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 As my dear friends, Marc and Ali, named it, today is Blursday. It’s not a day like another, it is the other day.

It’s all about retirement in a locked down Nation full of people equipped with the skill of the steel ball that’s trapped in a pin-ball machine.

A Pinball Language Glossary - The Morning Call

Work life stopped and America went on tilt. Yikes, “Mask or ventilator; mask or ventilator… hmmmm, so many choices.”

coronavirus, COVID-19, ventilators | National Post

Thing is retirement can bring many things but time is not one of them! Heck, I’m retired and don’t have much time left! My fuse is burning fast as the clock ticks double time while I dribble on my shirt what food doesn’t manage to get down my sporting turkey neck.

Vultures wear stop watches as they circle above.

Vincent van Gogh - Wikiquote

Something’s flying overhead so I’m wearing my hat….

Mail persons knock to see if they still need to deliver to my address.

Creepy Door Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

The good news is a Wednesday morning can feel like a Saturday and a Monday like Friday. Tuesday usually sucks retired or not. Tuesday has very little to say about anything; it’s not Friday, no better than a Monday and  not related to any weekend at all whether you’re moth balled or under the work master’s lash. Nope, I’m telling ya, I’ve looked at Tuesday from both side now and Tuesday’s a dump of a wannabe day. Maybe this is why I picked Tuesday to post this glob—what could go wrong? Or worse….actually, it’s Blursday.

Adam Lupton's paintings show the passing of time as a disorienting ...

Anyway…

While working, I never answered the home phone when at home. I told people to text me because, well, I don’t text.

Now? I answer so many calls from travel agents offering deals that might kill me if I go on them I feel I know the solicitors personally. “Hey, you’re the person who offered me that trip to see Head Hunters last week aren’t you? Well, hows the kids?” Okay, honestly, I feel sorry for anyone calling trying to sell travel packages right now… “Hey! We have a great deal for you driving from Gainesville to  Orlando in your own car! Free coupons on the interstate at the interstate stop!!!”

Holiday From Hell Cartoons and Comics - funny pictures from ...

Okay, no ones going anywhere if you live in Florida unless you’re extremely suicidal or just count on your co-pilot, God, a bit much.

Life couldn’t be better for me. Telemarketers call all day long and some campaigning phone calls are starting to light up our dial. Everyone is so sweet. The Fed Ex man rings the bell and stares as I answer wondering if I’m dead or alive. My dog sounds viscous and I swear the delivery people look like they’d rather be attacked than to have to stand near me for another minute.

I stopped by a take out window and the food nearly flew in my face as I signed the receipt  Alfred E. and drove off.

Seriously, I have a friend who is a grave digger part time. Does Randy think this might be some sort of bonanza year?

Argentine city digs hundreds of graves amid pandemic even as curve ...

I mean, I guess there’s a bright side to even in the worst happenstance. Like I’m on the track and that train’s coming but my wife divorced me, I’m about to lose my house, I have covid-19 , syphilis and I think a coral snake just bit me, the Sahara dust full of pathogens is upon us and the hurricane season is here…maybe, just sit tight and wait for that train? BTW, why are trains in America never on time? In Japan, where they outlawed suicide, the trains are always on time? So, what’s up with that?

Here’s to the Blursday’s of retirement and frankly, my dear, I’m hoping for a hell of a lot more of them. I don’t care how blurry.

Franque23 is retired and continually never bored. In truth.. I’m Lovin it… Cheers.

 


( some pictures enlarge by clicking…like the papaya tree.. Oh my)

Dale wants to know why I count everything? Well, clearly I was once an Australian Shepherd—she must not know?

Anyway, I am a counter; I count on good luck, good friends, good times, good weather and good reads. The beautiful thing about being an optimist is I’m never disappointed. Life is a roller coaster and every bottom leads to the top of the next plateau—that”s what I count on.

But what could this have to do with these 48 tomatoes in our kitchen today? (There’s a few more you can’t see…really about 61 in all.)

