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That’s today-clear, blue skies with an agreeable wind, enough to rustle the leaves but not your hair. It’s cool this morning, but the Florida sun will keep its promise to heat the afternoon hours. The birds are singing. It’s just a day to come and go, one of work, plans and maybe rest. I spot a shiny penny on the ground, pick it up and slip it into my pocket- that’s my custom. Maybe, I do this for luck, or to prove I’m paying attention, or maybe it reminds me of my mom’s words: waste not; want not. Thing is, ninety-eight years ago, October 12th, 1918, on a day that was much like today, normal, soft, promising, my mom was born.

Her Brazilian birth certificate became an issue for my mom when she was in her forties. She’d been born in Recife, Brazil, on a mission-think of a small  building with white, plastered walls, open, sparsely decorate halls with little furniture, and windows that were not covered but open to allow the cooling sea breeze to flow through the dwelling along with any number of flying bugs or crawling snakes. Her Baptist missionary parents had little money, just faith.

When the doctor arrived to deliver mom he came prepared to record by hand the entire event as a solemn witness to the authenticity of her birth. I’ve read the translation of this birth certificate, the one mom needed to show before she could become a teacher, something, I don’t quite remember-I was young, once. Anyway, the document started like this blog has, with a complete description of the day, the morning, the breeze, the temperature and the mood of the people who’d gathered to wait for my mom to arrive-even the birds were singing. The whole thing struck me when I first read the writing. To think, the kind of day it was, not just the date, time and sex mattered. No, first and foremost the doctor thought the day’s nature was important to note. I guess that’s being in touch with the environment and believing that it and everything else about the day a person was born mattered.

Now, I think it did. My mom was always like that day. Soft, mild, never a taker but giver, a person easy to see, to be around. Her company was a joyful gift.

Dad married a 'Looker.'

Dad married a ‘Looker.’

Her smile could shame the sun; her hair, naturally blonde until almost age fifty, glimmered in the sunlight and framed her laughing eyes.

Mom had an artist flair....a painter and musican-

Mom had an artistic flair….a painter and musician-

Mom with my brother and sister

Mom with my brother and sister

She had a special look.

She had a special look.

Of course, she was my bridge to life.

Of course, she was my bridge to life.

I knew i was in luck the day she brought me home.

I knew I was in luck the day she brought me home.

She made music like the birds, playing piano with a perfect pitch and had no need for musical notations; she sparked up every gathering by pumping her pearl overlaid accordion creating sounds that made even tired feet dance.

My mom was a miracle in so many ways. She went to college at fourteen here in the states and graduated campus queen at age eighteen. I’ve an early memory of stepping through the clover and receiving a bee sting on my bare foot. She sat me on top of the newfangled gadget-the washing machine- and that’s when I  blurted out, “Mom, you’re pretty.” How hard she laughed then. My friends had been talking; not only did my pals enjoy the freedom and food my house offered them as kids, they’d noticed her hair, too.

Mom's sister's and brother's all made it to America...

Mom’s sister’s and brother’s all made it to America…

They keep an affinity for the Ocean they once lived by as children in Brazil....Family reunions always involved water.

They kept an affinity for the ocean they once lived by as children in Brazil….Family reunions always involved water.

It's been wonderful to know mom's family...

It’s been wonderful to know mom’s family…

The good years pass like a morning does in a day. One day, not like today, I became a man who had to help my mom move beyond being old to more. That was a bitter day, now over six years ago. Still, as the cardinals flutter to our bird feeder and my dog jumps up one too many times, I’m forever thankful for that day of so long ago. The doctor was right about that day-it was a perfect day. Mom has been such a blessing in my life I couldn’t live long enough to write it all down so you would know.

Whether it’s the wind that comes and goes without warning or the geese that flew over head this morning in the early daylight, chattering from high above with a noise so uniquely theirs, I don’t know. But for this time, this day, it’s all about mom for me, and I wanted you to know. I did pick up that penny when she had me.


Mom, 1918-2011. Those were good years.


I see your four.....

I see your four…..

and raise you seven.....

and raise you seven…..

It is fun to give and receive, but many of us live buried by a mountain of fun stuff made of things we very often can’t find when we want too. Maybe, this season, it’s time to dig out, and to keep only the one thing that matters most-love. But not, however, if you have pets or small children.

