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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dont Ask Don't Tell...?

This morning it was all over the broadcast media. The house and senate have voted to let the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy in the American Armed Forces go. I suppose I should be happy. It is an historic vote, no question about it, and one giant step for Gay-Kind. So why am I not out dancing in the streets with the rest of the Gay community?

I was sweet 15 in the spring of 1969. From then until 1973, I poured my heart, soul (and body sometimes) into the effort of thousands to bring an end to one of the bloodiest conflicts our forces had been involved in since the Civil War. It was beyond my comprehension that conservative people could not see what a terrible waste of lives, on all sides, this undeclared war was. I couldn't understand why my parents were just fine with eating dinner in view of Walter Cronkite's evening broadcasts. The featured views of flag draped coffins off loading from big army planes interspersed with "hey,pass the salt" and "who wants desert?", spoiled my appetite night after night.Those were people's sons,husbands and fathers coming home...dead, and for what? Nearly half the boys I would graduate with came home in the same package, not to mention the ones from my previous high school,with whom I grew up playing ball and learning about fair play and sportsmanship.

Was I raised to love my country? You Betcha!"I once was blind but now.....I see" was one way of stating the feeling I had as the realities of government corruption,secret meetings, secret tapes, backroom deals and War began to dawn on me. It seemed to me that being Gay was not a priority issue. The larger issue concerned every last man,woman and soon to be drafted child in our country. You were either for or against it. There was absolutely no middle ground. Right there at my Father's dinner table, was a demarcation line drawn down the middle. Which side was I on, is what he wanted to know. Considering the fact that every male on my Mother's side of the family had served in war after war, and my Father served as well, it was like playing Russian Roulette to give him and honest answer. He couldn't blame me for speaking my piece. He had taught me not to lie.The consequent arguments would drive my Mother away from the table.

Many years later, in the midwest, I joined the effort to establish Gay Rights in the state of Minnesota. Again, the derision, taunts,hate crimes of the conservatives,the ignorant and the closet fearful were upon us as a group of citizens who were supposed to be endowed from birth with the three famous Inalienable Rights. Most of the newest generation of young gay women and men can't comprehend what we went through as we marched,openly, in the streets of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. They'd not know the danger of going or coming from a Gay bar or club or event. Those times are, for the most part, behind us and I thank God for that.

We 'fought' back, Gandhi style, non-violently and peacefully. We marched and sang songs, wore costumes of every kind. We did our best to smile at hecklers and those who threw garbage,or full opened cans of beer at us. Some were more dramatic; chaining themselves to the podium of the state legislature vowing not to move until a gay rights bill was passed. We didn't fully succeed at a full bill granting access to the social and legal privileges enjoyed by the Hetero Identified population. We did get a weak,toothless bill granting us protection from Work and Housing discrimination. One small step for gays.....

We have always known that one way to get out of the Draft was to grab the Sargent and gob-smack him with a kiss. It was and automatic 4F rating that got you out of harms way. It had nothing to do with cowardice or un-American aspirations. It had everything to do with a desire to live a full life, finish school, grow old and be thankful for those who voluntarily gave up those things to fight.

Last night, on the eve of Christmas Week, the House and the Senate passed this bill giving Gays the right to serve. Even though thousands of Gays have served and served with distinction for years already, they now have the right to be open? Why should one's sexual orientation an issue for the military? After all, If Kim Jong Un,the despot to be,decides to drop The Big One on us it will be the end of Gays and Straights alike,where ever it lands. It is clear the real issue is the Not Setting the Straight Soldiers Head's Right about who will cover their asses in a fox hole. Be nice to your fellow gay troop in the field, he may have to save your life...and he probably will no matter how much you hate him.

To those who feel the call to serve, I thank and salute them,for they may be about to die. For those who danced in the streets last night over this newly granted 'right' I ask why? Why are you happy to participate in the insanity of armed conflict? Why are you,collectively,not gathering your awesome ability to move Heaven and Earth through lobbying,marching and such, and bringing it to bear on the more universal issue which is a matter,literally,of Life and Death for all the people of this world, especially for those just entering life,a life whose orientation is as yet unknown?

Friday, December 17, 2010

NetworkedBlogs through FaceBook

I thought I'd try out this service offered by FaceBook. The main reason was to get more views and readers to share my writing with. Did I even think about everything else I would be sharing?, of course not. Being as savvy as I think I am about security and privacy issues, I simply reached out for the candy, the sweet thought that so many more would read my thoughts. I will keep this blog on the service for a while. If it proves to be too Share-y, for myself , my readers and other blogs I follow etc...I will have to let the service go. Not that the info shared will retreat to it's original source though....more food for thought as I read Michael Moore's blog posts!


See you soon, dear Friends! ( everywhere...on line that is! ;>)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Updates,endless updates...

Greetings Folks.

Long time, No post...I know. Life will tear us away from the things we love and my loves are no exception. That was then and this is Now. I have fallen into Face Book, oh yes. It is a wonder, and I'm not the only one who sees the end of email because of it. Instant communication! Drive Through Friendships! Don't like 'em anymore? Un-friend them! Poof! How very Up To Date is that! It's downright Orwellian too. Dark thoughts come to the surface if you really consider just who-all is watching these posts and chat boxes. Senator McCarthy would have so proud of that, but 'Power corrupts,,etc.' and there's never been so much power in our Government as there is today. Sadly, it's the kind of power that makes you say "Gee, Ike was right!"

To be continued...unless I get Wikkileaked, that is!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


This is a Hallowe'en story, based on a more or less true story from the days when kids could walk around the neighborhood, the folks didn't panic if they didn't know where you were, and Tricks were almost more important than Treats on the spookiest night of the year!

I wrote "THE TRUCE" in a fiction class five years ago. If anybody thinks they see themselves, literally or otherwise, in this story they should just enjoy a taste of the good old days. I will publish it here in installments, to enjoy as the big day draws near.



By Robin L. DesJardins

"I'll be so glad when we can drive to school!", Janey complained, "Those Murphy boys make me so Mad!"

"I know," Wendy agreed, "This is like being in the monkey house at Capron Park...YUCKO!"

