Time Was…


September 8, 2017, Prescott-

Time was, when my friends mostly had blond hair, blue eyes and family names like Smith, Wolfe, Doyle, Burnham, Stocker, Hansen, Murphy, Hines. Italians and Greeks moved in, and my new friends had brown hair and eyes, and their families were the Belmontes, Chassis, Chrisoses, Serinos, Spinellis, Geotises and Statutos.

I still dearly love people who need sunblock, when outdoors, whose ethnic legends are based on the tales of the ancient Germans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Celts, Romans, Greeks and Slavs.  It hardly bothers me, that their politics are often rooted in survival and preservation.  They will adapt, survive and grow.  They are ever my siblings.

Time came, when my young adult self met people whose first names were Lutrell, Antonio, Luis, Angel, Devar, Wadous and Jesus.  Their skin was different, but otherwise, they were not.  I was, for the first time in my life, the one who had to win people’s trust.

I have come to dearly love people who relish collards and hamhocks, posole, menudo, hip hop, rhythm and blues, Salsa and mambo.  It started with Dr. King, who grew in my little white boy consciousness and became a source of pain in my  heart, when he was taken from us.  It has continued with some of the most essential people in my life, and some of them are in this nation, without papers.  They are ever my siblings.

Time moved on, and there came people whose mannerisms, dress, world view were entirely different from all who had come into this one’s life, beforehand.  They had names like Thanh, Ty Lanh, Jin-ho, Sook-ja, Tadies, Suhayl, Sohrab, Amal, Javidukt and Mohammad. Some had almond-shaped eyes, which protected them from the incessant blowing dust.  Others had tight curly hair, which guarded their scalp, from the blazing sun.  Still others wore turbans or kaftas, which served the same purpose.

I saw their presence in my life as a capstone, as a completion of my introduction to the full range of humanity.  They are ever my siblings.

Time was, when people my age were consumed with the Red Sox and the Bruins; when gathering around an 12″ television was a major weekend experience; when family trips to Cape Cod, Kingston State Park or Lynn Beach were de rigeur; when my hair length vacillated between “moddish” shoulder-length and buzz cut brevity.  Our battles were fought in VietNam, and on the streets of American cities.  They are ever my siblings.

Time came, when the next generations were consumed with making money; when our vinyl records were replaced by 8-Track tapes, then by compact discs, then by i-Pods. Birthday parties became occasions for gifting guests, as well as honorees.  My hair was like something out of the Middle Ages, then thin, then thinner. The battles of these generations shifted, to the Balkan Peninsula, to Mesoamerica, to collapsing buildings in New York and Arlington, to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya.  Equality of colour and gender was seen as largely won.   The right to sexual identity became the cause of the age.  They are ever my younger siblings, my children and, most recently, my grandchildren.

It is a comfort, this inclusion.  I am guarded from those who shut me out, because of all who open the doors of their hearts.

Time is, a most encouraging and gratifying, state of being.

The Hollow Brings Fullness


July 25, 2017, Mooreland, OK-

I have a penchant for finding lush canyons and small forests, in places that are mostly noted for being “featureless”.  Nowhere is featureless.  The scoured and glaciated plains of Kansas are punctuated by riparian arroyos, which offer a pleasant break for the distance traveler, as well as a hangout spot for local youth.  One such is The Hollow, in Sedan, about which, more in a bit.

I decided, after breakfast with my cousin, Lisa, to forego the Oklahoma Turnpike and take US 166 across southern Kansas.    My first stop was in Baxter Springs, which celebrates its tie to the Mother Road.  Another shutterbug, a young lady, was quietly taking in the even quieter scenes of downtown Baxter, as I checked out “66”.




I had miles to go, as yet, so I left Baxter Springs, after about twenty minutes, continuing on through bustling Coffeyville.  Sedan, though, called out to me, to take the right turn into town, where I spotted a sign for “The Hollow”.  This town is known for its “Yellow Brick Road”.  A couple of teen girls, very much owning downtown, at this mid-day, sauntered down the yellow bricks, not long after I took this shot.


Sedan also is notable for a museum dedicated to Emmett Kelly,  a famed circus clown of the 1930’s-60’s.  Emmett was a native of Sedan, so his statue stands in The Hollow Park.