The pets and children, if you can, should be found under an avalanche of  gifts to unwrap. treats and planted kisses during the holidays. They won’t get spoiled, and pets will rip up the toys so you can throw them out, or young children will forget the next day what they got-those can get recycled to others.

Pets give us comfort year round.....they need a break!

Pets give us comfort year round…..they need a break!

Even wrapped empty boxes will do fine. I remember empty boxes. You could get pulled or pushed around in them, go outside and slide down hills of grass or snow on them, line them up inside or out to create tunnels to crawl through or wear them and become a space monster or robot instantly.

NO hidden fees here...

NO hidden fees here…wait-these children have ‘cubic’ feet? WTH?

A tunnel of love...speaking of love-

A tunnel of love…speaking of love-

Parents and small children can search together and thrash around inside an empty box to find what’s really there: love. That’s the best surprise of all!

Most of us older folks want to find the same surprise inside.

People know it’s true.  We need to let things go, or come to us; we should care but not control, at least, not too much. If we keep an open mine, relax, accept what comes and make the most of our lot, then, more often than not,  magical doors open without us knowing. We glide along without too much strife and end up sitting on soft couches. The clock-work of Life turns in our favor and we run in places we are meant to be. That seems simple enough, but it’s not.

Not sure-maybe a ruff photo shop....

Not sure-maybe a ruff ruff photo shop….

One zillion added features to the jaunt we call Life muck up our daily living. We all live as if  surrounded by shutters that keep us from enjoying a clear vision when it comes to what we should do and where we should live, or who we really are or could be. Too shy, so overly timid, easily swayed, it’s as the horses say: you can lead people to knowledge, but you can’t make them think….

For most, Life is a selection process; even happiness is a choice.

This post’s random shot.

Lovers unite....

Lovers unite….

A person could search for one hundred years and never find another of beauty if their head is turned the wrong way, and their mind lured by only what it sees and not by what it knows. It’s obvious that beauty is in the soul, and that joining with people who seek to be real, honest, caring, inquisitive and enduring creates the path that best leads to a lifetime of peace and understanding. But so few follow that road.

One sign is a lie....

One sign is a lie….

Why?  Our mind is like a crow, that collects all that glitters no matter how uncomfortable our nests get*….and when we do this, no matter what we have or who we are, we live in solitude, alone in the middle of so much meaningless stuff…Welcome to Christmas.

The Holidays. It used to be the season of joyful feelings meant a wassail drink shared with a friend,

I remember back in my college days hearing someone say, "Let's aprty til we puke!" Of course, I never did that, not weekly-that would've been soooo wrong.

I remember back in my college days hearing someone say, “Let’s party til we puke!” Of course, I never did that, not weekly-that would’ve been soooo wrong.

or warm home-fires,

Keep them burning....

Keep them burning….

a nod hello, maybe a helping hand and, perhaps, a small gift-one more thoughtful than expensive.

"'s Christmas!"

“psst….it’s Christmas!”

Now? TV Land pictures new cars outrageously priced parked in driveways with bows on them. Buick runs an add today that features people who’ve been trashed-black eyes, frazzled faces- by shopping the wee hours of black Friday. They claim to have saved several hundred dollars on items they bought while their neighbor points to a new car they bought the same day during normal business hours. “We saved thousands!”, the new car owners exclaim!!! Here’s an idea—don’t buy the car at all and save , oh, about, 45 grand….Cheers!**

Life’s in the eye of the beholder, and there’s no better sight than seeing true love in another’s eye.

Love is our best reflection.....(photo: Lachan Franquemont.)

Love is our best reflection…..(photo: Lachlan Franquemont.)

Be that vision a flash from a child to a parent, a glance between loved ones, or blossomed in the rare moment when two strangers meet on the street and care about one another for just an instant, Love radiates and collects at the same time. Love is the energy, the light, the comfort and wisdom we all seek.

We all feel the force(Picture by, Lachan Franquemont, you should see his others!)

We all feel the force of Love. (Picture by, Lachlan Franquemont, you should see his others!)

