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(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.

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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?

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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….

 

 


Jed’s still a child in my mind’s eye. We’re running across the bluff by Lake Bonaparte where our lake house stands today; his brother Johnny is still alive. Jed’s a skinny kid who knows more than me, taller,  wise with eyes clear enough to see through. We’re laughing for good reason—we don’t know any different.

The wild outside had nothing on our childhood dreams, hopes and expectations. The cool lake water tickled our toes and pleased our fancy. Our younger days passed so quickly, days never tethered but set free by a glistening lake so perennial and steadfast as the universe.

Jed, you’re forever my cousin.

Truth: the lake bunk house rocked with laughter. Sleeping bags kept us warm on cots as nights made of stars crept overhead. Jed had then and always a special knack that makes me belly laugh. I’d roll inside bent over after hearing his pensive hilarious words so dryly spoken without a wasted syllable. Recently, there was this moment:

“Oh, being a tax collector has it’s tough moments.”—I could see the painful far away look in Jed’s eyes— “Catching people cheating on taxes, fining them more than they can afford to pay and then working them through payment negotiations; it’s all tough. But that’s not the most fun I’ve had working-other things come up, too.” It’s belly laugh roll on the grass time for me.

We stood together, grown men on the bluff as the setting sun dazzled rolling lake waves. The wind seemed at our back; Beer Island, High Rocks, Birch Island and Round Island so distant punctuated every day we’d spent in the spot as children.

A few years later we visited the lake again…

“I’m not sure about going to the castle.” Jed puffed on his cigar as he looked my way.

“Why? It’s our family’s castle; we should go to Germany.”

“We’re so different now— I don’t know how that would work.”

“Ah, that’s all just politics; this is blood; it will be good.” (Jed told me eight years ago that he had a ‘special’ circular file where he put all my blogs*, especially the political ones…)

“Well,” puff on cigar again, “let me think about it.”

I thought Jed would come.

He belongs.

As it turned, Jed never did make the trip to Europe this past September. Opportunity, so often a doubled edged sword, has struck its blow. No, Jed was only there in spirit with me just as it is for every cousin of mine. To me, the bonds of family never break but boil in the blood and remain as resilient as images of  Lake Bonaparte appear in my head. Some cousins long dead 11 or 13 years ago, and even Johnny now 55 years gone, still linger in my heart.

Long ago, Grandma Franque smiled at our young, prancing feet at the lake in a way I can only appreciate some 60 years later. She saw what Jed and the rest of us had then; family. I feel that now.

Goodbye, Jed, my lakeside cousin.

It’s impossible to weigh a heavy heart-

Franque23

 

  • *.i.e. trash can

Yep– the loyal Republicans who have clamored for decades about States Rights verses a strong central Government of rampant legislation now approve the concealed weapon permit from one state to another no matter how any state’s populace has voted on the issue. Wow…

How’s about all the taxes ‘righties’ have clamored against for sooo long but now their guys in Congress are all ‘feel good’ about double taxation! Yes, that’s right…er it’s wrong, but whatever,…Thing is if you limit the deductions of ANY state paid states or local taxes than people’s earnings that paid those taxes will once again be taxed as income–a second time, get it? So Republicans now promote double taxation! Let’s all stand up and cheer…right? Or, should we all take a knee?

We all need to take a walk in my ancestor’s garden and talk things over….

Trump’s team of slurred meaning slips up to the idea that Trump’s Mar A Lago estate in Palm County is the so-called, “Southern White House.”  But that’s “Not true,” say every sense of reality. Trump owns this semi-palace and he has Doubled the fees paid by public users since his election!!! Gee–wait, what? Is Trump profiting from his Office?!??! Er, duh!

“Hello! Hello! Trump’s privately profiting off his office–that’s illegal…”

A zillion meme’s and posted notes have expressed despair at the over-all doings of this current administration-cutting the knees out from under the needy, undermining our healthcare system and stashing billions of tax cuts for the rich into his next run for office.  And then we have this administration increasing taxes on anyone not extremely wealthy via a misnomer-ed ‘tax cut’ that will really be a tax increase as years pass for anyone not in the top 1% of tax payers.

But I felt this reader, (okay-my wife) said a few things very well in this….

