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My wife and I will never have to worry about plane fair to China, our dog has dug a way there in our back yard.

I have the best dog. He’s smarter than your dog; he went to Harvard. Thing is, he pretends to not get it about snakes. Lately, we have one or twenty snakes, not sure, slithering around our house, front and back. They’re the black friendly kind that scare the bejesus out of me cause as much as I think they’re cool to see I never expect to.  Shadow is forever leaping in the air with his paws straight forward to land on a snake as if it were a tennis ball. All I see happening are vet bills so I scold Shadow, “No! Snake!” as I wiggle my arm in the air. Shadow gives me that concerned look every time: “Pleeease! Hey dumb butt, I’m having fun and you’re a coward.”

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

Ever notice everyone was young back in the good ol’ days.

The Republican healthcare plan focus is that ‘Death Panel’ everyone was worried about…

Today, Hersey makes an astonishing announcement: starting this month, their products will have fewer calories! They note the change in calories is due to a change in product formula and, er, size. So I looked up what the change in formula is for their chocolate that might reduce calories and it is, oddly, the switch from using artificial vanilla to real vanilla extract . Turns out, artificial vanilla has no calories whatsoever! What’s left to reduce calories?!?!?! Oh, wait-the SIZE of their chocolate bars…. So Hersey’s big announcement really is that they are making smaller chocolate bars…..nice.

The weather world-wide is showing a troubling flair for heating up. Everyone’s watching the forecasts.

The cost to produce the one-cent coin increased to 1.5 cents during 2016. Why is the government losing money, again?

In 2017, America has an Attorney General—Sessions—who doesn’t understand State’s rights. Just ask Hawaii. ”

“Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity & immigrant experiences- including my own. Jeff Sessions’ comments are ignorant & dangerous”

If a person looses their mind, how would they know?

In a way, Trump getting schooled about the relationship between China and North Korea by China’s President, Xi Junping, is like asking a robber to help you install locks in your home.

I read yesterday that saying, “Hello,” extends life. What if we just text it? Does that work?

Mom say’s hello….

News CNN: “Trump has at least nine times claimed to have spoken to, met, or made contact with Putin.”( prior to his election.) But in 2016 Trump said, “I never met Putin.”

I liked the flapper Era look, when will that come back?

Showing your knees was huge back then.

Fun times,,, the guys wore stupid looking suits like we do today.

I actually went to college when there were no cell phones and no one had computers! It’s like even I can’t believe it!

Funny how everyone knows not to step on a snake but nuclear power is considered the greatest thing.

Crazy is as crazy does.

right twice a day…..

Word on the street, ocean and atmosphere is that we’d better duck and cover. The Fukushima nuclear disaster has been spewing radioactive particles for six years and now, in what is being herald as unprecedented, the core has melted through its containment wall and is burrowing through the earth. Great, huh? Meanwhile, there are currently 60 more new nuclear plants being built world-wide.

This isn’t a fraction of the nutty stuff going on in the world today, but it’s enough for now….See you next time. Got any more info to share-please do. Cheers.

Franque23


Linda sang her song from day one, that’s the way she is. Linda can whisk tough times away with a slant of her smile that makes the Sun wear shades. Young, strong, beaming, this is how I remember meeting Linda who tantalized my young mind with dancing spirit.

Linda’s path has always been the high road.

I was lucky to see Linda recently(pictured middle)

I was lucky to see Linda recently(pictured middle)

Linda cares for her mom. Aunt Perla May Tarvin will be 100 this March 13th

Linda cares for her mom. Aunt Perla May Tarvin will be 100 this March 13th*

Strong, lean and mean, you get the picture. Holding a certain stature that stretches to the sky, this is how I came to know Linda. Lucky to be out of diapers—if I was—this whizzing top of a cousin first zoomed by. Trust was never an issue, nor place, moment, task or game at hand. Where do cousin’s come from; it all calls for wonder. Linda’s ease of being slipped that question into my childhood dreams.

Every life will own its challenges. Peaks, valley’s, ups, downs and spin-a-rounds, the first person to build a roller coaster was onto something. Still, the carol Linda brings with her contains a floating timbre that underscores any discord. If her life were a musical piece it would play allegretto, accentato, affettoa— light, lively, with emotion and emphasis—but always, throughout, the work would be in harmony.

