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(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….

 

 

 

 


Man has always made weaving’s. Why? We are part of one.

It was just a small spool of thread lying upon the bed in the morning. Two inches of the thread lay extended beyond the spool as if it were searching for a binding that needed stitching. The colored thread was red but not as deep as fire, but rather subdued in a way that mellowed my attention to its purpose.

It all got me thinking about that Abercrombie and Fitch woman, Jamie, I’d met up at Lake Bonaparte who worked in the upper spheres of their purchasing department. She stood tall, but not too much so, and held a strong image of elegance. We bantered and shared the this and that of our lives.

“You must have fun picking out patterns and materials; it feels real artsy.” A few seconds of images passed in mind. “I like patterns; love material. I do leather craft.”

“You work in leather craft?” I watched Jamie’s eyes shift left to view a memory she might have stored about the media.

“Yes. It’s been over ten years now. My wife and I have made about everything you can imagine to do with leather craft.” I was proud of our three shops and success. “I love material; you’re lucky to be working with the designs, material purchases and decisions for such a large outfit.”

Her nod gave way to question.”So, what do you think is the most important part of what I buy for Abercrombie and Fitch?”

The query was unexpected. “Maybe the thread is the most important.” It was an off-hand answer, the first that came to mind when thinking about a blouse, or jeans, or about anything that had sewed pieces.

Her eyes glowed as a full moon in the deep night, “Yes! That’s it completely! Without the best thread, the finest material is lost, so easily torn and soon cast aside. The bindings are what matters.”

Bindings are what matters….

It’s thirty or more years since I heard the words but they somehow still hover near.

The deepest blue waters of Lake Bonaparte glistened around our conversation that day. I can still see the sparkling sunlight dance off the water and spring around the dock as though magic was in the air. Even back then, Lake Bonaparte had become more than a lake to me. The lake was a thread in my life, something that held me together before that day, then, and would well into the future.

My thoughts drifted off that morning just as those past days up at Lake Bonaparte have fled from view. I stared back at the spool of thread on the bed and wondered where it might belong, where it might go should I pick it up.

In truth, that red spool of thread had reached out to me. It had magically asked for me to realize how the threads of my life came together to make me whole, to bring me peace.  But, I have to tell you, that peace hasn’t come easily as a soft wind in the most subtle morning light, not like the evening stars up at the Lake.

My life has never been a smorgasbord of hurrahs, no not that. The red thread had stretched out to me and asked what passed through me, what tied me together. That answer ran a thin line through my eyes to my heart, wrapped around my brain and tightened into a knot.

I was born lucky, white, in America, with a loving dad and mom and all the Christmas tree trimmings any kid could ask for. Still, while others skated free in my childhood I seemed sidelined with some things I can’t even write about now, not yet. Of course, life is a mix for all of us, full of ups and downs we have to turn around and make straight.  We’ve all had our hearts torn out by first loves that were never meant to last but to teach. We’ve all had friends who turned out to be enemies; victories that ended in the loss column. But having a sixth grade friend at a scout meeting ask me for help in a way I could not understand and then hang himself in his parents basement that same night hasn’t been perfect—and so much worse for him. It’s as if the memory of his smile funnels me down along side his pain, one I can’t imagine. Later, not much, my best friend drown before me within hearing distance but beyond site in a lake at Marlborough Vermont. I’ve written about this event before, and there are too many premonitions that led up to this happenstance to recall here now, but I’m not sure I’ve ever left those three days of waiting that it took to find Bobby’s body. Let’s face it: part of me is still in that water and I know it.* Is it a stretch to think we all have pain in life?

We all have to move on; we all have to stitch our lives together the best we can.

So, without a mirror but a cast aside spool of thread I came that morning to reckon what pieces me together, what keeps me balanced, on my feet, smiling, working in the garden and saying hello to those I never think of as strangers. I’ve dug down, tore it all up and realized why I say hello to plants, birds, the sun and the rain. I’m happy; basically, I’m happy.

But, why am I happy?