“It is a dilemma. I know that I generally do tend to think that people who don’t see things my way are wrong. But there is so much history to prove that the GOP solutions have never worked, and have been destructive, and have led to the economic disparity and shrinking of the middle class, I find it so hard to respect people who don’t look at the history,or science, or have some agenda that I find offensive. Especially where bigotry and exclusion come into play. I prefer the motto “Humanity matters”. It is hard to disagree and still maintain some semblance of a relationship. But that leads to further polarization. Arguing doesn’t work, because minds are fixed. There is a belief that Trump will turn the economy around for everyone by bringing business back.If so, I hate the cost, and have a secret hope that businesses have learned the lessons of lawsuits when their lack of regulation led to illness and death. Everyone should re-visit Erin Brockovich. Things were not working for too many, especially in the rust belt, and there is a division between the needs of urban and rural voters. Maybe the world will move ahead in energy and conservation of resources without the GOP and US government. But I sure hate that about 30% of my income goes to taxes that ultimately do not provide me with a better quality of life, but a worse one,”

My way-smart wife….

Well, like it or not, the entire American work force is about to be , “Trickled down” upon…get towels.

The environmental blood bath featured by this administration is a wretched thing to behold. Somewhere, somehow, this group of right-winged Christians in Washington have forgotten it’s our charge to care and nurture this God-given Earth…

Ireland’s earth

It’s been a great ninth year for this glob post; readers from sixty-four countries read this glob last year, a bit down from sixty-seven countries the previous year and I have to wonder: did a few countries get blown up or something? Hope not, but our ex-security head gives us a 3 in 10 chance of having a nuclear blow-out with North Korea. Who likes those odds? Not me.

Those are the odds?

I like Peace; love. How about you?

We are too perfectly normal.

Much more to come this year. I’ve an entire side of my family you don’t know much about and it’s a wonderful, American story. Plus, I’ve loads of pictures from 2017 yet to post on gardening fun and family cheer!  See you soon….

We can do this thing. We can get our country together again, strong, back on track and be World Leaders once again.

Cheers for 2018.

 

Franque23

 

 


Subtitled: Weird for Good Reason.)

It’s true, I’ve forgotten the one thing I’m certain of. Still, it’s time to run along.

So here it is, a real toy soldier that’s sold. It depicts a soldier of the Von Franquemont regiment, my ancient relatives.(1760ish)..The best I get it, five Von Franquemont sons of Karl Eugen, once ruler of most of Germany, were all the heads of fighting Regiments who fought throughout Indonesia, throughout Europe—most notably against Napoleon around Paris—Germany and as far away as Cape Town , South Africa.

We have a reproduction of the Regiment’s flag. What fun and, of course, the ruler had the largest castle in Stuttgart. The second largest in Germany today.

It’s a bit large…160 rooms, and kept up by Germany as a come look-see attraction.

Home sweet home.

Anyway, finally, my wife and I along with my sister will be going to the castle this September. I intend to claim the castle and grounds as mine as long as my sister promises to post bail.

It’s a small place with its own theater and library for the public to use…,

Thing is, this same  pauper of a guy built this castle in Stuttgart….

Every man needed a hunting camp-

And, sadly , there stands in another nearby location the rubble the Von Franquemont Castle, over run in 1660, but it turns out Karl Eugen is one of us.  All Franquemont’s today are the last lines of this man.

But of it all, the trip, the stays and the transfers and planning for our European trip,  how to care for our doggie, Shadow, who’d be left home loomed most predominately…After thinking of neighbors, friends, maybe dog stay places we found a woman and daughter my wife has known for a while. They are perfect and love dogs. They met us and Shadow yesterday for hours and hours at our home but here’s the deal— it turns out the woman was born in Stuttgart!!?!?! Is that a kick?

There’s a lot to plan with a 22 day trip to London, Dublin—cliffs of Moher—then a stay at an inland castle at, RosCommon, where my sister-in-law’s relatives made their home. The castle is a modernized spa where we plan to rough it out on horseback and in spas…( I hope they don’t make me sit in a castle and gorge on delicious food). Then, we have time in Paris before the Germany stop.  That’s when I’ll  see the castle.

So yeah, maybe I could’ve been a king but I’m not, so I fish Lake Bonaparte instead. Sob…..

Bonaparte was rocking several years ago. Bass dying to get caught–err, sorry. Them’s large planks, honest.

I went out with relatives almost every night during this family reunion and we came back with keepers each time.