Here’s to us all opening up that box  of feelings we keep so well wrapped inside us for most of the year-those innermost needs we all have to share our love and receive this gift from others. No, we can’t light up a room by opening up, but we can light up another. More. Maybe, we could light up several hundred people by the time the New Year comes!?!?! Wouldn’t that be fun? I think so.

Holiday Cheer. Tis’ is the Season so don’t tussle with the small stuff when it comes to sharing your love.  And, oh, wanna smile…check this out…


* Zen-baby…

** My brother-in-laws idea…

here’s links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

Frank sings the blues

Frank sings the blues

Death never leaks its plans to the press, but it always leaves a calling card. It’s completely unwanted, but people flirt with it all the time.

“Hello, Gerald.” Frank had the friendliest way of saying hello, and he did it all by voice inflection.

“Everything okay?” Of course, I knew it was. I called Frank at least once a month since he rented one of our places, but over the nine years I’d known him we’d both come to know we were friends. He’d played at my house for two parties, and we’d jammed at his place and mine. No one had a stronger blues voice than Frank*.


“Sure. I’m playing this weekend. We’re a lead off band on a big concert and the chickens are layin'”.

Frank loved those chickens-he had about twenty-five and had named them all. Pets and eggs; it’s all good. I can’t help but cheer-up when thinking about his Colonel Sander’s look, his beard and smile.

the man's eyes twinkles and his soul glowed.

The man’s eyes twinkled and his soul glowed.

Some say they’d like to die in their sleep while all too many times I’ve heard people say that at least a terminal diagnosis gives people a chance to say goodbye. Either way, death is never good company-it’s most like a monkey on the back of the living no matter how distracted we keep ourselves as we go about our business.

Fallen soldiers, friends, family, random shootings in schools, movie theaters and malls, all serve as constant reminders that death doesn’t block the sun or cast a shadow. It just comes to all of us in good time, and at the worst of times.

Frank  Whitenack was a friend of mine**-a good man who died too soon like so many. I’d met him nine years ago after he’d gone through a recent divorce. His two children, a son and daughter, were so young then, maybe three and six. Then, as now, I’m so thankful we could help this man.

Thing is, Frank had his ups and downs, but he never let that affect how he treated others, or fathered his children. His cell phone always answered, “Hello, this is Frank Whitenack of Blues lightning. Please leave a message, and if this is Jonathan or Andrea, your daddy loves you.”

Frank rolled the blues out on the porch of the house I'd raised my family in, and I know those ol' house timbers loved the tunes.

This picture is taken in front of the house where Dale and I raised our family. Frank loved that house as we had. He rolled the blues most Sundays out on the porch of the house -practice time- and I know those ol’ house timbers loved the vibes.

“I don’t care if I have to play for free-I’m gonna play my music.” He made this promise to me eight years ago, and kept it. One thing I loved about this man is how he self-actualized his dreams. He stayed focused, and worked to make them come true.

No one worked harder at getting out there or being seen and heard than Frank. He’d play during a blue moon to mice on mars if he could book the date, and all for the money his hat might collect. His voice  was always on target from the get-go, and slowly, over the years, he emerged as a classic blues guitarist. The money started to come in; his first and only album was just the start. A serve case of hydro eczema on my finger tips eventually kept me from making music with him but we’d agreed on a course: I’d write books; he’d make albums. It was fun sharing our progress with one another. And, as bad as being robbed of my finger-tips is after playing guitar for forty years, losing Frank is as painful today. I just have to deal.

Frank never smoked; he didn’t drink. He had diabetes he managed well, but sometime four days ago things got complicated and after his short hospital stay, I got the news. Isn’t it odd how so much is going on all the time in our world with work, family, fun, or not, bills and appointments, but still this all can turn empty in an instant? Hollow time. Heavy air. Done and past. Over.

We’d made plans. Oh yeah, we were gonna lay down a few originals soon-no later than by the first of the year-that was our promise to each other.  Death has slapped us in the face with an abrupt end to a friendship that neither of us saw coming. It’s tough, this thing called life. You know, flat out Frank was a diamond of a man, and never in the rough, but always well polished.

Missing, hurting, plans turned sour, I hope Franks’ passing is worse for us than it is for him. I like to think there’s a peace to be found in death for those who pass, that there’s a light to follow when it happens to us, and that Heaven is now enjoying the best blues it’s ever heard. If that can be true, Frank will find a way to make it so.

