A sunny post from four years ago, saved to enjoy on a gloomy day.


Good friends
Asters, marigolds
Ignored, bougainvillea’s
Thorny barbs, enjoyed
The camaraderie
Peered over
The backyard
Picket fence
Wasn’t, it
A beautiful day?

Who was
The prettiest?
They, talked
About the weather
Whether, there
Was more
Water, more
Sunlight, on
The fences’
Other side?–

Perceptions, Delusions

Rain fell soft and silky.  How could she have lost touch with the man she almost married?

It hadn’t been Melvyn’s department store for forty years.  Fringed in yellow pollen, puddles became crime scene outlines.  Superstition prevailed.  They were to be avoided at all costs.

Deny perception or declare delusion?  She had no idea where this conversation was going.

Patchwork farms gave way to suburbia.  Too bad families, friends only got together at funerals.

Had he suffered in the last days?  Too late and inappropriate to ask.

Always affable.  Willing to share personal stories or anecdotes–before getting down to business.

It would be crass to call Harold a hero.  Hero was such an overused word.  Clients felt they were in good hands.  Harold was a businessman first–then a friend.

Harold’s health battles were kept secret.  No one, except a few close friends, knew till the very last day.  Harold’s death came as a complete shock.

The faithful milled about, their gaunt, long faces engaged in quiet conversations.

When it’s my time–I’d like to go that way.  He looked so nice and peaceful lying there.   





If you had to come up with one question, the answer to which would determine whether or not you could become friends with a person you’ve just met, what would it be?  What would the right answer be?

What keeps you awake most often
During nighttime hours?
When obscure household noises
Are amplified tenfold
Your answer will reveal
True passion and pride
What you care about
Deep inside

The right answer would be an honest answer.  Subject matter would be secondary to honesty.  The worst response would be flippant or complete refusal to answer.



U 2 spy plane

Four Air Force buddies and their families sat together at a popular local family style restaurant.  The wait staff milled about with drink and food orders.

The mood was light with lots of laughter.  We weren’t the same brash young men we once were.  The camaraderie was unmistakable.

“That’s a new one–I’ve never seen an opossum on a leash before,” Ken said about our trip to a local zoo.

“Could you imagine someone walking an opossum on a leash in a big city like Chicago?”  Joe asked.

“People are so jaded, they wouldn’t even notice,” I answered.

“That alligator weighed close to a thousand pounds,” George said. “Nobody’s going to walk it on a leash.”

“With all the beautiful beach babes–today, I saw a naked beach guy,”  Ken complained.  “Who wants to see that?”  Everybody laughed.

A thin, older man stood at the end of our table.  As I later learned–his name was Vernon.

“Are you folks on vacation?  Vernon asked.

“Yes, we get together every few years, I answered.  We served together overseas.”

Vernon wasn’t there to eavesdrop.  I sensed there weren’t many opportunities for him to talk about past military experiences.  He’d probably said good-bye many times–friends left, never came back.

“Where did you guys get those gray Air Force caps?”  Vernon asked.

“Joe visited the Air Force aviation museum recently and bought them for us,”  I answered.

“I’d like to have one.  Did you by chance see the U2 reconnaissance plane displayed at the museum?”  Vernon asked.

“No, I haven’t had the chance to visit.  I plan to some day,” I replied.

“I served during the Korean and Vietnam wars,” Vernon said.  “I wasn’t in combat–worked on photographic equipment in spy planes. The U2 was unlike any other aircraft.  It had quite a broad wing span.”

The gleam in Vernon’s eyes faded.  “He’d buried two wives since he moved to Pensacola.”  Gloom didn’t stay around long.

“That’s my 94-year-old girlfriend sitting over there,”  Vernon’s eyes twinkled.  “Ain’t she a looker?”

We all wanted to be like Vernon–gracious, tough, still making good memories.  If we were lucky enough to live that long?

“Would you like Joe to send you an Air Force cap?  Joe’s niece offered.  “What’s your name and address?”

Vernon gave his name and address.  “I really enjoyed talking to you guys,” He said.

“If you don’t mind a slightly used cap–you can have mine,” Joe offered.

“Let me pay you for it,” Vernon said.

“No, I want you to have it,”  Joe answered.  “I can always get another one.  You don’t owe me a thing.”

We traded military experiences and listened to Vernon.  Like any good friend would do–Vernon invited us to visit.

A chain of brotherhood stretched from the Korean War to the first Gulf War.  We’d served our country proudly in time of need.


I don’t know why, an almost forgotten song, popped in my head at that particular moment.  “Ha, Ha, Hee, Hee, I’m just as happy, as I Can Be.  I’m the Happy Bird.”  An annoying visit from a fictional loudmouth large pink bird wasn’t welcomed.

As a child,  “Little Orly and the Happy Bird,” and “Little Toot,” the story about a happy harbor tugboat on 78 rpm records, played over and over.”  My parents never complained.  Quietness of occupied children probably overruled silly kid songs.  As the record became scratched and worn, the Happy Bird’s singing voice took on qualities of a gravelly voiced folk singer.  Record skips caused outbursts of giggles.

Both stories, were found on You Tube, minus static and scratches.  It was surreal–I remembered every word.  The musical arrangements seemed a bit dated.  I didn’t know there was a complete series of “Little Orly” children’s stories narrated by “Uncle Lumpy” Brannum–better known as “Mr. Green Jeans” on “Captain Kangaroo.”

Times changed, stories changed, families, children, and grandchildren came along.  Old seventy-eight records gave way to video tapes and DVD’s.  If I watched “The Land Before Time” once, I watched it a thousand times. The same with “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Jungle Book,” and others.

When babysitting grandchildren, these favorite stories, were played repeatedly.  Just when I’d reached my limits, as if by magic, my mischievous little charges fell asleep.  These were more than babysitting aids, or simple stories, full of silly kid songs.  They spoke of life, honor, friendship, responsibility, and determination.

Two generations later, things aren’t really that different.  The Happy Bird still had something to say about character.

…Double fish and fiddlesticks… It’s was easier to give advice, than to take advice.   The Happy Bird gave advice, but when the tables were turned, he was uncomfortable.


“After spending time with a group of people, do you feel energized and ready for anything or do you want to hide in the corner with a good book?”life of the partyMost importantly, its dependent on the type of function and why I’d be there.  If it were an obligatory social function, I’d make sure to see and be seen by the important people.  After that, I’d take full advantage of people watching opportunities.  Every party has main characters playing typical roles.  It doesn’t take long to figure out who they are.  Sometimes I’ve assigned names to characters and shared them with my spouse.  …A private game–names assigned based on behavior.  A pretentious, social-climbing, “thirtyish” couple at one function, I christened “Googie” and “XuXu.”

If it were a party of close friends, I’d stay longer.  Group dynamics would determine the remainder of the gathering.  I’m more introverted than extroverted–loud obnoxious people put me off.  If the majority of attendees were positive and uplifting, I’d feel energized.  If there were too many drama kings and queens in attendance, I’d be more emotionally drained.  I have no desire to be poisoned by toxic personalities.  If things went completely awry, I’d make a trip to the restroom, mysteriously disappear, and go home.  At that point, a good book would be an enjoyable alternative.



Thus far
My life
Has been
Like, slowly
Stew, stirred
By chefs
With, big

The main
With, an
Added pinch
Of brilliance
Bits, of regret
Way too much
Sarcasm, and a
Dash of bitterness

Spoiled, by
Seasoned, with
Good fortune
Friendship, joy
And, lots of love