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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays…this is my seasonal bulletin board and seasonal card to you!

I remember too well the moment I entered my parents Christmas party to sing, Jingle Balls, Jingle balls, to a fit of laughing cocktail holding adults. This was to be my big debut (but why is this spelled like what it was for me?) Anyway, I was too young to take anything to heart, and I left knowing I sang the heck out of that song.

There were so many warm Christmas mornings at the Franquemont household on Long Island. I never lacked for anything; my eyes only looked out with hope, curiosity and with acceptance that I was given by my parents and siblings.  It was an easy breezy life as I ran down the stairs first in line ahead of my brother and sister to race to a present laden Christmas tree. Blocks, coloring books and rocket launchers were the stuff of Christmas. The stockings were stuffed with candy but for that one stupid apple Mom always put in the bottom. Then, I never understood that Mom had been raised on her father’s mission in Recife, Brazil,  and an apple was a treasure to hoard for her. Of course, I’d give anything to find an apple put there by Mom in my stocking now, but she is seven years gone. She’s a smile in the clouds, the rolling waves at any beach, the diamond stars up north at Lake Bonaparte on a clear, crisp night and the warmth of the beach sand that conforms to my body as seagulls call from above. She is so much of every Christmas.

I remember Dad torturing me by making my ten-year old hands shovel three feet deep to start a new garden. It seemed so wrong to be digging around Christmas, but now I’ve had gardens here in Florida for the past 40 years. And when I dig dad’s eyes are looking through mine and his voice rings my ears with, “That a boy.” I hear the eagle call from high above and I know he is there gliding, swooping, free.

Part of getting older is hording a ton of memories. Thoughts of years gone by and the people who stayed with them and left as well are a treasure chest buried deep within, one locked for safety by the heart. I’ve still journeys ahead, and so many behind. I’d like to think that I’ve grown wiser with the passing years–certainly I know Jingle Bells now. But, for whatever reason this Christmas day, I found myself walking through our garden and thinking about all the division the world over is experiencing today.

It may surprise you to know that I am several things beyond a library worker, a neighbor, a father, grandfather,gardener, writer of this glob and books on Kindle,a fisherman, builder, but also a minister who was lucky enough to perform the marriage of my niece.  I have a favorite passage in the Bible I try to follow,

Proverbs 3:6 Living Bible (TLB)

In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.

If all of humanity were to take this message to heart the world would change. I’m certain it is in every  kind religious teachings; if only we could listen. I try to never forget these words as I thank God for every little thing I take time to notice as I go about my day.* Of course, I’ve fallen as short of this instruction as any could many times, but I try.

So this Christmas, the fertile garden, Mom’s gentle smile and Father’s certain voice led me to consider what my personal message might be this Christmas.

Here it is:

Being whatever gender or preference you are is a part of the natural passage of humans throughout our existence. We need to stop this fight of exclusion. This is Christmas, and it’s a great time for everyone to come to this realization. The stars remind us that the light is within us-if we’d only let it shine. Acceptance feels good; expressing hate or rejection is bad for the soul. We need to let people be.

Sometimes I think the worst word in our language is, ‘No.’ Using no is quick and sometimes needed, but often it is used when taking the time to teach proactively why whatever is being asked or done is not a good idea would otherwise move the mind forward. The best word in our language is, ‘Yes.’ I’m going to try to use it more in 2019. I hope you join me. Cast aside hate. Raise hope and acceptance.

Cheers… hugs, and Merry Christmas!

Franque23

  • I most concur with the, ‘God however known,’ concept.
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There’s a morning wind.

Today, from where I sit, the breeze will reach the sea some sixty miles off as it blows east. There, the translucent waves of green and blue roll beneath the calling gulls as the cooling, wet shore line comforts the feet of those strolling by. The shell white sand of the beach waits to be renewed or reclaimed by the pounding surf, and beyond it rises beige, wispy sea oats and dark green sea grapes that root in the dunes. A transforming landscape of sand and grass rises and falls to form a panorama that seems a dried mirror image of the ocean’s undulating surface. The oats will sway in the breeze much like sea weed moves with the ocean current. Here, two realms so different remain joined as one. The wind will touch it all.

It’s a peaceful thought as my coffee scents the air.

