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It’s fitting this first post of 2017 should be about the enriching world of children’s books. But first, here’s a picture of one of my grandson’s showing us all how to greet the New Year!15390983_10210312667325616_8515486221660551798_n

Oh yeah and Yay!

Moving on-

Written by  Scotswoman,  Helen Bannerman, and first published by Grant Richards in October 1899, Little Black Sambo is not only one of the very first books I remember being fascinated by as a kid, it did the same for children all over the world for nearly 50 years. Then, the  book attracted uproars from those who had issues with the text and pictures.

Things is, was Helen Bannerman a lifetime ahead of herself? Why do I ask? That’s simple.

It’s a simple story: a boy with fancy clothes is caught by tigers who accept his clothes in lieu of eating the boy. The lions argue over who looks better in the new clothes, chase one another around a pole to get a different piece of clothing from the other and turn into a goo during the process. The tigers run so fast they heat up and melt.**

What Bannerman is describing is energy heat transfer-a solid becoming a liquid as a result. It’s a simple but remarkable thought. Of course, the boy  bringing the goo home so his mom can make pancakes out of it rockets the book up to yummy.

Today, this story just isn’t the warm and fuzzy book it was once thought to be. Time’s change and what we need to be thinking and reading about as people changes along with it.

Moving on—

Bonus picture:

 A one day pick of lemons this past fall.

A one day pick of lemons from my yard this past fall. Two kinds-small Meyer’s, large Meyer’s and a huge Pondarosa. My daughter makes a mean lemonade.

Books will never cease to surprise us if we can only find the time to read. Here’s one I’ve recommended before that will be well worth your effort: Collector of Moments. In my head it’s the Kafkaesque of easy on up to adult books. That’s right, you’ll find this book most often shelved in the children’s Easy section-a picture book- but it reads right on up to adult.collector-of-moments-lion2-1

An illustration from the book-did this picture help inspire the Life of Pi story?

You have to see it to believe it.

A bit like a Van Allsburg book, the NYT’s reviewed this 1999 publication, Collector of Moments , by Quint Buchholz:

“The unexpected details in the pictures demand equally imaginative acts of explanation. In addition, Buchholz often shows people looking at objects behind walls or through doors or even beyond the frame of the paintings — objects that viewers can’t literally see and must therefore envisage for themselves.

As the creator of images most interesting for what they don’t in fact show, Buchholz is himself an accomplished collector of moments. Not only does his book tell young readers things worth knowing about how to look at pictures, but the pictures themselves delightfully repay the kind of attention they invite viewers to give them.”

Enjoy.

You have to see it to believe it.

You have to see it to believe it. The book is a surprise package for sure!

Cheers–Moving on to 2017-it’s all ahead of us now.

Franque 23*

*I’ve been a Library Specialist in the Alachua County Library District for the past 21 years.

Oh my!15390983_10210312667325616_8515486221660551798_n

** The version I was read had the boy and the tigers running around the tree….different takes.

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(click the pic for a better view)

Having a terrible time down here....it might rain tomorrow!

I’m a nut for body surfing-the riding the ocean waves kind- more than once going out into tropical storm waves that towered over my head just to catch that ride. I’d rise and fall with those powerful waves so I might stroke at their top and slide down their belly, dragging my left arm in the water so I’d lift to the top of the same wave to slide down it once more before being smashed to the ocean floor or tumbled head over heels until my body met the bottom. My head full of salt water, my legs wobbling to straight, I’d dive under the next breaker and head out to do it over again, sometimes for hours on end.

WAVES UP!!!

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As a six-year-old, I spent glorious summer mornings on a beach blanket with my family at Long Island’s famous Jones Beach. There my sister and brother taught me how to body surf the shell stuffed, crashing waves.

The beach view stays in my head, that dazzling dark blue water line that meets a lighter blue sky so often dotted by white puffy clouds. My brother chose to live much further from the shore and once asked me what I liked most about the ocean. This view was my answer, though riding those waves…

Looking at the shrimp boat

Looking at the shrimp boat, this is the day my brother asked me about my love for the sea.