Some elements of The Hollow are vintage Great Plains:  There is the old St. Charles school house.


There is also the requisite gazebo, but with a pointed twist.


I can sit in gazebos for hours, but this time, forty minutes for lunch and contemplation were enough.  I wanted to have a few minutes with the hollow itself.  An iron ring, extracted from the creek, when the junkyard, which once occupied this land, was being cleaned up, is interposed between school house and gazebo.


The garden area of The Hollow is marked by ruins of the junk yard office, of all things. The boardwalk leads through the garden, and down to the arroyo, which has a waterfall, in times of heavy rain.  There was no waterfall today, though.





This little spot reminded me of small crevices that I used to fancy my “caves”, when I was a little boy in Saugus.


Here, the official trail ends, but I am willing to bet that there are plenty of kids who have made their way quite a bit further north, along the creek bed.


My Sedan visit was capped by a salad bar and sandwich lunch, at Seasons Rotisserie, a solid little place, with a handful of regulars, three of whom had just returned to Sedan, from several years elsewhere.  Two sisters, from Ohio and Pennsylvania, were on a road trip as an homage to their late father, who grew up in a small Kansas town.  They were visiting several such towns, in Kansas and Oklahoma.  I was glad to be able to tell them about The Hollow.

This part of Kansas is favourable with hunters, as is illustrated by this acrylic painting, on Seasons’ wall.


I later learned that there is a sizable property, Red Buffalo Ranch, that caters to outdoorsmen.   If you happen by Sedan, the ranch is, no doubt,  also worth a visit. I might check it out, one of these trips.

Arkansas City (pronounced the way it looks), saw me pass through, without so much as a by-your-leave. It was getting late, and  I was concerned about checking in with my friend, J.E., in Enid, OK.  He is hanging in there.  I also wanted to stop in at Da Vinci Coffee Shop, as the owners were such welcoming hosts, the last time I was there.  I needn’t have bothered.  The owners weren’t there, and the baristas were a bit surly and suspicious of me and my out-of-state car.  You never know who will greet you.

After several minutes talking with John, I headed further west, to Mooreland, which is just shy of the northwest Oklahoma cow town of Woodward.  Mooreland Motel and Cafe is run by a tough, but gracious, grandma, who proudly showed me pictures of her “babies” and said she was closing for the night, so she could go be with them, and I would be the last guest to check in.

I think I like Mooreland, quite a bit.




Whither and Whether


September 4, 2017, Prescott-

The boy, in “The Alchemist”, is a lot like me.

Searching for his treasure,

in the course of realizing his Personal Legend,

he left home, went far afield,

at the behest of several spirit guides.

He found true love,

won and lost three fortunes,

saw a grandiose sight,

and was told,

by his last tormentor,

where to find his signal fortune.

I left home,

seeking some semblance of peace,

and if a fortune came,

in the process,

so much the better.

I found true love,

a continent away,

and we earned, then lost,

three fortunes.

Unlike the boy’s true love,

mine has passed on,

and become a spirit guide.

I listen carefully,

watch closely,

for the signs that I need.

I have no tormentors,

save my own self,

and then,

he’s not very persistent,

at the negativity game.

There are two kinds

of people in my life:

The friendly and

the indifferent.

The latter still outnumber

the former,

but the first far outweigh

the last.

This year has seen me

go off on a tangent,

as I did, four years ago.

The difference now,

is that I learned a lesson then.

Going towards someone,

with a light, loving spirit,

brings nothing in return,

if there is nothing to be given.

I am in one of my prime safe places,

and will make a brief visit,

in a few days,

to see if another such,

is actually still safe,

or has reverted

to a place of indifference.



A Tale of Two Campgrounds


July 23-25, 2017, Sarcoxie, MO- 

My summer’s journey is winding down, with one last family visit, before I am back in the Southwest.  I chose Ferne Clyffe State Park, in southwest Illinois, for the night’s stay, after Paducah.  I could have stayed at a campground in Kentucky, but the urge for closing the gap won out, and I moved along, to the precincts of Dixie National Forest.  Ferne Clyffe’s fee collector was gone home, by the time I arrived, but other campers assured me he’d be there, bright and early, Monday morning.

I had a nice night, sleeping under the stars, with few insect problems.  This was the scene, as I waited for Chief Ranger to arrive, for my payment.