But why do I tell you? It’s a simple matter, a solid truth, one I have known for so long. Linda’s true affection for my childhood self and everything else about her gave me a confidence that helped grow my spirit. Of course, I had mom, dad, the steady lead of my sister and strong hand of my brother to help me build my path. But, I had cousin, Linda, as well.  And, as dismantling as it must be for a child to not receive the love they deserve from their immediate family, it is equally uplifting to receive that same kind of love from a stranger, an associate, or from a cousin. I know.

Acceptance, hope, cheer and love, these are Linda’s calling cards; the notations of her life.

Sometimes, I hold the ceramic butter dish, a uniquely designed item, or the cut out clay plates I know Linda’s hands made. She did that for years, selling her pottery wares in craft shows and fairs. This was a perfect fit; Linda’s love of people, of creation, for the gift of giving and sharing her four calling cards bloomed everyday. In return, Linda still brings the warmth of her carol to any who listen.

She is a horse person. This means she gives tireless energy to four-footed pals who only speak back when a heart listens. Linda hears with her heart.

I can’t imagine someone as truly nice as my cousin, Linda, and I know her! Fathom that?!?!?

Now, there’s bad news.

“Hospice is here.”

Larry’s message marked the screen. It’s been years of struggle for Linda and Larry; years of prayers, hope. Even so, these have been happy years filled with promise—Larry will tell you.

Still.

Sometime, it seems, I may have to go on without Linda, this, a thought I’ve never embraced. Of course, we don’t know; our future that feels so ever present is truly veiled. But if that day comes, if I ever have to face it, I will never be alone. I’ll carry Linda’s laugh, cheer and all of her calling cards with me as I go. Linda will be in my vision as I look to the sky. The birds will sing, the wind will whistle the trees, but most of all there will be Linda Carol Martin’s song of Life in my head.

Linda’s carol will ring my ears. That tune, she taught my heart so well.

Thank You, Linda Carol.

Franque23

*

Aunt Perla May is the last survivor of her generation of Johnsons.

Aunt Perla May(1st in row) is the last survivor of her generation of Johnsons.

I love my Aunt Perla May and my cousin Linda. Today, this Valentine's day, we heard that each may ass within a week's time-maybe even on the same day.

I love my Aunt Perla May and my cousin Linda Carol. Today, this Valentine’s day, we heard that each may pass within a week’s time-maybe even on the same day. They have been a blessing to so many.


If you read on you’ll realize we are all in the same boat on this Mexican deal-crowded-cruise-ships

The President’s idea to add a 20% tax on imports from Mexico to finance the Great Wall of America doesn’t really fly with me-not so much…Why? Well, if you’ll lift a glass with me we can get on to that. sombrero

I get the feeling that most American’s are in the same dark I am in when it comes to understanding the actually workings between Mexico and America. We hear or read each day about the drug cartels and illegals crossing our border, but what else goes on between America and Mexico?

It turns out the flow of goods and services between Mexico and America are Huge.

America and Mexico  interchange 1.6 billion dollars worth of trade everyday! (2015 stats) See? That’s a bit of pocket change. On the world-wide stage Mexico is America’s third largest Import/Export partner.

I keep thinking about the idea of building a wall between us and our third largest trade partner. Honestly, I’d no idea! But, maybe, it’s important to see what we trade back and forth? I mean it wouldn’t hurt the US if Mexico’s major export  to us was, say, Twinkies, right. Don’t get me wrong, I loved these as a kid, but I could’ve lived without them.

This brings us to a quick run down of what actually passes hands between America and Mexico…

Here’s a short list of what the US imports from Mexico

  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2015 were: vehicles ($74 billion), electrical machinery ($63 billion), machinery ($49 billion), mineral fuels ($14 billion), and optical and medical instruments ($12 billion).

U.S. imports of agricultural products from Mexico totaled $21 billion in 2015, our 2nd largest supplier of agricultural imports. Leading categories include: fresh vegetables ($4.8 billion),other fresh fruit….

  • ($4.3 billion), wine and beer ($2.7 billion), snack foods ($1.7 billion), and processed fruit & vegetables ($1.4 billion).

