Posts and Perspectives

Expectations

The course of life often presents us with twists that we could never have imagined because we often swear, as young people, we will not be like our parents; or grandparents.  Well except for the parts we’ve learned to love about them.   My grandmother on my mom’s side was an enigma.  From a German family she was maybe swept up in love by my grandfather?… Or was it a marriage of convenience?  We don’t really know because my grandmother, by the time I was old enough to know her, was an old lady.  I don’t mean that in the physics relativity standard, because even though she was young in her late 40’s, she hacked and coughed constantly. That’s because she smoked — constantly.   One of the features of their little home on the Yaquina Bay was the big windows at the front of their house.  It was a spot where my brother, sister, our cousins and I, as toddlers and kids, would play as we looked up to see the stratus of cigarette smoke layers looming above us.  Often I would be captivated by a fly darting in and out of those layers thinking of Snoopy and the Red Baron in perpetual dogfights.  Meanwhile, Grandma would be smoking away, cross legged on the couch.  Often she would be humming a tune.   This was normal.  Over the years we had no other expectations. She was very honest with me the first time I asked her why she smoked.  I was getting plenty of schooling information that said it was bad for health, and to her credit she acknowledged it was bad… “I know I should quit.  But it’s been too long and I don’t know how.  It is a terrible urge when you know why you can’t stop coughing” As a kid, maybe 12 years old, I didn’t have any further expectations.  I accepted her answer and listened as she gently rocked and hummed…  “You are my sunshine… my only sunshine…”  — and I looked out the windows over the bay between the striations of her latest exhale. My grandmother, Tilly, was not a bad person.  Not as far as I know.  She was flawed and maybe put her grandchildren in harm’s way through second hand smoke.  But nobody was talking about that then.  I think when we consider what is love and what is malice there may be a lot of grey areas in there we haven’t lived enough to even consider… Which brings me to this… My most dearest memory of my grandma was when, as a 16 year old teenager, I drove down on a weekend to hunt deer with my grandparents.  As we trudged through the rain soaked coastal forests of Oregon I noticed the raindrops on my hoody were painfully loud.  My right ear was aching fiercely.  I kept hiking and hunting but by the end of the weekend I was having trouble.  My grandparents could see I was not well so we started back.  Driving down the logging roads toward the Alsea Bay Grandpa spotted salmon in a tributary stream.  They stopped for maybe half an hour while I layed on the front seat of the pickup.  It was an opportunity.  Something they were raised to recognize.  My eyes popped open from exhaustion as my Grandpa and Grandma jumped back into the cab proclaiming we had half a dozen salmon.  I managed to say “…that’s great” as I slowly leaned into my grandma’s lap.  Grandpa drove us home. I was supposed to drive home from their home in Toledo Oregon to Lebanon that night.  In fact I had a very important band concert that I was looking forward to performing in the next week.  But by Monday morning I could not even stand.  The pain was not like anything I had ever experienced before.  I couldn’t keep my balance even trying to sit up. That week, my grandma took charge.  She set up the appointments with the doctor.  She dutifully tinctured warm oil into my ear to help soften up the blockage.  She went with me (she didn’t drive so that was Grandpa’s job) into the office.  And she held my hand as they flushed my ear trying to bust up the infection.  This had to be very hard for her to see because it was quite painful.  I could not imagine watching a grandchild in such pain.   And she did what I always would have expected from her.     She sang to me each night as I lay across her lap.  She rocked the upper half of my lanky teenage body as she sang Grandpa’s favorite song; Red River Valley.   And all the while I was with her on that couch she never lit a cigarette. It takes time but we usually come around to the fact that our parents and grandparents navigated from a place we could never imagine.  We may have heard about it but we have no personal experience; no real idea of what it was like.  No PTSD councilors, no nicotine chewing gum, no politicians beyond scratchy flipping black and white television screens. Just the reality of what it is, and where you are at, while you’re trying to take care of your family. Expectations are a little different when you find yourself looking back on them. For GrandmaFor Tilly11/7/2021

