Peter Rabbit’s House


April 7, 2017, Prescott- 

There they were, the day before  the  first demon came,

living in beautiful anticipation

of the joy that is equal parts sacred and secular.

On the day before the first demon came,

a little boy took his father’s hand

and went to call, at Peter Rabbit’s House.

There was where they both went to dream.

On the day that the first demon came,

young friends mused, about just how

amazing that Christmas would be.

On the day the first demon came,

a grandfather started his day,

sitting in his own house of dreams,

and looked out on the school,

across the street.

Then the first demon came,

the little dreamers fell,

along with some

of their protectors.

The first demon died,

of his own hand.

Some other little dreamers

ran to the grandfather,

who took them in,

on the day the first demon came.

Other demons came,

in his wake,

threatening the grandfather,

and the families,

of the fallen little dreamers.

They always come in packs,

these demons,

even though they claim

to not know one another.

We, though, know who they are.

We, who love our little dreamers,

will stand for them,

and the packs of demons,

will fall by the wayside,

far from Peter Rabbit’s House.

( This is inspired by viewing the film, “Newtown”)


Poisoned By These Fairy Tales


December 11, 2016, Prescott-

Don Henley included that phrase, in his song, “The End of the Innocence”, in 1989.  It was partly a reaction to what he regarded as the excesses of the Reagan-Bush the Elder years.

I think of it, instantly, whenever an outlandish conspiracy theory surfaces.  I have my own take on such theories, which are always based on fear-gone-wild.  They are a natural outgrowth of the complex levels of secrecy, employed by so many in the power structure.  Nature, and the human mind, abhor vacuums.  Where there is no explanation, a person will provide one of his/her own.  When no credible explanation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy was offered, in which all questions were suitably explained to the public, all manner of explanations began to surface.  It was not long, before every unusual or unsettling event, from the Apollo 13 landing, to the airplane crashing into the Pentagon, was questioned, as to it’s ever having even happened.  Even the wanton slaughter of 26 people, in Newtown, CT, was denied by people with a fair audience- as if 20 children and six adults could actually be alive, and visible, one day- and have never even EXISTED, the next.

Yes, this nation is poisoned by fairy tales- both those invented from whole cloth and those made up by people working for God-knows-who, the end result of which is total, rampant confusion.  Now, we will have four years, during which a man with little political experience has the primary job of leading us out of a wilderness, to which many of his own supporters, and a goodly number of his foes, helped to guide us, in the first place.

May he succeed, even if, especially if, he is not initially so inclined.

Tales of the 2016 Road: Death of An Altima


July 10-12, Bethel, CT-   I got up fairly early, Sunday morning, as usual.  Somehow, I was a bit like a caged cat, pacing about, doing small chores, none to the satisfaction of Mom, with her plaint of “typical man”, ever in the background. My restlessness, though, had nothing to do with that.  I had had a vision of this being my Altima’s last ride and its being replaced by a small white or gray sedan. Besides,  I am no longer put off by anyone’s criticism, preferring to keep at a task until it is done to my own satisfaction.

The plan was for me to make it to York, PA and there, try to connect with a young artist, who has made Cherokee crafts, for several years.  I bid Mother a loving farewell, after eating the brunch she prepared, and the rain had subsided to her satisfaction.

The drive out, along the Massachusetts Turnpike, to I-84, was uneventful.  I stopped, briefly, at Framingham Service Center, and had no problem continuing down the road.  After a slow, but steady, passage through Hartford and Waterbury, I decided to pull off at Newtown, and fill the Nissan up with gasoline.  I would then go over to Sandy Hook, and pray for the victims of the horrific shooting of 2012.

When I tried to start the Altima, though, smoke began to rise from under the hood.  A generous young man gave me a gallon of coolant, which he said had “been left” in his truck.  I gave him some money for that, and added a fair amount to the overflow tank.

The engine continued to smoke, and I noticed that the coolant tank, itself, was cracked and useless.  A trio of motorcyclists came over and helped me push Altima into a vacant parking space.  One of them cautioned me against trying to take the car any further.  The Altima, and I, found his advice was sound.  Car wasn’t going anywhere, without a tow.