Hmmm…I like fruit and I drive to stores to buy fruit. Wait!?!?! Does this list “2.67 billion per year in wine and beer!” See? Screwing this trade up just isn’t gonna get it for me.feature-mexican-beer-tecate-modelo-dos-equis-vitoria-ambar

There’s something about this Great Wall /Tax Mexican imports 20% that doesn’t quite fit.cocktail-dogs-two-funny-drinking-cocktails-bar-beach-club-party-ocean-view-45230354

Here’s a short list of what America exports to Mexico

  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2015 were: machinery ($42 billion), electrical machinery ($41 billion), vehicles ($22 billion), mineral fuels ($19 billion), and plastics ($17 billion).
  • U.S. exports of agricultural products to Mexico totaled $18 billion in 2015, our 3rd largest agricultural export market. Leading categories include: corn ($2.3 billion), soybeans ($1.4 billion), dairy products ($1.3 billion), pork products ($1.3 billion), and beef products ($1.1 billion).

So if all this back and forth were to be disrupted it seems a few workers might be out jobs in the States… Actually, to be specific, 1.1 million American workers are employed solely in providing the goods and services we export to Mexico…This seems like a lot of jobs, a lot of mom’s and dad’s livelihoods depend on trade with Mexico. Should we let the building of the Great Wall between our two country’s screw this up? Plus, er, there’s that wine and beer thingy stat.

One more I’m the most interesting man in the world thought—

Isn’t that Super bowl thing coming up, ya know, the one where American’s consume enough wine and beer to sink the world? Can we just maybe put off this Great Wall add 20% to cost of goods and drinks from Mexico for about another 100 years? Let’s re-think this deal.

Maybe we should think about taking another course?

Maybe we should think about taking another course?

Okay, one more idea or two. I’ve got the nagging feeling that our President’s main attraction to building this Great Wall of America is that it will stand as a testament to his Presidency whether it works or not. AND–when Paul Ryan says the Congress can find a way to pay for this wall isn’t he really talking about our tax dollars paying for it? It doesn’t matter what name the Congress gives the funding, right-it’s still our money paying for it. ”

McConnell estimated it(the Wall) will cost $15 billion at most — he cited a range of $12 billion to $15 billion.” (Other agencies estimate the Wall to cost 25 billion.)

Here’s one bottom line-when Trump manages to have Mexico call off their meeting with him today I think about running out and buying a truck load of Corona’s, Dos Equis, Negran Modelos and a few Tecates’ and Sols. Heck, I’ll be saving at least 20% on each bottle!

Can we maybe rethink this Great Wall idea? What do you all say?

Cheers…

Franque23


When you can eat it all now? But wait! The Weight! The weight gain, that is. Yes, the holidays are a smorgasbord of food for pounds.

It is Thanksgiving, a time to give thanks to all the hard work that went into bringing the birds to so many tables in America.article-2236949-162a7f74000005dc-370_634x560

(this is Norma Jeane Mortenson doing the hard work–later known as Marillyn Monroe.)

Thanks to all you hunters and farmers.

turkey-leg

I’d hardly put down the last remaining Thanksgiving Turkey drum stick when the Christmas’ lamb (who may eat ivy-not sure) mairzy doats into my mouth.*  A person’s body can only take so much stuffing, and I was about to find out exactly how much. About that stuffing-orange wedges, cinnamon apple slices and almond slivers helped.

A mosh of smashed candied yams smothered in marshmallow, steamed, salted asparagus, ripe olives, cranberry sauce, too many Hawaiian rolls way over come by how many pies(I forget- burp) -all the remains from Bird Day- had cleared out of my pie hole just enough to make room for the next feast. I think three types of ice cream, homemade orange jam and lemonade helped wash it all down.

I need a body image checkup

I need a body image checkup

This is when my scale started going screwy. “Nah, it can’t be!” To be fair, the cold does affect those floor step on scales, and our floor doesn’t appear to be exactly flat, as it was last week. “Do these things run on batteries?”

So the lamb dinner did a do-si-do  into my life. The gravy thick, chunked chock full of garlic, peppers, onion-eastern Mediterranean sea salt, parsley, rosemary, thyme, pepper, orange peel, paprika-more-clung to the herb crusted  meat. Mashers, creamy, so good ask my daughter how, a salad made of everything, fresh frozen garden green beans from last fall, the loaves of garlic bread and don’t forget the olives, applesauce and the green mint jelly or the carrots and sweet potatoes cooked alongside the lamb basted in the hot juice-it all decorated my plate. Two for one Edward’s pies was a no brainer-an all appetite type of thing-covered in mounds of ice cream seemed so logical.

