The Tenth Anniversary Torrent


August 11, 2021- The nimble little girl danced in the rain, barefoot, to the music inside her head, carefully prancing and pirouetting, along a fairly narrow wall between her alley and the parking lot of a nearby restaurant. S captured my heart several years ago, as a shy, grinning toddler, who proudly showed me how well she could ride her tricycle. She and her family are essential to our neighbourhood, alternately taking a leading role in keeping a sense of balance between an “Over 55” mentality and a street overrun with kids, and being, for a short period, the only child-centered family on the block. I don’t mind the street full of kids part at all, as that was the way it was in my childhood-we children were everywhere. I watched S dance, from my living room window, lest she had slipped and fallen-in which case, I’d have been across the street like a shot. Every child who lives in this block has my heart. As it is, they also have my admiration, especially when living out their dreams.

The afternoon had brought a torrent of rain, on top of yesterday’s deluge. As I watched the sheets of precipitation pour down, I was reminded that it was ten years ago, today, that I wrote my first post on Word Press, after my previous blogsite, Xanga, became monetized. There are people I miss from Xanga, that I have not heard from since 2011. There are also those who turned on me, some for good reason, and others in fits of pique. For the most part, I am still in contact, either here or via other social media, with the Xanga friends who have stuck by me.

Many other changes have enveloped me, in this past ten years. Rage stemming form personal affronts now seems cheap and a waste of energy. I no longer harbour thoughts of long-distance thru-hikes of the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trails, at least for the time being. There is simply too much to be done, with other people around, both here in Home Base and further afield. I am more contemplative, before speaking or acting. A Basal cell has been removed and my immune system has been largely built up.

is There are other ways in which life is the same. My best friends, locally, are for the most part almost a decade or more, younger than me. My contemporaries don’t understand me any better than they ever did. That’s fine; being someone who is humoured and sent on his way has been my lot, among my age-mates, for a very long time. The “kids”, from Gen X to the Alpha Generation, have come to know me better, as I worked with them day-to-day. I can talk with many of them for a long time, without their passing judgement or getting their socks in a knot over some real or imagined slight. There are exceptions, among the Baby Boomers-like my hiking buddy, but it is with those my junior that I am most in my element.

Ten year into Word Press, self-assuredness and recognition that I am a person of worth have grown-and all the journeys of mind and body have only gotten richer.

The 2018 Road, Day 29: The Cleansing Storm and Saturday’s Markets


June 23, 2018, Tifton, GA-

After a short pass by Clemson University, which I found closed for the evening, I headed off to look for a campsite along  Richard B. Russell Lake.  Named for a conservative senator from Georgia, who was noteworthy as both a pragmatist and a parliamentarian, despite having misgivings about integrating whites and blacks at the Federal level, the lake, formed by damming the Savannah River, draws people of all ethnicities.

I chose the first campground on the South Carolina side of the river:  Calhoun Falls State Park.  The town was named for another senator, John C. Calhoun, who strode the floor of his chamber, orating in defense of slavery, whilst privately educating his own slaves back home.  Even the most seemingly venal of people can be complicated.

The Southland has always graced my camping efforts with a torrential rain, and last night was no exception.  Despite the cleansing downpour, with copious thunder and lightning, my tent and rain flap stayed put.  It also helped that the tent site is on porous ground.


Here are some views of  the lake, looking towards the Georgia shore. Note that the soil along the shore is red.




I made a stop at the camp store, for a bit of breakfast, before heading out.  Two sweet teen girls were minding the store and made sure I had fresh coffee and a scone, on this soggy morning.

Outside, the dock and its attendant were getting ready for a more promising day of sunshine.




I took county roads to the town of Calhoun Falls, then to McCormick, before going on to Edgefield, the hometown of another of South Carolina’s more provocative figures:  J. Strom Thurmond.  Before Donald Trump, before George Wallace, Strom Thurmond stood for keeping things as they were, in bygone days- before coming to his senses in later years, and actually being mortified by those who cited him as an example of a man who could “keep the races apart”.


I found numerous mementos of the Civil War, as was to be expected, and solid antebellum architecture.  Then, there was the turkey.  Edgefield’s more eclectic claim to fame is as the headquarters of the American Wild Turkey Association.  One of the men with whom I spoke had been to Prescott, and had hunted wild turkeys in our National Forest.


I took in Edgefield’s tiny, but welcoming Farmers’ Market, purchasing a couple of gifts for my family in Florida.  Then I poked around a bit in Edgefield’s town square.


Below, is the town’s memorial to its Confederate  war dead.  Being on the opposite side of the slavery issue, I nonetheless recognize that people of earlier times had to go through their growing pains.  Then, too, so do many of this day and age.


Other memorials honour those fallen in subsequent conflicts.  This memorial stone commemorates World War II.