Though my wife and I have had a small amount of success in our lives, I’m certain no amount of wealth or holdings brings happiness.  A simple, pure joy is a different animal than a bank account. Life is the thread we cling to as we live and in those moments lies the bind of happiness. My wife will tell you there are plenty of mornings, afternoons or evenings I’m doing the happy dance. Sure, I may be blocking my wife’s TV view or arousing our dog, Shadow, to uncontrollable fits of barking but you know what: I’m still happy. I’m happy to see the morning, the rain, the fog, the cold, the lonely stars at night, the snake that slithers away as I call it, the post man who waves back and my work mates who nod as they go by.  I’m happy to hear the wind as it vibrates my ear drums and becomes an inseparable part of me.

I understand the immense hardships humanity has suffered through in the past and is currently having to endure. None of that is good, and, like you, I wish it could end. Still, I cling to the notion that if we are here for a purpose in life it’s to blossom as we can through it. The smallest seed can sprout thought the most solid rock; this is what we must do.

It all comes down to the threads of our lives and how we spool them together to carry with us. If you hurt, unwind that thread and re-spool. Bind yourself to a joy you have known no matter how small and plant that to grow inside you.

Many ask how they might be happy?

In a world of advice, I say know your world.

Know the people, places, animals, land and thoughts in your life as much as possible. Don’t walk though your time as though surrounded by unnamed mysteries: learn the name of the trees, plants, your neighbors, tools, clouds, birds and sights that fill your ears, eyes, mind and heart. Learn the way of everything you can. We are all surround by thousands of threads of life that want to bind with us. Make it happen. Then, the fabric of you will never be alone, and you will bind with the life around you, forever.

Franque23 loves you.

 

*https://franque23.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/the-dream-i-lived/

 


Our steps look like someone ate too many frank & beans. None of it’s my fault but that I did it. I’m completely innocent here but for a few troubling facts and reality. And you can’t avoid the crappy view if you intend to reach the lake from our place without taking a long hike to the Sherman steps. Thing is, in the end of it, there’s nothing good to say about this job’s outcome. The minute I started I knew it was coming out all wrong.

Getting to the bottom of this is the only end. Here’s the deal; I need a lawyer and so does Thompson seal PR, labeling people and promoting thingamajigs. Why? In the world I come from words have meaning and one of those words is,’Transparent.’  Transparent to me means something like, unlike a brick wall, and not now you see me, now you don’t. Transparent means the opposite of you can’t see thru it. Okay, to be clear, transparent means just that—it means see thru, a non-cloaking invisible coating of sorts you don’t see.  So what’s up with this product?

(Okay, I love the 200 font bold Caps  ‘Transparent’ signage in contrasting color verses the zero font white script Cedar wording and script lettering. Sure, there’s a bar graph below all that but I stopped reading at, ‘Transparent!)”

Imagine yourself in my world of rushing to three stores while on vaca to buy this product in order to get nine cans of it, enough to do the job. Then, hold a hand over your left eye, the one I don’t see well out of and grab yourself three cans of transparent waterproofing stain along with brushes, sprayers, masks and ice cream…of course. See? That’s why I wondered why this sealer looked a bit off as I poured it in my sprayer. “Who knows, products these days….”

It’s amazing how a six hour job can go down the toilet in one minute. I’d gotten the pressure right in the sprayer so my first blast covered the top two steps at once.  There’s just nothin’ like seeing dark brown paint come out of your clear coat sprayer. “What the heck?” is not at all what I said. “Well, it’s only the top two steps!” Nope, I never said that ,either! “I could leave just these two steps dark and get the clear(really transparent) stuff for the rest/”…..hmmmm….

The thing about having the top two steps a zillion times darker than the 26 others is if you miss the first two steps at night, you’re going all the way down.

So, I finished the top 28 steps in the not transparent ‘Transparent’ brown coat and then brushed them as I would the, ‘I really am transparent,’ stuff we always use. There’s a funny idea, right? It seems about the worst thing a person can do is try to brush this brown sealer unless, that is, you like the frank & bean look. (Trust me-this will never catch on)

(Click the pic for a much worse view.)

It’s sorta looks like someone on the dock below couldn’t get up the steps in time; they just got pooped out running up and it all went down hill from there.

Wrap those two problems up and the whole mess could be wiped cleaner than a roll of toilet paper—they are clean, right? Now, I’m wondering when that toilet paper study will come out stating that cave men were right to use their left hand or non-poisonous leaves. Forget this, the bright news is they call me glitter boy at work because I have used lots of glitter in displays over the years at our library(trust me-this is the only reason) and miraculously the Transparent really clear coat seemed to come out with glitter in it! So, yeah, I’ve never had glitter form in the clear coat after more than 30 years of doing this job!