Have you ever noticed there are more types of chocolates on your table than grains of sand on a beach during the Holiday of Light?

Though, I may have never seen this....

Though, I  have never seen this….

 

chocolate everywhere

of chocolate everywhere-

people do stuff with chocoalte

people do stuff with chocolate

Light, Dark, 30% to 90% cocoa, round, square, kisses, triangular shapes next to chocolate Santa’s, reindeer, orange chocolate balls, I love the coconut filled mounds, and the foreign jobs-those real creamy chocolates, Ferrero’s, more. Not that I ate any of these, but all of them.

Chocolate does stuff to people (The evil dark chocolate colored scale.)

Chocolate does stuff to people (The evil dark chocolate colored scale.)**

You’d think my scale would self correct like computers reset if you unplug them,,,,but not mine. “Stupid thing has me five pounds too heavy!”

Because I could still roll over and get out of bed, still stand and open my mouth, the New Year’s Eve dinner celebration jollied its way  through my palate next.

New Year’s dinners only come once per year, and why-oh-why so soon after Thanksgiving and Christmas meals?!?!?!See? Someone got this all wrong-we need to spread these meals out a bit more throughout the year.

A rare Roast Beef is a pure joy-and Vegan’s hell, I know, but this is all part of the Yin-Yang of life. A thinner gravy is called for, and this time the sweet potatoes needed chopped up Nestle crunch bars mixed into the marshmallow topping…Vegetables? I’m sure there were some, but those, the cakes, pies, breads and drinks all mix together in my jumbled head.

The Holiday so long to come and too soon over; the loved ones gone and some so far away.

some so far away

some so far away

The laughter, cheers, smiles, hugs and hopes we shared rattle my skull. My brain chases the images as if they were shadows in the night in hopes of experiencing them once more. But the shorter days are growing longer. Time has a way of saying goodbye and hello all at once.

4 grandsons pickin green beans before they eat chocolate

4 grandsons pickin’ green beans before they eat chocolate

Funny thing-even with the new coming light of day, my scale is still completely out to lunch.?!?! “This scale is 7 pounds off if not a slim ounce more!”

I weigh my alternatives and realize some things need replacing this New Year. Thank goodness I’d lost 14 pounds over the course of last year!  Thing is, I found a few of them back, and I know just how and where.

More is less-my new year resolution.

Cheers and Beers

Franque23

  • I always enjoyed that Mares eat oats… thingy song.
  • ** other ideas for chocolate.

    weigh only your feet

    weigh only your feet

or…keep clean with chocolate

maybe

maybe


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

Oh yeah and Yay!

Moving on-

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

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

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

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

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

Moving on—

Bonus picture:

 A one day pick of lemons this past fall.

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

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

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

You have to see it to believe it.

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

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

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

Enjoy.

You have to see it to believe it.

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

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

Franque 23*

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

Oh my!15390983_10210312667325616_8515486221660551798_n

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


Bare Ass Pond-the late 1970's. I got dressed for the pic.

Bare Ass Pond-the late 1970’s. I got dressed for the pic.

It wasn’t that long ago…

About 1953 on Long Island outside of our family home

About 1953 on Long Island outside of our family home-the Northeastern’s blew snow in almost every winter.

Okay, maybe it was a long time ago.  For me, it’s a blink of a memory comprised of forever.

I built snowmen without a hint of what was to come,,,and that my generation's great dreams may one day melt.

I built snowmen without a hint of what was to come-great dreams for the earth.

Change started massing energy when the Beatle’s sang on Ed Sullivan-those tunes soon morphed into a mud bath called, Woodstock. There were the teachings of tolerance,,, justice, right and wrong, but I think most of all we were taught to hold within each of us a dignity of spirit. Once these ideas were in place, the new world could arrive.

The musical lines gave the message.

Looking back, the festival announcement that the brown acid was bad made the assumption some listeners were still able to discern brown from white, black, green. purple, polka-dotted or blue. We’d stripped  bare to prove the old ways were gone, basic change was here, as fundamental ways of behaving and thinking were dead and gone. The lines between us all had vanished for good.

Conventional laws were taken off and a new course had begun.

