We even got them dancin’ girls……………

Last night it was Friday night, and that’s drum night at Baldwin Beach. (Unofficial).

With the thought of a previous blog comment in mind, I headed down to Baldwin Beach to meet with the forest people. There had been a rain front that moved in after about a hundred days without rain, and not sure what to expect. It was actually very nice. I was challenged to reach out and meet someone. With that in mind, I loaded my beach chair with a couple of Voodoo Ranger beers just in time for the sunset that wouldn’t be.

I have four videos for you to enjoy.  The first one was the layout of the beach from my beach chair. The temp was about 80 degrees, wind off the ocean, rain in the distance. It’s about a minute long. Even though I heard them very well, you can just hear the drums over the ocean on the video.

The second video is the person I met, Al, catching a turtle.(Yes, I went out of my comfort zone and talked to someone). Don’t worry, the turtle was fine and I watched as it swam back out to sea. Al had moved back to Maui about six years ago after being born here and moving away. Actually got me interested in giving fishing a try, and you don’t need a license. Today I came to my senses and will continue to get my fish at the store.

Here is the one you’ve been waiting for. Drums of the forest people. My daughter watched it while I was posting it, and couldn’t stop laughing hysterically. Now she thinks this is what all adults do for fun when they go to a party. If you were imagining a bunch of tattooed Hawaiians from the pitch black video I took last week, then you will be disappointed. It’s more like a bunch you will find at a craft fair. Now it did feel a bit weird filming. There were some naked people back farther in the woods, and the smell of pot was pretty heavy. I was wondering if they thought I was filming for the cops, and they were all going to get busted. It’s about 5 minutes long, but well worth a listen. Needless to say, I left promptly when I was done filming….

Now, how about them dancin’ girls……….

Finally, to relax you after all that, sounds of the ocean mixed with faint drums in the background. You can see the kids moving to the beat and having a great time. (By the way, not my kids…..)

Peace of mind is priceless……………………….

The world has gotten used to cameras everywhere. You can see the traffic jams on the news, a baby hippo born at the zoo, an eagles nest, they monitor and change the lights at stoplights, the instant weather anywhere on the planet, every store you go into, and much much more. We aren’t even aware of them most of the time. But they are there, watching and recording.

Even though they may be used for evil intent, like the Las Vegas shooter having them in the hall of the hotel, I am glad they are being used. I think they deter crime before it happens, and sure help if a crime is committed. You may think that Big Brother is watching, and he is, to protect you.

When I moved to Maui in January this year, I left behind my house and all my stuff. It was a source of worry for me. Not only worried about theft, but also the chance my furnace would quit working, and all the pipes in my house freeze and eventually bust. Well, guess what, my furnace quit working, but because I had a camera set up in my kitchen pointed towards the thermostat and a large thermometer, I was able to quickly get the situation under control with no damage. And I did it all on an app on my phone. Live. Instant. Very cool. And just checking to see if everything was normal back home let me relax and not have to think about it.

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In fact, I had three cameras set up. The one in the kitchen, one in the garage which let me see if I forgot to close the garage door, and one in an upstairs window pointing towards my driveway, which I enjoyed watching the weather, and also knew if my driveway was being plowed on time, or if my grass needed mowing. I could watch any of the three on my phone, laptop, kindle, or desktop from Maui, in real time. One of the cameras had a record feature with motion detection, so I could actually playback and watch what happened when the furnace guy came out.

Years ago, when I was selling my house in Duluth before moving to Rochester, I got the idea to record my Realtor and any prospective clients. I didn’t have a security camera then, so I hid my mini-camcorder on a shelf, turned it on when I left the house before the showing and watched it when I got back. In this case, The Realtor did a great job and knowing that the client really liked my house enough to make an offer, I was confident to negotiate for more when we wrote up the paperwork by watching the tape.