I then got on the road, looking for a little cafe, at which I might grab some breakfast.  It turns out the the local farmers all eat at home, so the nearest spot was the Nu Diner, in Cairo- about twenty miles to the southwest.  I’ve been to Cairo, six years ago, and made a more extensive visit to the town, at the time.  Despite its location, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, Cairo is fading, and the mayor, popping into Nu Diner, to greet his constituents, had few words of encouragement, at this point in time.  He knows what everyone else knows:  Jobs aren’t coming back, anytime soon.  I like the little town, and hope that hydroelectric, or some new technology, can   keep it going.  Cairo is not in the middle of nowhere- Paducah and Sikeston are each a half-hour away, in opposite directions.  (The waitress at Nu Diner allowed as how she finds going to Paducah a headache.  I guess it’s all in how one looks at matters.  Then again, I was there on Sunday evening, so I can’t speak about workaday traffic.)


Speaking of Sikeston, the bustling little city, at the top of Missouri’s Boot Heel, has Lambert’s Cafe (Huge, but sorry, I’m still full from a Nu Diner breakfast) and Jerry James Melon Stand, with huge watermelons to be enjoyed.  I picked one up, for Cousin Lisa and her husband, Curt.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Driving across southern Missouri, I opted for state highways, and experienced a bit of what the locals are enduring, with ‘slow or no’ wireless fidelity, from Poplar Bluff to very near Springfield, nearly 200 miles.  This, to me, is a sign of things to come, should Net Neutrality be removed, and Internet Service Providers be allowed to charge extra for service that is now fairly standard, in much of the country.

I got into Sarcoxie, close to where Lisa and Curt live, around 4:30, catching a decent dinner at Hungry House, right off the freeway.  Then it was setting up camp at Beagle Bay Campground, on the other side of I-44.  The owner was a bit flinty-eyed, and looked at me with suspicion for a few minutes, before her husband came in and said I could use one of the “primitive” camp sites (as tent sites are known, in these parts).  There isn’t much primitive, about Beagle Bay.  There are showers, a game room and a stocked fishing pond.  I carefully set up camp, and repaired to the game room, to hook up my lap top and catch up on e-mail and other doings.

This morning (Tuesday), I checked out some of the campground’s features.  An old atrium has been preserved, just east of the main campground.


The family that camped next to me headed for the fish pond, early on, and I followed suit, though skirting their fishing stand, and taking in a few scenes of the pond itself.




I connected with Lisa, who expressed frustration at, TA-DA, her phone being out of order.  Now it was back in service, and we met at Hungry House for breakfast and catching-up on Boivin family happenings.


I like having family here and there, in various parts of the country, and it’ll be all the more enjoyable, over the next few years, as I head back and forth, in summer.  Then again, I’m hardly ever isolated, with a network of reliable friends.  So, I think I will see what southern Kansas has to offer, before dropping down to Enid, and looking in on an old friend.

NEXT:  Baxter Springs and Sedan

Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part LXII: Quiet Love


August 30, 2017, Prescott-

I said I loved someone,

who was not ready to hear it.

Confusing love,

with the lust that has been shown her,

by several others,

she fled and keeps her distance.

That is not an insult to me,

rather, it only confirms

that my love is what

will stand by her.

Her dreams,

her life’s path,

her independent spirit

mean more than

her lovely face

and engaging personality.






from the depth

of one’s heart,

only grows.

Lust needs to be front and center.

Love may shine from the background.

Years from now,

the wife I loved,

now my angel,

will still feel my soul’s


The women, to whose efforts

I have shown

a quiet and steadfast


will realize

that they are

safe and sound,

in my presence.

My friend,

know you are

among this number.

You have the space you need.



Wide Murals and A Long Market


July 23, 2017, Paducah, KY-


This old river town, now also a regional hub for the Confluence- (people in Cairo, IL refer to Paducah as “town”), has two places that drew me back, all the way from last year, when I passed this way after dark, and ended up in Marion, IL.  The first is the Ohio Riverfront.  Middle America has done well, in making the most of its waterways, both the great rivers and the Great Lakes.  Retaining walls are accompanied by walkways and adorned by murals.  Public events, ever with music, are a given- especially in summer.  This is Paducah, named by William Clark, who gave the local Comanches the name Padoukas- a corruption of the Kaw term for them: Padoka.