Well, that’s simple. A few weeks ago I counted over 314 tomatoes in our garden and hoped the crop would make it—note: I refuse to count cherry tomatoes. Anyway, the tomatoes started becoming randomly ripe here or there without rhyme or reason throughout the garden. In that the plants are often over 6 feet tall, I had to hunt for tomatoes as if they were Easter eggs.  Eventually, after boiling down about 31 tomatoes to freeze into 3 or 4 quart baggies of sauce per day, I think the tomato bunny is leaving my yard.

Today’s pick included a 17 green beans, a mess of collard greens and about 18 1/2 tomatoes.

However, please note the six large brown bags on the table behind today’s hunt. These bags are the secret to reaping in ripe tomatoes in Florida’s early heat and before the 4,129* bugs here that use infrared spyware and well coordinated attack plans can sting the fruit…Dang, I dislike everyone last one of them…(NOTE: for the first time in, no joke, 42 and 1/2 years of gardening in North Florida, I haven’t seen but two fruit stinging insects in my garden! I’m not sure if this is due to the air quality improvement, the normal season we are having weather wise here for the first time in ten and 1/4 years or random luck. But, for whatever the reason, I’m getting worried about not seeing the insects I hate to see… so I’m going to a shrink about this,)…

This is our first child and my wife, Dale, back in 1982 in our Micanopy home. The garden is about 27 feet left of her.

Bonus picture: this papaya grew as a volunteer from our compost I spread last August. It’s about 25 feet tall; so far, it has had 33 papaya’s on it. In all, 17 papaya’s grew in the garden from our compost but I transplanted the others thinking, “Who needs 17 papaya’s growing in a veggie garden?” Good thing. Apparently the trees live up to five years.

Anyway,,, back to those 6 brown bags—they held 56 (plus three rotten) tomatoes in different stages of ripening and four papayas… So, the deal is to pick most of the tomatoes in the garden as they just start to ripen, especially if the tomato has splits or rings on its top which means they’re likely to split open or rot on the vine if you leave them outside. There’s a trick to this picking called timing, but why go into that when your mind is already blown by the  128 tomatoes I’ve made into sauce and frozen in 18 baggies so far? Plus, every recipe leaves something out.

Above: 73 tomatoes plus three rotten ones.

The three rotten ones….

Here’s the fifty-six tomatoes from the brown bags.

Of the 56 tomatoes in the bags, 36 were ripe.

It can take up to four or five days for tomatoes pulled from the garden less than green but turning white or red in spots to ripen in the bags. I check them every day as one that goes bad in the bags makes a mess. Some tomatoes may ripen in one to two days,,, it all depends on how ripe they are when you pick them.

I hope this helps. But here’s the thing: you don’t need hardly any space at all to grow tomatoes. You can grow them in pots on a balcony if that’s what you have to use. Or, since tomatoes are the best thing coming out of just about any garden, if you have a 3 foot wide, ten or 15 foot long space that gets at least 1/2 day sun, dig that soil up. Add good soil, put up a straight fence down the middle of that row supported well by stakes that are at least four feet high. Now, buy 9 starter tomatoes from Lowes (if you only have a ten foot row–one planted every 3 feet on either side of the fence) and plant them. Be sure you have a watering source… hose, sprinkler… something….

This type of set-up might yeild you 100 tomatoes…!?!?

One more thing,,, stay away  from Big Boy or Better Boy tomatoes if planting in Florida. They’re size is spectacular to see but the top ridges in these varieties tend to split open in Florida’s heat.  Plant around Feb. 15th or August 15th in Gainesville and cover if we get a weird cold night or two.

And, if you have a backyard, plop a pool in it if you can—there’s nothing like a swim after a day of picking 18 and 1/2 tomatoes.

Cheers from tomato land.

Franque23 is counting on you.

*I will admit to having never counted the insects…maybe.

 


(some picture enlarge when clicked , others don’t) ..working on this.