Read More »

db’s Blackened Bacon Butter Hush Yer Mouth Gobbler

This recipe, if you can call it that, is the result of years of experimenting on the knife’s edge of salmonella and an inflamed wife who makes me promise to put the kitchen back to the way it was after I’m done.  I will warn you now, necks and gizzards fly without so much as a hint of provocation.  A 5 gallon kettle full of brine water, apples, oranges, rosemary and a big ass turkey corpse can either make a mess your partner will personally sign whatever papers it takes to send you to hell, or you may very well throw your back out in the process of trying to save the day… and your self aggrandizing little chef – self. So, Ingredients… I’ve lived this recipe year over, and over, refining it, and dealing with its various catastrophic consequences before I tamped it into what it is now.  The least you can do is humor me by reading this and taking notes.   Just go and get a fresh turkey.   Size doesn’t matter as much as size matters.  It depends on how many people you want to impress, or make sick.  It’s all a matter, and in some cases, a splatter of scale.   Do what you can get away with; know where to hide.   So I’ve gotten some pretty large birds into a 5 gallon kettle.  24-25lbs is pretty much max unless you intend to jump up and down on it and fold up the rib cage (splatter warning). Not that I have ever done that; no really, I’ve never… unintentionally, or wait I mean, intentionally — done that. So, Get a 4-5 gallon kettle  Important Note: Not aluminum – this is important – because water, salt, acids and a turkey in an aluminum kettle will make a low level turkey battery.  This will not solve global warming nor save your marriage… or relationship, or whatever. But it could make your fillings sing – like – out of tune – together – in your freakin’ head. Wash the bird in cold water, removing the various plastics and bird parts you do not intend to eat.  Be sure to give it a good rinsing on the inside and don’t forget the tender parts — and the armpits.   Now you’re gonna need 2 gallons of apple cider; apple juice will work but get the most natural stuff you can find.  Acidity in the fresh stuff is what makes this work.   You’re also gonna need a box of kosher salt. And while you’re standing around thinking “why kosher?” Get an apple, or two, and an orange, some rosemary and slice them up.   Put the clean bird in the kettle, ass down or ass up does not matter as long as it will fit — without jumping on it. Pour one gallon of your apple cider into the kettle over the bird.  Then pour about a ½ cup of the kosher salt into the empty cider bottle.  Add enough warm water to the bottle to cover the salt and then some.  Let the salt saturate.  You can shake it if you like but (splatter warning) put the lid back on first.  I’m serious about the (splatter warnings); kitchen rehab is a bitch.  Mark my words.  Alrighty then, Fill the remaining bottle with cold water, put the lid back on a shake until most or all of the salt is dissolved.  Pour it into the kettle evenly over the bird.  Pour another ½ cup of salt into the empty bottle and repeat the warm water routine… Then, fill the remaining empty bottle with apple cider from the second bottle that I told you you would need.  Close the lid and shake.  Pour it over the bird into the kettle. Top off with as much cold water as it takes to fully cover the bird.  Add some ice if you have it, your apple and orange slices peels and all, rosemary twigs and then try as you can to get the lid on it (splash warning). By now physics is totally involved whether you have been paying attention to the volumetric issues of the size of the bird, and the size of the kettle, and the effects of these things on the amount of apple cider, salt, water and finally — your ability to carry that sloshy backbreaking (splash warning) symbol of love out to a waiting and welcoming fridge space.  By welcoming I mean it had better be the garage fridge.  Pick your battles wisely. I have gotten away with a 24 hour brine but nothing says I love you like a good 48 hours.  So now, besides volumetric issues you have the space time continuum to wrap your (splash warning) head around.  Try to get a two day head start on this.   —— You are going to get up STUPID early on the day you pull that bird out of the brine, and rinse it (splash alert) like it was the shower after your baptism, or the shower after a 2 day bender — just don’t forget the tender parts and the armpits.  Rinse it inside and out to get as much of the salt off as you can.  The discard brine can be a great organic weed killer, or, grass killer… depending where you discard it.  All I can say is choose wisely. Set your oven for 350°.   Now would be a good time to start your stuffing.  Nothing is better than my wife’s homemade croutons but since you probably can’t get those the store bought turkey stuffing kits can work too.  Sauté a chopped onion, chopped celery, and cook until they are soft (like 8 minutes).  Add rosemary, thyme, chopped garlic cloves and cook for about a minute longer.  Get a big bowl and pour in the croutons. Combine a ½ cup of chicken broth with a couple of beaten eggs.  Pour the celery and onion mixture over the bread crumbs and mix evenly.  Then pour the broth mixture in and stir it though.   