I did the same thing when selling my house in Rochester, only this time I had the security cameras. I could see the prospective purchasers as they pulled up in the yard, and snapped screenshots of them as they walked up to the door. I also hid the one in the kitchen above the cabinets and was able to listen to any clues if people were interested. The best thing was that they mentioned things that should have been fixed or changed, and I did those things before the next showing. I also knew when the real buyers showed up, not a bunch of shingle kickers snooping around.

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Shingle kickers at my house.

 

Let’s get down the nitty-gritty. How much is this going to cost? My kids call me cheap sometimes, I think I am careful. My son’s current wish list involves a dirt bike. You get the picture. I wasn’t about to sign up for a recurring monthly fee like the alarm companies want you to do. I also looked into Simply Safe but didn’t want to shell out $400. I think what I found and am using is great. You can get one camera, or many, and no recurring fees. The app is free, and these cameras will work for years.

The company is D-Link. I bought one camera through them, but I found buying through Amazon is always best. Same price or better, and their return policy is unmatched. So how much? You can get a great camera for $74. They make a cheaper version for $25, but in reading the reviews, doesn’t always work well on the app so I would avoid that one. It has night vision, motion detection, sound, and recording (although you will have to buy a sim card separate). They are easy to set up, only takes a couple of minutes, and works off your Wi-Fi so you can put them anywhere (you have to plug them into a wall outlet). Then download the app on your phone, and you get live sight and sound whenever you want. You can even see what your cat and dog are up to when you are gone.

Here is a link to that camera, where you can read reviews and compare other systems that may be better for your use. And of course, they make many more.  If you don’t have a camera in your house, I really recommend you get one, not just for security.

But for the …...Peace of mind.

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As time goes by………………

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by
And when two lovers woo
They still say, “I love you”
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by
Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date
Hearts full of passion
Jealousy and hate
Woman needs man
And man must have his mate
That no one can deny
it’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.

These are the lyrics of the theme song of one of my favorite movies of all time, Casablanca. It was made in 1942 with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the lead roles. The movie won 3 Academy Awards. It was a common love story. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they separate, and by chance meet again with the girl loving another, and the noble guy gives her up and they give each other the look, and part ways for good, everything is ok. He says when she shows up at his bar “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”.

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The other night I was searching for something interesting on TV, and the movie La La Land was just starting. I must have been the only person in the world not to have seen it, and wasn’t particularly interested because of the title and that it was a musical. Although I say I don’t care for musicals, I have never seen one that I didn’t really like. My eyes never left the screen, except to go get tissues for when I cried. What a great movie. It won 7 Academy awards and well deserved. Strangely enough, it had a very common theme. Boy meets girls, they fall in love, they separate, and by chance meet again with the girl loving another, and they give each other the look, and part ways for good, everything is ok. (In his bar). What sets this movie apart from Casablanca is the way they project their might have been future, which was extremely well done. In Casablanca, you had to fill it in yourself.

Before I had kids, I always liked to sit in the window seat in airplanes so I could look out at the stars, clouds, and especially the cities at night. They hog that seat now. There have been countless times in my life I have been alone, or in a relationship I knew wasn’t right. At those times, I would look down at all the lights of the houses and cars below, and imagine there must be someone down there in that city for me. A chance meeting, a new life, a fresh start. Within minutes, the lights would be gone, I would still be alone, and on it went. The loneliness would set in, and I would keep searching for a light, of any kind, a farmhouse, a lone car, anything to give me hope. Then the next city would come and go. It was hard to travel alone then.

This week I got a surprise message from a friend I haven’t seen for over 40 years. We had gone on one of those once in a lifetime trips to Key West in the 70’s together. He brought up memories I had either forgotten or had purposely buried to protect my emotions. On that trip, I had met a girl and lived with her for several years. It was a chance encounter involving a boat and a bar but changed the direction of my life. At the time I went on that trip, I was dating a girl back home, her name was Julie, and because of the circumstances that developed, I have never seen nor spoken to her again, even though it was a kiss and see you in two weeks goodbye. I wonder how she is doing.