Hippies, who needs them? Imagine, all stoned and thinking we shouldn’t hate anyone for their color of skin, that pot should be legal and that war should end—a bunch of crazy losers, right?

And Hippies believed women were equal to men, and if they didn’t want to wear a bra, okay…. just crazy stuff…right?

I was home on Christmas break about 1970 watching the Nixon/Nam reports with long hair that reached my shoulders or more. I was a musician at heart and singing the protest songs when I could, but my dad was a staunch Nixon supporter…basically, I was an alien in my own home ideologically, but Dad never leaned on me; Dad gave me space.

As lost I was in those struggles to right the wrongs of humanity I felt sure were the savior of mankind, I never once noticed how much my dad had given me without the back of his hand. No, Dad, to my unsuspecting delight had given the love of flowers, the birds, the trees and love of life to me.  I never knew…

I’d hauled in a gardenia bush for Dad from outside and in upon the season while we lived on Long Island because Dad was crazy. Oh my gosh…that planter got to be a hundred pounds and the plant filled a ten by 8 high room on the window side….What on earth…?

Likewise, Dad had those mysterious asparagus patches…those were poison if eaten—I knew.

His basic replica of mid west apple orchards stood in our 1/4 acre back yard to torture me with the picking… but, I admit, I ate about 4 apples per day at least.

Now, of course, Dad is long gone. The last time I held his hand was in 2001…He passed as I sat near by laughing about old times with my sister and mom. In a second, he died.

 

Now, I grow a gardenia we inherited when we bought our home in 2000. The bush is a monster… about ten feet long and 6 feet high, at least… this year we have had over 300 blooms on it…

I’ve no secret about this bush…it just grows,,, but maybe our neighbor’s friendly chicken, Lucy , who loves to live underneath it can’t hurt?

It makes a great way to reach our front door…I always say “hello” to this bush because, yeah, I love the plant.

In fact, Dad taught me to not only notice flowers, the roses and planting he had around our yard on Long Island, he taught me to love them as he loved me. There was something huge about my Dad I never really understood but somehow took inside.

I’d like to think that all the prejudices that passed so easily among white Americans born in 1911 as he was have not stuck to me. Times have to change. I think I’ve shed those bad marks and raced ahead with the good points. Certainly, the love of flowers has bloomed within me…Go ahead, ask the flowers in our yard who I say hello to as they bloom…they will tell you.

The shrimp plant will spread and fall to the ground unless you stake it—butterflies of all kinds and hummingbirds love it.

There’s nothing like taking a early spring drive out to Alachua north of Gainesville to see the roadside flowers the county hasn’t insanely mowed down:-0

This year, Alachua didn’t mow roadside flowers and as a result there was about 5 miles of beautiful flowers along 331 north see as we drove by…

Here, at home, I plant marigolds along our garden fence line and in the garden to help with aphids…but dang, if the birds didn’t help me plant this beautiful Sunflower!

We just love flowers here.  And the red, single hibiscus, though not as flashy as other hibiscus, is a strong, reliable and hearty bloomer.

There’s nothing like having a papaya volunteer out of the compost we spread in our garden launch twenty five feet high…

yummmm papaya…

I really don’t know if Dad liked papaya… but he would have loved all of this…

Thanks to Dad, I do know how to garden. It was a torturous lesson back then while 14 years of age,,,, but how could I know it would lead me all my life? Dad’s can give us so much when they just do take the time.

It’s been a great year here in North Florida for growing a garden. I think we have seen normal weather patterns for our area for the first time in ten years! Odd.

I have to go; Shadow wants to run after the ball.

And then swim in the pool

You know, energies, knowledge and love, all of it transfers many times in ways we don’t know. Dad, thanks for everything…and for those living in Alachua county who want to grow food, I will come help you do it…

It’s about loving life. So thanks Dad, for all that you hated, you taught me how to love so much more. Born in my time, you would’ve been a hippie. I feel certian.