Keepers of what is the question…

We all gathered to fish—or drink stuff, anyway…. BTW.. the Morgan store in Natural Bridge ( owned by my relatives) had a stand up walk in cooler stuffed full of beer…I never tried any more than a thousand, but I heard it was very good super cold. I mean, really, you could walk around in this cooler, as I hear it.

We caught all of this one night in mud lake fishing, just before sundown….I know, it’s a bit odd—artificial worms were working best…*

Do you realize how hard it is to catch green peppers on plastic worms in Mud Lake? About as hard as getting Mexico to pay for the wall…anyway…..

we all fished that year–it was a sight to see, people diving off the boat to catch em’ bare handed.

In fact, the entire thing was a sight to report, you know, to the police..

There was a rogue ship launched,, and who could stop her?

Delirious people thought they’d might have the way with our Von Franquemont Kingdom….NOTish.

Never gonna happen…

But still, there was more, or something…

We gathered aboard the vessel and stood in line while out to sea,, not knowing what we’d catch…

We had the best line’s women and guard doggie,,,sounding the bottom as we neared the shore.

No, it’s not too shallow yet, mate.

Still, the fishing went on into the night…

Or maybe it was the next day, not sure….. but we bellied up.

Life was good once again in the Kingdom I never owned…and I could rest, relax, tomorrow was another day….

Maybe a big one would come along

Or not, and none of that mattered….we were at the Lake….Lake Bonaparte. Three cheers to Kingdoms of a kind; three cheers to the Lake.

Fun times as the summer ends.

Then again, for the times they are a-changin’.. to what? Gotta ask with our nutty political scene. Is it all ,’Fake news?’

Our doggie , Shadow, water skiing-he’s the best at it. Bigly, huge.

My brother and me in the Caribbean….We used lot’s of sun tan lotion

Actually, anything goes now…..get the drift…Cheers.

Franque23

melons for sale-somewhere.

*thinking this might be part of last year’s crop…..not sure. I think they’re keepers.

 


(Click the pic for a larger view…)

There’s nothing like untangling fishing line between twelve wrapped together poles. Snaggin’ a finger with treble hooks while organizing the tackle box or sitting on a lure as you get into the boat all make the top ten of fishin’ moments as well. Basically, these memorable times mean one thing: you’re going fishing so what’s not to like?! Maybe, that thunder in the distance isn’t perfect, but it could be Fort Drum?—anything’s possible.

Where, when, how and what to use to catch fish is the question few sane people ask on a daily basis. Me? Yeah, I think about this about non-stop while up at Lake Bonaparte, that and where is the bottle opener. Of course the wind, cloud cover, angle of the sun, water temp and where I put the bottle opener plays big in the exact answers, but that’s all too much for now.

Where to fish: I have to vibe it out.

Anyway, before you go skinny dipping thinking a Northern can bite your butt cause you didn’t catch one that day, it might be better to switch to bass when it comes to this retort. Thing is, kid you not, years ago a fellow* was actually bit on the leg by a bass so large that he had to go to the hospital!??!?! Where? The fishermen ask?…..near the Sherman’s dock in Porter’s bay…daylight hours with the lake temps good for swimming.( That’s the drop on that Bass attack.)

It’s August and maybe the dog days of fishing at Lake Bonaparte.

With nothin’ to do, it’s time to fish.

The water temps go high for bass so most big fish go low. BTW, when I was a kid a century ago, my Dad and Uncle Moe Morgan used to fish high Rocks with three colored lead line to troll deep for Walleye and Northern. I thought, back then, the line ran fifty feet per color but it must have been about 25 feet…Anyway, the color would help them know how much line was out and how deep they were running those ten inch long, wooden lures-much like an un-jointed Rapala.

There’s so much to say about them days……sigh.

Dave Morgan with his parents; me with mine-only one left, now.

Okay, back to task. While it does matter if you’re fishing for numbers, size or with children who need to catch one when it comes to where and when to fish, I’ve a few basic tips to share some may not know.

I’ve fished the Lake for more than 60 years that I can remember.

The early morning is a sight to see; a miraculous glorious sun rise while mist rises above the water as a cloak of rainbows that usher forth the call of the loon.

We got close to beating the light.