During my twenties I lived with my wife on North Tropical Trail near Cocoa Beach, Florida, swimming every morning while she and I started work in the mid-afternoons. My parents owned a house in Satellite Beach just south of Cocoa for over 35 years-that stood three blocks from the Atlantic.  We visited often with our family in tow.

 

Mom's last day at the beach....

Mom’s last day at the beach….at her home by the sea in Satellite Beach

14495454_10210068251967873_7571947101147003435_n If  you get to Ormomd Beach enjoy the Beach Bucket chow-14433094_10210068251527862_6345061734774287213_n Dale and I hung out and ate right on the beach side-standard fish place fare with a most spectacular view…

It wasn’t until this past weekend while spending three nights ocean side in Ormomd Beach that the question came to my mind once more: why do I love the beach so much?

the mornings are incredible at the beach,, and I did catch one--my wife took this shot.

The mornings are incredible at the beach,, and I did catch one-but my wife took this shot.

the balcony gave a great view....

The balcony gave a great view….

The sky trumpeted a light, bright fluorescent blue amusingly streaked in wispy white strands of clouds;

14502877_10210069047427759_894359846325182830_n the birds flew by in numbers I hadn’t seen for years; the waves, still driven by a recent tropical storm, crashed the even sandy shore making thunderous rumbling sounds one after the other, again and again.  I fell into a trance with my next sip of coffee.

I felt the warm sun, the breeze blew by feeling like a comforting newly washed bed sheet. Children’s laughter, the calling birds, waves crashing, all of it combined to even my breathing and still my head. Suddenly, as if I’d slipped, I felt as though I was inside the womb of the world, a startling place, a living, breathing , pulsating place of life so large it contained the entire earth.

That’s when it hit me.

I imagined myself back in my mother’s womb, resting comfortably with little to do but listen to the ongoing sound of blood rushing through my Mother’s veins and arteries as she breathed. One wave of rushing blood after another, and each with a slight pause before the next loud roar of life-giving blood and oxygen rattled my senses. This was the first I knew, maybe all I knew, and if I’d a thought, it would’ve been that this would go on forever since it had all come without rhyme or reason.  Does a newly conceived fetus decide to stay or go back? No. They stay inside within the ever flowing sounds of life.

Those same ocean waves, their crashing foam, their retreat only to smash the shore line once more has always tingled my ears and thrilled my being. Is it because they resonate so much like the first sounds I’d heard while inside my mother’s womb? To me, the likeness between the two lined up so well that the thought fit. I came to from my trance sitting in a place I’d always been. Yes, I’d arrived and walked away from my birth, but maybe merely from one womb into another, a much larger all-encompassing one; earth. And one sound the earth makes while breathing is that of the crashing sea upon any shore.

Up, down, in, out, over and under, swirling left or right, the waves move on and they’re never as far away as they might seem. The world is ever connected, including us. We are born to be born to be born. If we are not in our mother’s womb, then we romp in the womb of life. It’s nice to see it all now-the sea and life.

You've helped make our day, year-life.Way young but my shirt says it all….never far from the sea.

securedownloadPeace….we all love peace.

Franque23

My books are on Kindle…. The Avatar Magic series, by Gerald Franquemont..I hope you’ll read them….

 


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 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.


This is  my birthday weekend, so I spent today spreading red mulch that’s guaranteed to keep its color for 12 months or 12 days, whichever comes first.  It seems I’m always doing some sort of yard work on the days leading up to Memorial Day. Thing is, I love the work-gardening, squashing bugs, planting flowers that will need more water, mowing, trimming fence lines, hauling piles of debris to the front for collection, spookin’ snakes and still not losing weight. Well there’s nothing new these days.

I worked on.

It’s time to open up our pool, 60 days after we started using it, and it’s all very HUGE. The jungle in Florida has a way of either being cut back or eating people-so I cut. And while I toil, I always think of my Dad. He was a Full Colonel. I think of all those who have fallen during time of war and wish none of it was true. “War! Good G-D y’all. What’s it good for?” That’s what my generation sang. The tune went very well with wine and a pocket full of joints.