Franque23

 

 

 

 

 


Some are interested in fishing advice when it comes to Lake Bonaparte…I’ve fished the lake for 70 years, maybe, if you count me as a baby in my dad’s arms who’s fishing off the dock.  I’ve fished every time of day and in every kind of weather during the summer up at the lake over the years. I’ve been a “up and at em’ 4 am fisherman” and a late at night fisherman until the mosquitoes took me home.

Thing is, there is a science to fishing—it’s not a matter of luck, but timing and skill…

My Grandson has a perfect approach to the methodology of fishing few can match.

Your ears need to hear the fish, and then you wiggle them.

Okay, forget that, It comes to this—though any rule can and is broken when it comes to fishing—the fish in Bonaparte sleep in. The mornings bring waters as still as glass.

I don’t blame the fish for sleeping in. What’s the rush when it comes to eating your buddies? Bonaparte fish have all day and all night to nibble on their neighbors so why waste good morning sleeping hours on that? The mornings bring the light, the exposure to birds and whatnot. The quiet of the evening and night before is soon disturbed by those who think they should fish early and wake the lake residence up with the motors built by Cape Canaveral.  Who needs that when there’s soft sea-weed and lure snagging stumps to sleep by?

Another question: why do I ever leave this sight?

But, I do.

Sure, I’ll still get up early in my lifetime to fish. This is absolute fact. Thing is, I’ll be trolling the sun-up as much as anything else. I’ll be hunting the morning fog as it lifts from the lake to the sky, as the Heron silently swings by on their way to a distant shore. The sunlight will streak the sky into unimaginable colors as found on my lures not yet snagged on that awaiting log—may these lures rest in peace. The chill will vanish and soon I’ll find myself plugin’ a shore line full of empty water. Maybe, a beaver will swim across my view as the night’s last bug bites my ass. This is why people say, “He’s caught the fishing bug.” The point is the bug; not the fishing.

Anyway. I’ve some stories to tell, too many because I love to write, or talk. But hear this: I once sat on our bluff looking out at Birch Island as a soft afternoon rain began to fall. My mom came up to me and said, “Go fish…” I went right out to Birch Island in that drizzle and landed the most unusual fish I’ve ever caught. Off rocks with a red/orange hue( a fungus?) I landed a 4 1/2 pound small mouth that is on our wall, and it’s belly was as red as a sunfish to match the color of the rocks. Unfortunately, the taxidermy never got to see that color as the fish was frozen by my parents before they got it to him…One large mouth I’ve caught in Lake Bonaparte is more than 8 pounds and also hangs on our camp’s wall. That fish I caught in a driving wind of a storm about 1 PM in a protected shallows…I was, yes, crazy to be out, but the storm came up and I had headed for protection from the wind and had decided if I was about to die, I might as well fish.

You might as well fish. No matter morning, noon or night. Thing is, no fish bite a dry lure. I never found one in my tackle box wiggling on a hook. We might as well have fun.

I would love to fish with some of you and I’d planned on being up almost all summer as I retired this May 15th, but Covd-19 (making the trip up) has changed that plan..maybe next summer?

Call me Loony, but I know where some big ones are…maybe,…like 1/2 of the time:-)

Oh, and one more piece of advice: don’t fish off a high profile boat. You’ll catch plenty that way; most pros do it. You get a great view sitting high off the water but guess who can also see you? I’m not talking about your neighbors. Nope; native Americans had it figure out best: stay low, and quiet. Try to match that, and I know, this is bad news for boat sales. Thing is, sometimes I cut my small horse power engine 30 yards out and row in as if cane poling in..what’s the rush, right?

Paul Daugherty has been my fishing’ buddy for like ever.

Paul taught me Mud Lake.

The key is low to the water for the biggest fish. What do you want? Plenty of fish, or the biggest fish? Think about that.

cheers

Franque23 loves Lake Bonaparte.