Conventional societal mores were cast aside and a new course had begun. Yes, we got naked…(Woodstock)

It’s easy to wonder why any of us thought smoking pot might help the situation we enthusiastically fought to change. You’d think we might have been savvy enough to vote for change, but we’d given up on that. Millions in my generation decided taking it to the streets was the best if not the only way to make change happen. Were we right?

I sang on stage back in the day all about the message-peace, love, freedom and equality.

Pete and I started singing the message early on in High School( I'm in the background)

Pete and I started singing the message early on in High School.  ( I’m in the background)

First serious guitar in it's first gold color...

First serious guitar in its first gold color…(I’m 15.) Hopin’ to sing the message.

So, my wheel turns way back, runs through the middle of so much history and arrives here in the closing days of 2016. To be clear-I remember dad getting our first TV, a thing still new to everyone on our block. I went to college when there were no computers, no cells phones but, yes, short dresses and pot but no Aids that we knew. I began to work as a Library Specialist 21 years ago when the Alachua County Library District had acquired only a few computers. My reference work for patrons was done entirely out of books or through phone calls in those earlier years. All the while, I prayed for peace along with so many other Americans.

Today, many feel political drifts forecast a turning away from the sun shining in as we all hoped it might in the 70’s, from the environmental concerns many of us have held for so many years, and from our hope for peace.

Home coming parade. Gainesville, 1970

Home coming parade. Gainesville, 1970…hmmm, this wouldn’t happen today.

It was once easy for hundreds of Gainesville’s people to strip naked at lime pits and swim with others.

“The year was 1970, and the band was Mudcrutch. Petty sang and played bass alongside Mike Campbell (guitar), Tom Leadon (guitar and vocals), Jim Lenehan (lead vocals) and Randall Marsh (drums).” This is Gainesville in the 70’s, so it doesn’t matter that there are five names and only four people? The main point was in the music.

We shared the understanding that to find the truth of our existence it was necessary to shed the barriers between us and the earth. Open, accepting, and always understanding-Peace was the message. We wanted the naked truth.

1970-gainesville-fl-uf-univ-of-florida-homecoming-parade-press-photo-rkf19999-8e2e3da9b5a6918fa3b501db221baf90

Now? We need to revisit the messages of my generation, to create a solidarity of purpose that keeps America on the right path.  My generation didn’t want the Nam war to go on and we stopped it. Today, we can stop anything as well. The key is to really try, never give up and work harder.

If not ‘Bare Ass’ time, its bare knuckle time. Environmentalists,  humanitarians and lovers of life, it’s time to dress down our opponents. We have to tune up and sing our song louder than false claims, disingenuous motives and misguided hearts can yell. It’s time to dive in and win again.

Franque23

04980017-2


the set is about twenty five feet long....

The set is about twenty-five feet long….

(Click on the pictures for much larger views–)

(note: Impossible to believe but true-Odette, pictured below as the Magic Woman, was rear ended years ago, 1988, only two blocks away from the same spot I was rear end the very night of the day we performed this show. Thing is, today, the 15th of DEC 2016, she went to see yet again another doctor about reoccurring neck pain from her accident! Oy Vey! Clear as a bell?-her accident was 28 years ago=she’s still hurting.What’s the chances that two people acting in this puppet show were rear ended years apart in locations not less than two blocks apart? Maybe, good? I need a beer!)

I’ve been doing puppet shows for the Alachua County Library District for the past 21 years; some have been repeated during this time. I like to encourage reading as I pick my favorite stories-literacy is the point. Thing is, this past show, The Magic Bag, may be one of my last.

The Magic woman wants it to always be cold

The Magic woman wants it to always be cold

15326503_10211476636821781_835909653013600905_n

Natu and Lima protest the weather conditions!

Really, I have a job I’d never leave but Old Man Time is making one out of me. The show must go on, and my life, too.

Then again, the show turned me into a frog!

Then again, the show turned me into a frog!

Angela- Lima- is turned into a cat....

Angela- Lima- is turned into a cat….due to our complaints!

I write adaptions of stories to fit what can be done in the venue we use. Always from the get-go, I’ve employed ‘outtakes’ which entail the puppeteer also appearing stage front as actors who represent various puppets seen on stage. These are the most uproarious moments of any puppet show we do, and always involve a ton of confetti throwing for any made up reason.

This was one of those reasons: The Woman likes it to snow!!! Oh My!

This was one of those reasons: The Woman likes it to snow!!! Oh My!