Now the recipe requires a Cajun quality.  My go to spice comes in a little shaker container.  It’s called Cajun’s Choice Blackened Seasoning from Louisiana Foods.  I have only found it in meat or deli sections, never with the other spices.  You can consider it a rather snooty spice.  I lightly spice the stuffing.  Not too much. Now you need a roasting pan.  I have lived through many.  The best one in my experience is a large 16” stainless steel rectangular roaster with a cradle rack that has the carrying handle on each end.   Side Note:  The cradle rack is the perfect carrier if you decide to smoke the turkey first.  I suggest smoking the bird before adding the stuffing.  I prefer to smoke the bird for a couple of hours on low temp smoke.  And then finish it off in a standard oven.  For even more smoke flavor you can place your stick of butter in a small pot and let it smoke with the bird.     Place the bird in the rack and place it gently into the pan.  Say a prayer – sip your coffee — or break open a bottle of wine – because it’s game time birdie. Now this next step has huge implications from party social norms to hippy acid norms to like, everybody else – norms, because it involves a needle, and lots of fat, so we need… “A BIG FAT NEEDLE!” Heat up half a stick of butter in a beaker cup in a microwave.  Pull all that melted butter into your turkey syringe.  Inject the bird with butter in a few spots on each breast and one in each drum stick.  Gravity is your friend so inject high and let gravity, heat, spacetime and pressure bake it in and down toward the back of the bird.   Now soften up the remaining half stick of butter (just a smidge of space time in the microwave).  Use this to slather the outside and inside of the bird.  (Splatter alert) I highly recommend you resist trying to lift the bird out of the cradle after buttering it up.  Not only might you drop it, the slippery bird may just skip across the floor and out the door.  It could — umm, well,… it could have — umm, happened. Now spoon the stuffing into the bird.  It’s perfectly OK to sing the following as you do so.  I sing the melody of Monty Python’s Spam: “Spoon, spoon spoon spoon, spoon spoon spoon spoon…” Don’t pack it in too tightly.  Whoops, sorry.  If you need more space I have stuffed the neck flap of the bird as well.  Trust me, it can be done.  Now sow up the butt and the neck.  I mean, you don’t want anything else getting in there do you?   Optional; I have been known to cut an apple in half, scrape the seeds, and use the halves as caps over the stuffing openings, routing a stitch or two over the apple half to hold it in place. It helps to gently remind the bird that this is doctor’s orders as you perform the procedure.  In the end, ah hemmm; you end up with a very nicely baked neck and butt apple to go with your stuffing.  I know, I’m sorry.   Now it’s time to Cajun Blacken the outside of the bird.  Sprinkle the blackening spice liberally over the entire buttery bird.  Then get out 4-6 strips of bacon and lay them across the breast of the bird.  Sprinkle more blackening spice over the bacon.   Place a half stick of butter under the bird in the roasting pan.  Don’t be scared. Step back and say a prayer to bless the bird against evil spirits.  Now, tent-foil the bird.  Be sure to foil the wing tips so they don’t burn.  (Splatter alert) Carefully place your masterpiece into the oven.  Grunting is allowed; in fact for a bird 18lbs or larger it’s pretty much required. For stuffed birds the cooking time at 350° is 15 minutes per pound of the turkey.  This means my cooking time is usually around 5-6 hours.  This does not include smoking time because if you are doing that as well, you could be looking at 8 hours.  2 hours in the smoke and 6 hours in the oven. It can be hard to find a really good friend.  So let’s make this easy.  A really good temperature probe is your best friend.   A turkey baster however, is not a good friend.  It’s just a means to an end.   Because even though a turkey baster is an essential tool, (splatter alert) be careful with the hot juices.  Watch where you point that thing for goodness sake.   After about 3 hours I usually baste the bird for the first time using juices from the bottom of the roasting pan. As the bird juices, bacon juices, spices and butter follow gravity to the bottom of the pan there is no better basting source within the space time continuum.  Pull the oven rack carefully forward and lift one side of the foil tent so you can easily get to things without burning yourself, or loved ones for that matter.  Gently baste the breast, the bacon strips and, I make a particular effort to get some of the juices into the stuffing cavities.  Gently re-cover the bird with the foil tent.  I try to repeat this process every half hour but when guests start showing up and drinks start flowing things can get a little loose.  No worries, it’s usually not a problem.  Unless Uncle Marty starts hanging around.  Things can get a little weird.  When you’re about 80% into the recommended cooking time, you might want to start checking with the temperature probe.  Obviously you check the thickest meat which is the breast but make a note to check the stuffing temp as well. I do this mainly because our oven/stove at the time of this writing, could be described as