It’s super quiet, but for your motor noise most are cursing as they turn in their sleep. A heavy mist veils the sky and might give one the opportunity of nailing a bass near shore—I’d be using a white Texas rigged worm through the grass in the shallow Hotel Weed bed or in the stumps in mud lake. But, tellin’ ya, once the mist lifts(which is always too soon) the deals about done til nine through noon that AM. The first light shoots the fish for cover as birds take flight over head.

This light won’t do you much good; time to go kayaking.

Wanna fish the early morning so you have bass for breakfast? Go the night before.

The night before.

There might be a way to have a good time…

There’s a curious thing about the lake that doesn’t entail the fact that you can drop a spinner bait in the middle of Bull Rush bay for a 14 to 17 inch Northern whenever you like.

You can skip dinner if steaks aren’t on the grill and head out. You might try elephant Island, Hammond’s point, the shoal off Beer Island or cast the bays west of Round Island if you need practice casting. But, catching fish at 6ish to 7:30 PM? Drag those lures through the stumps on the south side of Hotel Weed bed. And, I’m sorry about the big foot print fancy boats that ride high on the water with the convenient foot pedal troller–you might as well be marching a band into the area announcing your arrival.

They call it, “Old School.” But for now, something like this will catch the bigger fish. Cane pole in with your oar. Bring drinking water.

Nope, the noise, boat size and motor all matter. Can and will you catch fish using big boats? Absolutely…but, mostly, not the one you’re after; not on Lake Bonaparte.

not a bad night

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Caught em large

9-21-2009 Bonaparte and fish-1

Larger…..!

And small(that’s me on the right with Joe Morgan.)

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Me catching a first fish with big Joe Morgan

Give up the zillion dollar boats and get a flat-bottomed John Boat or V-hulled 10  to 14 footer, two sturdy oars and cut the engine at least twenty yards out. Use your oars to get closer and cane pole with one of them as you get inside the stumps. I usually stay seated unless one is on. If you make a wake you’re moving too fast. The key is watch the water, the drift, the pads and for the movement of fins. Good luck. Use a Texas rig for everything big that hits, they inhale the lure, but for plenty of action use a double hook, most like a Herring set-up, on your single worm.

This best pictures the idea-but I use a plastic worm not live bait. Pre-tie on several sets so if you get snagged you have another double-hook set to use.

This way you catch the tail nibblers, but unhooking small fish or snags can be a pain.

Used to be after 7:30 PM you could back out of the weed bed and head to Hammond’s shoal between Porter’s Bay and Bull Rush Bay to plug around the southeastern shoreline until night fall and catch the limit-not anymore.

44960017

Hammond’s Point east side of Potter’s Bay

Thing is, David Morgan’s friend from the west shore line dumped years(like 20 of them) of bass off at these locations in a catch and release as a favor for David. Dave’s been dead for thirteen years now, and the fish drop off ended years ago. Small mouth still frequent the shoal, but mostly the large ones are gone.**

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“A friend’s been dropping fish off at the point for years.” Dave Morgan 2000.

Nope, if it’s near eight PM you might head out to Mud Lake and know you’ll have the best luck in the last rays of daylight, up tight by the shore.***  The split Rapala can’t rake the lily pads but you won’t miss seven out of ten hits, either. It’s a choice: action or a high percentage of catches per strike. I like the plastic worms unless I know their hitting and the light-of-day is about gone.

There’s more to write from experience and from the histories I’ve heard. Can’t wait to share that, and Lake Bonaparte Fishin’-3 is coming soon.  See ya on the water, at the counters while snagged by those lure sales or at the docs getting hooks removed!

Cheers

Franque23

*Ask Joey Heukrath about this…..or, Mary Sherman may know.

**If you slide around Hammond’s point and cast the shore on down to the huge rock by a camp, you might get action. Lately, I mostly caught the over-hanging cedars here. Paul Doherty and a friend got a big one off the point a few years back, but I swear it was the same fish I’d released from my dock a few months earlier.

***They say a dark worm in light and a light worm for the dark. Mostly, I don’t think so unless you’re fishin’ that nifty shoal off Birch Island.

OH, one more thing,,,, the newer heavy-headed plastic worms imitate the Carolina rigged plastic worms and work best over the open shoals…..


Isn’t that the question? Are those who have gone before us still here? Or, are those departed here some of the time, for a second, hour, day or week and then gone for a while? Could it be the dead are never, ever here at all, gone for good, silent, an empty place in our heart and mind only?