Of course, there are way too many flowers being left on graveyards this weekend.

For or against, war seems a necessary evil of our time,,,no wait, for all of Man’s history. So, as I work in the yard, enjoying the chickadee, the Cardinal and Red Tail Hawk above, I’m thankful for their music that helps me forget the horror of life, and remember the beauty. I bow my head and pray for all those who gave their lives in battle as I shovel, plant, pick, spread or cultivate my yard knowing , right or wrong, it’s safe to believe the soldiers who died in battle believed they were fighting and, sometimes, dying for us. The saying is- they died to keep us free.

Flowers have a way of reminding us  how short and sweet life can be.

So it seems Memorial Day always finding me messing with flowers, or trying to enhance the small area of the earth I own. Today, the wind blew, thoughts of Dad and other soldiers I know crossed my mind. President Obama praying at Hiroshima rattle my head, and I worked.  The day, the month, the memories will pass, but it all remains tied together no matter what we do. In the end, the more a person does to encourage growth and the beauty of life the better they sleep at night-it’s called inner peace.

My day:

This popped out yesterday, just underneath the bird bath out front

This popped out yesterday, just underneath the bird bath out front

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Our gardenia by the bird feeder is in full bloom. I wonder, do birds like the fragrance?

I cut about ten per day to bring in to the house.....

I cut about ten per day to bring in to the house…..

This rascal orchid lasts about one day -and I was so happy to catch it today...

This rascal orchid lasts about one day -and I was so happy to catch it today…

the pathway in front is a riot of flowers now.

the pathway in front is a riot of flowers now.

The three Amigo's growing under the birdbath are wonderful to see.

The three Amigo’s growing under the birdbath are wonderful to see.

The yellow tea rose

The yellow tea rose

Mr. Tulip

Mr. Tulip…and

and a yellow Daisy face-three amigo's..now you know.

a yellow Daisy face-three Amigo’s..now you know.

It's great fun

It’s great fun

Today's evening silky wind blew this single Hibiscus a bit off shot.

Today’s evening silky wind blew this single Hibiscus a bit off shot.

Here's new one to us! (We don't know what it is of how it came to be)It will be about 6 inches across with many more petals at it's peak...but maybe it 's not so bad being young?

Here’s new one to us! (We don’t know what it is or how it came to be)It will be about 6 inches across with many more petals at it’s peak…but maybe it’s not so bad being young?

Not sure you can make it out, but this lavender and rose colored four o'clock is beautiful...This year , we are invaded with four o'clocks.

Not sure you can make it out, but this lavender and rose colored four o’clock is beautiful…This year, we are invaded with four o’clocks.

The garden grows

The garden grows

 as the Meyer lemons produce and flower at the same time

as the Meyer lemons produce and flower at the same time….

I’m so glad I got to help this life happen; I’m so thankful for that chance… Happy Memorial Day. Take time to smell the flowers if you can. It’s time to give thanks.

Thanks for stopping by.

Franque23

 


When I was young, the sun came as a surprise.

The new day was a friend that came knocking at my door. The birds sang in harmony while dandelions bent in the wind or beneath my toes. There were smells I didn’t know. People smiled and it seemed my presence gave them a laugh-I was small and knew so little.

The start of it all for me-maybe day seven?

The start of it all for me-maybe day seven?

 

I trusted my brother and sister to not leave me in the snow.

I trusted my brother and sister to not leave me in the snow.

Houses in our community were huge and the lawns, though fenced, really had no boundaries. There were hidden places to go between the yards and secret paths to run.

Remaining still was not an option.

Life was a new bloom that would never wither. Leaping one day meant I’d jump further the next. The phone was never for me when it rang it but, still, I heard the call from everything else, the sky, the moonbeams, the stars that really did twinkle, the train that always blew its whistle and the beach waves that circled my ankles. Being young was never a cumbersome potential I had to carry with hope. No, I lived suspended in a stream of unspoken understanding. Yearning had no place in dreams.