Read More »

Who Am I?

I’ve never been one to haul out the old memories from my dusty cupboards no matter how many “romantic” light beams leak through the worn cracks of my life.  Day to day I have looked to the future while treating the past like some worrisome laggard that refuses to leave me alone.  But this day was different. While traipsing through my attic I took a path slightly different from the familiar one; only to stub my toe on a dusty old metal box.  As I cursed upon it the fleeing dust revealed a name; seemingly fading in and out in the sparkling haze.  A critter took it’s opportunity to bolt between the rafters drawing my attention and stealing a heartbeat or two, for just a moment.  Then I looked down at the box and read the name out loud; “Matilda”.  A somewhat uncommon name but since it was my grandma’s name I wondered how long this single item had remained in the house I chose to live in; purly for financial expediency I would add.   When my grandfather passed, the house came to me and being the type of person that I was; raised to be practical before emotional I jumped at the opportunity to live there.  It was not about family inasmuch about a good financial step to my future.  Grandpa was not the type to disagree with my motives.  He instilled them in me with his swedish inflections as my parents relied upon his presence to keep me occupied while they worked.  His love often bordered on indifference because it was necessary to keep order, plan ahead, and be ready for the next thing life brings.  His family, refugees of the “Storsvagåret” famine, made great sacrifices to immigrate and get settled in the U.S., and through the Great Depression; all his lessons and methods were clear.   Yet, with a simple phone call he would fetch me home from school when I was sick, speak to me softly in a graveled tone, as he covered me in a blanket on the old couch, and then fetch me a small cup of orange soda. I was slow to marry for reasons that were rooted in the lessons grandpa taught me even though he never meant to teach them to me at all.  He never seemed to need, or to give any trust to women other than maybe my mother.  So I guess I somehow picked up on that.  Yet, there was one lady that caught my attention and seemed willing to love me beyond all sensible standards.   Taking Anne as my bride seemed quite “necessary” for some reason. The box was nothing special in terms of ornate features.  It was solid, secure and thick enough to hold a great deal of things.  I placed my flashlight upon a nearby rafter and sat upon the splintering tongue & groove floorboards.  The box seemed to beckon me in simple terms to open it; as if grandpa were there to chastise me for being the least bit hesitant.  Grandpa was married for a very short time but long enough to have a daughter; my mother.  After my grandma passed he never married again.  My perception was, he seemed to think his duties were full enough without taking on another soul to feed.  When grandma ebbed away he was quiet but never quite seemed sad. When she was gone his next steps always seemed to have a pragmatic purpose.  He kept the house next to the Yaquina Bay and ignored the new folks moving in around him.  He kept to himself, even around me as I grew up. I wiped the latch of the box and proceeded to open it.  A springwell of dust and musty smells danced lazily into my senses.  Inside were letters; tattered and frail.  I opened the first one and read it as if it were a simple historical document… but; when I finished, it was clear I had discovered a portal.  One that would unlock a mystery I could never have imagined; not in my wildest dreams.  I read the second letter and then the third; and then a few more.  I read until I came to a writing that stunned me with a questioning of all the moments I had ever spent with my grandpa.   “My dearest, I am pregnant, and I’m not sure, but I think you are the father.  My husband does not know yet…” These letters were love letters by my grandmother but they were not to my grandfather.  She had a lover and after reading several more it was clear my grandfather had only discovered these letters after her death.  How he came to have possession of them was not clear but in my dismay I could not ponder on anything beyond the obvious questions. Why did grandpa keep these letters, and why did he keep my mother and me as if we were his own? Then I thought… “Who am I?” Anne called from below.  She has not been feeling well and she rests upon that old couch in the living room.  I crawled down the attic ladder, spoke to her softly and I fetched her a small cup of orange soda.   db 4/24/2021