The two seventh graders got off the bus, before their stop, at the beginning of the street where they lived. Their homes were almost a mile farther. Wendy lived two houses before Janey's. She had just moved back there from Maine, the summer before and Janey was glad for a friend her age to be on their street again. The weather was turning unfriendly but neither of them could stand the zoo scene on the bus any longer. They pulled their London Fog trench coats closer around themselves as the air turned a cold shoulder, spitting a light rain upon them. Hallowe'en being right around the corner, it was time to make plans for that night. They kicked carelessly along through the bright rainbow of fallen maple leaves. "What about that decision we made last winter; to find out who lives in the old mansion on Murray Hill?"

"Please!" Janey quailed,"don't remind me! I sure wish I hadn't thought of drawing straws."

"Well, we wouldn't have had to if one of those bullies had the guts to volunteer. Ever since those Irish boys moved here from the city, they have been acting all kinds of tough, even mean, but they're as chicken as all get out."

Wendy's opinion of Kevin,Tommy,Timmy and Teddy Murphy was thickly spread on that reply. Those four, followed closely by their younger siblings, all male, were the ruin of an otherwise great social atmosphere among the kids who had grown up in their rural-going-suburban neighborhood. The Dion boys, to one side of Janey's house, six of them, pretty much made up one team, while a few other boys and girls aged seven and up to junior high made the other team for baseball games. Together they spent their summer fun and holiday break times on adventures in the fields and woods that backed up their homes.

With their noisy arrival from a large town to the north that was dying out as an industrial center, the relative peace and predictable pace of summer's activities had been turned upside down. They stuck together as only kids from a large family will, against everyone they met and often launched assaults on the girls with no apparent cause or reason other than to have big laugh at the expense of their new "hick" neighbors. Janey thought, as they walked against the worsening winds, of how strange it wast to be pushed around all summer by the new hooligans, and still turn out to be the only one who would need the courage to ring the doorbell of that mansion on Hallowe'en night! " Well, we'll show 'em just how tough they are this time," fishing for more support from her friend," won't we, Wendy?"

"Sure, Janes, but what about ReRe?" ReRe was Janey's little sister in the second grade. A good little kid as a rule but she had no stomach for adventure,although she was terribly fond of threatening to Tell On You if she wasn't invited along.It was something Janey just couldn't figure out.

"Oh....Yeah.."Janey groaned a little,"She is always a problem is she gets scared that we might get in trouble with Mom and Dad." She kicked at a tin can in the leaves. "Don't worry. I'll get started on her tonight so she'll be ready by Monday night. See you tomorrow then?" They were at Wendy's house now. Wendy gave her the high sign and turned up the driveway to the little Cape Cod cottage that was surrounded by late autumn chrysanthemums.

Janey went on toward home, her head swirling with thoughts of how much trouble the Murphy brothers had caused since the summer before last when they moved in. She looked down into the north lot of the family home, which lay below the road level, and remembered the baseball games of last summer, the firefly hunt and the general hoo-hah that the gang could drum up with not much more than their imaginations and a few props such as cowboy hats and wooden rifles, frisbees or hula hoops. How to keep ReRe from spoiling their plans was uppermost in her mind. Most of all, she was wondering how the Murphy's would try to sabotage their Hallowe'en fun and if they would even dare to go to the mansion with her.

This was not how she wanted the school year to begin. Junior High was supposed to be more grown up and sensible! The wind seemed to whine now as she hurried to meet her curly haired little sister at the school bus stop.


That Evening

After they had finished doing the supper dishes, they went outside. The rain had stopped,but it was dark so they just hung around in the driveway together.

"Whaddya wanna do now?" ReRe was always asking Janey this question it seemed. Janey wanted to slip over to Wendy's house but if she told ReRe, she just knew the little poop would run in and tell Mom,who forbade leaving the yard after dark. This would always grant ReRe a free ticket to anywhere
that Janey went. She shoved the dirt around with the toe of her PF Flyers for a moment, not answering.

"Isn't it Hallowe'en on Monday,Janey?" if they had not been making little second grader decorations all week.

" Yeah,it is...Wait a minute!" Janey teased back at her.


In The RagBag

Saturday morning found them out in the yard, raking an enormous pile of leaves. Wendy came cruising down the driveway on her bicycle. As she got off and approached the pile of leaves, ReRe suddenly leaped from the pile shouting " TRICK OR TREAT!". The older girls gently pushed her over in the leaves and began to bury her in the red,yellow and pink leaves of New England's autumn glory. ReRe just giggled the whole time."S-Stop! Stoppp Iit! I can't see!" complained the little second grader and she staggered about in a dizzy circle. Wendy and Janey exchanged conspiratorial glances.

Right on cue, Wendy said,"GEEZE,Janes! She looks like the real thing all right; Just like a real bride. Look at the train and all the fancy lace." She reached over and pulled down the petticoat so the curls popped all the way out. She grabbed some old panty hose from the bag and jammed the seat end on top of ReRe's head, on leg to the side and one to the rear for the train.

"Perfect!" said big Sis," Just like a real bride. Any sailor would be glad to come marry you! Go down and show your Mom,Quick!" ReRe stumbled and Janey showed her how to hold up her 'gown' and walk without tripping. Down the stairs she thumped on her plump little legs,yelling out "Hey MAAAA!Look!I'm a Briiiiide!" The two friends started to sing Here Comes the Bride, but fell down on the floor, in painful laughter as ReRe sank from view.

                                Sunday Afternoon at Janey's House

"How's the plan going so far, Janes?"

" So far,so good. I'm taking her up to my attic to make a costume. You come up too. You know she listens to you!" Janey winked in complicity at her friend.

" Good idea. Let's go!" Wendy grasped the plan without needing it spelled out. While she untied her transistor radio from the handlebars,Janey yelled to ReRe,
"Hey! Go in and ask Mom if we can go up and check out the RagBag for our costumes, okay?" Without looking back,ReRe raced into the house, leaves trailing in her wake. She was back in a flash,breathlessly proclaiming that it was okay with Mom, and don't-make-a-mess! She flew up the stairs at the rear of the garage. The two older girls giggled and rolled their eyes, feeling so much more mature.

"C'mon."Janey invited,"this is gonna be good." UP the stairs they went as Wendy tuned in her radio to WPRO AM, "the station that reaches the beaches" was their slogan. The light from the windows at either end of the roof peaks gave the attic what Janey thought of as an Artists Loft feeling. She had little piles of stuff on the floor around the edges of the room. There was a clock radio that she kept blowing fuses with while tyring to make it turn on her turntable at 7AM. A stack of teen age fan magazines were in a slippery pile,along with the American Girl mag she got in the mail. This was strewn around and old couch cushion. A dozen or so empty Coke bottles waited to be redeemed for next weeks lunch money,,,twenty five cents a meal. Except for being banned periodically from the attic for blowing the fuses in the whole house,most often when her mother was sewing, this was Janey's personal hangout; So much better,she thought, than the room she had to share with such a little sister!