Sometimes I can hear my dad’s voice. “That a boy!”; “Keep your nose clean!”; ” Up an’ at em'”; “Mow today.” Wait, what???*

Really, sometimes I can hear Dad asking me to mow, and I mean asking. Dad was a sweet guy so he’d always asked, never demand, and added a “Hon.” to it. “How about mowing today, hon.” And when Dad did ask me to do something it was a done deal-that’s the way our family rolled.

I’d say dad’s patience and understanding could move mountains.

I’m thinkin’ Dad was successful at about everything he tried to do. The oldest of five siblings, we got it that Dad helped his brothers and sister go through college while he was in school as well. We have accounting books he kept during his younger days and every penny mattered and was tracked. He was on the Queen Elizabeth as it sailed to England loaded with troops during World War II and he was in charge of some of the troops on board. As a chief engineer, he helped in the restoration of Europe after the war, and here at home my family actually drove over a bridge out west that he had designed.

In the end, Dad became a Full Colonel, and upon his death Fort Drum sent an honor guard to play taps and present mom with an American flag on Dad’s behalf. An officer on the base researched Dad’s history of service and told me, “He deserves this.” Later that same day, Fort Drum  flew a missing man formation for him over Lake Bonaparte.  There, low, just above High Rocks, a line of helicopters flew but one was missing in the line formation. My eyes stared at the empty spot and saw my dad’s spirit there. It was quite a send off for a man I’ll never forget.

Thing is, just how, ‘off’, is Dad? Of course, he lives through me since I still hear his voice, remember things he said, still follow his advice when I can and think of him often. I imagine most who knew him remember his kind and gentle way. But, is Dad here, here, as in here.(This my most descriptive sentence ever:-)).

Dad is 72; Kelly one. He gave me so much. I was so happy to be able to give something back.(Thanks to my wife!) He loved his grand children.

If a person lives long enough, they learn that life’s a long road-the long and winding road. Life twists and turns at the drop of a hat, a gift, an accident, a brilliant idea or mistaken one, it tumbles along but always with effort. Perhaps, the best thing I ever read about life is that one lived full of good intention will become a beautiful memory.

The red single Hibiscus… Dad loved flowers and grew all kinds around our home.

To this day I think of Dad as I garden, check the flowers, pick the oranges and smile at the sky. Maybe the question is, How much more could my dad be here?

I was cleaning a spot off the bottom of our pool with a long brush when I noticed that I couldn’t see the spot once the water rippled. Then, as the water return to calm, I could see the spot once more. Is this it? Are the departed still within our medium but the substance is somehow rippled so we can’t see the other side of life? Wouldn’t we all like to know.

Dad shared our joys in life, and gave us so many…

Heck, Dad gave us the camp at Lake Bonaparte! How completely cool is that? The next time I gear up and climb in the boat, hear the engine kick up and head out to fish, Dad will be in the boat, but he won’t need a life jacket.

Bye Dad , for now.

Max Franquemont, July 18th, 1911- October 31st, 2001.

Franque23.

  • Pictures: Dad,  David Morgan, Aunt Virginia(Dad’s sister)  and Uncle Moe Morgan. On the 1/2 way dock at our camp.

 


 

(Some of the pics enlarge with a click.)

Two hundred feet. That’s all that separated my dad’s life from death…

Never were three children so happy over two hundred feet!My brother, Ed, sister, Sharon and my thirteen year-old self owe the distance our lives, too.

Thing is, as miraculous as this story from 1928 truly is, I may have never told my Morgan cousins and extended family the tale?!?!

 come gather around  the Indian and listen up!**

It was long before mom and dad were living on base.

. 

Long before dad was stationed and posed with friends in uniform.

This is the tale I first heard in my house on Pinetree Lane, South Park, as the snow fell and mounted outside. (Yikes! Did I help shovel that?)

 

*****

The Tailspin Story
A True Story by Max R. Franquemont*

Background: ( As my sister, Sharon Franquemont writes:)

One year after Charles Lindberg’s first flight across the Atlantic, my 17 year-old Dad, Colonel Max R. Franquemont, took flying lessons from Sept. 11, 1928 to Oct. 19, 1928. He still had the receipts when he died the fall of 2001 at a little over 90 years old. His 1928 lessons cost $8.75 per 30 minutes. Later, he flew for the US Post Office between Des Moines, IA and Moline, IL. We discovered this story and other young man philosophical and romantic musings in a bottom drawer the night he died. It felt to all of us as if his spirit was reaching back to us as if to say, “Take a risk. Life is an adventure.”