There was a time I thought I’d end up living along the shore, in the wind, with the sun, with the sounds and smells of the sea. Mom did as a child in, Recife’, Brazil, and somehow I dreamed I’d be as lucky. She took me to the shore often and taught me the ways of the sea, the surf, the hot sand and how the tiniest shell could sometimes be the most spectacular of the lot found that day. There were those sand crabs to dig after as they burrowed only to be caught so they might wiggle in my palm. We went to the ocean as a family and soon that vast, blue lined horizon became as much a part of ours as dad’s backyard apple blossoms.

Mom by the sea.

Sometimes I wonder if our dreams die like we do, or if they exist forever.

I’ve a good cup of coffee, but the memories are so much better. The wind entices me to wonder. When did I give up on that dream to live by the sea? I should have written the date somewhere.

But, I think I came to Florida in 1971 , in part, to be by the sea.

My wife and I have always visited the sea—our hearts beat with the waves, the light, the clouds and all those rolling, crashing waves.

A unique understanding comes when a person interacts with something as large as a mountain range, a desert, an expansive ocean or anything so vast as the diamond night sky. There’s a sense of oneness with the pebble, sand or shell at your feet, or single star overhead——they are so much like the size of us when compared to the entirety of life.

Ask a mountain climber, a diver or those who love to walk the desert why they do what they do. They will think, ‘Because I do’, and then they will offer words about this or that, words that can never fully explain the gut of the matter. Perhaps, the best way to answer is to say, “The majestic helps clear the clutter.”

Lake Bonaparte has a beauty each day, though different from one day to the next.  The views allow the heart to rest.

We all need to clear the clutter in our heads—the majestic world is our best reflection, our best chance to right the wrongs in our thinking. Our environment is us; say hello.

We need to make peace with ourselves.

Do you remember being ten and testing out a new pair of sneakers? How fast you ran; how you seemed to fly: you’d never be undone!

I’m the 8ish year old with his hand on his hip….and black speed-o

Growing up is fascinating and maybe we never stop owning that same self amazement throughout our lives. Maybe, internally, we all hunger for the truth, a correction in our way of thinking that sets us in place, a certain notion that helps identity our true sense of being in the universe.

My sister and I still meet at the ocean whenever we can…this is Roatan.

Maybe, this understanding is why we yearn to face the magnificent spectrum of life as it appears before us from place to place. It’s more than humbling; it’s being united.

Let’s get together. Let’s listen to the morning wind; it whispers the truth. Good morning.

Franque23.


Here’s the deal—no fish is going to an Ivy League school. It doesn’t matter how many fins they have, their underbelly colors don’t count and the tail size has no Equal Opportunity standing.

But, do fish think?

oh my gosh–I’m on a stringer–now what?

Of course not! Fish swim around dropping eggs like flies and eat each other when possible. The don’t really go to school, and how many very tiny books has anyone every found on the bottom of the Ocean, or any lake? I have yet to read any book written by a fish (though I’ve wondered) and they’re all nudist no matter the water temperature which is a bit off.

Still, this odd worm of a thought keeps luring me into its weedy lair, and it’s so bad I hate to ask. Fishermen/women, secure the oars.

Here it is on a swivel hook: why, or better yet, how can lures that once worked so well in the past not work to catch fish worth a flip ten years later? No, listen, this is important. Let’s examine the flat fish lure , all the rage in the 1960’s and thru the 70’s. It was a great, effective lure for catching Northern’s trolling or flipping the shore line for bass.  Now? It’s as if every fish alive has been through the drill and knows to never eat a flatfish lure? Why? How can this Be?  Is it a matter of fashion? But then this would indicate fish have a sense fashion? “Oh my God! I’d never be caught dead biting that lure!” The fish said.

See? What’s the deal? Do fish have amber-alert type memos that last beyond lifetimes? Fish ten generations removed from the flatfish lure eating frenzy still know today not to strike those lures. Let’s face it, it’s been 50 years since Mankind knew cigarettes cause cancer and we still smoke them! Or, how about those hamburgers I still buy from time-to-time in fast-food places? Those are good for me, right?

Yep, whatever the reason, fish seem to communicate important life lessons through generations better than humans. That’s odd; this is what I’m saying.

Okay, forget all the writing, just answer me this: why do fishing lures become less effective over time?

In the meantime, check out this great link of many, many interesting facts…they’ll hook ya.

https://www.thoughtco.com/hilarious-historical-facts-4154997?utm_campaign=wilat&utm_medium=email&utm_source=cn_nl&utm_content=12721193&utm_term=

Cheers…. have fun this wkend

Franque23

I let the big ones go. So, is this how it happens? “Tellin’ ya, I was abducted by a weird bald guy and put on a string , then let go…I got caught on a white plastic worm: don’t go there.”