The RagBag was a family institution; a hangover from her mother's WW II high school days. Everything was saved then due to war caused shortages. They always had Hand-me-downs and when no one smaller was left to wear them,the worn out things went to the RagBag. Now there were rags to polish Dad's car, or wash windows but best of all were the endless costumes the girls could put together from it all.

"Look!" ReRe piped out,"I could be a sailor!"She poked her head through the neck line of Dad's old Maritime pinafore. Sailors were all over town up in Attleboro these days, waiting to ship out to Japan, "where the boys are" as Connie Francis informed them. They were just sailor crazy at the time.

"Yes," Janey recited,"and you could be Five-Seven like Dad to so it would fit,right?"

ReRe's bottom lip started to droop."Watch it,Janes" Wendy cautioned

"Hey,ReRe, look at this." She pulled out an old petticoat that went with an old prom gown. "You could be a bride, see?" and she jammed it down over the little cherub's head before she could disagree. Wendy grabbed her up by the hands and twirled her around, fifties style, to 'Dancin' in The Streets'. Then she tugged on the Bridal Gown to straighten it out some. The child was buried in crinoline and lace so she could barely see out over the neckline.

" What,what,what is it?" the little one chanted while hopping from one foot to the other. It was a game they played all the time.

"Have you figured out what you're gonna be this year? You got your costume made yet?"ReRe's eyes froze on some object on the wall for a moment,then glazed over a bit. She snapped out of the effort to visualize a costume.

"No!!! I don't have any ideas! Will you help me, puh-leeeze?"

"Okay, but it's late and dark." said the older sister,"Tomorrow we'll ask Mom if we can go up in the attic of the garage and figure our costumes out. Wendy's coming over too." The little ones eyes grew bigger and brighter. "Maybe she'll help you think of something, okay?"

"Oh boy oh boy!" She started hopping up to the end of the driveway. "Wendy Wendy Wendy's coming! Ha-llo-weeeeen,Ha-llo-weeen!" Janey grinned over the way her kid sister always fell in for her ideas. She was sure that bringing Wendy in would be a big help towards getting the little one's head 'ready' for this mission at the Murray Hill mansion. Every body knew it was Haunted. Her job was to help ReRe forget all about that as she was key to ringing the door bell there,on Hallowe'en especially! ReRe was crazy as a dog about Wendy. This would be her chance to work ReRe into the right frame of mind for the mission ahead.


Monday, Hallowe'en Day

"So now what?" Wendy looked her way.

"What what?" Janey shot back.

"Did you tell her what's up for Trick or Treat yet?"

"Ahh...I was thinking we could pretend there's a wedding on the porch." She seemed lost in a wide angle view of the attic. Wendy could see it.

"That might work, but who is the groom? Huh? She
flipped through the pile of albums," She won't go for it without one...will she?"

" Geeze, Wen, she's a second grader. She's not into boys much."She despaired for a moment, then brightened up."I know...we'll tell her that he's waiting up on the porch.'ll be dark. We'll have to go up together and see." She seemed to be focusing in again on Wendy, with an aksing

"Okay," eyebrows narrowing on her friends face, " So we get up there, and there's no groom. Then what?" Janey took a sharp breath. What then?

" I guess that's when I tell her he must
be waiting inside and just ring the door bell." The stared at each other, faces frozen,as the moment of truth revealed itself.

"Yeah,Janes" whispered Wendy," I guess. that would be the whole
thing. Two birds with one stone, eh?"

" Hey you guys!" The two girls jumped like frogs at the sound. " Mom says I look perfect and I can use her lipstick too! Hey what's wrong with you guys?" Breathlessly, ReRe tripped over to them." Where are your costumes?" as she nearly fell on top them with excitement. All the painful laughter started again.

" I guess I'd better get home." Wendy got her feet moving and stood up. I'll come over at dark. You will be ready?"

" Maybe we should walk down to your house. There's two of us. "She looked at the little Bride. "Besides,It'll get me out of the house before everybody shows up at the door."


That night, after supper...

" Now you watch out for your sister, young lady,and I want you home in two hours. Understand?"Mom said. They Headed out into the chilly,moonless .

"Okay, Ma." Janey smiled. She had been so caught up in the big plans,that she almost forgot her own costume.To too-long pants and a worn out suit coat from the RagBag,she added a battered old Bogart hat. With some charcoal smudged on her mug it was Hobo like. When they picked up Wendy, there were shrieks of laughter.

" Well don't we look handsome tonight!" Wendy chided her friend.

" Hey, cut it out! Who told you to dress like me!" Janey shot back. The laughing at the sight of themselves went on as the three girls went about collecting treats. Janey's radar went off. "SHHHHH!"Wendy hissed. "You hear that?" There was a sinister giggle from a multiple voice in the bushes. "ReRe, stay with Wendy.Be quite."

She tried to sneak around to the side. Too late,the boys leaped out. Making growling, snarling noises, they circled the girls and sang " Here come's the bride, ten miles wide...nyaa nyaa nya yaaa yaaa ..." ReRe started to cry,both afraid as well as insulted.The Irish Goblins danced around them and shook a bottle of very cheap cologne all over the place.

"I wanna go home!" the little Bride exploded at them.

"Moron! What'd you do that for?" she turned on the big one. The always knew who to get under her skin.

"Oh yeah? Well it takes one to know one." answered the second sized boy. She couldn't help but notice he was wearing the ass end of a donkey suit, but bit her lip.

" Hey let's cut it out!" Wendy cut them off with a light swipe between them with her arm. "We know you like to pick on little girls." They glared eyeball to eyeball almost. "Do you remember our deal about tonight?" Just like that, they all forgot what they were up to. All eyes followed Janey's up the hill. There stood the Mansion,like a black hulk with it's towers. The gingerbread decorations on the porch,were just waiting to snag the loose threads of their the dark. The elder boy began to sputter,"Well,hell no!" with as much brass as he could summon. "We're just here to make sure that, Janey Short Straw." The brothers all added
gung-ho noises, laughing at the new nick name for Janey.