Read More »

The telling of the Tempest

Last night I dreamt I was in a boat on the high seas looking at a horizon pinched between building swells and blackened clouds.  Sheets of rain breaking against my face.  A dread of lost loved ones washing up with the next swell.  My hands frozen to the batten as the sails were aback in squalls of uncertainty.  Remembering my tears, I centered the rudder, waiting on the luffing sails. In water too deep for any anchor, too far out for any certainty,  I looked back for an answer. On a tepid beach under clearing skies I wade in from the shipwreck.  I see a shadow sitting just beyond the break.  As I approach he seems somewhat amused, almost giddy.  His forehead glistening and crinkled as he maintained a grin.   “Well, it’s about time my lad.  That storm was one for the books.. Or even a play maybe?” “I’m sorry… who are you?” I asked. “William…” he said.  “… and you will have to excuse me but I’m a little out of my vernacular… but, this is in fact, your dream, so being able to understand what I’m saying is probably the point.” “I don’t understand” He dipped one eyebrow and said… “Young man that wasn’t what I was going for at all” …he finished with a chuckle.  I shook my head and pushed back my hair… “I’m sorry, just who are you again?” “I told you William… playwright, poet, and actor… at your service sir.  I understand you are looking for answers… maybe even some justice.” “Wait, you’re Shakespeare?” He chuckled a bit, “What’s important my boy is that you think I’m Shakespeare.  I’m not the one here looking for answers.  Like I just said, it’s your dream” I knelt down in front of him and just then a wave broke swamping  us both in cool water.  His laughter was contagious and he blurted out – “Isn’t this marvelous my boy?” As the water found its way around us back into the sea his eyebrow dipped again as he looked deep into my eyes. “So my lad, what do you know of rage?” The question was stabbing and concise.  It took me back to the only place I could go.  I trembled as I tried to say the words. “I have seen rage as a little boy.  I cried because that was all I could do.  Witnessing rage of no more worth than that of a spoiled little boy; but in a grown man’s body.” “So you understand the difference between monsters and men?” My head dropped… “There is very little difference…  He hurt my mom.” William pulled his knees up and wrapped his arms around them. “But there is a monster you’re still afraid of isn’t there?” I picked up a handful of sand and clenched it with my fist… “I have my father’s temper.” I whispered. “The Tempest.”  William said with a smile as he pointed to the fading dark horizon. “…that storm, “ he popped his lips, “…you spend all your efforts to evade it and yet, it is the reason you are here.” He paused and laughed… “Young man I did not bring anything to this conversation that you have not already felt.  Maybe you should try confessing to a priest or something, or maybe your wife… Do you have a dog that seems sympathetic?” I stared blankly as William looked at the horizon. “You know something lad, there is no single person in this world that has cried for justice without a bit of shame.  When you think about it, … it’s quite comical actually.  We all want things to be fair and just but our own selfish nature gets in the way.  There is no magical way to uncover hope because it lies in depth, within our own self determination.  But, still, — we are doomed to look for magic because that is the tragic comedy that people do.” William looked up at the sun and dug his feet a bit further into the sand. “So, young man, where have you seen hope?” It took a moment for me to find an image in my mind. “I was in India once.  A place as foreign to me as anything I had ever experienced.  There was color and joy.  