About that Morgan-Franquemont conflict: The Royals verses the pirates.

It’s a miracle any Morgan Pirates survive, with Joe Morgan driving off of bridges as a kid, with ladies running a muck who need,’How to wear hat lessons,'(This photo blocked by the Who knows Who) and Dave Morgan, now gone, bless his soul, who once fell into the brink at age three without a care in the world or knowledge of how to float. Ripley’s Believe It or Not has maybe called me twice about this family,* but I’ve taken the high, Royal Road and decided to write this glob only.

To begin, it’s obvious the Noble Franquemont line is ready to take control.

It’s a Royal bunch…those who will lead us are pictured above and below.

We can rest assured of our humble Leadership.

And here is pictured the foundation of our Royal belief…our backyard entrance to our home’s Nobel courtyard in Germany-*(Thanks to my wife for this wonderful shot.)

Should you dare step inside the courtyard of our ancestral home, you would see this.

And here are some of our joined generation that solidified the Franquemont (okay, Morgamont) victory at Lake Bonaparte.

But, truthfully, most Morgan pirates need to be in jail. NO, really, I think I could sell them time shares in prison!

It’s not because of their politics, their thievery, their gluttonous drankin’ and absolute aversion for just about anything normal, no,,,these are their very best parts. The worst of the lot lie in the shadows of innocent looks, half bent smiles and spineless attacks when the Royal Franquemont Guard is sleeping, or talking , or eating, or just fartin’ around paying no attention to the Pirates.

Do you see how young the pirates begin to sneak their way into our unsuspecting hearts!

And Pirates the Morgan’s be, every lad and lass of them, the worst sort. Call the cops! No, wait, he’s one of them no good, double fistin’ potato chip eating lot.

The fellow on the right is by marriage one of them, and he’ll arrest anyone of us on the spot—the cop that he is. The middle man, Nick Morgan, be just that, a go between who claims the Morgan name but not the politics. And on the left, a Royal, Craig the Car-is locked,(Carlock) member who listens to all sides.

Well, at least the Morgan’s will have trouble posting bail….oh wait, one of them was or still is a fierce bail’s man guys?

The Morgan man at Dakota’s back was once a bailsmen. Ben the Morgan is now an insurance guy. Ha! He wants to insure your life.

The Crime as witnessed this past July on the 24ish upon the dock of Innocence….

It was a clear day, the waters calm, as I stood unsuspecting on our new dock, recovering from three cracked/bruised ribs, a torn right leg and fatigue it’d cost me to build it**.  Mike the Smile, Pirate Murphy, as he’s called, came kayaking up to me all, well, smiles. Aye, if I hadn’t been in such a pleasant ruling mood I might have notice his smile seemed a bit skewed. Sure enough , our pleasant conversation was soon followed by Nick the Wicked and his protege, Blake, known as Blinko the Pirate, who laid my smiles to waist. I always take the high, Royal road so I never suspected foul play as Blinko raced up the stairs while Mike the Smile Murphy and I shared conversation. Moments later, Nick and Blinko hauled ass off in their kayak with my beers and soda’s in hand!!! Yellin’ all the while! This will forever be known as the Slithering Smile theft of 2018.

I’ll have em’ walkin’ the steps to the lake when I catch up to them.

(Our half way dock steps.)

They took my very best beer—not to be replaced throughout the reunion—and some super soda I’d never miss. It was a horrible sight, and then Mike, the bad smilin’ Murphy, slid like a snake away in his kayak to follow the pirates.

This is typical stuff from the Morgan Pirates; I have to cheer, Nick Morgan, however, who is smart to realize in his own words, “Trump is a con, a cheat and lizard eating suck head with no brains…”***So there is hope for the genes. Anyway, with our Franquemont Royal empathy I will spare the Morgan lot this time.

For now, let them eat ice cream!

(BTW-this is one shot of the new dock.)

The decree has been decried? It reads like this: “I don’t know, something will happen in two years at our next reunion…dead fish in the frig…something.” This man in a new Franquemont helmet guarantees it!

Meanwhile, I’ll be checking passports when getting aboard from now on.