Story: (As my dad recorded it…circa 1928)

We were spiraling in wide curves already above the first layer of clouds with the nose of our speedy scout pointed every upward. The powerful Wasp was running smoothly and evenly, and outwardly everything seemed just the same as it did on any of my many flights the last three months. Inwardly though, my mind was a seething maelstrom. Stunts! Today I was to stunt. At last the day had come that I was longing for and yet feared most. I was to maneuver the plane into the deadly tailspin and out again…if possible! Wing-overs and Immelmans (a flying term) I had mastered before, but now…

I came back to reality with a shock. The motor was laboring and I felt my instructor, fearless fellow, wobble the “Stick.: We were almost in a stalled position, so I edged the stick forward and instantly the motor resumed the reverberating motion which brings victory to an intrepid airplane. My instructor’s voice came through the tube calm, encouraging, “Take it easy! This won’t be so bad.”

Dad’s plane-of any color- would have looked like this one.

I leveled the ship off, gave her a little right rudder, and decided to look about a bit. My eyes sought the distant horizon where etched against the sky I could pick out the spires and water tower of a distant town. I relaxed and watched the ground. Twelve towns were within my vision as my eyes moved from the horizon. I could see a train moving like a caterpillar slowly across the ground; a white ribbon stretching endlessly, crowded with hundreds of black dots, automobiles; and a silver streak, winding between the green and black checkerboard farm land, which I knew to be a mighty river. At last, ten thousand feet below me, appeared the airport dotted with planes looking like dragonflies at rest with smaller mite-like specks—men. Then I spoke into the tube, “Are we high enough yet?”

“No,” said Rip, “better go up to fifteen thousand. About 10,000 now, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I said, “just ten thousand,” and marveled at this judgment of height. He had on instruments in the forward cockpit.

I eased the stick back and held a gentle climb. The ship did not climb so fast now because of the rarer atmosphere, but we gained gradually. Try as I would, I could think of nothing, but the coming spin. Why, of why, had I not insisted on a parachute? On the ground my fears seemed silly and I had not the courage to ask for one. No one in the field ever wore one unless testing a plane so there was only one chute available and it would have seemed funny had I asked for one and left my instructor without. I had my first doubts as to my ability to fly through any situation. Heretofore, I had been unafraid, in fact over-daring, but suddenly I found myself afraid. Only last week a man had been killed before my eyes. Would I be the next? I glanced at the altimeter and my heart jumped. Fourteen thousand! Only a few minutes more and…but what had I to fear? A veteran of a thousand tailspins and crises sat in front of me. I wondered what he was thinking about. What if I should freeze on the controls? What could he do? Well, I just wouldn’t freeze on the controls. I certainly wouldn’t get rattled! I’d let go at the slightest touch on the stick or rudder bar. My instructor’s voice brought me back from my reverie. “This’ll do now” I glanced at the meter—14,500 feet!

“Better do a Immelman or so to get the feel of the ship, “ said Rip.

I put the nose down and gathered speed and then pulled the stick back. Up we went in a zoom and just before the stall I kicked over the rudder as she fell over the wing into a steep dive. I quickly revered rudder and shoved the stick forward. The plane leveled off traveling in the opposite direction.

“Fine,” said Rip. “All right, you keep your hand on the stick and your feet lightly on the rudder bar and I’ll take you through a spin. Safety belt fastened?”

“Yes, let’s go!” I replied affecting bravery I was far from feeling.

Forward went the throttle and back came the stick. The nose went almost straight up and then as he kicked over the rudder and closed the throttle, the ground changed places with the sky, and we were falling. I felt a jerk and knew we were spinning. I closed my eyes because looking at the ground made me dizzy. Suddenly, the controls reversed and the mad whirling ceased. The stick went forward and came gradually back as we flattened out. Then Rip gave her the gun and zoomed within a hundred feet of our altitude.

“Now, you try it,” he said, “and let her spin longer than I did.”

“All right!” I shouted.