It will be ten years back this summer to be precise…( Please enjoy the linked video with music below)

This is a Franquemont-Morgan reunion our families have held it seems forever. Basically, you need to understand the Franquemont’s are true royalty in our hearts and minds and the Morgan black spot side of our genes are the worst kind of horns-wagglin’ pirates. I tried that year to do a story hour to appease the pirates,  as shown through out this clip below, but none of that worked as attested by one of ours being snatched and tied to a chair for like days–you’ll see that too.

As always, it all happens at Lake Bonaparte, and this 2010 reunion gathered 58 of the good Franquemonts and the bad whatevers who think they are pirates.  Oddly, no one drinks at these reunions that I’ve noticed. Really!* You’ll see us innocently roping off of Round Island—a feat no longer possible with the development there—only to be chased down by the cops who escorted us across the lake for the want of one life jacket cause 17 wasn’t enough. You’ll see some brave the rapids in the Eastern Adirondacks… fires at night and some very bad singing! It’s all here! The hummingbird steals the show highlighted by the children who know we’re nuts.

Sunsets, swimming and the massively Franquemont Franquemonts win, win, winning!

On a special note, the two groups like the yin-yang have formed as one under the name: MorgaMONTS.  IN all, 2010 reunion was a calm year: very few got thrown in the lake that much each day, I don’t remember a single short sheet bed set but the beer theft was rampant. I still have warrants issued on this… It’s important to note that almost every single adult I took out fishing that year caught a large bass or northern worth mention..this could mean on an every four year bumper fishing cycle that 2020 may be tough fishing. We’ll find out this year at our 2020 reunion!

To be sure, the Lake was wet, the night fires hot** and the stars above brilliant—like my Franquemont story hour:-) The lake is so much fun; family reunions like ours happen around the shore each summer. 

Imagine…

enjoy the show…..https://www.facebook.com/lachlan.franquemont/videos/t.1384221843/425061848537/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

Franque23

 

  • Water, that is.
  • ** I honestly believe no one fell in a fire this reunion…
  • What a year this was!!!
  • Last year was an off year, no reunion…Shadow and I chilled out with my wife Dale and Grandchildren
  • Older times lead to new and none will be forgotten

  • taken at the Muse lodge.
  • from our dock

It’s simple in the most complex way. How something tied within can run from the tongue or written word to announce its preponderance is miraculous. But, again, words don’t work; I just have to try—

I’d been walking through a forest; walking forever…

I often walked to familiar places though no walk could be the same. No, rather than feeling redundant, each walk resembled a reoccurring dream that shifted ever so slightly in my head. Once, when I was young, the leaves held a glistening magic beyond compare and the stars above sang love songs. Breath came and went with a whisper of steam in the winter or without a notice in summer. A night bird’s call held a special treat for every step of the way.

The moon would rise—that was in the air, too.

Places presented a universe of change but that variance was apart from the heart of the matter. What was the heart of the matter? When I walked as a boy and walk now as a man there is one secret, one truth I print with each step I take. When any of us walk, we are searching for what we hope to find—this is the heart of the matter.

One day, I began the walk I had to make.

There were bushes, sticks and vines to push aside as I walked. Streaks of red and yellow stretched across a light-blue sky softly lit to a sun-licked amber hue I’d never seen before. The landscape seemed a mirror that span before me but I couldn’t see myself in it, and certainly not within the darkened places or behind the boulders that lay ahead.

Quiet noise drummed my ears to the beat of my heart. One foot-fall followed the other and mashed a fresh scent of pine from the needles that had fallen from the trees above. A breeze passed as a tap on the shoulder that turned me around again to see if someone was there.

I was alone.

Oh, I loved the twists and turns of life. The ups and downs of Life, the rag-tag moments of laughter that still echoed in my head and tears spent that had run dry to leave a trace upon my cheek were never to forget. I held my life near and dear; it was all I really had. I bent down to pick up a pine cone, took a breath and then moved on beneath a glorious sun-set sky.