But there is one more thing. Through tough negotiations, tireless days and nights on scotch and beer, we have decided to claim the Morgamont dock, ( a half-way dock located between the bluff and lake as pictured four shots above), as a safe heaven from any intentional farting, photo bombing or fire burning, stuff like that. It’s sorta like during World War 11 when countries agreed to not bomb special places like France’s, Versailles, as they bombed and killed 60 million people else where.

We will, instead, follow this new helmet wearing man to the,’New,’ Marina and camp ground…

It’s all good.

Franque23

Calling me the absolute, forever King will do for now.

  • Not true….believe it or not.
  • **Our ancestral home in Germany.
  • ***See previous glob—Bonaparte Dockin’
  • ****This may not be an exact quote….

 

 

 

 

 


Long before Elvis knew he’d be a star

Or, when Chuck Berry showed the world how to play guitar on Johnny Be Good…

Yes! Even before John Wayne saved the West…

The Morgamont genes were already in motion.

Simply…Two households, both not alike in dignity,
One in fair Iowa, where we lay our scene, and then to the lake,
From ancient grudge of dogs. Socks and Specks, break to new mutiny,
Where pirate blood makes Royal hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two friends
A slew of star-cross’d cousins take each other’s beers;
Whole misadventured piteous throws in the lake
Do with their new sign bury their parents’ strife. (As if…)*

So long ago, before their division, they stood in the same row, but without a boat between them.

My dad(far right) and his sister, Virginia,(middle) had grown from among the flowers in my Grandma’s garden.

So near the Dutch Elm lined streets of Des Moines, Iowa.

And as to my father, neither he nor his dad and brother’s knew before the war what fate lay ahead for their lives and their children’s frolics. The sun shone on every face.

(My Dad, Max, is the oldest next to his dad…before WW 11)

Soon, the brothers split into different war divisions to fight for America. New uniforms were put on, new bonds were made and the flower of family grew beneath the struggle of separation.

My dad stood strong.

His sister, Virginia, met a soldier.

And during the war, the new families met at Grandma Franque’s house in Iowa, or where they could.

My mom helps at the table in Des Moines while my sister, Sharon, seems quite happy!

Here is some very early evidence of the merge to come between the Morgan pirates and Royal Franquemonts!

The die was cast, as my Uncle Mo, Aunt Virginia, and the Roland and John Franquemont group conspire to create history. My grandparents stand helpless to stop it.

My Uncle John and Aunt Donna were too happy to notice how the drift of time was tumbling..

Only the very young, Robin and myself, crying as we were so aware, foresaw the coming, Franquemont, Morgan, Morgamont was near..

Bill and Buzz Franquemont stood in shock while Jim and Joe planned their escape on bikes…

Alas, those Morgans grew a cute bunch. Robin with his Bow tie and Joe with a look that could sell any car he’d driven into the river. Claudia a looker from the start and Ginny realizing she had her hands full.

Yep, in the end, I’ve come to love each and every last one of them—and I’ve met some in far off places…like the two wearing super funny hats…

.

As it turns out, what the Morgan pirates steal best is the theft of the heart.  So back in the day, I guess the grandparents, the parents, they all knew what they were doing and they could not have laid the bonds between our stars stronger.

Maybe the night sky at Lake Bonaparte whispered the truth loud enough so we could hear.

And to think, they’re always there…

Yes, I think Lake Bonaparte can help show the light.**

 

From the old to the new. The lines will continue to grow together, and never apart.

 

On a night to remember Dave Morgan…

(around 1956)..(I’m the sexy kid in the Speedo)

We’ve come together many times at Lake Bonaparte. And of the last two times….

 

(2014)

(2018)

The full moon came over the Morgamont Dock for the first time. (July, 2018)

(Franquemont camp and dock is on the right—the Morgamont deck  is just above)

Cheers

Franque23

  • Read more Shakespeare
  • **Yes, these are actually night sky shots taken at Lake Bonaparte…Thanks for them, Ross Franquemont.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thirteen years ago I built a dock with cousins. This year’s dock is my last, uno over, no mas, caputio, last forever to build. Promise—

building the dock 13 years ago.

The reunion of our families happened again this year, and in a big way. First, though, there was lots for me to get ready for the crowd. Me? I hoped to fish, fish, fish during the eight days lead time I had until the reunion start day plus some other stuff done—like covering our aging dock in plywood sheets to steal one more year out of the structure—

I arrived to an empty camp…

And thought about the picture I’d had taken of me while holding a shot of my dad sitting before a fireplace when he was in college some zillion, light-years ago.

