuff is deeply embedded–they don’t want to own up to the profits.


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

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

This book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m willing to row her boat. You?

The earth is our ‘ship of state.’

Franque23

*For a more complete story

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

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

 

 

 


(Click the pic for a larger view)

It made perfect sense back in the day to be awash at the beach by women wearing two piece suits.  Men wore the needed one piece while women wore all sorts of variations of single and two piece suits.

Really from 1960—

None of the suits turned see-through when wet and it seemed society remained relatively sane. Coppertone was widely used so actually I laid out in the sand in a vat full of people developing different forms of skin cancer. It was all good, like cigarettes, as far as we knew.

The two rules I recall at the beach was that there’d be no drinking and no female nipples showing. Not that my young self noticed any of those more risque two piece bonanzas..”Hey dad, can we go to the beach?” “Hey dad , can we go to the beach?” ” Hey, dad…..”

It seemed a no brainer, too, when our college bound hippie movement ushered in the bra-less, see my nipples under my shirt look. Not that any of us guys noticed. Ha! We were talkin’ straight studying of the Humanities or the science of it.

Anyway, today, just now, the news reported that six states currently will allow topless bathing (Is it just bathing?) -in Utah, Colorado, in please take me home, Kansas, New Mexico, even in Muskogee, Oklahoma and in beautiful, wide-open Wyoming. This is very embarrassing for my hippie counter parts: we defeated the bra but never thought outside the entire complex—the shirt, too. Sure, we had naked love-ins, parties, skinny dipping and whatnot, but I never heard anyone say, “Lets legalize topless ladies!”

But this new law didn’t happen over lust, but freedom. And the timing of today’s, “Free the Nipple” campaign is exactly 100 years after men fought to free their own nipples!  That’s right. Newspapers in the 1920 and 1930’s reported the nearly naked outlaws, and denounced the public display of  male nipples on beaches. Men were to cover up those evil nipples for the sake of, well, madness but no one seemed to know it back then.

“If only we could swim in our church suits!’ Said no one.

A semi-sorta prison outfit was a harbinger of things  to come for those guys who ‘freed’ their nipples at beaches!

Soon after the practice jail break beach-suit time, there were reports that indicated men were arrested left nipple and right nipple as they appeared nipple free at beaches…. As the New York Times reported :” No shirtless bather will be allowed “to mar the high standard and fine appearance” of Long Island’s newly created Ocean Beach Park, said resolute local Police Chief Philip B. Kohut, after the trial of three men arrested for swimming topless.”

But men would have none of this scandalously, ridiculous law that bogged them down from showing their nipples on beaches. Arrests were continuously made until 1937. What happened then?  Tarzan came out as a swinger.(Hee-hee)

That was it: men’s nipples were all the rage. The ‘top’ was blown off that stagnate, no male-nipple showing thought and it’s possible men started to think about how to get larger nipples at this time?!!? I’m not sure—just projecting by having the grace of knowledge about our history since this famous date.

Yep, Tazan went swinging and the world went crazy with this news: “‘Bareback’ bathing for men, heretofore taboo in Atlantic City, broke down the last line of official resistance today and will be allowed this Summer,” the New York Times reported on March 29, 1937.”

Women, however, were to remain in one piece bathing suits that only lacked a Chasity belt to be fully correct. So what freed the woman’s belly button? (Lord no, no one was thinking topless…)

Micheline Bernardini, a French nude dancer, was the only model swimsuit designer Louis Réard could find to wear his bikini when it debuted July 5, 1946, in Paris. (AFP/Getty Images)

To this point, here is the heroine of the modern day two-piece female swim-suit…It’s like she deserved the, Noble ‘Piece’ Prize…:-) Yep, leave it to a dancer to strip away antiquated opinions. Can’t you hear it now? All the men across America yelling, “Put your clothes back on! Put your clothes back on!” I gotta admit, I haven’t come across any article about marches of men who were outraged over women wearing a bikini taking place at this time. Weird, huh?

Does time change anything as much as it does fashion? I have to think.

 

Anyway, now-a-days plenty of women have been arrested for barring their souls and bosoms. It’s to America’s credit that six of our states have caught up to Germany who started their first nude beach in 1920. I’m mean that’s only, okay, about 100 years—that’s all it took for American society to almost catch up to Germany’s freedom of expression. So grading on a one one to ten basis, when it comes being able to be partially naked on beaches, America gets about, what, a one?