The scripts are always intended to entertain both child and adult alike.

I write the scripts, design the sets, direct the practices and take part in the productions. It’s all a kick.

The river was fun, and the over head as well....and AC unit(s) blew the blue foil drop downs.

The river was fun, and the over head as well…. AC unit(s) blew the blue foil drop downs.

This program is based upon a Lakota version of a Native American legend that is found throughout most tribes’ folk lore. Basically, a Magic Woman keeps summer in her magic bag and lets only the cold, winter days out. The animals hate the constant cold, steal the bag, and only agree to return it to the woman IF summer can be let out of the bag 1/2 of every year–then winter reigns the other 1/2.

We always sing during the shows-this adaptation of

We always sing during the shows-this adaptation of “Wouldn’t it be Lovely” to have it snow everywhere….

The puppets steal the Magic Bag and there's trouble when the Magic Woman wants it back

The puppets steal the Magic Bag and there’s trouble when the Magic Woman wants it back.

These are the moments I will remember forever....

These are the moments I will remember forever….

Cheers-and now you know why 1/2 of most years are warm, and the other, 1/2 cold:-)

Franque23.

Credits to Odette Hinson as the Magic Woman and Angela Hassebroek as Lima and puppeteer. Thanks.


When I was young, I dreamt I was an Indian. Not once or twice, but often. No one used the term, Native American, not back then, not that I knew. Us white folks simply called the red skinned tent dwelling people, Indians. I held these people in admiration, so swift, one with nature, self sufficient and efficient, they were a people worthy of my fondest thoughts.

Whenever, IF, you see a tree bent like this in the woods it has been formed by Native Americans. They often worked trees to grow is such a fashion as to point int he direction of water, a heard, or home.

Whenever, IF, you see a tree bent like this in the woods it has most likely been formed by Native Americans. They often worked trees to grow in such a fashion as to point in the direction of water, a herd, or home.

I was always a scout. Sleek, sure footed but with the lightest step, I’d climb into a sweet smelling pine to perch high above. There I’d feel the wind with my heart. I’d hear the hawks, the hoot of an owl and squawks of crow.  The blue sky seemed a blanket; the sun laughed.  Leaves rustled while distant hills resembled multi-colored twisted taffy.  The green grasses bent and showed trails of white tailed deer, buffaloes and rabbit runs. The land was clear of danger, resiliently, so peaceful. Scouting was my duty; there were many loved ones back home. Odd, but I never, not ever, saw the end of this dream-I never even climbed down.077-6

This November bulletin board is to reach out to my dreams..

It was only fitting, a magical loop, that brought a pure-blood Cherokee to my side during my college years.  Jana’s father had been a scout in World War II; scrap-metal scars remained on his face. They had horses. At a nearby horse show I stood in a circle that included Jackie Kennedy, all by chance, and that seems a dream now. What doesn’t seem a dream are words Jana spoke one day as we drove back to college after a spring vacation.

“When I was young, ” Jana confided, ” I used to wish I was black, not Indian.”

“Black?” I had to have sounded dumbfounded.

Jana was truly this pretty

This picture of a Native American reminds me that Jana was truly this pretty-and very smart. Still her life had been one of ridicule; I’d no idea.

“Yes. Blacks were much better liked in grade school.” I glanced at Jana- her head was bent down.

Years later, it strikes me that Jana couldn’t even dream of being white as a child-she dare not; that would be too much to even wish.

How different our childhood dreams had been.079-2 another view…

I've and idea! How about we makes maps and globes that represent the true size of all the continents!!! Just call me brilliant and puzzled....

There may be something to this, “Privileged white male” after all?!?!

That she became second in charge of Washington’s Native America bureau under  President Reagan is a credit to her keen efforts, endurance and focus to help her native people. Maybe, this is America at it’s best: if you really try, and never give up, good things can happen.

Thing is, as I heard slanderous words spit this election cycle at people because of their ethnicity it gave me pause, a pain. We were all children once. Children with dreams and hopes-most adults never truly forget those wondrous moments. To have those aspirations sliced apart by loose-lipped fools is more than problematic, it’s wrong on so many levels and in so many ways.

America, we can do so much better. Yes, we can. One day children will not dream of being another color. One day, children’s hearts will soar above the tree tops because of who they are and for what they may become- leaders, inventors, mangers, representative and yes, even President.  People my age, older and younger, we must all remember that dream.