Glitter everywhere.

I had to laugh; we have poop color or glitter coat? I’m stickin’ with the glitter and dumping the frank & bean steps next year…

Cheers from our steps, and don’t slip!

Franque23

 


(Click the pic for larger view)

Have you ever noticed the Jimmy Durante* size nose on the front of your dog’s snout?

That dog nose has it all over your nose; a dog can smell perfume from two miles away!

But what has this to do with Lake Bonaparte dog days? Well, it’s true I’ve bragged plenty about the time three years ago when my dog, Shadow, leaped 28 feet off our dock for a ball!

This is the moment; a twenty-eight foot leap that we measured.

But I think this year Shadow took being a dog at the lake to a whole new level. Actually, it’s scary. I mean he turned my four grandsons into dogs with a simple flick of his tail.

I’ve got them just where I want them….Shadow.

The next thing I knew, the boys were crawling around inside and out as if they were dogs! They were rolling around on the lawn, on all fours, barking and pointing like a bird dog…(Shadow, as a  Catahoula Leopard dog, is 1/4 blue tick hound).

I’ll teach them my pointing tail trick...What happened to their tails, anyway?

I’m hoping they omitted the butt sniffing thingy dogs do—not sure, I mean these are boys!

Shadow is about 100% of the time guarding us, or is he keeping us in place?

Does Shadow imagine he’s going to church?!?!

Who’s the real captain of this boat?

I’ve got them reading…..

Okay, timeout for a hug…..

Wait, Isaiah’s got it! Time to hug AND read!!! Shadow, the Great.

It can be tiring training four boys to be dogs.

 

Okay, this is my, ‘They are really screwed up,’ tail…..Shadow.

There’s this magic allure that emanates from dogs even when they’re drooling for your hot dog. Shadow is our dog, but sometimes I really have to wonder. Heck, he’s got me scratching his belly night and day and holding doors open for him whenever he wants. I panic if his water bowl gets low and I’ve about sold my soul for all natural dog treats and food.

You are now under my power…like forever, dude. Shadow

I only carry your socks in my mouth because you think it’s cute.

Guess how many times I’ve absolutely decided that this time, THIS TIME, I was going to drive away on an errand without him and then changed my mind?

Nope, your guess was waaay off…Start thinking about the figures in America’s National debt and you’re getting close.

Orange you gonna take me? Dude, I’m going with you, now get the keys…

Sure, I sleep in some days…when Shadow lets me. Who can sleep with a cold nose on your cheek? Unfortunately, I thought it was funny the first time I didn’t budge from bed once awake and Shadow hiked up on the bed to trample my face. Now, I’ve got two choices in the morning—either I lie comatose in bed without opening an eye, keeping my breathing pattern sleep-like while daring not wiggling a toe the slightest bit OR I get face-dog-paw trampled until I get up.

I’m not gonna admit to being in the rain while walking Shadow or waiting for him to come back home. I know that person looked a lot like me, your honor, but it’s a case of mistaken dog food, no, I mean identity.(Am I low on dog food?)

I do think dogs love to stick their heads out a moving car window for the rush or air, but they also are taking in an entire universe of smells as we speed along.  The book, Nubs,** is one of many amazing true stories about dogs who traveled unreal distances to reunite with their loved people—dogs have a uncanny sense about direction and life in general.

Of course, there’s more…..

“Interactions between people and dogs can be beneficial for both species. Increases in β-endorphin (beta-endorphin), oxytocin and dopamine—neurochemicals associated with positive feelings and bonding—have been observed in both dogs and people after enjoyable interactions like petting,”https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-the-gaze-from-those-big-puppy-eyes-the-look-of-your-doggie-s-love/

Maybe one more doggie fact for those lake lovers who follow their dogs around…

“Accordingly, behavioral studies of dog cognition have revealed similarities of dog behavioral traits to humans. Dogs have been found to engage in gaze following similarly to human babies , exhibit selective imitation  similarly to human infants, (Dogs)….observe photos of faces roughly similarly to human adults and to link photos of objects to objects themselves .