I have thought a lot about the could have beens/should have beens in my life. A wrong word, a funny look, a mood, a mistake have caused many of my relationships to fail. And I feel really bad about that. Each one of them carried a future. I can project in my mind (just like in La La Land) how that future might have played out. It’s tough to think about. And that is just about the chance relationships I have had, which pales in comparison to the chance relationships I could or might have had. My heart breaks over each and every love I have ever had. And there have been many.

I had been dating, and very much in love with, a girl from California named Marie (My second girlfriend). We had our problems, like everyone, and I started also seeing a girl named Pam. This was going on for several months. I worked at my parent’s farm and lived in a small trailer right next door. One day, during the summer, I took my motorcycle into town, about 4 miles, to get something to eat during a lunch break at the farm. My two girlfriends decided to pay me a visit that same day. There was a fork in the road going to either the farm or my house, and as I came back from town, both girls were walking either on the farm or house road waving and smiling at me. They couldn’t see each other because of some trees and bushes. I pulled up and stopped at the fork, with each girl about 50 feet from me, coming from different directions, and did the only wise choice a guy would do in this instance. Turned around and left.

How the story turned out. They kept walking and met, compared notes, and both dumped me (with good reason). They became very good friends and especially hated that I gave them both the same presents for their birthdays. I had a future with both girls. I often wonder about that. I have never spoken to either since. Hope they are doing ok.

How many strangers have you looked in the eye, a casual glance, a word or two, a thought about them? Each one of them carries the potential for a future. That answer, of course, is limitless. Let me tell you another story. I have never told it to anyone else before, and quite frankly forgot about it until just right now.

I was living in Madison, Wisconsin while working on a piece of land that my parents and I were going to move our animals to from Minnesota. I was getting it ready for the move. I had a girlfriend in Minnesota and would drive back weekends to see her and her daughter. One night after work I was driving from the gym I worked out at, and at an intersection, I got behind a VW Beetle that was stalled. I sat as the driver tried to start the car through several light changes, then jumped out to ask if I could help. It turned out to be a girl about my age named Trish, and she readily accepted my offer. I jumped in, got the car started, I think it was flooded, and got the Beetle and my truck past the intersection. Talking a bit, she offered to buy me a beer. For some reason, I said yes, maybe because I was lonely, and followed her a short distance to a bar by her house. Very out of character for me. We had one beer, and she asked for my number, I gave it to her, and off we went. In the following weeks, we saw each other many times for dinner and drinks. She was kind of dating a guy, and I had a girlfriend 400 miles away. We both knew it wasn’t going to go anywhere but just liked each other’s company.

It so happened during this time that my girlfriend and I made a trip out East to visit Washington D.C.  We brought my cousin and his wife along. I called Trish to tell her about the trip, and she informed me that she and her boyfriend were also going there about the same time we were. Wouldn’t it be funny if we ran into each other? (How absurd, it’s a big city). We both agreed that if we did (what’s the chance of that) that we would not say anything. Well, guess what, one day my cousins, girlfriend and I were walking down the sidewalk by the White House, and from the other direction comes Trish and her boyfriend. We see each other from about 20 feet away, both had sunglasses on, and as we passed within two feet of each other, slipped our sunglasses down our noses, looked into each other’s eyes, and smiled. A movie couldn’t have done it any better. In a country of millions, what are the chances?

I don’t know what happened to Trish. She moved away to California a few months after that, and we didn’t stay in touch. I often wonder how my life would have turned out had she been the one.

I know how my life has turned out up until now. And I am very happy with it. I don’t know how the rest will turn out. You see, every second counts in this life when it comes to opportunity, and your choice. Thinking about those poor people in Las Vegas, their choice led them there. Whether they turned right or left, or ran, or hid, or helped was their choice. Every second mattered. Every second of one decision changed a life. A result followed. Thank you to the many heroes who risked their own lives to help those in need. But let’s get back to love.