"Wh-What are we gonna do?" ReRe tugged at Janey's sleeve and fastened her eyes.

"We're going up to the top of the hill,of course." slightly loud, for the other guys to hear.

"Wh-What For?" the Bride squeaked out.

"You're a Bride, right? That means you're getting married,right?" added Wendy.

" Bit I don't wanna get ma-aaa-ried!!"she wailed. The boys began to imitate her.

"Dry up, will ya!" Janey shouted at them. She took her sisters hand. "Sure you do. Look at the neat bride's dress and your pretty flowers." She fluffed up the knot of yellow ragweed. Now you even smell like a bride! That's perfect for the groom too!" She took the cushy chin in her hand and tilted ReRe's head up."You're all ready to go,ReRe." Janey was flying by the seat of her pants now. She had to keep little sister on an even keel.There would be no end to it if she towed her home crying.

With a little urging from Wendy, her sense of drama began
to take hold. She love to play Make Believe. "Well then" bravely sniffing," Who-who's the gr-groom?"Janey turned to Wendy.

"Oh, he's waiting up on the porch for us. C'mon let's go see."she reached for her hand.

"Yeah, ReRe...let's All go and see," shooting over to the boys,"SHALL we?" The dare was the bait they finally took. Instead of going up the drive as they had before, the two groups went straight up the hill, just as if they were dragging sleds and toboggans. Janey suddenly realized that ReRe had a right to be nervous. She was too young to remember back to that day and how this night became what it is, in the first place...


The Flashback..Previous December

It was a chilly December day, the kind of Currier and Ives scene that comes to mind when the holiday season comes around. Christmas break gave the kids endless days to ride down that long, long, hill below the Murray mansion. Janey and her sister had received a brand new Silver Streak runner sled from Santa. To them, there was nothing else in this world to do but ride it over the twelve inches of snow that came down on Christmas Eve. The Murphy boys were there with their toboggan, just flying with no regard for anyone else on the hill. She and ReRe had just been run down for the third time by the Murphy Express. ReRe was crying hard and had a big, blue bump on her cheek.

“Hey, you bums! You hurt her face!” Janey yelled at them when they
got back up to the halfway point on the hill.

“ReRe’s Fa-aaace…” Teddy and Tommy mimicked her with squealy voices.

“Her face was hurt when she was born!” They laughed and threw chunks
of ice at the two girls.

“THAT’S IT!” Janey threw herself on the oldest, who was closest,
kicking and swinging, only actually connecting with him a couple
of times. The ire between them had been building since school started
back in September. She was determined to settle his hash
once and for all, right here on the hill if need be. I would get her
in hot water,but it could also buy them some peace from it all.
The crowd of sledders,all from nearby,gathered around the
action and shouted for both sides. When one of them got knocked
into the crowd, some one else would shove them back into their
opponent’s face again. He out weighed her by almost double,
but Janey had picked up a couple of Judo moves from practicing
with her big brother. She would sweep the big, clumsy kid
on his backside, again and again. Used to just being bigger and
throwing his weight to overcome others, he was now slowing down from
the effort. Janey was just realizing that if she won, there were six more
brothers behind him.

“OH, my god! Look at that!”one of the girls was screaming and staring at
the mansion. The fight slammed to a stop at the sound.They
followed her eyes up to the mansion. A pale, white face had appeared from
behind a curtain. It disappeared in an instant. They all started in frozen
amazement. It seemed to float there, and stare back at them. Just as the lot
of them had gotten a glimpse, the face quickly dissolved right before their eyes.

“Wow, did you see that?”somebody whispered.

“I thought that place was empty!”another one said.

“Nobody’s ever been in a window before.” The fight seemed to be over,
as if it never happened, while the shock was being absorbed by all of the kids.

“Who do you suppose that was?, Wendy said to Janey.

“I don’t know…whose house is it,anyway?” Janey asked looking around
at the others.

“Don’t look at us,” said Tommy,“we just moved here, remember?”
How could she forget?

“Yeah,I remember, and I’m gonna remember you moving away too, jerk!”

“Hey, cut it out,”Wendy cut in, “we’ve got ghost up there,remember that?”

“Aw…you’re nuts.There’s no such thing as ghosts.” The older boy was breathing slower now. “Everybody knows that.”

“Well then,” Janey turned to him, ”if you’re so sure of that, why don’t you
just go and ring the doorbell and see?”

“Oh no,…nope,not me! YOU go!” he looked to his brothers, who all seemed
to approve of the idea.

“What’s the matter, Murphy? Scared or something?”she pushed his way.

”You want to send a girl up there,Chicken Man?”

“Janey,don’t…stop it.”Wendy cautioned with a hand on Janey’s arm.

ReRE was still sniffling over the bump on her head, and threatening to tell
on them all. Janey stood there glaring death at Murphy. She knew 
Wendy was right, but there had to be a way to bring that bully down a peg or
two. While rubbing an eye that would be a rainbow of color by tomorrow's supper time,an idea flashed into her mind. “Okay you chickens, here’s what we’ll do then. One of us will ring the bell on Hallowe’en. Okay? Then we will know for sure.”

“Why wait ‘til Hallowe’en?” asked another boy from the back.
“Because everybody knows that’s when the ghosts can come out and see us, that's why” she retorted as if an authority on the topic

Tommy asked over his shoulder, “But how are we gonna to know who will ring the bell?” Janey reached to the bottom of her coat pocket. There was a bunch of cellophane wrapped,cinnamon flavored toothpicks. She always took several from the donut shop when they got to go there.

“We’ll draw straws, fair enough? We’ll use these toothpicks.” They all hesitated a minute and muttered to each other that maybe they should be getting home now. A few turned and rode down on their sleds, but then headed home. It was just the three girls and the Murphy boys now.One by one, the straws were picked from her fist and visible relief was shown my all but the last. To her mortified surprise, the last straw was the short one, and it was hers.

“HAW, HAW, HAW!!” the boys crowed and laughed. “Look who’s chicken now!”
Murphy was dripping in delight over her dilemma backfiring this way.
Wendy checked the straw to be sure it was really the short one.