There, in an instant quicker than a slip, a clearing appeared. This flowing, smoothly swept, warm as a blanket on a winter’s night place had a voice of its own set in a timbre no ear could deny. Its mysterious opening abruptly ended the maze of life I’d struggled to pass; it was an awakening of peace within my weary heart. The place turned my head, lifted my steps and lightened the tightness in my back. I turned around to make sure I’d left the brambles behind and come to a new place, a new clearing with only the truest of view.

The time turned to rest. All my effort, all the decisions random or not, all the painful struggle and haphazard joys of my journey had led me to this place.

It was amazing.

I’d found my way home to a place I’d never seen before.

Somehow, my heart just knew.

How does the heart know so much? How can the thing we always feel but never touch know the way to travel, the places to see and the people to hold? Love, the heart’s messenger, is startling when it comes whether that’s in the first minute when meeting someone or not. Mellowed by time or arriving in a split second, Love opens the flood gates of the soul so that we pour into a sea of understanding. Some people say being in love is like floating on air. Maybe. To me, Love is finding the ground I was meant to stand upon.

Of course, the clearing I found that day forty-seven years ago was you. I’m so thankful you had made it.

Thank you for being you.

This is the heart of the matter.

Franque23

To Dale, my wife of 40 years of marriage as of 1/3/2020-

 

 


(Click the pic for a larger view)

My Mom and Dad visited Lake Bonaparte often before and after I was born. Luckily, they got to spend about 30 summers at the lake after their employment days. Talk about memories!?!? I wonder which ones mom recalled most of all during her last summer on Bonaparte?

You know they had fun! (With our next door neighbors, the Sherman’s.)

My Dad trained for WW II at Fort drum and rested many days long after sitting across the lake from that training Camp’s location. He loved to see the planes fly over.

This is an old map of Bonaparte…(our camp built in 1970 isn’t listed.)

There are so many beautiful days at Bonaparte.

(Picture taken from our overlook of Porter’s Bay)

And cool summer nights to enjoy with family and friends.

(In the Muse Lodge porch camp)

Or stay warm by a fire…

We love our fireplace—overhead fans above the flames circulate the warm air.

Lake Bonaparte has a knack for getting cold. The one span of three days I visited during mid January the night temperatures hit 40 below twice and then warmed up to 30 below.

Even while casting images in a glass window while overlooking Nagasaki, Japan, the memory of  daytime snows falling on our daughter in Natural Bridge, New York, stayed with me.

And speaking of fires by the lake on those skinny dippin’ nights—what was I thinking!?!?! I’ve looked at this ol’ timey picture by Priests for years and years,

AND, mom snagged this Northern right in our bay! Like how many teeth of a good reason is this not to skinny dip?

Forgive me  if you know, but I feel we all should know Cody got bit on the leg in front of the Sherman Boat house in Porter’s bay (broad daylight) by a bass so large he had to go to the hospital! Just maybe, it was this fish I caught about 15 years later?

Fishin’ at the lake. Love it!

Perhaps many don’t know my brother Buz, (Ed Franquemont) helped build the first house on Round Island? He owned Bare Bones, a building outfit.

Here’s the team that built that house….!

My brother, Ed. (This shot taken elsewhere)

However, this shot below is on location on Birch Island where my ex-brother-in-law, Paul Doherty, lived with Meta for 30 plus years. My niece’s husband, Craig Carlock, was in charge of nibbling down trees to clear for pathways on that Island long ago and everyone should know. We still call him ‘Beaver Man,’ though he also does the best drankin’ loon call you’ve ever heard.

This is Craig watching our dog, Shadow, clear 22 feet off our dock going for a ball….and we’ve built that dock again since.

Have you noticed, lake people wave back?

It’s all too much fun! There’s always some to do or think thing about…

Beware of Pirates…..at the lake! Them Morgan clan folk.

I’m thinkin’ even our dog Shadow is looking for fish!

Impossible not to love.

While at the Lake, my sister, Sharon Franquemot, with a book published in nine languages, You Already Know What To Do, remains humble with me about our family’s  Kingly Heritage.