I thought about the fishing I’d get done before the gang arrived…

This shot is from 2012. Not a bad night in Mud Lake.

2008

hmmm forget date,,thought it was on picture.

I’ve caught a number of good fish over time but the monsters usually come years apart. This year was different.

It took Thursday evening and most of Friday for me to ready camp before I could venture out across the Lake and ‘test’ the waters at about 6 P.M.

Boom, as pictured in the previous glob, the big ones hit.

I stepped off the boat and about promptly fell thru the dock to my hip/.

My right leg was bruised from calf to upper thigh, and those marks would take twenty days to almost vanish—It seemed after inspection that topping the dock for the reunion was a no go, and I’d have to replace the entire dock before 49 people including 21 children showed up in a week’s time.

The official estimate to replace the dock was 7 thousand, so I bought 2 grand worth of lumber and rallied with friends, Randy, Brain and Tony to get her done. I spent two days ripping up old dock boards and hauling the wood laden with nails away for safe keeping to a burn pile. Then, Randy showed me a better way to remove the boards-rather than plying them up one by one, he cut the heck out of them first so the small boards could be sledge hammered up and off.

Three days later we had about 2/3 of the lumber in place for use to build the new dock and tools in hand.  Dock work is tough in and out of the water work, and dangerous. Tony took a broken piling steel cable into his leg, but he’d just gotten a tetanus shot so he carried on. My leg hurt but so does life. It was the third day as I walked on an old beam we’d all used as we moved docking boards when it gave out under me. I fell like a stone and hit a piling timber with my ribs. My guess was I’d fractured a rib or three….but what can you do with that? Nothing. I steadied to realize I could breathe, move with pain but not danger. The job went on, but from that moment on I couldn’t use my left side for strength, and resembled a snail on dry land while working, especially when hauling my butt in or out of the water.

The job took 135 man hours, (65 of mine)and some long days-Randy worked one 13 hour one day by my side. We  sorta finished—all but for one hundred top deck screws I did later—exactly one half day before my grand children arrived and one and 1/2 days before 49 relatives came.

We had the most glorious week for the reunion…and all the while I remained thankful the weather had held for us dock workers the previous week. Up there at Bonaparte, bad weather can stop everything for a day or two if it decides to.

It came time for everyone to leave and I dropped my grand kids and wife off at Utica for the train with another day and one half left to fish–at last…..Ha;hahahaha…. not.

For some reason I thought my dock injuries were done?!!? Yeah, so my last night there I hit Mud lake only to have the sky dump rain on my head as I raced back to the dock. Once there, I notice an umbrella had been turned over all the while of the reunion. If only I’d realized the one dock board with nails I hadn’t removed was secretly hidden beneath that umbrella’s fallen top. I lifted that umbrella top to right the stand, the board slipped off the upright and landed a 16 penny old, rusty nail into the top of my ankle.

Think Mash (tv show) when I pulled that nail out of my ankle…I ran up 48 steps to wash out the wound and get a towel to soak up the blood… ten minutes of pressure and a first aid kit later I raced to local medical center room but it was closed. I headed back to the lake and noticed the sky had cleared and hobbled down to go fish again…(clearly, I’m a fisherman with a huge problem, doctor.) In truth, the real pain didn’t set in for about two hours. Once I returned to camp, I realized I was in the worst pain I’d ever felt. A relative got me to Carthage hospital for x-rays, antibiotics, and pain killers.

I was resting in bed by four A.M. wondering what I might have caught this year if fate didn’t hate me.

So now,,,almost a week later, I’m home, working, recovering as the swelling and pain are subsiding. Dang it, if I’d only gotten to fish more.

Here’s to docks everywhere–they are a pain in the butt to build. Dock nails can go to hell and if you catch a big fish this year at Bonaparte that was the one I would’ve had if only…..Nah, actually, it’s all good. I loved building the dock with the guys; I’ll fish next year and not fall thru it!

Franque23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(click the pic for a better view)

Our love makes a rose blush.

There’s a light between us; you know.

How can love move not as a sound, not even as a whisper, but with such force air is washed away to bring clarity?

Love is the moment we never forget. I will never forget.

*

Of all the ways of knowing, the heart is the true map maker of the soul. That map of a soul’s love burns without end, always lighting the way no matter how often it’s left.  The course seems unknown but it remains a lover’s best friend, always waiting to be found, read and followed.  To follow is best. This path dissolves differences in the soul as simply as a mirror loses a reflection.  Might we step away from the difficulty of life and walk into another space where love is the reflection? How far can that journey be?

