What really happened to Beauregard

What do you do with pictures of people you’ve never met but who were special to someone you loved? It’s a icky, sticky, wicket to those of us who inherit our grandparent’s photos and memorabilia and guess what folks?  As the eldest grandchild on my mother’s side of the family all those boxes and albums are in my possession and my siblings and cousins couldn’t be happier! 

Hello people I don’t know. You seem fine and dandy and I do love your photos but I can only guess at who you are. Or were. Or are.

So what will I do with all these pictures of folks I don’t know?  Invite them to some ghostly Thanksgiving seance so they can tell me their stories?  What would you do?

And now – the truth about what really happened to Beauregard

I tried to think of a funny Thanksgiving story to tell but the only thing that came to mind was the year my father decided to confess at the dinner table.  I believe his aunt Katherine was in attendance as well as his cousin Jim and recently widowed sister Helen Betty.  And of course, his adult children. The table was set to perfection. The entrees ready to go.  Everything … but the scalloped potatoes. They’d been delayed by Dad’s two inept and half-drunk divorcee daughters and we were in Deep Shit. The air was icy; the perfect dinner ruined and so Dad in some half baked attempt to save his daughters from eternal damnation rose and admitted he’d lied. On a recent hunting trip, Beauregard, his wife’s favorite basset hound, hadn’t been hit by a car and killed.

Dad had mistaken the dog for an elk and shot him dead. We tried not to laugh, we really did. Poor Dad. The things parents go through for their children.

Happy Thanksgiving – and please remember to turn on the oven before you start drinking the wine.

Love, the Boy, the Car, and the Girl

I was wondering but he is still alive … or has mastered the art of ghost blogging

tin hats

Without a first line you have nothing.

(That’s not true, but it sounds good.)

What could go wrong?

(Lots of stuff.)

You sit on the porch of an old house in a college town and the stuffy air fills your lungs.  The sound of cicadas drives the dream even hotter.  Texas withdrawing into a July day. Distant shafts of sun cut low across the lawns and the threads of red and gold weave their way through the trees and you wonder as you look at the carpet of light and then you wonder still as the colors enrich themselves in the way of all things immortal.  Summer school is in session and the students are in a state of perpetual picnicking, lying around on the grass underneath spreading oaks hoping to levitate with pot and wine, praying for a good breeze to carry them up into the evening.  Some of…

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They Volunteered

Lawrence Standerwick Jameson, World War I.  He fought in France and returned home … never to travel oversees again.  Both of his sons also served in the military although neither directly saw combat.

Robert Bruce McKee, Jr. World War II, Air Force.  Fortunately for his mother, the war ended before he was deployed.  However Dad had been raring to go.

I’m sure both men would have volunteered despite warts or bone spurs or any number of ailments.

 

After your underwear drops round your ankles

There is a story my grandmother liked to tell after a posse of vodkas had loosened her girdle to the point that her underpants dropped round her ankles if she tried to stand.  She told it with a chuckle and she told it again and again. A comedian, Grandmother was not.

It involved a cross-country trip she took with a sister-in-law she inherited after her brother’s early death. A burden it was and frequently noted but the girl had no family of her own and some form of promise had been made and some form of promise would be kept because Grandmother was 100 % Norwegian and they are, as everyone knows, the most noble of the human species. And so “Aunt Mary” became Grandmother’s shadow on holidays and vacations. In fact, I can’t quite form an image of her in my head that doesn’t include my grandmother.  Because she was still working when her husband died, she was allowed to maintain a small apartment near her place of employment.  She did not need to be reminded … although she was … that she must save diligently for the time when she could not live on her own and the family via obligation would have to step in.

With this as a backdrop, here is Grandmother’s Hilarious Story about Aunt Mary:

“We’d had a smooth flight out to California and even though it was Mary’s first time on an airplane, I’d told her there was nothing to fret about and so she didn’t say a word until we landed and then she let out a whimper as the plane bounced to a stop. ‘Now Mary,’ I told her, ‘no need to make a scene.’ And she didn’t although I did have my eye upon her. 