Yay! We get a one and maybe done for being a leader in not very much at all. I love this country: it’s the one I was born in. It’s just when it comes to so much, we seem so slow to catch on, to make a difference and to lead. Right now, this isn’t the country I grew up in. This is a country that still wants those one piece women swim suits, to dictate how those so different from one another should live by another’s standard. Listen, we fought to be free from the get-go. It ain’t gonna stop.  Women will be topless if they want; gays will marry and have equal rights. Big oil will lose it’s shirt if it doesn’t shift to solar and renewable energies and lying politicians who hate Homosexuality while keeping a closet full of young boys will pass. This is America, and we will right ourselves.

I learned in Boy Scouts how to tie and untie knots…we all did, and can. America is moving forward, not backward.

Cheers.

Franque23 has always been a skinny dippin’, fun loving guy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 


 

(Click the pic for a larger view.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My cousins were all well and growing like me…

My father’s brother, his wife and son.

We had the best time without any sense of it.

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

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

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

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

Ed came once again many years later…

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

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

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

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

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

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

I believe in you.

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

Franque23

 

 

 


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

The garden was a bit overgrown by last week.

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

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

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

That’s a sage bush in the foreground.

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They got busy swimming.

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

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

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

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

Go ahead; plant something and watch it grow.

Franque23

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Click the pic for a larger view)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is me catching a good ride.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about a night dip in the pool?

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

 

This is a shot tripped by a night camera….

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

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

But always, there are gators. How many gators?

( Those eyes all belong to gators.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, we grow pineapples, too….

Mounds of oranges and grapefruit, too.

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

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

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

Cheers– thanks for visiting.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Franque23

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Click to enlarge the pic!)

That’s how we watched the TV series back in the day: in black and white. Thing is, we can argue about the color of Jesus all centuries long but The Lone Ranger, the real deal, was a black man named, Bass Reeves.

Reeves is on the left—the real Lone Ranger.

This revelation started when I couldn’t get the theme music of the Lone Ranger TV series, William Tell Overture, out of my head while at work! It took another day of brain churning for me to figure out why. As a kid, I believed in this masked man who sought to right the wrongs in the world. My white hero in his white hat, guns blazing while riding a huge, white horse was sorta like a horse ridin’ Superman. Now, I suspect the music came back to me due to all the troubles we have in our country, and from an internal longing that someone other than Mighty Mouse( come on—he’s not real!) would come save the day!

Anyway, This pestering racket of a theme song lead me to look into the history of the show.

Just wow… I was amazed to find this….

“What Reverend Haskell James Shoeboot, the 98-year-old part-Cherokee Indian, was about to tell Burton(the man researching the Lone Ranger) would persuade Burton he’d stumbled upon one of the greatest stories never told.

Born in 1838, Bass Reeves was a former slave-turned-lawman who served with the US Marshals Service for 32 years at the turn of the 20th century in part of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas known as Indian Territory. Though he was illiterate, Reeves became an expert tracker and detective…”*

Reeves as a slave took his owner’s name. Near the end of the war (he fought for the south) Reeves traveled to Oklahoma doing odd jobs and learned several Native American languages.(I suspect this is when he learned to track.) The government appointed 300 marshal’s to tame the west and—Reeves was one of them…

 

Reeves, you guested it, is in the red circle.

“…Federal law dictated that deputy US marshals had to have at least one posseman with them whenever they went out in the field and often, the men who assisted Reeves were native Americans”.*

Soon, it became evident that this Reeves fella could out shoot, out ride and captured criminals better than any lawman in the west. He wore a white hat unlike most other marshals and beneath him galloped a huge white horse.

He gained a swagger as his arrests piled up. How many arrests? It’s written this one man captured over three thousand men who’d gone bad out west. In one day, as the history goes, he arrested thirteen men at one time!

These three thousand criminals all went to Chicago’s prison and it’s there guards learned about Reeves from the inmates. The first radio show about, The Lone Ranger, was produced in Chicago in 1933.

But how did Reeves become so successful?!?! We all have heard about how, Tonto, the Lone Ranger’s sidekick helped him track criminals.  Well, ‘Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!’

This is the only magnificent picture I could find of the real Lone Ranger and Tonto together. Tonto was said to be a Potawatomi Indian – the same tribe that was forced to move to Oklahoma.

Bass Reeves was famous for wearing disguises to help in his investigations and arrests. He dressed as beggars, hobos, farmers, city slickers and lunatics to get his men and it paid off. One night, he walked 28 miles to a homestead where two wanted men were said to be staying. For authenticity’s sake, Bass dressed as a man who’d been robbed at gun point and lost everything. He put three bullet holes in his hat, wore worn out shoes and scuffed up clothing. The mother of the two wanted men answered her door and Reeves quickly got inside with his story and stayed for dinner. Soon, the women’s two sons returned and they all had a time talking. Reeves was asked to stay the night.  He handcuffed the two criminals while they slept and walked them 28 miles back to his camp with their mom yelling and cussing at Reeves all the time. But, why did Reeves go to so much trouble!!! The reward for these two men was Five-Thousand dollars….a huge sum back then, and Reeves left nothing to chance.