(really….our ancestor’s home is below. Karl Eugen ruled as Duke over most of Germany and Southern France in 1750)

So, the thing about visiting this one of five castles Karl Eugen had… sure it’s large but,….it was hard to find the bathroom.

(Karl Eugen’s largest home in Ludwigsburg, Germany)*

Anyway, I take my love for Lake Bonaparte back home to where I work in Florida and share it on bulletins boards at the Headquarter’s branch of the Alachua County Library district….

What a place to know, right? Lake Bonaparte:

Random shot of another bulletin board and one of Dan Franquemont…at the lake. (Muse Lodge)

So much—

Bye for now.

Franque23 loves Lake Bonaparte—The place and people we never forget.

*https://www.google.com/search?q=ludwigsburg+germany&oq=Ludwigsburg+germany&aqs=chrome.0.0l8.5814j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 

 

 


I’m trying to earn my keep here at work! I’ve repeated this board four times over the past 20 years or so. Originally, the scene was of a moose looking up at a winter’s moon with its tracks in the snow–that was at Millhopper Branch Library in the late 90’s. Sue Patterson worked there at the time and she helped me design the moose which is a difficult animal to get right when drawing—about that large nose of a head…Ha!

This is the 2013 version…

I carried the moose theme to the down town Headquarter’s Branch Library in the early 2000’s and ‘re-built’ much of the background set of trees. This board offers an elaborate background scene that’s time consuming to create so I saved all that work when the board came down a second time. To make this board cost efficient to tax payers, I’ve reused the background pieces of this board two more times, though the moose gave way to a deer and the largest tree has changed as well.

I’m thinking this may be the 2016 version….

You can see this years version in two pictures below or in the time lapse linked here. Stop the time lapse when you want to get a better look and feel for how the layering works in this design. This is a time lapse of my Holiday Board… stop it any time to see the progression…  Ho HO HO…..https://www.facebook.com/alachualibrary/videos/2470169859892438/?t=

 

   

So far, our media department (thank you Chris) has videoed a time lapse presentation of two boards I put up this year: a Halloween board and now this holiday board.

I like this board; it’s a peaceful image that sets a good tone for our work space in Youth Services. I hope this board fills your thoughts and the minds of our little and big patrons with wonder while enhancing enjoyment of our public libraries! Visit your public library—they are ours to enjoy!

Have a safe, wonderful Holiday!

Franque23

2013

The moose was really fun to draw and I’m not certain which version of this bulletin board I like more: the Deer with a larger tree and different signage, or the moose in a smaller setting. The background color changes from silver to gold and there is a moon in some and not others….which do you like better? I have to tell you what I so like about this board. The frozen lake presented by the silver paper is actually vertical on the wall but it appears horizontal to add depth to the scene… I love it.


(A Morgan-Franquemont reunion about 1951) Click the pic for a larger view.

Maybe I thought my sister might drop me—why else would I be crying?—pretty sure that’s my best diaper.

Remember being young for just a minute. There’s no hassle waiting to destroy the next minute, no bus, train, plane to catch or deadline to meet. No, you’re just young. Your skin is soft without a blemish and your hair shines like  grass after a brief rain.  You’ve learned to comb your hair but your not exactly sure why you do it. There’s no need to worry and everything feels right once your parents are home; the fire place sets itself and your dog is always fed. T.V. goes on past bedtime but you’ve seen everything you wanted to see and the day has come and gone like any other. Dreams come and go like the wind without cause or problem or forecast direction.

Everything just is. Do you remember now? Shoes or belts seemed useless unless you were playing dress-up.

(Our Son-in-Law running after his son.)

The world is an empty beach to run with dad close behind.

The sky is endless and full of mysterious clouds to watch as they drift by.

(My cousin’s son, Ross Franquemont, takes a selfie as he flies by the Northern lights in his U-2 plane.)

Remember the first time you stared at the clear night sky and realized there were more and more stars to see up above as your eyes adjusted to the blackness. Remember the morning dew on your bare feet. This is about the time you discovered ,’brain-freeze.’