Peace my Friend-I’m thinking an A chord works best, here. It’s the key  the universe makes as it hums along, and you fit in so well…Me? Rust is what I feel. Just when the world needs a tune-up, you leave us. Dang it, and worse.

Death, you have a crappy calling card.


** Dave Van Ronk, a classic Blues singer, recorded, He was a friend of Mine, around 1964. Frank’s voice had the same perfect blues quality-he would’ve killed killed this cover, hands down…

links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

It might seem we were in the nose bleed seats-but it never felt that way in the sold out venue.

It might seem we were in the nose bleed seats-but it never felt that way in the sold out venue.

(note-today, Nov. 5th, is the last day both of my books can be downloaded for free on Kindle-links below.)

Smashing, second-splitting, rocking, socking, thoroughly engrossing music-Paul knocked out three hours of terrific tunes. He nailed old songs like, I Want to Hold Your Hand, on up to, Valentine, a release from the 2012, album, Kisses on the Bottom.  He interacted with the audience between almost every song, and I never once saw him take a break-though he may have sipped water once or twice.(His band members took two short breaks while Paul sang alone.)

McCartney's presence made the room feel small.

McCartney’s presence made the room feel small.

This  seventy-two year old man is a freak, period. How in the hell the guy can yell out Helter-Skelter, as a madman might, and then sing, Yesterday, as an angel would, is all way beyond me! And this singer’s been rocking for more than fifty -five years! NO way vocal chords are meant to do this. Plus, how many hits has this man written?!?!?! Sir Paul played three hours of straight hits, and Dale and I realized as we drove home that he could have played for another three straight hours-all hits he hadn’t preformed that night.

Dale and I both agree the concert was everything we  hoped it would be...

Dale and I both agree the concert was everything we hoped it would be…

Sir Paul remained a soft-spoken, humorous, gentleman throughout the night.  He said the signs people were holding up in the audience caused his mind to repeat, “Don’t read the signs; don’t read the signs,” lest he forget the words to his songs! One sign asked if Paul would, “Sign my Back.”  He brought the young girl up on stage to do just that, but first he asked her mother who was in the audience if it was alright. Can’t you just see KISS doing that-not!

McCartney’s message has always been one of Love, a call for World peace, and an expression that we are more alike than we are different from one another. Those same themes ran through all the music Paul performed during this recent concert. But on another note, and of special interest to me, Paul brought out  a different guitar before many of his songs and announced that this guitar was the one he wrote the next song on.

Paul mentioned that the Beatles were the first rock band to perform in Russia’s Red Square-

Paul rocking in Red Square.....

Paul rocking in Red Square…..

-and that on that occasion the Russian Minister of Defense had slipped back stage to tell Paul that he’d learned English while listening to the Beatles and that the Beatles song,  “Love Me Do” , was the first record he’d ever bought.

Light shows galore, three-D over head effects, and a blazing PyroTech show that accompanied the tune, Live and Let Die, blazed my eyes throughout the night. I wish you’d all been there, rocking along with us and the rest of  the crowd. Most amazingly, even thirteen year-olds in the audience rocked right along with us older folks, knowing the words to most songs as well as we did.

Live and Let Die featured 3-D over head, lights and fire.......Boom!

Live and Let Die featured 3-D over head, lights and fire…….Boom!

McCartney’s music spans decades, and reaches several generations-what a wonder.

The smoke started to clear-and the Band Rocked on-

The smoke started to clear-and the Band Rocked on-

After playing six songs over two encores that followed the three-hour concert, Paul said he had to go home: it was late; he was tired. We all shouted-NO!!!!! The concert still lived in my mind as we drove home that night. I’ll never forget these wonderful moments spent with Sir Paul, and his music has touched my heart forever.

Wow, what a wheel in Time seeing Paul McCartney this past week was for me. I first saw him live back in 1965 in Shea Stadium. Then, I was sixteen, and with my very first true love! Now, 49 years later, I got to see McCartney again with the love of my life, my  companion for the past 42 years and my wife for the last thirty-two years….And I Love Her.

Franque23(special note; my two books on kindle, linked below, are free to download tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 5th.)… I’ve two books out on Kindle. Please spread the word and share the links!

links for both books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are both on kindle now.

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