The Ohio is joined by the Tennessee River, not far from here.    Then, as you may recall, the Ohio itself conjoins the Missisissippi, a few miles further west, at Cairo.  Thus, one might set sail in Huntsville, Alabama and make one’s way clear to Billings, Montana, or Wichita, Kansas, with clever navigation.



The preacher man was too busy singing, to introduce himself, but he is apparently a local fixture, as many of those in their lawn chairs said they’d be at his gospel festival, a few days into August.  He covered all the timeless classics, and got me to croak along, on a few of them.


The triptych mural, on Paducah’s floodwall, covers different aspects of the river’s heritage.  This one, of the riverboat, looks at a period of time that fascinated me, as a child.  The gamblers and the roustabouts of the early river communities were among my favourite characters, on shows like “Daniel Boone.”


River traffic made Paducah prosper, in the mid-Nineteenth Century, even into the beginnings of the Rail Era.  The solid buildings still maintain a bustling downtown.  Even on Sunday evening, when most everything was closed, I got a sense of the city’s vitality.


Every Midwestern town, it seems, has a gazebo, and Paducah is no exception.  This gazebo spawned its own park, and Garden Club.


Should I pass this way again, I would make certain to come when the long Market Hall is open.  Growing up with Boston’s Faneuil Hall, I am perfectly content spending hours in a public market.

Along Broadway Street are some ever-enticing abstract murals.



Lastly, this evening introduced me to St. Clair Court, the site of a three-story wooden hotel and theater, across from the Market.  It was destroyed by fire, in 1895.  Adjacent to it is this brick and mortar wonder.



So, there is a taste of one of Kentucky’s interesting river towns.  Like any region, the Ohio Valley would offer a full experience to the discerning and curious traveler.  Alas, I must head westward, though through other interesting areas, to my own exhilarating Home Base.

NEXT:  A Tale of Two Campgrounds

The Ohio Knows


July 23, 2017, Jeffersonville, IN-

I stayed, last night, at an off-the-beaten-path inn, made all the more interesting by there having been an intense storm, which had caused a power outage.  Spanish Manor Inn lies on the eastern outskirts of a small Bluegrass Country town:  Olive Hill, itself a far exurb of Lexington.


The motel is run by a pastor’s wife.  The  pastor himself uses one of the buildings as a wedding chapel.  They graciously received me in their home-office, and explained I was fortunate to get the last available room.  Given the intensity of the storm, I scarcely blame them for putting up a no vacancy sign, as soon as I headed back down the hill to the rooms.  There was no Internet, of course, but I surely got a restful sleep, despite the booming and crashing outside.

I texted my nephew, who lives in the Louisville area, just across the Ohio River from the city.  It has been a game of schedule tag, up to now, for me to meet his wife and children.  Today, though, they had a few hours, so off I went towards Slugger Town, going through a bit more rain on the way.  I ditched the rain, around Shelbyville, stopping only to pick up some gift items for the young family.

I had no trouble finding their suburban home, and after an impromptu tour of the house, the five of us went to a pleasant Mexican restaurant- my second confirmation this month, that there are people in Indiana who do such cuisine right.  This takes care of the contention of several people, that there is no proper salsa in the Midwest.  We had it, aplenty.  Once back in the house, I joined my nephew, niece-in-law and grand niece, in the family room, to watch Aladdin, for the first time in twenty-five years, while grand-nephew took his nap.  Once it was time for life’s errands to resume, I bid thank you and farewell to the wakeful members of our family’s Indiana branch.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Ohio knows when to be gracious to a visitor.  This often overlooked sibling to the Father of Waters has been on my radar for a visit, for many years, and there was no time like this afternoon, at the Falls of the Ohio, a sometimes tempestuous section of river, shared by Louisville, on the south bank and Jeffersonville, on the north.  The Indiana side has an Interpretive Center, closed on Sunday.  The river itself, however, offers a wealth of walking trails and rocks on which to sit and meditate, or, as several were, fish.

The Ohio is not always accommodating, to put it mildly, and there is much deposited in the woodlands, on either bank, from Devonian and Silurian fossils, in the soil, to broken branches from the roiling storms of summer and winter, alike.