I stopped in Park Row Cafe, for a muffaletta, which held its own with the more famous New Orleans versions of the sandwich.  I was greeted warmly by the young lady who I had met on the street, earlier.  The cafe’s manager, though, was a bit more guarded, wondering aloud about “the western Yankee”. She was quite glad to see me go.  Too bad, as the place has wonderful fare.

Down the road, and a bit north of the river, is Aiken.  It is home to another Xanga friend, who was not at home when I visited downtown.  I can see the attraction, though.  Aiken had a larger Farmers’ Market than Edgefield, and was considerably more vibrant.  I spent most of my time here in New Moon Cafe, a fortuitous discovery, as I was missing Artful Dodger.  I sat, nursing a Haitian pour-over, absorbing the positive energy.  I found this magnetic little cafe a great excuse for returning to Aiken in the future, even if Xanga friend is not around.  Here is a small hotel that might be of interest to those not inclined to camp.


New Moon is all about power!


I took this photo from a discrete distance as, underneath the signage, another patron was relaxing with coffee and the paper.


Leaving salubrious Aiken, I wanted to make fairly good time getting to north Florida, before turning in. So Augusta, Lake Oconee, Macon and Andersonville all wait for another time.  I made a mental note, as to the exquisite beauty of Oconee and its Reynolds properties.  There is much also that Georgia has to tell, regarding the struggles of men with one another.  Americus showed the way towards amity, whilst Andersonville chronicles the flip side of Maryland’s Point Lookout, being the site of a POW camp for Union soldiers, just as the latter was for Confederate POW.

So, I stopped here, in Tifton, just off I-75, enjoying chicken salad at a Zaxbe’s.  I still am determined to make it at least to Ocala, tonight.


The 2018 Road, Day 28: Falls Park Afternoon


June 22, 2018, Greenville, SC-

I spent several days here, in and around this small, but bustling, commercial hub of western South Carolina, in late February and early March, 1987.  One of my brothers and his family lived near here then.  I can recall the Museum of Christian Art, at Bob Jones University, and Falls Park on the Reedy, as highlights of that visit.

My journey today, led me back to Falls Park, to meet an old friend from Xanga days. K is a military veteran, whose son is currently serving as well.  She lives in a city not far from Greenville, and so agreed to meet for lunch and a walk around the park.  It took several minutes for us to find one another, with confusion on my part, as to what she meant by the “park entrance”.  There are actually three, so I went to the one closest to the West End Historic District, where she found me.  We enjoyed a fine lunch at Smoke On The Water, overlooking the Reedy River, and swapped Xanga tales.  Then, it was time to revisit the park, in earnest.



There are multiple places for people to cool off, in the running water.  This fountain, on the grounds of River Place, drew several families, as the day was heating up.

This footbridge leads into Falls Park, from the north.


Here is a view of West End, which has been revitalized since I was here last.


We enjoyed this, and other, views of the Falls, from Liberty Bridge.


With many people taking one another’s photos, including us, K and I were glad to be in this one selfie.


That led to another shot of the Falls.


The flowers at Falls Park were not at their peak, but diligent care has kept the gardens well-balanced and adorning the grounds.


The lower park, closer to the water, is always among my favourite parts of a river walk.


Nature offers some strange scenes, of suffering and resilience.  Looking at the trunk of this tree, from this vantage point, I can almost discern a face.


We continued to head back to the park entrance, as K had to avoid afternoon traffic.  Above the falls, the river offers as much beauty, as below.



These cataracts, close to Liberty Bridge, help control the flow of water, in times of flooding.


Ten Artispheres, by John Acorn, commemorated the tenth anniversary of Greenville’s Artishphere Festival, in 2014.


After K left, I spent some time along the river, close to the place where I had parked.  Ducks and geese were more plentiful, in the serenity of upriver.


This view of downtown shows the variety of architectural styles is present, even in a smaller city.


Near an overpass, I spotted the testimony of the timeless.


These geese were also glad to find the shade of the bridge’s underpinnings.


The Peace Center Amphitheater and Wyche Pavilion was empty, this afternoon, but is sometimes used for weddings and other special events.


Greenville has polished itself a fair amount, in thirty one years, and like many former textile centers, has used the rivers which once generated their mills to generate a thriving economy, based on tourism and other outdoor-based enterprises.

NEXT:  Camping in the Rain and Two Saturday Markets


And So On


April 1, 2018, Prescott- 

Happy Easter, and Passover, one and all.  I have spent much of today, fighting with my WP feed, trying to go back to those posts I missed, last flipping weekend and onward.  I have hit upon keeping one window open for my Reader- and one for this side of my site.

This laptop will need to go in for repair soon. To do that, I will finally re-open my account with Geek Squad, the Best Buy Technical Support arm.  This will do one of two things:  Either my 7-year-old laptop will continue to support my photo posts, or it will need to be replaced.  Either way, it’ll be a week before I post any photos on these pieces, as Windows File Explorer is constantly in buffering mode, which tells me my old friend is very sick.