I envy those who have found someone to share their entire life with. How did they know? I suspect that they have had to give up a lot of could have beens too. It’s those could have beens that do the haunting.

Are you ever really over someone you shared a part of your life with? I don’t think so. You may hate them for something they did, become different people, don’t like the way they snore, or eat, or kiss. But if you have shared a time and place and a passion, then they are with you forever. You may have no wish to get back together with them, but that’s different than being over them. After all is said and done, there was a future with that person. And you might imagine it like in the movies, but you will never know the ending. That is part of being alive.

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I have met my Soulmate. The one. I can’t reveal her name. We are not together, nor I suspect, will ever be. I am ok with that, and she is too. This current life of mine doesn’t have a place for her in it. Nor I in hers. Someday in a life in the future, we will be.

I am now more aware of the chances and choices. When I pass a stranger, what happens next might determine my future. Whether I say hi, or continue on my path, the future is determined. Being an introvert, I always err on the side of silence.

They say that when you die, your entire life flashes before your eyes. I wonder if all of the other possible combinations of life pass before you too.

When I got married for the first time, we had our honeymoon in the Bahamas. One night while having dinner, the theme song from “Casablanca” was played by the band. I don’t think my wife got the emotional connection that song had for me, but I saw it as a sign that everything was as it should be. Every time I hear it, I think of that dinner, and the promise that being a newlywed brings. This year I saw her for the first time in many, and I thought about the could have beens. I think she did too. She has a wonderful life, with a beautiful daughter and precious granddaughter. I know she wouldn’t want to change a thing. It would be great if we didn’t have to, yet have that alternate life of promise.

I often look at my Daughter, who is 14, and my Son, 10, and think of all the life that is ahead of them. The biggest question they will ever have is who is right for them. That is one that I can’t answer. Each of us has to live that joy and pain alone. That is a journey that can’t be planned. It is predetermined by chance. That I know.

The best example I can set for them is that I am happy.

The only thing I know as I have lived my life. You and you alone are faced with choices and decisions that change the course of your life. One choice excludes all others. A different choice excludes that one. You can’t have it all. Be happy with the choice you make, and if you want to look back, then do it with joy in your heart. Be happy you had a choice, to begin with.

I now look back and smile (or cry) ……..As time goes by.gothic-1629448_1920

 

 

 

 

 

 

A solution to end the killings….

We woke this morning to another sickening news story about a lunatic gunman who killed 58 plus (and counting) people in Las Vegas before killing himself. I still cry out loud when I think of those poor innocent kids at Sandy Hook.

Let’s be real. Do you think our puny attempts at gun control to weed out these killers, or social media and internet police, or threaten them with jail, or counterterrorism work? Then you are only fooling yourself. This guy was a complete ghost, coming out of nowhere, to wreak this kind of destruction. Guns are here to stay. A gun lasts a lifetime, a bullet one use.

I’m not trying to challenge the second amendment and the right to bear arms. I have guns myself. That’s my right. In fact, just in voicing my opinion about this, I am exercising my right to free speech.

If guns cannot be controlled, then let’s control what comes out of them, bullets.  Why don’t we only make plastic or rubber bullets from now on? Quit making metal bullets that kill and maim. If someone goes crazy, they will cause some bruises and maybe poke someone’s eye out. Selling only plastic bullets would end the violence.

This doesn’t have to be a “We are coming to your house to get your ammunition” kind of thing. Just have the manufacturers quit making bullets that kill. If they squawk about losing money, then pay them not to make them. We have paid farmers not to grow things for years. What we would save in law enforcement and health costs would be far greater than what we would pay not to make metal bullets. They would eventually make up for it selling the plastic ones.

Imagine going to the store and your only choice will be to choose which plastic bullet to buy. What color. What’s inside of the head when it hits something. Paint? Apple seeds? Colored smoke? The possibilities are endless.