In a way, I’m still a scout in my heart.

 See you later, ...

I’m looking for that dream to come back. Maybe, Trump is right? We do need to make America great again, but not with arrows of division, looks that could kill or with minds full of hate. Not by tearing apart our environment.

It’s time for America to dream and to make those dreams come true. Time will tell.

Now? It’s Native American Month, and Native Americans from many tribes are being pepper sprayed-so much worse- at Standing Rock. Sometimes, the truth seems too much to bear. That’s the bare facts. If only it could stop.

Franque23

2-bent-trees-275x300In many ways- Native Americans are still showing us the way.

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We have such a long way to go.

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Keep the faith –

Franque23


ya know…..The Standing Rock protest is super important…

At Woodstock, my friends and I were young, not yet strapped by so much obligation–we could go there at the drop of a hat to speak our minds, to express ourselves.

The vocals held the message,

The vocals held the message, “Purple Haze, run in my mind..”

we wanted freedom; to make love, not war, and to roll baby roll

we wanted freedom; to make love, not war, and to roll baby roll

Thing is, people who are about my age today are most likely wrapped in bills and a job they can’t afford to skip out on for a few days-a week-and lose.  Or, we’re just too dang old. Plus, we’ve already been cracked over the head, jailed, spit on and frowned upon during the ever-changing 1960’s. Yes, I’d guess my generation’s spirits haven’t changed but it does seem it’s the younger generation’s turn to make a difference, to take one for the team, to band together to right this wrong that is taking place at Standing Rock.

Maybe, the younger generations don’t really know how much effort it took for my generation to turn Nam around and to end that bloody mess. It took plenty.

One day while attending Gettysburg college I joined about eight of my classmates and gathered in two cars to drive to Washington D. C. for what we’d heard was to be a massive protest against the Vietnam war. It was-maybe one hundred thousand gathered to march in D.C. that day. If tear gas, clubs and charging horses is peaceful, then this was a Peaceful demonstration.

Here’s my point: if two sides meet with opposing views and one side is peaceful while the other isn’t, is that a peaceful demonstration? Ask the supporters of Standing rock who are being dragged down, beaten, gassed, arrested and striped searched if this is a ‘peaceful ‘ demonstration.

It takes two to tango; two to talk.

No, the Nam years were battle years both abroad and here at home. Three of the group I went to Washington with didn’t make it back to campus until they’d been released from jail (I think we went to D.C.  on a Saturday and we didn’t see these three again until the following Wednesday-one had been clubbed on the head.)  One college friend had flunked out by Christmas our Freshman year and gone to Vietnam. Three months later, by late Spring, he returned to visit missing a leg. It was horrifying; I spent at least a week smoking my brains out trying to forget John’s fate.

My whole generation fought the Nam war one way or another. We didn’t send Memes. We got in the streets and marched as an unarmed army of what was right and good.

At first, protesters tried flower power.

At first, protesters tried flower power.

It was a peaceful demonstration, so the National Guard of Ohio took a knee and.....

It was a peaceful demonstration, so the National Guard of Ohio took a knee and…..

shot....

shot….

these four dead, randomly killing them and wounding nine others

these four dead, randomly killing them and wounding nine others

All across the nation members of my generation fought and were bloodied , even killed, for what we thought was right.

My generation served our time. And we learned, Love has a down side.

bullets kill...love doesn't.

bullets kill…love doesn’t.

So, I’m wondering…why aren’t the 18 to 21 year old’s going to Standing Rock to stop this pipeline? You have the ability-some of you-like maybe 500 thousand, right? And yet, you aren’t joining our Native American people to fight for your right to live in a clean, healthy environment. Somewhere, somehow, between the protests of the Nam Era and the rattle, smoke, shake, rock-in-roll days of Woodstock my generation’s spirit to join in mass to fight what’s wrong for what is right has gotten lost; the ball got dropped.

Maybe the environmental movement just isn’t fun enough? I don’t know…

new_sliders-11woodstock08a1

In the rub lies the ointment, and in there are the flies. Sometime, somewhere, I feel certain the next generation will have had enough, and chose to fight  in the streets rather than type on a computer as I am. Both are good; both actions can bear results-but getting out in the streets in mass has worked before. It can work again.