“Geeze! What are you going to do now?” Wendy's wide eyes were
on her. Janey turned and looked down the hill, out at the field
across the road. The corn was long ago cut, and the deep snow
covered all the evidence. She felt like the others had all just faded away
behind her. This could be trouble. She tried not to think about
her friend's question. The cold in her fingers and toes was
beginning to hurt a little, bringing her back to the moment.

“I…I guess I’m gonna ring the bell….” she said flatly, to nobody in particular.
It was now dusk.  The laughter of the kids faded along with the daylight as they descended the hill one last time and straggled home, like small dark periods dragging sled commas across the graying landscape. ReRe’s sniffling came through to Janey now and she took her little sister’s hand,  remembering the ragweed.

With Wendy gathering the sleds, they headed home to supper, and the Spanish Inquisition. There were bound to be many questions from Mom and Dad, not all  of them rhetorical. Not only were the consequences of losing her temper troubling her, but Hallowe’en, once so far, far off in the coming year,now felt like tomorrow. Janey wished she lived far away from there…all alone....

************ .

To The Mansion...October 31st

The Murphy boys were jibing at the girls from the rear guard as their little unit climbed the hill. ReRe kept stumbing on her gown and mumbling about getting in trouble. Janey held her hand snuggly and Wendy whispered reassurances to the little Bride. Janey took the point, eyes peeled to her left and right. What did she expect to see after all? They had all seen this place hundreds of times. It was still the big, gray Victorian house that sat atop this hill and watched them pull up their sleds, or ride their bikes past on their way to fishing down the road. She'd seen it hundreds of times if she'd seen it once. It was quite another sight after dark.

The maples and the oak trees closed in around the porch more, and wind set the branches to clawing the sides of the house. It sent the leaves scratching across the hard ground and stone walkway,whispering disapproval of their presence. The rain gutters cut the air and sang a  dirge in the key of goose bumps.

There were lights on inside! Never before had they seen the cracks between the drapes glowing. As they got to the steps of the porch Janey stopped and the whole gang bumbled into her.They were too busy gawking upwards at the Tower, a black, pointy witch hat for a roof and little windows like two square eyes. "Ya see that tower, ReRe?" Tommy whispered to her,"That's were the groom will lock you up when yer married." All of the boys laughed pretty hard at that one.

"You stuff it right now or I'll stuff this down your neck."Wendy was waving a fist in front of him so he'd see it. "Don't listen ReRe. He's just a moron."
"Well what are you waiting for Captain Janey? Cold feet all of a sudden?" the oldest boy said while standing safely behind them all. Janery stared. The door bell button was made visible by a gliint of the moonlight, right there, beside the ornate wooden door. The broom by near the door jamb trembled in the wind,causing a "shhshhshhshshshsh!". The end of the porch where three steps lay waiting for her to bolt seemed a mile away.

"Shut up, Murphy," Janey hissed,"If we live through this, I hope you get drafted." She found she was thinking of the trouble they all got into back on
the night of the fight right out on that grass. She looked back to the door, looming large with every step. What if there was even more trouble waiting for them?  'Too late to think about that now',she told herself.' It's time to put my money where my mouth is'. If there really is a ghost, she could out run everybody at school and not  as much worried as just plain scared.
"Go on then, Captain Short Straw" he poked again. With a slight tremor in her hand, she reached for the button. As her finger felt the cold metal of the botton, and before she could push it...the door creaked open and light spilled on to the porch, revealing them all to the night. They stood stock still, holding their breaths.
"Oh oh ohhhhhh,,,I'm Scaaaared!" squealed ReRe.

" Well,look what we have here." said a small but unperturbed old voice. Before them stood a very old woman who towered over them with a straight back. Spindly legs sprouted below a black and white,flower print dress. The two big girls slowly looked at each other, wearing "O's" of expression in their mouths. Crows feet sprouted from the sides of her face, which wore a nearly white powder. This face was strong jawed and framed in black pin curls that barely showed any gray. Still,she seemed so pale and frail, as if she weren't really there. She took a step backward and said, "Well...what can I do for you tonight?"

Nobody moved, and nobody breathed on that porch. The wind had picked up a little and sent the leaves and branches to protesting. ReRe was trembling and Janey's hand was hurting from the squeeze the little Bride was exerting on it. They were in a common dream, caught in a black and white still shot. "Ahem..." the old woman coughed and looked sideways.

"T-trick o-or Treat?" Janey at last let out.

"Now that's more like it!" she smiled down on the kids." Would you care to come into the kitchen with me?". She smiled, turned and seemed to just float down the wainscoted hallway towards a warm smell of baking. One by one, they crossed the threshold of fear and stepped into fascination and adventure.


How do you spell...?

The kitchen was very large after the country kitchens from a century before Janey's time. The yellow walls rested on light grey wainscoting and the cupboards looked as though they could hold enough food for an army. They cautiously accepted her invitation to look up on the counter. She was standing beside a large sheet cake. "I was just finishing up decorations on this cake." she said quietly. They could see pumpkins and black cats all around, with a thick, orange ribbon of frosting waving it's way around the whole cake. In the center in black and orange frosting script it said "Happy Hallowe." 'Would a ghost bake a cake?', Janey wondered silently. "Does anyone know how to spell this word?" she asked as she pointed to "Hallowe...".

Janey looked at her. "H-al-l-0-w-e-'-e-n?" she spoke as politely as possible.

"Yes. That's exactly right. I'll bet you are very good at spelling in school?"

"Well...." Janey blushed at the giggles behind her.

"There now," said "Mrs. Murray" as she finished off the word with orange icing. "Who would like a piece of cake?" No one spoke. Could a ghost's cake be eaten? Would it make you sick? Janey swore she could hear the boys drooling on the floor though. "It's chocolate, you know..."

"I do! I do!" came the little voices from the group. From around the corner came a tall man with blonde Bryl-Creamed hair, wearing a mohair sweater.
"This is my son, David" Mrs. said as she took his hand ."David. We are about to have some cake in the parlor. Would you help us please?" David smiled at his mother and as she served up the cake on little tea plates, he led them into the large front parlor of the mansion. He bid them sit by the fire or anywhere near it. Everyone was staring around, mouths wide open, at all the well kept antique furniture. She floated slowly in and took her seat on the sofa close to the fire. David followed close behind with a tray of hot chocolate for all. As they happily chowed down on the chocolate cake and sipped at the cocoa, she asked them all about themselves.

"We all go to the same school in town, elementary and junior high." Wendy told her.