The AAA tow took me to the Days Inn at Bethel, then took Altima to its resting place, Sugar Hill Auto Service Center, on the west side of Newtown.  By then, I had contacted my sister-in-law, in Florida and my brother in Georgia, letting them know of the situation.  Facebook also learned of my challenge.  An hour or so later, arrangements were made for my purchase of another car, by Wednesday, and I made myself at home, in the comfortable second floor room at Days Inn.  Three days of continental breakfast, a walk to/from Target, for a few odds and ends, and catching up on my reading and writing, hardly constituted suffering.

The 2005 Altima, though, had endured enough.  The litany of engine woes, first taught me by my father, when I was 13:  Head gasket leak, valves bent, rings broken, engine kaput swam out of the auto technician’s mouth, at various points along our phone conversation.  He had spent two hours in diagnosis, on Monday.  Tuesday morning, I told him not to do anything further.  I would pay him for his diagnostics and for disposal of the Nissan.

The rest was due diligence on several cars offered by Danbury Auto Group.  After looking at several vehicles, online, and discussing with my best friend, I settled on a 2013 Hyundai Elantra.  It would be ready on Wednesday, so my relaxation continued.

Nissan Altima required quite a bit of me, financially, but it also took me to Vancouver, BC, once, to Reno and Denver, both twice. and to Southern California, about five times.  For an old car, going to the East Coast proved to be the last straw, despite my having had it serviced, just before we left Prescott. Mechanics tended to blame the catalytic converter and a “bad sensor” for the occasional check engine light.  I know, now, that it has to be more than that.  I am glad for one thing:  Its last journey took me to the place of my birth, and at least got me far enough away, that I had to stand on my own two feet, and not place an undue burden on anyone.  BF helped, immeasurably, and I will repay him.  RIP, my gray vehicle.

NEXT:  No York, but Plenty of Martinsburg



June 12, 2016, Prescott-  My week was largely occupied with helping to man a shelter, for some 37 people who were evacuated from two communities, Yarnell and Peeples Valley, once again threatened by fire.  This time, no one died.  This time, there was minimal property damage.  This time, the fire was taken seriously, from the get-go.

The shelter closed this morning.  I helped with the breakdown, helped inventory the necessities.  Then, I went to the Raven Cafe, had brunch and came home.  My middle brother, in the course of a phone conversation, told me of Orlando.  He told me there were 50 dead.  He told me there were 50 other people, whose lives were in the balance.  He told me of the worst terrorist act on U.S. soil, since 9/11/2001.

Orlando/Beirut:  Many dead, in the former; many terrified, in the latter.  Two fine cities, united by atrocity.  The list of affected cities and towns grows.  The list of innocent victims multiplies. The hate continues.

Three years ago, when I was in yet another of the fogs that come with grief, and was making some terrible choices, one person came to my aid. One person called me and said, directly and convincingly, “This needs to stop.  You are acting crazy and it’s not going to end well.”  That person reset my mental clock.  That person, as fine a friend as I’ve ever known, is a member of the LGBT community.  That person and his fellows deserve all the respect and human dignity that those of us who are heterosexual, cissexual, or any other designation, can possibly muster.

Pulse is now a place of mourning.  Orlando is now a city dealing with two shocks: One small in scale; the other, the worst firearms attack in American history, outside of war.  Both shatter the convoluted logic that, if only good people had firearms, the bad would be at a disadvantage.  Yes, quick, decisive action by police officers did prevent more lives from being lost, in both incidents.  Yet, both shooters reportedly acquired their weapons legally.

So, our choice is this: 1. Honour the souls who have gone on, and not make excuses, as we have done- every single time before, including after 9/11 (“That Frenchman said the U.S. Government did it.”) and after Newtown (“Don’t you know those kids are in hiding.  Nobody really died, except Lanza.”)

2.  Stay in the mindset of ignorance, and denial, and watch, “helplessly”, as the carnage goes on, and gets worse, and comes to a theater near you.

I am listening, thinking, waiting- and mourning.  I will not stand idly by, if a demon rages  in my view.