This is Reeves with his wife; he spent his money wisely on her attire, don’t you think?

So there was a Lone Ranger and a Tonto…

But they never looked like this. They may, however, had conversations like this IF the nicknames used on the TV show were fact based.

Loosely translated, Tonto might mean, ‘You don’t know much…’ and Kimosabe,… “In Apache, it means “white shirt.” Who knows — maybe Tonto also had to do the Ranger’s laundry and was actually constantly reminding him to avoid grass stains. In Navajo, on the other hand, “kemosabe” translates as “soggy shrub.”**

Of course, TV producers heard the stories and wanted a show. Thing is, Reeves was the wrong color for a TV hero back then. The solution was to introduce him in black face, which they did. The original black mask worn by the first actor portraying, The Lone Ranger, nearly covered his entire face. It was policy at the time for a white man to wear a ‘black face’ or black mask of some kind when portraying a black man on stage.

The whiter The lone Ranger became by legend, they smaller his black mask.

There it is! Bass Reeves was a truly extraordinary hero for law enforcement in the history of the west.  And, oh, one more thing—about those silver bullets the Lone Ranger was said to leave as calling cards. Actually, Bass Reeves left silver dollars. Really! Bass had that much money.

Hi-Ho Silver… Bass made a killing at law enforcement. He died a peaceful death in 1910. I suspect, as a master of disguise, he never cared that no one knew who he was. He got the criminals, the gal and the money—that had to be enough.

This statue honoring Bass Reeves was recently put up in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The statue is bronze, but our ‘white’ hero, the Lone Ranger, was definitely Black.

Franque23 rides away until another day!

*https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/10131675/Was-the-real-Lone-Ranger-black.html

**http://www.word-detective.com/2011/07/kemosabe/

 


Our steps look like someone ate too many frank & beans. None of it’s my fault but that I did it. I’m completely innocent here but for a few troubling facts and reality. And you can’t avoid the crappy view if you intend to reach the lake from our place without taking a long hike to the Sherman steps. Thing is, in the end of it, there’s nothing good to say about this job’s outcome. The minute I started I knew it was coming out all wrong.

Getting to the bottom of this is the only end. Here’s the deal; I need a lawyer and so does Thompson seal PR, labeling people and promoting thingamajigs. Why? In the world I come from words have meaning and one of those words is,’Transparent.’  Transparent to me means something like, unlike a brick wall, and not now you see me, now you don’t. Transparent means the opposite of you can’t see thru it. Okay, to be clear, transparent means just that—it means see thru, a non-cloaking invisible coating of sorts you don’t see.  So what’s up with this product?

(Okay, I love the 200 font bold Caps  ‘Transparent’ signage in contrasting color verses the zero font white script Cedar wording and script lettering. Sure, there’s a bar graph below all that but I stopped reading at, ‘Transparent!)”

Imagine yourself in my world of rushing to three stores while on vaca to buy this product in order to get nine cans of it, enough to do the job. Then, hold a hand over your left eye, the one I don’t see well out of and grab yourself three cans of transparent waterproofing stain along with brushes, sprayers, masks and ice cream…of course. See? That’s why I wondered why this sealer looked a bit off as I poured it in my sprayer. “Who knows, products these days….”

It’s amazing how a six hour job can go down the toilet in one minute. I’d gotten the pressure right in the sprayer so my first blast covered the top two steps at once.  There’s just nothin’ like seeing dark brown paint come out of your clear coat sprayer. “What the heck?” is not at all what I said. “Well, it’s only the top two steps!” Nope, I never said that ,either! “I could leave just these two steps dark and get the clear(really transparent) stuff for the rest/”…..hmmmm….

The thing about having the top two steps a zillion times darker than the 26 others is if you miss the first two steps at night, you’re going all the way down.

So, I finished the top 28 steps in the not transparent ‘Transparent’ brown coat and then brushed them as I would the, ‘I really am transparent,’ stuff we always use. There’s a funny idea, right? It seems about the worst thing a person can do is try to brush this brown sealer unless, that is, you like the frank & bean look. (Trust me-this will never catch on)

(Click the pic for a much worse view.)

It’s sorta looks like someone on the dock below couldn’t get up the steps in time; they just got pooped out running up and it all went down hill from there.

Wrap those two problems up and the whole mess could be wiped cleaner than a roll of toilet paper—they are clean, right? Now, I’m wondering when that toilet paper study will come out stating that cave men were right to use their left hand or non-poisonous leaves. Forget this, the bright news is they call me glitter boy at work because I have used lots of glitter in displays over the years at our library(trust me-this is the only reason) and miraculously the Transparent really clear coat seemed to come out with glitter in it! So, yeah, I’ve never had glitter form in the clear coat after more than 30 years of doing this job!