"Do you all live nearby? I think you are some of the sledders I see in the winter time,yes?" the old woman asked gently. They all blushed to think that she may have been the one who witnessed the only time things got that out of hand among them.

"Yes,M'am," Janey sought to change the subject. "May I ask you a question?"

"Of course you may,Dear. More cake anyone?" There were hands up and thank you's for that.

 "We never knew anyone lived here before."

"Oh, I have been so rude!" she cried in a bird voice. " Where are my manners? I am Mrs. Murray. I have lived here since my marriage to my poor departed husband, some 74 years ago. I was the only school teacher here for a long long time. Why, I'll bet I taught some of your grandparents! And whom might you be?" she raised her eyebrows for some emphasis.

'When my grandparents were young? She must be at least a hundred!' Janey couldn't help thinking. As the kids explained themselves, and their parents names, she brightened up and welcomed them all, as newcomers.

It was getting late for the reclusive old woman of the hill. She suggested David see them to the door and give them a grab in the Trick or Treat sack. She saw them to the door and told them to come back again,"Maybe around Christmas time to help me with my tree. David always finds one that nearly touches the cieling!" She waved a white bony hand,"Bye Bye now!"

As they filed past her on their way out, they all remembered their manners and mumbled awestruck thank you's to her. Back out in the dark of night, they shivered a little and began to descend the hill. There was a quiet sense of peace around them. "Well" said one of the boys in the dark,"She was no ghost. That's for sure.

"Nope. But she was a hundred years old I'll just bet. That was even better than a ghost, right ReRe?" Wendy chucked the little Bride's head. They negotiated their separate ways home and ReRe tugged on Janey's hand.
"I didn't get married yet, Janey"

"I know,ReRe, but I think David was a little too old for you." the three of them broke into a giggle fit.

"Here comes the bride...ten miles wide...nya nya nya nya.." came the Murphy brothers comment on that idea. ReRe started to leak around the eyes and threw her Ragweed bouquet at them.

"Shut up, you little farts." Wendy shouted at them.

"C'mon, ReRe,"Janey took her by the hand again,"It's getting cold. Let's go home and show what we got for Trick or Treat!"

"Yeah Let's!" she creid eagerly, already forgetting the fun the boys had made of her. As they walked away from the hill, Janey and Wendy turned to look at the Murphys going on ahead, then back at each other.

"Well,Janes," Wendy said to her friend, "that sure was a short truce,eh?"

"Yeah,sure was," Janey said through a sigh."nice while it lasted. Looks like it's going to be another long winter on our street." They just nodded agreement, and waved goodbye at Wendy's house , until tomorrow.

The End

Monday, April 27, 2009

Losing My Religion

Originally posted in the spring of 2009,I can't help but think on how the questions I asked in this one have been answered by the events since then.

I will be posting a follow up, a "revisited" of sorts soon.

Here it comes....again......those uncertain weeks when we ask ourselves " is it time yet?" What is this thing that comes to us in early spring? All winter I spend getting excited about things and beginning expressive activities inspired by these excitements. Through the murky November evenings, and the pressing down of January darkness, I work at them. When the mushy ground of February sucks at the soles of my feet, I lose speed. When the Maybe's of March cloud my days, I run out of steam. April's illusion of Sweetness and Peace leave me devoid of the last scrap of momentum, with the exception of the Gardening Urge.

Apologies to REM, as I borrow a bit of an idea.........

That's me in the corner,
That's me in the spot light losing my Ambition,
Trying to see things through,
And I'm not sure if I can do it. Oh no....
I've learned too much,
I haven't learned enough.

Another stab at my education may be shot down by another massive economic recession very like the one that knocked me out of school in the 1970's. How can this be? Could it simply be that Timing is not one of my best played cards? Could it be the Procrastinators Prize for waiting so long to enroll once again and start that journey, ostensibly to 'better' my self, or Upgrade my life as a dear friend once challenged me to do? Well, 'bettered' though I may be, the sad truth is that I am not feeling especially Upgraded. Here, in my senior year ( Yikes! I actually made it that far this time!) I am as broke and nervous about it as I was the week before I enrolled. Perhaps there is a sort of religion in the back of my mind that is centered around achieving that American Dream thing, that false sense of security we foster in ourselves in order to not have to believe in the fact that Nothing In This World is secure. Even now, as I have never believed in the part of my brain that knows better, I am feeling failure creeping around under my window box. I know it's there because every other day, another flower has died from the roots up.

This is not an essay. It is coming out "as is". Take it or leave it folks. As a matter of fact I am doing this today because I have lost the point of finishing what I started 7 years ago. Maybe I'll get past that idea this way, or Maybe not. Maybe if I were beginning, as most students under the age of 21 are, it would feel differently to me. The idea of building a wonderful life around the material I took from college would make more sense then I suppose. The idea of building a wonderful ending makes less sense. The idea that I can't see a way to get the last two or three classes the institution says I need to acquire a sheepskin is like a seed stuck in my dentures. It does not go away, and yet I am forced to keep on chewing the meal set before me as though I am enjoying every bite. The idea that I needed to get food stamps in order to eat during that work is particularly galling to me. The idea that AIG and other Ilk like them are getting bailed out at the same time the Feds are telling me that they won't support my incredibly Under The Radar living expenses for this past school year and maybe one more semester is enough to make me think criminal thoughts.... or revolutionary's all a matter of the readers perspective I guess.

Is it time yet? is it time to finish those 4 papers for class? Is it time to finish that screenplay that keeps staying at page 23?'s time to go out and muck about in the garden. Time to lose those thoughts and fears in handfuls of compost, to feed the future with buckets of manure, and not the kind that comes from Washington,D.C. It is warm enough at night now to plant safely down here by the river. Hmmm......the last tomatoes I planted were small,tough and bitter. The news from the Feds, about no more material support, was bad stuff to have on my mind while I tended them. What will grow in my garden this year? What will grow in the garden called America this year? So many are going in together on gardens, even Michelle and the White House Staff. What will they be eating come Autumn? The collective composted thoughts of white collar crime left un-prosecuted? The shortened sleep of families trying to make ends meet, or trying to all sleep in the same cardboard box? The lives of successful students being contorted into fear of a debt too deep to ever satisfy with their labor?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Signs and Wonders in the 21st Century...or Everything I know Is Wrong.