The ease with which we came out of the spin had bolstered my courage considerably. I gave her the gun and zoomed. As we approached a stall, I cut the throttle and kicked over full right rudder. The ship fell over on the right wing like a crippled bird and plunged downward. Again I felt that huge jerk and knew we were spinning. I tried to keep my eyes open and watch the ground, but I could not see much from there. I looked at the altimeter and watched the needle swing back 13,500—13,400—13,300—13,200—13,200—13,100—13,00 feet. A thousand feet in less than a minute!

“Well, I guess that’s enough,” came through the ear phones.

I was more than ready to pull her out, so I kicked over the rudder and pushed the stick forward. Almost instantly the spinning stopped, but I was anxious to level off so I pulled the stick back too quickly. For an instant everything went black! I had pulled up so sharply that gravity had drained the blood from our heads.

When I regained my senses, the ship seemed to be hanging in the air, and before I could move it whipped madly over on the left-wing and we were plunging downward in a reverse spin! I kicked over the rudder. No result! The whirling continued. I shouted through the tube.

“Hey! You take her.” No answer.

I looked into the cockpit! I could see nothing! Down we went whirling faster and faster! I fought the controls wildly. Why, oh why did I ever do this! What happened to Rip? How could I stop this d… thing anyway I half sobbed to myself. The wind in the wings and struts rose to a weird scream. Going down. Ten thousand feet read the meter and the needle was racing backward. What should I do? I grabbed the stick savagely and jerked it around. I tried the rudder at all angles, but it seemed to be spinning faster.

I glanced down through the wing and saw the airport directly below me. I could almost imagine the spot where we going to hit. Again I looked at the needle. Nine thousand feet! Only seconds to live. I looked back to see if the rudder or elevator was broken. They were working smoothly, but nothing touched that mad spinning. I tore savagely at the stick. It broke!! It was snapped off at the socket. I threw it furiously over the side and then leaned forward, sobbing hysterically. I threw the goggles off and prayed for a tree. What had I done to deserve this? Why hadn’t I known better than to pull the stick back so soon? Here I’d killed us both!! I could see tomorrow’s paper. Student pilot freezes at the controls, but I hadn’t frozen on the controls. No one would know that though. What would mother think? If we crashed at this speed there would nothing left of me to bury. I looked at the instrument board—only three thousand feet to live. Was I to die this way so soon? Would I never see my folks again? I leaned forward against the dashboard and sobbed, heartbroken.

Suddenly the rudder bar moved magically beneath my feet. Was I dreaming? No! There was Rip’s head! Suddenly the motor broke into a deep roar. We hurtled down fast and faster, but gradually the spinning ceased. The ground came up. Would we make it? Now the plane was in a screaming nose dive, but gradually it flattened out, and at least we leveled off with a scant two hundred feet to spare. I collapsed weakly in the seat and, while I was still trying to comprehend the miracle, Rip spoke weakly into the tube, “You take her now!”

“I can’t!” I gasped. “My stick is broken.”

“All right, “ he replied, “I’ll do the best I can. I bumped my head against the cockpit and it knocked me out. I’m still dizzy.”

We were in a long glide now heading into the field and, as I watched the ground gradually come up to meet us, I wondered if anyone on the field knew that anything was amiss. I thanked God that Rip had not allowed me to stop at ten thousand feet as I had wanted to do. Now we were over the field in a shallow glide. The wheels hit, we bounced, and then settled gently to the earth and rolled roughly over the field until we stopped. Rip climbed out and smiled at me. He face was white and there was a bump the size of an egg over his left temple.

He said, “Why all the tears on your cheeks?”

I hastily wiped my cheeks, and said, “Nothing, only the wind in my eyes since I threw away my goggles.”

Rip shook his head wisely, and turned to the excited crowd coming across the field.

Now, with my dad long gone and me an older man, I still recall dad telling me how he followed the road ways below as he flew from town to town delivering mail as a young man of seventeen. One time, as he told it, he hit a storm that left him back where he’d started from an hour earlier that day! His cockpit was open-we’ve all seen those pictures-and his guts were on display!

Cheers! I’m so glad dad’s plane leveled off and rose.

This camellia is for you, dad.

Dad singing, Sweet Ivory Soap, for about his last time, some 74 years after his fateful flight.

Dad, you are my co-pilot.

Franque23

*Max Franquemont, July 18th, 1911-October 31st, 2001.

**This is the old Morgan store in Natural Bridge, New York. My uncle Mo owned this and the Natural Bridge caverns that were located right next store. We all so loved that Indian!

 

 

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