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3641087/

This last finding in bold is why we have Shadow’s picture on a magnet on the refrigerator at his eye level…I thought this picture made him happy when I first put it up and now I know it does.

There’s no place like the lake for Bonaparte dogs, so I guess ‘us people’ followed?

Cheers

Franque23

*Jimmy Durante

*

How do you like me, now?

Bonus picture of us building the dock about 10 years ago…Sherman cool dock in background

**https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6557929-nubs


It’s impossible to miss the beauty. It was more than the three day drive up to the lake that split my head open as I looked at the lake during our first moment getting there. The colors of the lake displayed a vibrancy seldom seen in any urban center or sprawl. The  sky paled above the lake’s deepest blue waters; the green landscape never appeared so inviting. The warming earth beneath my felt felt like home.

Every day, no, every hour up at the lake shakes out a different tone as the breeze rustles the trees. Each day features an ongoing exchange of wind and water that forces waves near and far to rise and fall or, at other times, and mostly at morning or night, flattens the lake’s surface to the look of a mirror. This is when reflections take the lake’s tapestry over and commands attention to every watery detail so neatly bound to the look of the shore.

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Thanks to Susan  for this picture…

A crane lazily cuts across the sky; a school of nipping brown trout dot our bay’s surface water as a darkened circle that moves left to right. A hawk whistles from above and turns my head up where I see the white wispy clouds streaming from the west are gaining size. The shoreline cedars blast scent and contrast to the whitest black and grey birch. The humming bird wings by to dot the, “Oh My!”

Aptly put, Lake Bonaparte is an onslaught of beauty to behold for the jumping young, strapping aged or the resting old. The lake is always game for the viewing. The sun-twinkled waters or rain laden storms that move across the lake spark the imagination and ignite an internal yearning to be closer to the nature of our life. The peace of the place seems all so easy to attain but so far away, and all at once. Do a cannon ball on that thought. I don’t care who you are—a cannon ball into the lake will do you good; it’ll put a smile upon your face.

We’re facing the sunset…taken her down. a nightly ritual.

This shot seemed to burn the camera lens!

Sometimes, I just have to laugh. How could I be so lucky to be at Lake Bonaparte? How could all of us who abide by these shores be so fortunate? Life is a weave and there’s a spin to it, a stitch of fate that sets us where we are. I’m so glad this thread is part of my life. For almost seventy years now via my parent’s or my own footfalls I’ve made it here.  There’s so much to be thankful for, right? There’s so much to take in.

This has to be one of my favorite shots of Bonaparte…and I don’t remember if I clipped this off another’s posting or not? Forget.

I love the light in the clouds above.

From a few years back….

There are endless postcards of Lake Bonaparte to send, right? And all of them are kept safe inside—there’s a comfort to this, trust me.

cheers

Franque23


(As always, click the pic for a larger view…)

If it weren’t for the traffic on Rt 3 the place would be paradise—it got so bad this year I think I saw several cars pass by on a single ten mile drive to town! And, I guess I should mention the loon racket at night, especially between 10ish and midnight; will they ever shut up! Then there’s the morning crows and chickadees, the afternoon blue jays, red wing black birds, those dang soaring eagles, cooing cranes, whistling hawks and late afternoon quackin’ ducks to spoil any days nap. When will a guy ever get some sleep!

Even the view can keep a guy up!

There’s a weird speed to time at the lake no one has yet to understand. It’s like a horror show. You’d call time fast to pass at the lake but, then again, it never lets go. Nope, the memories, smiles, talks and moments fly by like the wind but sit like a immovable block in your soul as well. You can think what you like, but I’m saying there’s no surgery that can take this massive thing out once it has seeped inside you. There’s a devious kinda magic to those waters and reflective sky at Bonaparte that mirrors deep by day and night in the Mind’s eye—it’s sorta like a strangle hold on your senses you can’t sue and win.

Lake friends last forever as well. Who has time for that?

The whole experience is torturous.

You catch a good fish a few years back and spend the next 7 trying to do it again….oh brother, what a bother…

It’s been a while for me, being so busy with raising a family for oh so long, since I’ve had real time to make new friends or see old ones while up at the lake. This year was different. I got to know Kim and Steve and their ten inch high killer dog, Lola. I’ve never been afraid of dogs, but now that’s over. I’ve struggled with our fireplace pull rods for over twenty years which is why having some strange guy named, Bill-the-Beatrus I think, fix the rods with a minutes’ thought and about ten minutes time is problematic. My sense of self worth is gone forever, it’s over, doctor, and those psychiatric bills won’t be cheap.