(This is a stream we call , The River Sticks, that flows near Micanopy, Florida….my wife’s shot.)

The field of love is daunting and magnificent. Beauty radiates to shame the sun; light beams illuminate shadows without dispelling their shape. The glistening water, flowers of purple, pink, daisies of so many colors, even the fallen leaves thread together to become the softest thistledown that’s blown by purpose. Hearts hope to follow. Hearts watch and hear that gliding, floating seed as it infuses vision with images as real as our thoughts and dreams. Soon, our hopes become our visions and, if we dare, an endless walk to understanding ensues. There’s so much to leave behind and so much to learn again; the feet get tired but the heart remains determined.

When true lovers look out and see themselves, then, they know.

And when I followed the course of love, I went beyond the moon to pass Jupiter and Pluto to find a space beyond where Time began. There, I found you, again.  The Universe is never surprised, so my hand found your grasp to fit as if we’d never let go—we could never let go. Separation was never possible.

( this is my shot, and it went with  a glob I love...https://franque23.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/the-man-with-a-wave-a-holiday-story/  )

We fell spinning into the smell of fresh, spring grass. This was us. Love remained the flower, gentle, unassuming, radiant, a flower lost only to a moment repeated, forever. And in this moment the sun became a blanket; the breeze blew cool to perfectly lift your face. Birds sang, ringing my ear more in time than can be imagined but for the beating of a heart.

The heart is Life’s echo chamber.

I’ve turned around to find time slipped. There are so many painted canvases beneath beds that will never be put up again. There are so many numbers we’ve shared that we’ll never dial—so few are left to answer. Our voices though not gone are different. Still, my heart refuses to hear.

Of course, it’s time to listen. Everyone knows the time.

**

People say it’s a calling, a voice heard, a secret message from the heart as a tap on the shoulder so forceful it causes a person to turn to find no one is there. It’s time to revisit the waters, the field that seemed so intimidating at first, as if every step along my way would bend the grass and leave a mark unwanted. I leaped ahead to run and splash back then anyway, trusting love was there as it seemed to always be.

Jan, 1983 I know who to thank on this Father’s Day….

What a flight, this place called love. And what I have to offer in return are things that aren’t mine to give, the sky, the ocean, those crunchy shells in the beach sand at your feet, the wind, a warm rain and an icicle’s reflected light. I’d bundle it all for you but still the gift would not be enough to give in return for love.

“Words are never enough.” I read this upon a wall and knew a writer’s heart had left a message.

Love.

But, you know.

Bonaparte glistens….

Thanks Mary Sherman for this shot.

We love the Shermans

I’m on the far right with my cousins, sister and brother.

Franque23-

*This is Cassie Anderson’s first painting…It hangs in our camp at the lake. I’m in the boat with  her dad, Rob Morgan…..

**This is my brother, Ed Franquemont, standing before the steps of his passion-the Peruvian culture.


Last year at about this time it was exciting to recommended a day trip to all those up at the lake. The nearby huge rocks and flowing stream was a joy to climb and search throughout Greenwood State Park. (Just east of Harrisville off Rt 3.) * If you haven’t been, and especially if you have children nearby, like in your shadow, 🙂 take that journey.

The stream falls at a good clip…

The rocks are a blast to climb. And this park is free to visit. That’s right-no charge to slip on your rump!

Of course, you could stay at the lake and get in a boat and cruise past the lore of Beer Island—yes an entire Island that once was a bar:-)

or you might take a spin around the naked backside of Round Island,** now a place of camps,

For the longest time, neither Birch Island nor Round Island had any camps on them…Pictured below was the first for Round Island…

Or, you might scare the bejesus out of younger ones by idling down across Mud Lake to navigate a stumpy run on your way to Apline(a) dam. (Oh my gosh, as  kid I always thought we’d hit something in Mud Lake and sink!) And, though I digress, Birch Island got its name because, “Once upon a time, in a place called Bonaparte,” that spot had so many birch trees along it’s shoreline the Island appeared almost white!  This was the same time when High Rocks was only topped by a singular, small wooden cabin occupied by a man they called, Doc Holiday. This was the same time that bull rush bay teemed with bull rush and the hotel weed bed shore line was a muddy, grass laden flat without a home in sight. Still, even with the lake’s rich history and exciting present, there’s more to do than just hang at the lake when you’re lucky enough to visit its shores.