The silence knew just what I was thinking.

Parents in our community knew me and my friends by name, and they were always watching or made it seem so. The entire community was our home. We ran without fear. We hadn’t an inkling that we could age and move on to the next day, or month, and then through so many years.

Still, changes did come and some were harder to deal with than others. My sister went to college while my brother got on a bus and went to camp over the summer.

Why would my brother leave for camp?

Why would my brother leave for camp?

I kept the home-fires burning while my sibling’s were away.

A tree’s nooks and crannies offered the surest foot holds; my fingers grasped each branch as if I’d never let go.  Friends, and music, became part of my family.

Pete and I climbed a tree to see the world.

Pete and I climbed a tree to see the world.

we laid 'tracks' down hoping to make it Big.

We laid ‘tracks’ down hoping to make it Big.( My hat is on my knee; 1962ish)

The light in my friend’s eyes could shame the sun.

Friend’s laughter dazzled my imagination, a spark that ignited my new adventurous frontier—the one someone had called, Life. Kindness was never a decision, it just flowed through me and my friend’s lives as a waterfall we loved to see.

It felt all wrong when I realized I was no longer young.

One day, my friends had grown up. The dizzy bee games and tangled bodies on the lawn had vanished from sight and only shadowed my mind as a memory. Friend’s went places I might never see; some of us would lose touch, completely. Other’s called occasionally until there was little left to say. Where we would go or why—really, none of us knew. Still, in a sketchy note, in a brief visit or between bursts of laughter during a short phone call, all that could not be said was heard. Too much had changed for us to ever make it back, so with an unsigned agreement each of us had moved on.

Separate paths become so distant, and time so rushed. Life is full of new, surprising turns and all hands must grip tightly to the wheel; all eyes must look ahead.  For most of us, the love for our younger days remains but it’s crammed for space in our minds, challenged by infinite choices, by signs of every kind that point us in every direction. It takes a lifetime to read them all.

When I was young, I loved the sun, the birds, the trees, the endless wind and clouds that drew pictures in the sky. Now, I hope they love me, too.

When old friends do call, or write, or send those almost obsolete seasonal cards, I hope they’ll know I refuse to say goodbye. I hope they’ll look into the mirror and see their young, shining eyes as I once saw them blaze. Next to that wondrous view will be my eyes equally aglow as we once were, running unbridled by time, without worry or care.

The morning sun should always be a surprise, no matter if you’re young or old. Of course, the past can never be changed—I get that. Thing is, the youngest years never die, not really. Those days are all here, so distant but easily touched if we take the time to reach out, or remember, and smile.

It’s so easy to forget tomorrow is only a wish.

Not so long ago.

Not so long ago.

Too long ago.

Too long ago.(My dad and his sister, my cousin Dave and my Uncle Mo-now all gone.)

Now, at sixty-six years of age—how could that be?—I realize there comes a time in life when every meeting feels like it might be, goodbye. But as the Beatles sang long ago, I say hello.*

The youngest years come once in a lifetime and last forever.

Franque23.

*Early Beatles…

Not even long hair?

Not even long hair?


April showers have already brought April flowers-(Click on the pics for a much better view)

The red single Hibiscus is a simple reliable bloomer---I find the different varieties of this plant amazing.

The single red Hibiscus is a simple reliable bloomer—I find the different varieties of this plant amazing. The petal is extremely soft to the touch.

With American’s declaring war on about everything, drugs, immigrants, poverty, crime, being fat, too thin, a commie, cop, black man, social security recipient, slacker, rapper or street walker, etc….I thought a reconnaissance of my yard this spring was in order.

Our Hibiscus flanks a walkway now surrounded by twenty foot high Oranges trees, a Valencia, a red seedless navel plus one grapefruit.  I bought these on the same day about 8 years ago….at the time, they all fit nicely in my back seat.

We've nine oranges trees of differing variities but only six are yeilding-three more have to age a bit more.

We’ve nine oranges trees of differing varieties but only six are yielding-three more have to age a bit more.(Shadow stands in for a size comparison.)