 

It’s still not too late to join the protester’s at Standing Rock. In the end, Life becomes a memory. You’ll want to know you did what’s right. Good luck.

Here’s a Drone video and update on Standing rock https://vimeo.com/189876726

Franque23

Here’s the dirt on the proposed pipeline and how and why it was redirected….581a0640150000b9005313f6.png


(Click the pic for a larger view)

That’s today-clear, blue skies with an agreeable wind, enough to rustle the leaves but not your hair. It’s cool this morning, but the Florida sun will keep its promise to heat the afternoon hours. The birds are singing. It’s just a day to come and go, one of work, plans and maybe rest. I spot a shiny penny on the ground, pick it up and slip it into my pocket- that’s my custom. Maybe, I do this for luck, or to prove I’m paying attention, or maybe it reminds me of my mom’s words: waste not; want not. Thing is, ninety-eight years ago, October 12th, 1918, on a day that was much like today, normal, soft, promising, my mom was born.

Her Brazilian birth certificate became an issue for my mom when she was in her forties. She’d been born in Recife, Brazil, on a mission-think of a small  building with white, plastered walls, open, sparsely decorate halls with little furniture, and windows that were not covered but open to allow the cooling sea breeze to flow through the dwelling along with any number of flying bugs or crawling snakes. Her Baptist missionary parents had little money, just faith.

When the doctor arrived to deliver mom he came prepared to record by hand the entire event as a solemn witness to the authenticity of her birth. I’ve read the translation of this birth certificate, the one mom needed to show before she could become a teacher, something, I don’t quite remember-I was young, once. Anyway, the document started like this blog has, with a complete description of the day, the morning, the breeze, the temperature and the mood of the people who’d gathered to wait for my mom to arrive-even the birds were singing. The whole thing struck me when I first read the writing. To think, the kind of day it was, not just the date, time and sex mattered. No, first and foremost the doctor thought the day’s nature was important to note. I guess that’s being in touch with the environment and believing that it and everything else about the day a person was born mattered.

Now, I think it did. My mom was always like that day. Soft, mild, never a taker but giver, a person easy to see, to be around. Her company was a joyful gift.

Dad married a 'Looker.'

Dad married a ‘Looker.’

Her smile could shame the sun; her hair, naturally blonde until almost age fifty, glimmered in the sunlight and framed her laughing eyes.

Mom had an artist flair....a painter and musican-

Mom had an artistic flair….a painter and musician-

Mom with my brother and sister

Mom with my brother and sister

She had a special look.

She had a special look.

Of course, she was my bridge to life.

Of course, she was my bridge to life.

I knew i was in luck the day she brought me home.

I knew I was in luck the day she brought me home.

She made music like the birds, playing piano with a perfect pitch and had no need for musical notations; she sparked up every gathering by pumping her pearl overlaid accordion creating sounds that made even tired feet dance.

My mom was a miracle in so many ways. She went to college at fourteen here in the states and graduated campus queen at age eighteen. I’ve an early memory of stepping through the clover and receiving a bee sting on my bare foot. She sat me on top of the newfangled gadget-the washing machine- and that’s when I  blurted out, “Mom, you’re pretty.” How hard she laughed then. My friends had been talking; not only did my pals enjoy the freedom and food my house offered them as kids, they’d noticed her hair, too.

Mom's sister's and brother's all made it to America...

Mom’s sister’s and brother’s all made it to America…

They keep an affinity for the Ocean they once lived by as children in Brazil....Family reunions always involved water.

They kept an affinity for the ocean they once lived by as children in Brazil….Family reunions always involved water.

It's been wonderful to know mom's family...

It’s been wonderful to know mom’s family…

The good years pass like a morning does in a day. One day, not like today, I became a man who had to help my mom move beyond being old to more. That was a bitter day, now over six years ago. Still, as the cardinals flutter to our bird feeder and my dog jumps up one too many times, I’m forever thankful for that day of so long ago. The doctor was right about that day-it was a perfect day. Mom has been such a blessing in my life I couldn’t live long enough to write it all down so you would know.

Whether it’s the wind that comes and goes without warning or the geese that flew over head this morning in the early daylight, chattering from high above with a noise so uniquely theirs, I don’t know. But for this time, this day, it’s all about mom for me, and I wanted you to know. I did pick up that penny when she had me.

franque23

Mom, 1918-2011. Those were good years.

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