There was so much to take in and share with your cousins and friends.

A la speed-o suit; that’s me.(Morgan dock at Lake Bonaparte-about 1956) ( AND… the person who edits this glob weekly* asked a good question: why am I the only one wearing a bathing suit? The dock is clearly wet?!?! Hmmmm)

Days come as easily as picking up a pencil. The scribbling on the paper wears a smile and it seems your masterpiece is, in fact, a heroic depiction of something meaningful to older folks—it’s some miraculous sketch of objects you’ve yet to see or a panorama of places everyone hopes to go. It’s good to be loved. Daylight loves you; nighttime is a blanket. The rain sounds loud upon the window pane and snow dances in street lights with winds that come from the moon you can’t see.  The pets always sleep on your bed.

Everyday is safe. Every night is cozy. You get along with other  kids, even with those who seem so different!

Being young harbors within it a certain kind of peaceful hope.

(View of Lake Bonaparte from our ‘half-way’ dock.)

Without notice, you assume the older folks will always be here.

Life seems a garden of acceptance.

You can wear any hat you want when you’re young!

(And on Youth Services hat day because we could.)

Routines begin to form. If it rains, you stay inside. If it is sunny you go out. Parents rush off in the morning and come back later after your nap but you’re never really alone, not that you’ve noticed or ever thought about. Tooth brushing is a daily important thing, not the best, but you watch as globs of toothpaste slide out of your mouth onto your cheeks around your out-stretched smile in the mirror and it tastes sweet. Tooth paste types change from being white, then striped, sometimes dotted or with a hidden line of stuff surrounded by white. You just do it.

You think broccoli may kill you but not if you eat just a bit. Vegetables are stupid but they’re the gateway to dessert.

I once thought food first filled my feet, legs, then my middle section, then my arms and finally my head: that’s when I was full. I made sure to save room in my head for dessert.  People talked over dinner but mostly we all came to eat. Someone would say something funny and we’d laugh but always, without fail, my dog’s head was near my lap, soft, warm, nudging my legs occasionally for that bit of something I didn’t care to eat or wanted to slip him anyway.

I hadn’t a care when I was young. Music filled the air and dancing had no steps, just movement.

Of course, I learned later in life that my life was not a universal experience. No, while I was in college there were children in Vietnam who awoke in the night to run out of their homes in fear Napalm bombs would hit their homes and burn them alive as it had some of their friends the night before. And other children weren’t lucky enough to live at all but died without ever knowing what a refrigerator was. Somehow, learning the truthful horror about some life on earth during my twenties put much of my childhood experience in a time-capsule that I cemented in a corner stone of myself.  My memories were too good sometimes to be shown in the face of another’s reality.

I’d been given so much and never knew. I’d been raised in the midst of modest but successful homes full of choices, flavors, designs, music,  friends and surrounded by mowed yards and shoveled driveways all owned by smiling people.

If you’re life was like mine, it’s okay. It’s okay that we may have been born some of the luckiest people on earth. Thing is, now it’s our time to give thanks. Now, if we haven’t already, it’s time for us to payback life anyway we can.  We have to fight for what we believe is best for this earth and give thanks to those who died for our right to do so. If we have something to teach, we have to do it. I think Thanksgiving has never seen a generation who has more to be thankful for than mine. Now, more than ever before, it’s time for my generation to stand up and speak about what we feel is right.

My generation owes the World a difference.

We can do this. It’s time to be young again, strong, wide-eyed, questioning and full of spirit. Spirits don’t age like our bodies, not really. Look in that mirror as you did as a child and see your face, see your smile and remember who you really are. You’re one who can make a difference.

We all can get along; we have to get along and help each other prosper—this is our task and purpose.

Franque23—Happy Thanksgiving.

*Barbara Mullenix gets all the credit for anything spelled correctly in these globs and none of the blame for all the rest….

 

 

 

 


(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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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