After reading a couple of paragraphs of Carolyn Myss’s 'Sacred Contracts', over my first few sips of coffee this morning, I returned to the rest of the house, where the television was chatting away with the voices of some Vegetables who were taking on roles from a recent Indiana Jones script. What was I seeing? Why did this nonsense capture my attention so strongly? Can a television play the role of divine messenger? Perhaps it can stand in, momentarily, as Oracle…or hallucination? If Abraham heard a divine voice in a bush that caused his name to change…could a television stand in as a device for divine chit chat? Or am I mixing memories of old Hippy Daze with those of just finishing the making of a movie for school, in which the actors were all Mr. Potato Head toys?

Let me first tell of the events leading up to this:
I woke yesterday at 4:15 AM and, having taken a decision the night before to get up early and bake bread for my gas tank, I fought my way up to compliance and did just that. The morning went fairly smooth as I mixed yeast, flour and water together and set the bowls in a warmer room to ferment. While I waited for those first rises to be done, I turned on the computer and watched the final episode of 'Grey’s Anatomy' with my coffee. (It’s nice to see a favorite show at 5 AM, without a slew of commercials, or phone calls interrupting my entertainment.) After the first Sponge was ready for the rest of the recipe, I mixed and kneaded the dough, then replaced the bowl in the warm room. Halfway through it’s rising, I began another Sponge bowl. When the rising was complete on bowl number 1, I shaped the dough into loaves and set them to rise. I took the second sponge through the same process. During the waiting times, I would wash utensils, check email and have another cup of brew. In the end I had mixed, kneaded, shaped and baked three batches of Vienna bread. By noon, all was out of the oven, cooled on racks and bagged for delivery. The dishes were done and the sink cleaned up.

I then drove to the home of a friend who ordered two loaves for the first time. We visited and had a long overdue chance for conversation. It drifted into the realm of the esoteric, and unexplainable. Our visit was pleasant and when I left we agreed that we would continue the conversation. The weather was windy, and pushed my little truck around a lot. There was a storm going on, comprised mainly of restless air whose momentum and velocity increased throughout the day. That kind of wind becomes white noise, after the first non-stop hour, but grows to dominate one’s attention by the end of the day. By the time I arrived at home I had to use both hands to hold the door open against the wind just to get inside.

Since I could not contact my third customer, I turned to other activities, such as laundry,e-mail and Facebook. There is a thread in my Facebook page, about Lucid Dreaming etc, going on between two members. As I followed this, and a link or two that was included, I consumed a rather large serving of chocolate pudding. This sugary delight, combined with the full work day already behind, me put me into a half, and then full sleep state. I woke at 10:15PM on my bed, still shod and dressed. Great, what do I do at this time of night, fully rested and awake?

I ate some more chocolate pudding, of course, and viewed the Charlie Chaplin film 'Modern Times'. It was on a list of choices for homework in a class at school. The wind was blowing wildly the whole time. Around 1:15AM it rose to such a terrorizing level that I could see the wall of my trailer, 2 feet away from me, beginning to bow inwards. Something was slamming against the outside of the trailer and causing Dog and Cat some fretful moments. They came and planted themselves near me, as if it would make them safer. From experience, I sensed that this was a prolonged gust in excess of 50mph. Were we destined to leave Kansas behind tonight? I heard my neighbor’s picnic table go end over end until it slammed into the side of her trailer. Peeking through the blinds I saw not a single light come on at her place. Oh, to sleep that soundly! The three of us retreated to the bedroom. Musing over the points our instructor asked us to consider in the film, I finally fell asleep again. This is one way I compost material for required writing assignments.

At 7:15 AM this morning, Cat woke me with a gentle tug on my upper lip. “The sun is up, I have to pee and you need to feed me, NOW!” (Rhymes with MEOW!)
We are now, back to the Land of the Living, and the top of this posting’s tale.

Guy Noir, Radio P.I. from
Prairie Home Companion

As stated before, I returned to the rest of the house to find a story playing out an Indiana Jones script, with vegetables as actors. The Cucumber, 'Minnesota', is dressed the way I imagine the detective "Guy Noir" would be; classic London Fog style trench coat, and Bogart felt hat. He was on the trail of Sampson's Hair Brush. The pretty girl was being played by a Sweet Pea vine. They followed the trail to a barber shop in Tuscany. There, two Russet Potatoes portraying barbers, possessed knowledge of the Hair Brush’s secret hiding place. The sense of a Knights Templar thing rose and then fell in this script.

The strangest part (?) was when a rutabaga in a beige version of Boris Badinoff, possessing the voice of Rocky Rococo, rushes in and demands the Hair Brush of Sampson from our detective hero, Minnesota. Oh, I forgot to mention that the rutabaga was Canadian. The characters kept insisting that “he doesn’t look Canadian!”. The little bad guy grabs the brush and rushes off with it. Back at the Barber Shop, our hero, and the Sweet Pea commiserate with the two Russet Barbers over the loss. Suddenly the door opens and two RCMP’s, played by a couple of butternut squash, enter with the little bad guy in hand. Minnesota tells them that the rutabaga did not steal the Brush. In fact,the rutabaga reminded our Cuke of promises he made to Canada, at the time the Hair Brush was found at its hiding place. This is why he gave the Hair Brush to the little Canadian tuber. So the Squash Mounties leave the stage and the rutabaga leaves the stage. The barbers are still sad, and Minnesota goes to lunch with Sweet Pea, where they consume a veggie dish. Is that a comment on cannibalism?

Kids are getting this on Saturday Mornings now? I mean, I know we all wanted some change in programming for kids; less violence,cautionary tales, a bit of moral instruction of some sort etc…but really... Vegetables dreaming of an Emmy? Will kids want to eat their vegetables, if they are now talking to them on television, not to mention interacting with them on the web? I never wanted to eat Mickey Mouse or,gack,Popeye. I kind of wished Tom and Jerry were still beating each other up for grins. You know, something “normal”?

At this point in my morning, I am not sure if I’m awake or asleep. As stated before, I have had one very strong cup of coffee, along with the requisite paragraph or two of reading in the smallest room in the house. I thought when I left that room that I was more or less in the present. As I took a few minutes to absorb the script being played out on the TV screen, my sense of being somewhere else began to grow.

The thread conversation, re: lucid dreaming, re-entered my mental desktop.