I haven’t done much today, but then again, yesterday found me in Phoenix, walking with three other people around a neighbourhood called Sunnyslope, which is an important place in the annals of Penny’s and my last ten years together.  I am glad to have helped install 13 smoke detectors, in 7 of the 25 houses we visited.  6 went in one house, alone. The most important were those placed in the bedrooms of youths.

Visiting a friend in Superior, and finding her working alone, on a Saturday afternoon, was bothersome.  I stayed long enough to enjoy a nice lunch and to help her just a bit, with tidying up and offering moral support.  This person is going through something similar to what I endured, with a spouse suffering debilitation.  I hope her co-workers will get a grip and start pitching in more.

Today, though, I am thinking of someone,  very far away, whom I have never met face to face.  Something about her, though, has drawn me in.  Like anything else of this nature, we’ll see.

I watched a short video about the Sumerians.  It challenges conventional wisdom about our origins as a species.  I have one question, though:  If there are some beings that are responsible for our intelligence, and they “civilized” us, then left, why aren’t they back?  Perhaps, they know better.  I think I will stick with my God, and the God of us all.

My Memorial Day to Independence Day travel schedule is mapped out- Nevada, Colorado, eastward through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario, Montreal, New England, Pennsylvania, down the Delmarva, Hampton Roads, across Virginia, the Carolinas and Tennessee, before an I-40 zip, back to Home Base and Prescott’s fireworks.  Most of this route is to see friends and family-some of whom I have not seen in a very long time.  Good Sam Parks and hostels will be well-researched and penciled in, beforehand.  There will be a birthday party or two, a family wedding and a Xanga/Facebook gathering.  If this sounds like a lot, it’s because it is.

In the meantime, we have a month of standardized testing at our high school, which means unusual schedules.  Then, there is Graduation Month.  In both April and May, I will also be occupied with Baha’i activities, to boot.  I would not miss any of this, or rush through it, for all the world.



May 10, 2016, Prescott

My thoughts go to a place called Xanga.

I’ve been informed that my subscription is over.

The ghost pieces that have built up there,

are to be the stuff of archives.


as that was a place I could reach out,

a place where I could learn to accept love from strangers,

a place where I could banter with snarky people,

and a place where I could deal with bullies and trolls.

My imagination ran free,

for the first time in a long while.

Many friendships were made,

many of them still thrive,

in real time.

Some were lost,

in the wake of culture wars,


upended relationships.

The wisps of thoughts,

long ago communicated,

as my truest love faded from life,

one hour, one day, one year at a time.

My cyberfriends joined our son,

in holding my hand,

keeping my mind intact,

helping my heart to heal.

As I write,

the cool presence of her spirit,

wafts over my hands,




First Survey of the Year


January 5, 2016, Prescott- 

At the behest of one of my Xanga friends, here goes:

  1. List 3 names you go by:
    1. Gary (Preferred)

    2. Mr. B (used by my students)

    3. Gare Bear (rarely heard anymore, but used by ex-Xangans, back when I was Cyberbear on Xanga)

    Name 3 places you’ve lived:
    1. Saugus, MA (from the time I was six months old until I left for the Army, and again in 1972)

    2. Cheju, Korea (1986-92)

    3. Prescott, AZ ( 3 separate stints-1992, for six months; 2000-01, for twelve months; 2011-Present)

    List 3 places you’ve worked:
    1.  Star Market ( I was terrible at bagging, but I did work for one of my two best bosses- Bob Powers)

    2. Jeddito School (The best job I ever had:  School Counselor, K-8, a job into which I grew)

    3. Mingus Springs Charter School (Red-tape led to a short tenure, but I proved I could teach coherently, day-to-day)

    What are 3 things you love to watch:
    1.  People treating each other nicely

    2.  Animals in the wild

    3.  Children feeling genuinely happy

    Name 3 places you’ve visited:
    1.  Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

    2.  Mt. Halla,South Korea

    3.  Utah Beach, Normandy

    Name 3 foods you love to eat:

    1.Baked stuffed shrimp

    2. Lasagne

    3. Hummus

    Name 3 favourite beverages:

    1.Coffee (Cream only)

    2. Mango Iced Tea

    3. Filtered water


    Name 3 things you are looking forward to:
    1. Working with children & teens, for at least five more years.

    2. Resuming summer travel, starting with the Philippines and nearby countries, in 2017.

    3. Seeing my son and other family members realize their dreams.

Hello, World!


Prescott, AZ-

I am expanding my presence, just a bit.  I hope to put photos on here, as I do on Xanga, but we’ll check it out and see what may be accomplished.

Word is slow to get out, and I have several Xanga friends who are also here.  Xangans tend to be reticent about comments, as I’m sure many have noticed.  I am quite vocal, when I get to people’s sites.  Usually, I like to encourage free and responsible thought.  If you are an unmitigated troll, though, I will not feel quite so nice.