However, on the way back to Fargo the plane hit such turbulence that I felt it my duty, given the hard life she’d led, to assure her that it would be over quick. Like smashing into a brick wall.  No sense spending your last moments getting hysterical.

‘But Myrtle,’ Little Mary said and she was almost whimpering ‘I’m so ashamed. I can’t die with such shame.’

‘Nonsense,’ I said to her, ‘you haven’t done a thing in the world to be ashamed of.’

‘I didn’t clean my kitchen before we left,’ she said in a whisper. ‘What are people going to think of me if I die with my kitchen floors such a fright?’”

I thought of Mary Ness last week as we were under threat of evacuation from wildfires.  We had no electricity and cell service kept going in and out.  The parks were closed; the libraries; the stores and even the gas stations.  We had to keep our windows closed because of the smoke.  We were advised not to use a lot of water because the pumps that move water hither and thither are electrical and if the power outage went on, eventually our taps would go dry.  And so we were basically prisoners in our own homes. Waiting and waiting until our plane finally landed on solid ground. Or slammed into a mountain.

For one brief second I did consider washing the damn kitchen floor. As an activity … to keep my mind off things I couldn’t control.

And then I thought of Aunt Mary and reread a favorite novel.  Damn the kitchen floors.

Scary Doors #ThursdayDoors

Here in Northern California we are just getting our electricity turned back on.  Since we were warned that the outage could last for several days and my devices are all old and in need to new batteries, I have basically been off-line since Saturday night.  I only turned on the EyePhone once every couple of hours for updates on the numerous fires in my area.  So for this week’s ThursdayDoors, Norm’s Frampton’s photo challenge which I truly enjoy and hate to miss out on, here are some scary doors from over the years!

Renwick Ruin,  Roosevelt Island, New York City.  For many emigrants, their only home in America if they were unfortunate enough to have contracted small pox. This place really gave me the willies.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Monument, Washington DC.  Frightening because it could happen again.

Fort Sumter, South Carolina, where many soldiers were bombarded for days by their fellow countrymen.

Amtrak Tunnel.  Just spooky is all.  Happy Halloween everyone!

 

The Results of my Colonoscopy

The power company will be shutting me down for a few days as a “big wind event” moves in so please enjoy this “windy” story from Aaron Asselstine who just happens to have a new book out.

tin hats

She made contact by email. I’m guessing the newspaper article from the previous week had put me on her radar. The article was an embarrassment, by the way, but not for being poorly written. A paraphrased interview conducted by an international best-selling author would never be poorly written. The embarrassment was, of course, all mine and it had to do with me being unable to produce good copy despite three days of preparation wherein I stared at my reflection while reciting what I hoped would pass for good copy. It clearly wasn’t good copy, but the international best-selling author interviewing me had plied her trade in a compassionate manner and the following week my bad copy appeared on the fifth page of the local newspaper as legitimately good copy. She even went so far as to call me handsome, and then a few lines after that she compared me to…

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Batteries and bunkers #ThursdayDoors


Another place I like to take first time visitors to the San Francisco area is Battery Spencer although there’s nothing to see here.  Not even doors. No docents or guides, hotdog stands or gift shops … even though these structures were built in 1893 and in use until 1943.  Well, the in use part is a bit debatable.

Battery Spencer is a part of a vast system of fortifications built into the Marin Headlands, however the powerful artillery once installed here was never actually used for defense.

This couple was curious enough to peek inside the structures even though there is nothing to see. On the morning we visited (a Tuesday) there were only a few dozen visitors – primarily tourists from throughout the United States and the world. But, on the weekend this place can get so crowded that you have to park a quarter mile or more down the hill and hike up.  And why you may ask …

Because if it’s not foggy, this is the view you will get. Even if there is fog moving in, the sight can be quite unforgettable (although getting back down the hill in fog can be unforgettable for completely different reasons).

Hop on over to Norm’s ThurdayDoors event where you might see buildings that actually have doors … from all over the world and maybe beyond.  T’is the season.