Time spent with Toni, the two Michelle’s, Forbes, Randy, Laura, Vicki and the Sherman’s is always fun, but who let them out of the loony bin? To boot, now there’s no cop on the lake. And now, with our Grandson making friends with our neighbors son pretty much any sense of normalcy that never existed here is entirely gone. Why keep dreaming about it?

It’s also possible to take really bad shots up at the lake..(does anyone have a flashlight)

Hear’s one of my thumb I took this year at the lake….perfect shot!

It’s great to see Bill again; meeting anyone my ancient age or older has a special zing to it. There’s like this on-going contest between the lake petrified folks to see who falls in the lake first and doesn’t get out. I can tell Bill is watching me closely as I age and our fifty-foot bluff gets closer to the house. Some may not know it, but Grady-of -the-lake(now deceased) had nine lives and he spent one of them running towards this very same bluff. There was no blue moon the night before or heralding of angels in the morning of the afternoon when Grady, Dave Morgan and I sat on our porch before this steep drop off. All of a sudden, Grady gets up and starts running full speed toward the bluff as though he might do a high dive into the lake! Only a lunging hand to his ankles stopped his forward movement and saved a grave digger the effort. Mind you, this run of Grady’s had nothing to do with beer(s), but rather the magical pull of our evil lake was at fault.

I’m telling ya, there’s more than the best pure air up at Bonaparte—it’s full of friendship forged through good time and bad. There’s nothing like building a dock, camp or boat house and have the ice take it out the next winter; there’s nothing like the bond of spending money like a drankin’ sailor on lake side repairs. There’s a saying; only buy a boat if you can afford to buy ten—maybe the Bonaparte camps are the same way.

But who cares when you’re young, free and without a care like about none of us.

Still, those losses and efforts all make for great stories shared between a laughing, here’s-to-the-lake crowd. (Beers help, too)The night sky is more than pay back for any expense. But, daytime swimming, soaking in the sun—did I fall asleep that long?—fishin’, kayaking, bird watching, boating, tubin’ ( I did see a skier), and even some sail boating also take the day to flight. The air is incredibly invigorating at the lake. Breathing there is sorta like breathing in an oxygen tent where ever you go. So, the loony’s on the loose, the evil lake stare, the crazy birds, the alluring sunsets, the mesmerizing night stars and stormy five-foot high waves that tear docks and boats apart are all worth it. Why do I think this? Well, I’m nuts like the rest of you.

Cheers from the archives of franque23 Lake Bonaparte insanity logs.

Franque23

 


(clicking pics gives larger view)

The day had no way of knowing, it started off so differently. I still sat at the breakfast table when our four grandchildren, without any prompting, opted to chill and read in the morning light.

.

After working in a library for the past twenty five years-just wow.

But I had a plan.

There’s nothing like a fishin’ trip to spark up day! We’d gathered with high spirits along with some pensive moments: what would happen; how would do; would we come home fishermen or boaters?

We headed down the steps on our way to the boat. (How about those fingers!)

We set course for  Mud Lake with broad smiling faces, multiple rods, bunches of hooks, buckets of smelly worms on board and soda’s in hand. Plus, we had Shadow who knows at five that boat rides rock up and down and all around.

We had attitude, baby.

Guard Shadow had our side covered…

What would happen? Would we have any luck? And, would Shadow dive in after the loons, ducks, beavers and or fish? No one knew?

Bingo!!! Fish up!Actually, more than 60 fish up. My right arm hurt at night from de-worming, and de-fish hooking for those a bit off on that. Hats keep most hooks out of heads, but fingers are hook magnets.

Okay, I’m not sure, but I think this is a ritual we will keep up after any successful fishing thingy.

Time to leave Mud Lake meant our sounder took position to safely lead our way.

We headed home a happy lot. We’d have fish for lunch and a bunch more books were waiting to be read. And, there was also yoga time.

But maybe showing off our catch to our new neighbor friends was the best of it all!

Then again, we’re all neighbors at the Lake! Thanks for enjoying  a dream come true: fishin’ time with the kids and doggie…Ya gotta love it!