Glitter everywhere.

I had to laugh; we have poop color or glitter coat? I’m stickin’ with the glitter and dumping the frank & bean steps next year…

Cheers from our steps, and don’t slip!

Franque23

 


(As always, click the pic for a larger view…)

If it weren’t for the traffic on Rt 3 the place would be paradise—it got so bad this year I think I saw several cars pass by on a single ten mile drive to town! And, I guess I should mention the loon racket at night, especially between 10ish and midnight; will they ever shut up! Then there’s the morning crows and chickadees, the afternoon blue jays, red wing black birds, those dang soaring eagles, cooing cranes, whistling hawks and late afternoon quackin’ ducks to spoil any days nap. When will a guy ever get some sleep!

Even the view can keep a guy up!

There’s a weird speed to time at the lake no one has yet to understand. It’s like a horror show. You’d call time fast to pass at the lake but, then again, it never lets go. Nope, the memories, smiles, talks and moments fly by like the wind but sit like a immovable block in your soul as well. You can think what you like, but I’m saying there’s no surgery that can take this massive thing out once it has seeped inside you. There’s a devious kinda magic to those waters and reflective sky at Bonaparte that mirrors deep by day and night in the Mind’s eye—it’s sorta like a strangle hold on your senses you can’t sue and win.

Lake friends last forever as well. Who has time for that?

The whole experience is torturous.

You catch a good fish a few years back and spend the next 7 trying to do it again….oh brother, what a bother…

It’s been a while for me, being so busy with raising a family for oh so long, since I’ve had real time to make new friends or see old ones while up at the lake. This year was different. I got to know Kim and Steve and their ten inch high killer dog, Lola. I’ve never been afraid of dogs, but now that’s over. I’ve struggled with our fireplace pull rods for over twenty years which is why having some strange guy named, Bill-the-Beatrus I think, fix the rods with a minutes’ thought and about ten minutes time is problematic. My sense of self worth is gone forever, it’s over, doctor, and those psychiatric bills won’t be cheap.

Time spent with Toni, the two Michelle’s, Forbes, Randy, Laura, Vicki and the Sherman’s is always fun, but who let them out of the loony bin? To boot, now there’s no cop on the lake. And now, with our Grandson making friends with our neighbors son pretty much any sense of normalcy that never existed here is entirely gone. Why keep dreaming about it?

It’s also possible to take really bad shots up at the lake..(does anyone have a flashlight)

Hear’s one of my thumb I took this year at the lake….perfect shot!

It’s great to see Bill again; meeting anyone my ancient age or older has a special zing to it. There’s like this on-going contest between the lake petrified folks to see who falls in the lake first and doesn’t get out. I can tell Bill is watching me closely as I age and our fifty-foot bluff gets closer to the house. Some may not know it, but Grady-of -the-lake(now deceased) had nine lives and he spent one of them running towards this very same bluff. There was no blue moon the night before or heralding of angels in the morning of the afternoon when Grady, Dave Morgan and I sat on our porch before this steep drop off. All of a sudden, Grady gets up and starts running full speed toward the bluff as though he might do a high dive into the lake! Only a lunging hand to his ankles stopped his forward movement and saved a grave digger the effort. Mind you, this run of Grady’s had nothing to do with beer(s), but rather the magical pull of our evil lake was at fault.

I’m telling ya, there’s more than the best pure air up at Bonaparte—it’s full of friendship forged through good time and bad. There’s nothing like building a dock, camp or boat house and have the ice take it out the next winter; there’s nothing like the bond of spending money like a drankin’ sailor on lake side repairs. There’s a saying; only buy a boat if you can afford to buy ten—maybe the Bonaparte camps are the same way.

But who cares when you’re young, free and without a care like about none of us.

Still, those losses and efforts all make for great stories shared between a laughing, here’s-to-the-lake crowd. (Beers help, too)The night sky is more than pay back for any expense. But, daytime swimming, soaking in the sun—did I fall asleep that long?—fishin’, kayaking, bird watching, boating, tubin’ ( I did see a skier), and even some sail boating also take the day to flight. The air is incredibly invigorating at the lake. Breathing there is sorta like breathing in an oxygen tent where ever you go. So, the loony’s on the loose, the evil lake stare, the crazy birds, the alluring sunsets, the mesmerizing night stars and stormy five-foot high waves that tear docks and boats apart are all worth it. Why do I think this? Well, I’m nuts like the rest of you.

Cheers from the archives of franque23 Lake Bonaparte insanity logs.

Franque23

 

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