I open the front door and love this sight.

The path less taken steps by the bird bath, roses and our Old Man's Beard Tree...currently in full bloom.

The path less taken steps by the bird bath, roses and our Old Man’s Beard Tree…currently in full bloom.

I remember this rose as being a Tea Rose, but the size of this year’s blooms have me scratching my head…..

The not Tea Rose plant?!?!

The not Tea Rose plant?!?!

See?

A handful for a Tea Rose.

A handful for a Tea Rose.

Nearby, underneath the Old Man’s Beard Tree, we have a number of pineapples growing. This year’s warm winter seems to have started the pineapples bearing about 6 months early…

I've nine pineapples coming, but I suspect they may be on the small size-we'll see!

I’ve nine pineapples coming, but I suspect they may be on the small size-we’ll see!

See last years pineapple came in large, and of course, I planted the tops.

See? Last year’s pineapple came in large, and of course, I planted the tops.

Over all yard view….

a bit of trimming and upkeep, but I like the feel. It's a reason to get out and listen to the birds and Hawks above.

It takes a bit of trimming and upkeep. Thing is, I like the feel. Landscaping, planting gardens for food or flowers and random trees to flower or fruit, it’s a reason to get out and listen to the birds and Hawks above.

Our “Victory Garden”* is located to the left of shot above. Beans, tomatoes, egg plants, herbs, yellow squash, zucchini, lettuce. peppers-yellow, green, red-and banana peppers, everything is coming along fine.340

My buddy stays close at hand and helps me routinely patrol the yard for squirrels…

Shadow is my backup,,or am I his,,not certain.

Shadow is my backup,,or am I his,,not certain.

Shadow reminds me each morning to check the pool for snakes or unwanted stray cats.

Shadow reminds me each morning to check the pool for snakes or unwanted stray cats.

Speaking of monring....our yard has several spots where lovely Mexican Juniper blooms appear anew each day,,dropping most pedals by night only to burst forth more blooms by morning.

Speaking of morning….our yard has several spots where lovely Mexican Petunia blooms appear anew each day,,dropping most pedals by night only to burst forth more blooms by morning.(drought resistant)

 I love these, though they last only a few days…the Amaryllis Belladonna, or Naked Lady plant…Great thru droughts, a delicate bloom in clusters. And, at the risk of turning this into a drought resistant plant blog, I have to add the wonderful Plumbago-

Just breaking out in bloom

Just breaking out in bloom

 

It's another no brainer.....a hoax head's up!

It’s another no brainer…..we should ask politicians running for any office not how a subway card works or how well the know how to eat pizza, but what they  know about growing stuff-just saying…

Just the idea of politicians planting more than BS got Shadow running in circles!

Actually, Shadow does this-if we don't run him, he runs himself like a madman/dog

Actually, Shadow does this-if we don’t run him, he runs himself like a madman/dog

 

We've three Myer's lemons planted, and they seem to bloom nearly year round, and yeild often. Plus, we have one Ponderosa Lemon,,,the kind that gives fruit as large as a person's face!

We’ve three Meyers’s lemons planted, and they seem to bloom nearly year round, and yield often. Plus, we have one Ponderosa Lemon,,,the kind that gives fruit as large as a person’s face!

The place would be perfect is I could just keep those roadsters from buzzin' the joint.

The place would be perfect if I could just keep those roadsters from buzzin’ the joint.

three children, all grown up1

My three roadsters long ago.

Now, more about the Ponderosa….

My grandson standing next to a few Ponderosa Lemons

My grandson standing next to a few Ponderosa Lemons

A meyrs next to Ponderosa

Our Meyers’ next to our Ponderosa Lemon

caught my eye this morning.

This caught my eye this morning.

It’s true, I’ve left out a lot, like the Indigenous Jasmine that towers by our front door each year( fifteen feet or higher) to scent the entire yard for months only to die back to the ground every winter,

This unusual clumping bamboo-type Jasmine blasts fragrance over at least a 1/2 acre each night.