There were smells pungent and occasionally putrid.  There was maniacal, purposeful chaos pulsing through the streets.  And just as you turn a corner, there was poverty and squalor.” William glanced up… “But where was the hope?” “Well, this particular day was Guruprab; the birthday celebration of an important guru.  So there were these random parades mixed with intense traffic in the streets. I guess a parade was simply a matter of will.” William burst out laughing “Yes of course, much like a play is a matter of William” With a trailing chuckle he apologized…”Sorry… Please young man… continue” I closed my eyes and continued… “I remember tractors pulling large, colorfully decorated trailers loaded with children dressed in brightly colored clothing.  Women walked along behind smiling in pleasant conversation… Younger men kept together wearing bright colored turbans while older men sported beards and mustaches so thick, they seem to be carved deeply into their faces.  Music and prayer chants blared out on speaker systems pushed well beyond their limits.” William interrupted… “Wait, what is a tractor?  …What is a blared out speaker system?” I looked back up at his eyes in a bit of a scowl… “William, I admit this is pretty cool, you psychoanalyzing me here – on a beach – in a dream but – I gotta say you’re killing the mood right now.”  William smiled… “Sorry” he said spreading his arms like an angel;   “Actor… Tragic comedian” I closed my eyes again… “There were cars, tuk tuks, motorbikes,  all jostling and edging around them — and so were we when we came up next to one and stopped for a moment.  Suddenly I was locked within the gaze of a dozen or so children. They of course were transfixed on me, the pale guy in a cowboy hat.  So many large, dark, beautiful eyes and delicate faces, surrounded in bright swaths of color.” William’s face took on an intense stare.   …”I smiled and gave them a wink.  Some of them smiled back.  Then their heads bobbed slightly as their tractor began to move again. Suddenly, with the honk of our horn and an engine rev we were gone from each other’s world.… It was just just a moment in a strange and crazy world…” I paused and took a deep breath.  “But It was a moment I shall never forget.” William smiled and thought for a moment.  He picked up an agate he found next to him and threw it into a wave back lit by the setting sun.  As the wave broke there was just the faintest spark of light as the water and stone were relinquished in turmoil.  Like tension breaking into peaceful reflection before the next wave comes.  “So that is what you saw” said William “… a glimmer” He chuckled until he was in a full belly laugh… “A glimmer of hope?”  I failed to see the humor as I sat there with my heart flailed out in the sand.  William eventually became quiet as he stretched his legs straight out, his toes pointing skyward.   “Young man, you have learned to live with rage and you can see hope.  And it seems you might even have the ability to describe it.  There may be perfect people who never know the tempest but, those make for boring stories… You have to describe the storm in order to define the hope…” William raised his arms, widened his eyes and shrugged his his shoulders.  “…I ask you lad.  What is the tragedy in that?” Just then another wave broke over us and suddenly William was no more than a handful of sand slipping through my fingers.  And as I watched the grains slip into the outgoing rush of water… I awoke.   My phone pinged me with an incoming text.  I wiped my eyes and leaned over to the nightstand.  It was a message from my granddaughter… “Good morning Papa… it’s a bright and sunny day” Every storm gives way. Every story goes on. In the telling of the Tempest.  —  For my dear friend Mitchell Peterson© db 11/20/2020

Read More »