Here are some scenes of the cataracts, which both draw people to the salubrious banks and make life difficult for those plying a trade, along the Ohio.



I chose this spot to sit and reflect on how nice the drive through Kentucky and southern Indiana had been.



Of course, the River answered, “Thank you”.


This is a surreal view of Louisville, hidden by a railroad bridge.  There is a sign, on I-65, that warns of a toll booth, but I saw no toll booth on either northbound or southbound, and there were no cameras, either.  Methinks the toll has been discontinued.


Lastly, before I headed south again, en route to Paducah, a wink to Lewis and Clark was in order.  This area was integral to the planning phase of their monumental exploration, and there was a family tie:  George Rogers Clark, who secured the then-Northwest Territory for our fledgling nation, was William Clark’s brother.  Clarksvillle, Jeffersonville,  New Albany, Corydon and Vincennes are all filled with historic sites, associated with the Clark family and the pioneers of the Ohio Valley.


My spirit guides were calling me westward, to Paducah, for a further appreciation of the Ohio River, just a few miles shy of its meeting with the mighty Mississippi, at Cairo, IL.  So, on went the Hyundai and I.


About The Change


August 25, 2017, Prescott-

I looked into the online face of a young woman,

in the context of a friend’s defining

the difference between



and serving.

The girl’s eyes asked

only for service.

She needed no help.

She did not ask,

nor needed,

to be fixed.

Her face said,

“If you offer this service,

I can find my own wholeness”.

I have upgraded my blogsite.

Righteous Bruin has retired.

Sagitarrian Seeker has taken his place.

The semblance that I might know

a bit more than my fellow travelers,

was present in the former title,

and as kind and loving,

as the Bear has tried to be,

his mission was based

on a falsehood.

I will always love,

and be grateful for,

my old online persona.

Seeker, wide-eyed,

open to growth,

wishing to destroy nothing,

will build upon

the foundation laid

by Bruin.

So, the anonymous lady,

looking out at me,

while nuzzling her horse,

may rest assured,

that whatever honourable service

my friends need done,

will be accomplished.

Along this road,

I invite one and all.

Seek your own truth,

and may we embrace it,


in our own way.



What Makes Community?


August 22, 2017, Prescott-

This evening, I attended a  gathering of Prescott Area School Gardens, aka Slow Food Prescott.   There were several small presentations about various garden projects, at both public and private schools, across the western half of Yavapai County.  The ensuing discussions broached upon several topics, including what, if any, are the rights of those who don’t support small agricultural projects?

A small group,  in the town of Humboldt, led by the town’s elementary school principal and a local landscaper, are pushing to remove the school’s garden, because its stewards are using organic farming techniques, will not allow Roundup, and other poisons, to be used in the garden area and are “taking up space that could be used for buildings.”  It’s even been said that these gardeners are teaching values that are at variance with local values.  What those local values are, is not quite clear.

There has been, in the media, reference to “the Hate Community”, following Charlottesville.   I wonder, does this mean there is an equal and opposite “Love Community”?  How about an “Indifference Community?”  The “White Community” is, supposedly, to be set apart from the “Black Community”, “Latino Community”, “Native American Community”,etc.  Do each of these communities have their pot luck dinners,  Kumbaya circles and support groups?

I have never been wholly accepted into a particular community, save my Baha’i Faith, and the online Archaeology for the Soul group. I have many friends who belong to various communities, but there are always those in a given group, for whom my presence is somehow a threat. Part of that is my peripatetic nature.  There is also the rapidity with which people form impressions of others, based on relatively brief encounters, real and perceived slights and lack of sustained communication.

I maintain that anonymity is largely to blame for estrangement, breakdowns in communication, or the lack of same.  It’s too easy to turn a stranger into a strawman. It is too easy to build false zones of security, based on opinions and practices that are themselves rooted in ignorance, superstition and hearsay.  Five minutes on social media offer proof enough of this.

It is also too easy to stick with one’s annoyance at another, based on one incident.  I have not, in nearly 67 years, had the luxury of holding onto grudges and resentments, and have had my fair share of bullies and haters.  Oftentimes, those same people have resurfaced in my life, as changed people, and/or as people in clear need of assistance.  I don’t regret my decision to see them as friends.