This unusual clumping bamboo-type Jasmine blasts fragrance over at least a 1/2 acre each night.

The Mulberry and fig trees,,,you’re welcome, squirrels are very important to us.

We've two figs-the one I water regularly is twice the size of the other....

We’ve two figs-the one I water regularly is twice the size of the other….a huge Mineola Tangelo is in background(honey bell)

The side 1/2 acre features three types of orange trees, a blueberry and several invasive lantana’s the butterflies love.

a look at Shadow's 1/2 acre run, petunia's and a Chinese mandarin and Satsuma in the background.

a look at Shadow’s 1/2 acre run, petunia’s and a Chinese mandarin and Satsuma in the background.

Invasively neat.

Invasively neat. (Can’t leave the mailman out of the fun)

The beauty of Florida is not just the weather, the ocean, springs, lakes and rivers, but what a person can grow  in the smallest of yards if they would like. It’s a jungle out there, and we can nurture it so it nurtures us.

Cheers during Spring in Northern Florida.

Franque23

 

 


the lake from above

the lake from above-

The scene was so beautiful– one sunset gave a deep teal blue water-color, all lined in black by  High Rock, trees, hills, with a blazing red stripe that span across the whole western skyline, and above, as if an icing on a red velvet cake, whisk a band of turquoise blue. Soon, that enchanted blue gave way to a deepening, darker sky that grew to reveal the first stars of the night.

This isn't the exact shot....no where near red enough---but somehow I've lost 36 pictures taken this fall at the lake during a transfer from my camera to computer--drat!

This isn’t the exact shot….the sky’s nowhere near red enough—but somehow I’ve lost 36 pictures taken this fall at the Lake during a transfer from my camera to computer–drat!

Here's a shot more like what we saw this Fall---picture taken by another Lake Bonapartean....

Here’s a shot more like what we saw this Fall—picture taken by another Lake Bonapartean….

The loons never disappoint, their call echoing from the Twin Sister shoreline where so few cabin lights glimmered.

Loon calling---I may have clipped this from the Lake Bonaparte group on FB...Thanks for this!

Loon calling—I may have clipped this from the Lake Bonaparte group on FB…Thanks for this!**

This September had been a warm one with lake temperatures in the high seventies, the air full of breeze that fluttered leaves partly turned but for the Swamp Maple already ablaze with yellow, red and gold.

This bulletin board came form my lake, 'Happy Place'.

This bulletin board came from my Lake, ‘Happy Place’.

restful moments abound

restful moments abound…*

There was no way to suspect a two-day rain would soon drop the water to seventy-though three days after that storm, on our day to depart, warmer weather was coming to continue a sun that could heat any dock by afternoon.

I ran across the dock joined by two grandsons, seven and six, and cannon balled  splashing waves to either side. Sometimes, I even wore a suit.

I’d always thought, as do my family, relatives and friends, that being up at the Lake makes me feel good, food tastes better, I sleep soundly, and a plop in the lake before breakfast ends any fuzzes from the late night before. This dip is sound advice-the refreshing dunk makes any weather better. But, as it turns out, there’s more to the Lake than the scene, the water, the loon, the rocks, trees, hills and grassland-for us and for so many, it is a place of family, and seemingly a million options when it comes to enjoying the Lake with relatives.

Fifty-eight family members cast a cheer your way.

Fifty-eight family members cast a cheer your way.(Lach Franquemont photo)

It's so easy to reflect upon the beauty of the world up at the Lake.l

It’s so easy to reflect upon the beauty of the world up at the Lake.*

Here’s looking at you!65299_10200263764660325_1194979476_n

Goodbye for now.**

Franque23

  • *Pics by Dale Franquemont
  • ** Drafted off Lake Bonaparte FB page

Book one, Avatar Magic, and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now. Please enjoy this Sci-fi romance.

Book one: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0NYO80
Book two: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KXMIIOK


“I love the Lake!” How many Lake Bonaparte lovers have said those words?!?!? Scads, zillions, bunches of happy people. “Food taste sooo good up there!” Mouths stuffed with fresh fish, Croghan Baloney and New York Cheddar  smile to say the words.