It blended with memories of characters from an old Firesign Theatre production about a detective called,

Nick Danger…Third Eye

If your memory of Rocky Rococo,the sound of the rutabaga's voice,more or less, needs refreshing, click this link and choose sound sample #8.

Perhaps the funked up sleeping schedule, that of switching from the ‘9-5’ of school to the 4-noon of a baker,could be twisting me backwards to the Alpha state even as I stood here with my eyes wide open?Are these the Signs and Wonders for the 21st century? Or is it a simple case of Everything You Know Is Wrong?( which is coming to be my only solid belief as I watch the World's events of late unfold...) I can't decide at this time.

The wind has not stopped blowing long enough to break the spell.

I'll check back
on this, maybe after the winds stop... around Memorial Day.

PS: The friend I visited yesterday, just phoned to say that same gust blew her kitchen window into her living room! The weather report posted it's speed at or over 63mph. Ah.....SPRING!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Imagio's Silly Reviews Page

An insightful and mostly irreverent poke at books I have read and loved or hated. This may become an ongoing blog antic.

The first shall derive from papers I submitted to the interminably patient faculty at the Valencia Campus of UNM. Sometimes I just need to cheer myself up this way.

To paraphrase my Mother (and her Mother) , If you can't say anything nice, for God's sakes at least make it funny.




as inspired by


By Robin DesJardins

Spring 2007

Instructions: Read this thoroughly then throw it away and forget it.

If you are born into wealth and comfort, walk away from it. If you are born with nothing, spend half of your life struggling to get wealth and comfort and then walk away from it.

Learn to live on nothing. Hang out on the side of the road until you resemble a starving dog. Starve until you can see through yourself.

“ Find a girl, settle down. If you want you can marry. Look at me; I am old but I'm happy”, (Cat Stephens, Father and Son).

Go into town and find a rich woman. Let her give you a nice suit, a job connection and a son.

Learn how to be the life of the party. Be generous and hang out , get drunk with gamblers, phonies and bums. Wake up one morning and notice the crow's feet on her face. Notice the pot belly and flabby mind you have acquired. Notice how you have turned into the opposite of what you left home to become. Tell yourself it's all for nothing and ........walk away from it all. (What?)

Go to the river. Wash the self loathing from yourself, if you can. Suffer , suffer, and suffer yourself until you would rather die. you're getting somewhere! You are still on the road to Nowhere. Since you cannot even kill yourself, you just surrender to simply Being.

Are we there yet? No, but it's not far now. You still have attachments to loose: Your son will die, his mother too. Finally, your mentor tells you to make friends with something and then wanders off into to the woods, never to be seen again. Is there no end to this suffering? “ Maybe yes....maybe no” Say this out loud while holding your nose. ( Rocky Rococo, Nick Danger Third Eye by Firesign Theater, 1969 )

Finally, you stop thinking. After all, this has been the source of most of your problems all along. Try making friends with a stone. Try listening to the river that would not kill you. Notice the stone needs nothing, does nothing and yet it succeeds at being what it is. Notice the river does not need to apologize or explain itself. It is as the stream of life, bringing everything to you, if you wait long enough. Notice how the river is everywhere else, even while it seems to be right in front of you, as you have been everywhere and yet only moving in place.

You have been every kind of man by now, and found the thing you wanted to know. All of the roles and costumes can be cast off. What remains is Being, and connectedness is not attachment. As your friend the stone waited a million years to become itself, and will wait longer to become sand again, so too will you become and un-become. The stone does not care...and neither do you.

Congratulations! Now , you are a Holy Man.

In case you've never read or heard of this book before:

Monday, March 2, 2009

From the Big Orange Chair

I bought a big, orange chair recently. It rocks, swivels and sometimes puts me to sleep. Every time I come home it greets me with that orange color, upstaging Sally's loud welcoming barks. I think it wanted to be gold in color but just didn't make the dye lot. The best way to overcome my rather pale love of Orange, in fabric, is to just sit in the chair. Small of stature though I may be, this effectively hides most of the disagreeable color.

In the world of my parents and older ancestors, chairs designed for thinking and studying were brown, dark green or maybe a racy cordovan hue. The upholstery was often an ancestor of the loopy half of Velcro. I could easily locate and aggravate a hang nail on that stuff. If you wanted to get daring and modern, you might go with leather and lots of brass tacks. These were normally in a lawyer's or doctor's office. As a kid, I thought I'd be a lawyer, just so I could have no excuse not to have leather chairs with brass tacks. Mom was always telling me to 'get down to brass tacks'. Not a one to be found in our house, unfortunately!

A chair like this serves more than a few vital functions in my life. Just to come home and crash down into it is it's first and foremost duty. I do this when I have a lot to think about, and would prefer to digest, rather than actively think my way through things. A chair such as this could be the birthing place of great novels, brilliant screen plays, or tragic love songs. A chair such as this is just what the doctor ordered when the kidneys start kicking like an unborn child 40 years over due. It's a great place to slurp chicken soup when one is entertaining the flu. I turn my head to the west window and watch the cranes go squawking past overhead. My fingers get to stroking the soft nap of that velour upholstery. This triggers associative thoughts by the dozens. See?
Thinking is not as encouraged as flow-charting the endless waters of the mind in a chair like this. Perhaps that's the reason for horsehair, loopy victorian fabric and leather in the Thinking Chairs of old?

Yesterday, I woke to the kicking of the kidneys, and resigned my self to The Chair for The Day. Yes, the whole day and night! I watched every episode of Stargate Atlantis on the computer. The chair became my Command Seat in the Shuttle Craft. The chair became my hideout from the Hybrid Zombies created by Micheal the bad guy from the Pegasus Galaxy. The chair became my sanctuary from thinking in general. Every time I had to get up it waited, faithful as a dog, for my return. The seat was still warm. It does not creak complaints. It knows when I need cuddling. It knows when I need to cry. It, better than any other, knows all of my favorite foods and doesn't mind wearing them from time to time. At the end of that day, I could have sworn I heard it sigh quietly, as I got myself up to go to bed.

Could I have finally found my perfect relationship?

It is most fortunate that The Chair lets me know when it's time to do things, like go to bed. When it's time to write about stuff, I have to sit in this ugly wobbly old office chair on stuck wheels. I suffer the lumps in the seat and the unadjustable backrest banging on the kidneys willingly, like one who loaths being at an office cubicle all day, because I know who is waiting for me to return and make it all feel better again.