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It’s a lot of work just hanging at the lake…

I know it’s easy to stay stuck at the lake…it’s way hard to find a better place to be. The day-to-day  beauty of the place can drive a fisherman nuttier than they are already—we often simply drove to the big town of Natural Bridge for an ice cream or to shop lift from our cousin’s Morgan store.

Thanks, David….for the free stuff.

Sometimes, however, no matter how many stories there are to tell about the lake, a day trip from the lake is a venture worth taking.

Here’s the place to go: https://www.wildcenter.org/

This Wildcenter will not disappoint. (And it will lighten your wallet, too!) Built to amaze both the young and old alike, the drive up through Tupper Lake to reach this wacky, eye’s wide open, vista park is well worth the time it takes. It’s well worth the price of admission.  There’s a lot to do in this park so plan to leave the lake by 8 or 9 A.M. and return with smiling, tired faces about seven P.M. for an evening swim.

I always want to go to the Blue Mountain Museum but that seems twice as far as this outstanding park. Once you go, you’ll be caught in the Wild Center’s web….

If you can wrangle out of this spin there’s a tree to march down through with a world of information waiting inside.

It can get tiring but no worries: your average run-of-the-mill chair carved out of a single piece of tree is waiting at the must-see museum half of the park.

It’s an interesting journey.

Hands on drawings/ paintings centers the building.

Who knew there was so much life in the water!?!?!

It’s an easy day spent making memories of a different sort. Nothing like watching my Catahoula Leopard clear 28 feet off our dock for a ball, but as much fin! (Whoops, must be thinking about fishing.) Err, fun!!! I mean.

Wait! Did someone mention fishing?

424281_10151140672799254_1284292637_n1

Maybe a big one might come along

Enjoy!

franque23

*https://franque23.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/lake-bonaparte-tips-1/

** Raise your hand if you never swam naked behind Round Island? Sorry, that boat has sailed…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It’s spring. I haven’t seen as nice a one in Gainesville for three years. It’s cool and has been since March first. Here we are, hitting the last week in April and low clouds keep the sun off as flowers reach for the sky. Birds take baths for fun as bees hum like a humming bird’s wings.

Lately, for years, it’s been way too hot in April to call it spring. The blazing temperatures have started early and blasted through the land until October. But this isn’t the norm, not if you consider the past forty years. This year has felt right. The winter hit hard for ten days or so and now March and April have refused to spring forth too quickly.

Have you ever noticed how some people come into your life like season’s change your window view? Some personalities bluster their way into your life as a March 1st wind but then drift off, they move, change or seem so different from what you thought. Soon, they are quietly gone, never to be seen again, as if they were a lamb you never knew but watched trot over a hillside you won’t traverse. Other’s secretly appear without notice, but bloom in months or years right under your nose into your everyday experience and you can’t remember when they weren’t there.

Of course, there are those who insist on being every season of person—you call it a stormy relationship, one you can’t contain but wish to keep. They give both smiles and trimming to your everyday self.  You know, the self you think of being the same as when you were half as old. Some seasons of life pass so unnoticed, don’t they? The old whisper to the young, “Take your time and appreciate what you have.” Thing is, when you’re a young burning pit of passion and energy, it’s hard to find a moment to sit back and take a picture of your life. And, it’s even harder to picture life being any different. 

A dog’s love can be like this. It’s learn this, fetch that, let’s go or sit and then in a few short 12 years or so they are gone.* 

(Don’t miss the link below if you love dogs….)

The season’s passing give us our best sense of time. Sundials came to Babylon about 6 thousand years ago and then the ,”Midday,” concept was made popular by the early Egyptians. Pluto invented the first water based alarm clock, but I’ve no idea what this means. Okay, I’ll take a guess. A sand hour-glass balanced a pot of water above your sleeping head until the sand ran out and the pot dumped a pile of cold water on your face?

I’ve always hated alarm clocks.

It’s during these early months of spring and fall when Florida truly becomes a peninsula weather wise. The air inversions over the ocean sends a smooth wind across the sands, the thick jungles and built-up cities of Florida. It’s a bit like Hawaii in Florida during the two seasons—those living in Hawaii are so lucky, right? But, maybe, every place can be magical.

It’s hard for me to imagine a more peaceful place than a late afternoon up at Lake Bonaparte.

Florida Palms made me laugh when I first hit town some 48 years ago. You don’t find these up North. Tall, skinny, they don’t provide much shade but once you hear the wind blow through their rustling fronds you understand.