Cheers from the lake with more to come!

Franque23

 


A day like any other.

Anyone might agree, it’s a dull day. The rain came early and it seems to have no intention of leaving. Hedging all bets, the weather men say there’s a good 100% Chance of rain…not sure, but does this mean it may not rain at all? Nah, they got it right today. Rain drips from every flower petal, the deck railings and the roofs tops. You gotta know the earth is loving the drenching. And I’m not sure why birds would enter the bird bath in the rain but they do, maybe some sort of double your pleasure.

Have you ever noticed how we all love to see light? Holiday lights come to mind, and the lights of a huge city as seen from a distance remain fascinating to behold.

Dale and me are caught in a glass reflection as we look over the lights of Nagasaki.(Thanks to our daughter’s sharp eye.)

There are so many moments when the vision of light moves us—  disco lights, fired up logs on a dark night…

We keep the fireplace going most nights up at the lake.

There are fireflies to chase and flashlights to make faces over. Have you ever watched the snow as it drifts through a street light’s glow? There is the first morning’s light…

And the silent last glimpse of the sun as it goes down.

We gathered to say goodbye to David Morgan in passing as the sun slipped down.

Our lives are about light.

The rain means we won’t see the sky here as we seek it, so full of light, but only as it is—a mass of low hung grey to darker clouds, twisted as multicolored taffy that appears as fluff balls that float above. Yes, when we seek the sky we seek the light.

Lake Bonaparte East Shore cloud says hello.

Lake Bonaparte dazzles sunlight in so many ways.

We want to see that burning globe above us turning on the earth’s light switch so shadows abound as birds sing and butterflies flutter in the wind.

Always, it’s the light; the light in the sky, or as it reflects on the sea foam or clouds above.

Thing is, today, this wet, drizzly moment, brings other thoughts to mind. Who doesn’t sleep in better on a rainy morning not meant for having to go to work?  And, maybe, a rainy day is good for offering a glimpse of a new prospective, a new way to count those clock hours often so busily rushed by task and obligation during a day like any other.

An early morning mist hugged Lake Bonaparte as the morning sun touched several tree tops.

I’m thinking about the sky; the one we long to see and the one we often don’t.

The beautiful daylight with it’s streaking wisps of clouds, meandering white billowed clouds or crisp clear blue without a cloud in sight hides so much in plain view. It’s odd to think, but the daytime that lights our way is also a veil. That sparkling luster above reflects our hopes when we look to it but that light is the bottom of the truth above. The truth lies in the stars above our daylight sky, in the darker canopy that lingers beyond what our eyes can ever see.

Looking up to Lake Bonaparte’s night sky.

This is Mud Lake, Bonaparte. And, it’s time to hurry home.

The universe’s light is shielded from our view by the daylight. Those bazillion stars shine overhead whether it be day or night but that vision is often swept past our sleeping heads as we dream of better days. We nestle to sleep beneath the ever present reality of our place in the universe, beneath the map stars create that speaks to our existence.

Both taken from Bull Rush bay, Lake Bonaparte. Credit I believe goes to, Ross Franquemont, our retired U-2 pilot in our family. Check out another of his….from the U-2.

So we hurry in the daylight and sleep at night. Oddly, it’s the night time stars that show a greater light. If we could just wake up each day and take a moment to understand how small and yet interrelated our place is in the universe. There’s the thought that people should take time to envision what they hope for the day before it kicks off in order to have some sense of control over their day’s purpose. Perhaps, if each of us were to think of ourselves as no better than the ants that march by but also no less than the stars over head we’d come to an understanding that might yeild a peace to our lives and the world. I’m not sure.

I’m not sure why we love to see the light that shields the panoramic spectacle of our universe from our eyes. What if we saw both during every waking hour?

From Bull Rush bay, Bonaparte sundown.

So, as the rain falls and thunder rumbles, I’ve dreamed of the starlight, of cooler nights warmed by the light of a campfire. I’ve thought about us, and how we all wish life was better but none of us seem to see a way to make it happen. There’s so much to see each day. Maybe, if there was less to see. Maybe, if we at least saw the stars every night things might get straight. Call me a dreamer, but I’ll wish upon a star any time—they’re always there.

It’s just a day like any other? I don’t think so, not ever.

Franque23

 


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.

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.

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