In the words of Steve

Recently Suzanne and I watched the movie “Yesterday” …at the very direct insistence of my old high school friend Steve.  I had heard wonderful things about the movie but somehow, I lost the notion to watch it.  While it’s true there has been a lot going on these days you would think it would have come up in a streaming binge or two.   But, if not for my good friend it might have slipped away; forever.   Which, as it turns out, is kind of the point of the movie.  If you haven’t seen it I will try not to spoil it but, it’s about a struggling musician played by Himesh Patel, who simply has a wonderful and comfortable singing voice; crap I’ll just say it, you should watch it for no reason than to hear this man play and sing.   So it is a movie about desire, songwriting, The Beetles, desire, song stealing, The Beetles, guilt, desire, success, The Beetles, more guilt, some stuff you need to see the movie for, and then preservation. Oh, and you’ll sing… of course you’ll sing.   Ok, so;  In the words of Steve… “You MUST watch this movie”. So, one scene I have to give away.  I mean, I’m trying to tell a story here and frankly if you haven’t seen the movie by now I have to tell you; you’re sucking wind behind the lamest movie watching dude < (this word is about to be important) for like… EVER! That would be me.  Not the dude, or any semblance of a dude.  So, this musician blinks into a word without The Beetles (among a few other things) and quickly realizes all those great songs don’t exist today. It’s a bit of a read if I bothered to spell it out for you so I’ll just sum up that this young man writes down every song he can remember and starts playing them; and ends up in a rather posh recording studio with Ed Sheehan, of all people, trying to record “Hey Jude” (A great song he is feeling guilty that he didn’t write) when Ed, of all people; I mean he would be the last person, … suggested a change; Especially this change.   “Hey Dude” So I enjoyed the movie and that was a funny moment.  So since watching it,  the past week or so my back, shoulder and neck (another long story) has been competing for my attention as I try to do what used to be normal stuff (for me), and it often leaves me exhausted with my muscles in knots by the end of a day.  So my newly retired nurse and lovely wife has been giving me wax treatments using a combination of very warm wax, cloth strips and sort of a paintbrush.   (Point of clarification: This is not the kind of waxing that ends with screaming) Mio Amore has always taken very good care of me.   So there I am laying face down with towels and blankets snuggling the warm wax against my back and neck, my eyes buckling into slumber, as a final clearing breath gives way to a pause in my mind…  “Hey Jude…” Suddenly I’m laying there with a song going through my head; which is not the least bit uncommon for me but, at least this is a great song – and so I drifted through it.  And as is often the case, I even experienced the grand delusion of a possible Bozo Brothers version of it for my band. (The Bozo Brothers is my band… doesn’t everyone have a band?) And then so,  My brain started working on that.   Another personal note:  It was only a few short years ago when I realized my attention span involved a massive amount of distractions that I was able to organize, or ignore outright,as a younger man but now, hell, even a hot wax session turns out to be a project these days.   So as I worked out the arrangements in my head I suddenly recalled a back story I heard once in an interview with Paul McCarthy many years ago. Paul wrote the song for Julian Lennon, John’s 5 year old son at the time.  It was a sweet thing to do for a little boy who was experiencing the breakup of his parents.  Paul originally called the song “Hey Jules”.  The story goes that John was very touched with the song but being a consummate song writer himself, suggested Paul change it to “Jude” – simply because the “D” sounded better.   …And so as I laid there it suddenly dawned on me, the sneaky inside joke in this movie with a ridiculous storyline.  Someone, and in this case a very good songwriter in Ed Sheeran suggested adding another “D”.   Ridiculous and absolutely brilliant.   “Hey Dude” Well anyway, “In the words of Steve”.   db10/27/2020

Read More »