There’s a life to this part of Northern Florida, where there are still many more trees than people, and maybe many more lakes, streams and brooks than roads. Here, the bear, coyote, brown, red and grey fox trot. Deer move by mostly at night, even the wild boar plunder the brush—the panther lives. Like us, those animals and the eagles, hawks, birds of every kind, all living things are all touched by the seasons.

We live in an ocean of time.**

Thing is, it’s possible now that all the animals and even the earth are touched more by us than by the seasons. It’s odd to think that the entirety of life is counting on us. They’re counting on mankind making sense like the seasons have for millenniums, that we will come and pass to leave the future open.

Let’s leave it open…

( Thanks to Bonaparte’s web site for picture.)

A seasoned person is one well schooled by life.  We have great thinkers, great leaders, inventors of all kinds, but are we seasoned? Have we been?

I hope the sand in our hour-glass doesn’t run out too late to wake us up.

Franque23

We have to dream big.

*https://franque23.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/toby-toes-youre-a-good-dog/

** My wife of 38 years, though I’ve known her for 45, but who’s counting;-) Bye.


(Click the pic for a larger view)

It can be fun to see what people have done with snow over the decades…

Ski-cars?

so let’s take a look…..

Like way before I was a tie wearing sixth grader in Meadow Drive—(I’m the 6th from the right in the back row)

Way before our house on Long Island, N.Y. was often buried by nor’easter’s during the winter. Here’s a pic. of our home in Roslyn Heights. My room was second floor on the left.

Long before I built this snowman to my father’s delight and Mom gave me the carrot for the nose…

Gal’s used to,’shovel sled,’ as it was called. I think these gals were having fun! 

Here’s three actual Olympic champions sharing the limelight….about 1928–all three were medal winners-1st thru 3rd in figure skating.

Boys will be boys; girls will be girls- this group decided to dance in the snow in what was called ‘ underwear’ back then. 1926…so this photo is extremely risque …..

Here’s New York City in the 1920’s. (I’m guessing the man ‘breaking his neck’ thought one of the ladies was a ‘looker.’)

Whoops, here’s our lake house at Lake Bonaparte, New York, just in the foot hills of the Adirondacks. Thinking this was taken about three years ago. It went down to -25 this year up at the lake. Our camp is in the background.

It can snow a bunch up there- people have landed planes on the ice of Lake Bonaparte and often drive cars over it during the deep winter months.

Speaking of driving….all sorts of methods were developed in the past to glide cars over the snow.

And, at one time, Santa lived in the Adirondacks…People could go meet his reindeer!

Some Europeans are very used to the snow. Here they bask in the daylight warmth at a restaurant!!! I don’t imagine I’d visit unless I’d been served on ice.  Or, as a customer, “Please, may I have five gallons of hot tea, like now….”

Okay, this is interesting…These two gals were sisters and a successful dance/comedy routine in the flapper era…they worked under the name, The Dolly’s….hmmmm,, Hello, Dolly anyone?

Through rain, sleet and snow–they really meant it and still do.

I’m thinking this boy’s love for this doggie has nothing to do with the keg on the dog’s neck.

Do policemen always get it in the end? Nah, they’re just all havin’ fun.

Why am I thinking this isn’t the best way to test the ice? Unless I’m the guy on the far left…

Here’s the deal, people like to do just about anything in the snow. Making snow angels, snow balls as big as a car, snow ball fights are huge, sledding, sliding, rolling on the snow and making snow forts as I did as a kid-it’s all fun! People ski naked, run and jump into snow naked and have a ball(no pun intended) naked* in the snow.

Snow is truly a winter wonderland but for driving. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I love to drive in the snow…” Nope, not once.

But still, snow fall can be magical. I could watch snow fall from my bedroom window as a kid in the street light located on the corner of our property on Long Island. Soft and whirling, silent but so real, the piles of snow upon the trees, yards, cars and street filled my eyes with delight. It all meant that tomorrow there would be no school, and in the morning I’d run out onto the unblemished lawns of blanketed snow to be the first to step across the pristine, smooth snow-fallen landscape. Those foot prints have remained in my heart forever though my red boots have long been cast aside.

There’s magic to life, and snow is part of the wonder.

Now, I’m more than forty years a Florida boy, but I’ve never forgotten snow. Never will.

Franque23

bye 

*you’ll have to google that yourself….

 

 

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