I simply accepted the truism all my life that it felt great to be at Lake Bonaparte! There was never any question, and I didn’t need to ask my cousins about the fact, either.

a gargantuan family line up by Sherman's boat house rental!

A gargantuan family line up by Sherman’s boat house rental!(Porter’s Bay.)

Boom! Another year, another shot of a cyclopean family gathering at Lake Bonaparte.

Boom! Another year, another shot of a cyclopean family gathering at Lake Bonaparte.

But, after 66 years of visits my mind in a random way started wondering exactly why it felt so good to be at the lake. Of course, there’s the beauty of the place-enough to bulldoze any problem away in a sunset of a second.

From our half-way dock in Porter's Bay

From our half-way dock in Porter’s Bay

And, there’s the people-family, loved ones, friends. Plus, ya just can’t leave out the relaxed atmosphere it seems people hang out in most of the time while up at the lake.

Still, I needed something a bit more tangible-why was I so happy at the lake, so bouncy up and down our set of sixty steps from the cabin to the dock below? How did staying up to see the Northern lights and then getting up early to fish work? At home, I often crawl in and out of bed, but I’ve a lawn to mow, bushes to trim, toes nails to cut and light bulbs to change at home. Maybe all that work weighs down the days at home? But Wait! I’ve boat loads of work to do at the lake-lawns to mow, trees to chain saw, docks to clean and treat-heck, often an entire year’s maintenance for the lake house is crammed into a two-week visit! Of course, I’m not working at my job while at the lake, and vacation has a way of making a fella feel good. Nah, none of those calculations added up to fishing, boating, rowing and bounding up stairs-having that superman feeling I enjoy experiencing while up at the Lake..

I may have found one secret to Lake Bonaparte’s all invasive power, it’s lure, like a plug to a fish, one underlying undeniable truth about the lake’s energy. It’s all about…..the air.

Right, taking in the air at the lake is akin to  walking into an oxygen tent. Breathing in at Lake Bonaparte zings the body full of new life. Fact-the air at Lake Bonaparte has 95% less hazardous air pollutants than the national average air American’s breath day in , day out! It figures the air is filtered by the Adirondacks, the largest track of free range land America has left.

It all makes perfect sense: pure air leads to clear minds, better smelling, tasting, maybe thinking, more energy and a happy feeling.  Wow and whew, I couldn’t believe the stats on the air when I stumbled across these findings…Enjoy the figures-

These findings over a 365 day period.

Harrisville                              New York City                    National

Air quality index 31 43                               50
Pollution index 230,538 9,468,840            5,072,052

The Harrisville, NY air quality index is a median value which considers the most hazardous air pollutants. The Harrisville, NY air quality index is 27.5% less than the New York average and 37.6% less than the national average.

The Harrisville, NY pollution index is the sum of the most hazardous air pollutants displayed in pounds. The Harrisville, NY pollution index is 97.6% less than the New York average and 95.5% less than the national average.

Air Pollution Information for Lake Bonaparte/Harrisville area

Pollutant Total
Arsenic 0.000%
Benzene 0.004%
Carbon Tetrachloride 0.001%
Lead 0.000%
Mercury 0.000%

So it all adds up, but this is to take nothing away from all that is Lake Bonaparte! What a mind-blowing place!!!

the lake is an easy ride.

The lake is an easy ride for the mind and body, especially the lungs.*I’ve no idea who took this shot—-absolute credit goes to them…

Lake Bonapartre is a living , breathing mediation…

I just love Lach Franquemont's shot from our dock.

I just love Lach Franquemont’s shot from our dock.

ONe year I came back from the lake a whipped this board up at work. The idea came to me while fishing sundown in mud lake.....

This board had to go up a few years back just after returning from the lake . The idea came to me while fishing sundown in mud lake…..

There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to do the soul some good.

Franque23

Book one, Avatar Magic, and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now. Please enjoy this Sci-fi romance.

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