The Battle of Neowise

So, I thought I would venture out this evening to witness an astrological wonder. I walked to the top of my driveway and sat in the grass… looking to the north. I did manage to see the whispy outline of the Neowise Comet just above the horizon. I leaned back in the cool evening breeze that often graces our ridge line above our property; And as I gazed at the dark star lined sky’s above I feel a familiar sting. I was apparently sitting next to a yellow jacket nest. Good thing was, at this time of night, they were not eager to come out and greet me in a more significant fashion. So, the sting started really stinging… and I thought I should maybe get some Benadryl or something. I walk down my long driveway approaching the street light next to my barn. All of a sudden there is a gopher trying to cross my driveway. I stopped and look down at him. He stops and looks up at me. One of us will be ended this night.. I cocked my leg in true praying mantis fashion. My kick snap was as good as it ever was, but the varmint was still looking at me in disdain as my slipper disappeared into the night… somewhere on my neighbors property. Yes, ninja moves and slippers are not particularly feasible, especially at night. Now for you folks that are live and let live, and I get it, I’m mostly a pacifist, but that thing hissed at me like l wasn’t still armed with one last slipper. And it was headed to an apple tree I planted for my mom. So I proceeded to beat a gopher to death with my remaining slipper. When the battle was over I cast its carcass out into my neighbors field as a morning snack for anything that won’t try to eat or sting me in the process. Which brings me to the final glorious moment having to climb over the neighbors fence barefooted to go looking for my slipper. For whatever reason, I did not step on a hornets nest. I found the slipper. As for the comet, Good grief. Db 7-15-2020

Read More »

The Yard

A hummingbird circledAs I sat on our benchA dragonfly hoversOver a rippled reflectionIn my mother’s pond A breeze rustles the treesAnd tickles my hairPapas tire tree swingMoves back and forthGently keeping time. Not a stone left unnoticedNot a window frame ignoredAs I plant with my pencilI sketch out what I loveWhile sitting in the yard. For ConradLove Papa 7-17-2020

Read More »

Smiles with the Wind

Tory the fast racerSmiles as the windRaces through her hairA laugh bellies upShe tucks in her legsAnd sails into her lifeWith reckless abandonAnd purely simple joyAnd her parent’s worryAs they watch in aweHow Tory the fast racerSmiles with the Wind. For my precious AstoriaOn her 2nd Birthday8/1/2020 Love Papa

Read More »

Undefeated

In an age of monsters and tyrantsA small boy looks for a heroAnd he finds words that would seemLike answers in an ancient battle Screams of epic defianceDarkness pushed backIn a cool song with a good beatWith swords and tattoos And then this boy wakes upTo see a familiar shapeWho kisses his forehead“Are you alright little buddy?” As he drifts back to sleepThe boy now realizesHe has a wondrous heroWho is undefeated. For ConradFrom Papa7-16-2020

Read More »

Cherries are in!

Despite our best efforts the Cherries are in and the birds have arrived with their bibs on. To our ever loyal Co-op’s, come and get them.

Read More »

When I look up at the Sky

When I look up at the skyAnd the clouds are grayI close my eyes for raindropsThat might not come. When I look to the skyand it seems as a paintingI look to the edges of cloudsFor the whisps of truth When I look to the skyThe sun feels warm as it burnswell into the evening I feel itAs the evening wind chills me When I look up to the skyI see the edges of my dreamsThe brilliance of hope in a windAnd a fragile conclusion in the sunset. For MishaLove PapaJune 21, 2020

Read More »

A thing of Canter Lane

A wise young lady entered Canter LaneThe eldest of the elders spied her “Do you have a thing?” She asked.The young lady stared back silently “A thing?” The young lady finally asked“A thing… a thing of this place” said the elder The gammer tilted her head slowly in dismayAs she faced an abandoned colloquy. “Wait, I have a thing” the young woman saidThe sage looked up from her dismay “I have the warmth from their hearts”…“The wisdom from their stories” The old shaman slowly gazed up at herCracking an unlikely smile from her brittle face “And my dear,…” “…you have what a bright one deserves”“You have our love and best wishes” In your travels may you keep this thingA thing from all of us on Canter Lane. For JustineA citizen in good standingOf Canter LaneJune, 2020

Read More »