Communities, like individuals, are in various stages of growth, and will find themselves in conflict, as a result.  I do not, however, think that there is a “Hate Community”, or even a completely insular ethnic community, sufficient unto itself.  The world has just become too connected, and despite the fact that this means discord will chafe at our individual and collective skin, as a true World Community is formed, the long-term ramifications of this process are nothing short of glorious.

So, what does this mean for the “Roundup Community”?  It probably means a temporary ‘victory” over the organic farmers, given the mindset of our governmental agencies.  Long term, poisons will not be able to be administered in small enough doses to avoid permanent damage to soil, water and public health.   They will also prove ineffective against evolving pests, whose predators already exist in nature, and which are also evolving.   My overall point, in this rambling, is that life is going to continue, according to the Greater Plan of our Creator, Who will not abide its arbitrary extinction.

NOTE:  My remaining travel posts from July are awaiting my ability to pay for an upgrade to this Word Press account, so as to get unlimited storage for the photographs which enhance such posts. This should not take longer than a few more days.

Fortresses and Myths


July 22, 2017, Lexington, VA-

I stopped, overnight, in a town I love:  Harrisonburg, home to James Madison University, to two young couples, who I love as if they were my own children, and to another young lady, whom I also love like a daughter, but who has become a bit estranged, over the past year or so.  I visited the former, at their establishment:  Artful Cafe (formerly known as Artful Dodger), in the heart of downtown H’burg.  Readers might remember this place from my 2016 excursion.  They were coasting, on Friday night, saving their energy to lovingly greet participants in the Shenandoah Pride Festival, which was today’s big event.  I stopped by, again this noon, on my way out of town, and purchased enough cold brew coffee to keep me happy, on the way to Lexington.  The definitely straight young husbands were bare-chested, in solidarity with the Pride group-who, ironically, had not a bare chested person among them.  Their wives sported rainbow bandanas, as their contribution.  Me?  I am very happy with my woman-loving self, and I accept other people’s sexuality, without casting the judgement that belongs to the Creator alone.

I spent about thirty minutes with my Lost Angel,


at another coffee shop, across town, near James Madison University (seen below).SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

J filled me in on her life, of the past two years and, more importantly, of her dreams for the next few.  She seemed a bit embarrassed to not have any great achievements to recount, but you know, just seeing her and knowing that she was essentially okay, was more than enough.  J, and the other four kids, are people who I just want to see happy, as I do with my son and his lovely girlfriend.

I headed south, on I-81, with Charleston, WV and beyond on my radar screen.  Then, I saw a sign for Stonewall Jackson House, as Lexington loomed ahead.  I know, “He betrayed our country!”.  There are those who beg to differ, so being an admirer of some OTHER aspects of his life, I left the highway and drove past the formidable fastness of Virginia Military Institute, where Stonewall was an instructor, prior to the cataclysm.


My interest in Thomas Jonathan Jackson, though,was not in his military exploits, but in his creativity and in his foresight.  His garden was decidedly Jeffersonian, incorporating many of the ideas put into practice at Monticello, including drip irrigation and organic crop rotation.  As you can see, he did make every square inch count for something.  The scarecrow was a “falcon”.


Stonewall also, to the consternation of Lexington’s other citizens, believed Black people should be literate, and taught his “house servants” to read the Bible.  I would not be surprised to learn that this action of his actually led to his being coerced to join the Confederate Army, whose cause, despite his ferocity in battle, he only tepidly supported.  He died at the hands of one of his own sentries, which could very well have not been an accident.  Saddest of all, his own sister, an Abolitionist, declared him “dead to her”, upon the secession of Virginia and his being recruited by Robert E. Lee, in 1861.

TJ was a man of culture, and did foresee the end of slavery, war or no war.  He believed in the universality of learning, and maintained a progressive home.



Satisfied that I had confirmed my suspicions about the decent side of Colonel Jackson, I headed west, across the Mountain State.  At a rest area, off I-64, east of Beckley, WV, I took a photo of the Blue Ridge, and found what looks like another being, inserting self into the view, gazing northward.


Being far from alone, then, I continued on, into more rain and made it to Olive Hill, KY, before stopping at Spanish Mansion Inn.  More about it, and the Ohio River, in my next post.