I’m no engineer, I wouldn’t have any idea how to make a plastic bullet. But I bet there are people who do and have. I would actually like shooting bullets that couldn’t kill someone. To get them publically accepted is the challenge.

I woke the other night at 11:00 PM to the sound of gunfire in my neighborhood. And my neighborhood is very safe, with strict gun laws about ownership and use. I envisioned someone drunk shooting away for fun. I hid behind my mattress until it was over. My kids weren’t here that night, I never told them or they would be afraid to stay with me from now on. I don’t want to live this way.

I hunted years ago, I don’t anymore. But if someone wants to hunt, then when they get their hunting license, ask them what kind of gun they are going to use, then issue them a certificate for 6 or so bullets to be redeemed at the gun shop for that weapon, or better yet, a more tightly controlled retail location like those used as medical marijuana facilities. It would arouse much more suspicion if someone was trying to buy up the 6 bullet batches from all the hunters they could find.

And if someone is worried about home protection, I would think most self-defense shootings happen within several feet. Get a Taser. It would give you time to get out of harm’s way, and not take the chance of accidentally shooting an innocent bystander (like your kids).

Shooting plastic bullets at the range would be fine. I think people just like to shoot something. Paint Ball, Video games, and Lazer Tag attest to that.

I know this idea seems too simplistic to ever possibly work. But I know that if I was ever on the other end of a phone call from school that said some gunman blasted his way in shooting, I would feel much better if they said some kids sustained bruises than going down to the morgue to identify mine.

MAKING PLASTIC BULLETS to me seems like a solution. I know not everyone will agree, and to tell you the truth, just writing this I am probably putting myself out there for some nut who will want to shoot me for saying it.

If you agree with some or all of what I am saying, please share on your social channels. Who knows, from a small seed a Giant Redwood grows. I don’t want to have to think about a world where I fear for the safety of my family every time they leave the house.

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Duluth MN Guest Blog Review

I have always had a sort of love/hate relationship with Duluth. I lived there for 20 years, and my hometown was only 20 miles away, so in a way consider that area my home turf. Today I would like to share an email I received from Leanne, who lives in Duluth, and has a lot of nice things to say about the city. Good job, Leanne, on pointing out the great things Duluth has to offer.

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“You have been out of our loop for too long, Burl.  According to a website called Suburbanstats.org  Duluth’s population for 2016-2017 looks more like this:

Demographic Population Totals

Total Population In Duluth

Total Population: 86,265
Male Population: 42,243
Female Population: 44,022

Demographic Median Age By Sex

Median Age In Duluth

Both sexes 33
Male 31
Female 36
Therefore, not too old or lacking knowledge to shop online! LOL I really think our part of the country has more loyal customers that enjoy socializing at the mall so our mall is doing well. Maybe we are more old-fashioned, or like I used to say “10 years behind the rest of the US”.  I for one, don’t especially care to go to the checkout lines without a cashier.  Innovation and the internet are taking over too many jobs. I want to see REAL people at work.  Sure it may be less convenient than PayPal but face to face is best. I do buy my car parts online, and my Netflix and Hulu. Everything else I go to the store and make my purchases in person.
I was going to write a bit on your blog a couple weeks ago, but I had too much pressing on my mind to do it at the time.  My life is almost back to normal so I would like to blow my horn about living in Duluth.  You may share with your readers if you wish, or not.
When I moved to Duluth in 1993 I didn’t feel safe to walk in the skywalk system alone during the daytime. The main street downtown was scary too.  Never dared go there alone at night. That’s probably when I began to notice the underprivileged, having lived a sheltered existence of my own little world for most of my lifetime, up till then. We have nonprofit organizations to assist these citizens that live on the streets if they choose to take advantage of them. Some don’t use the system but it’s there for them.  All cities have homeless folks, even smaller cities. Duluth has the least affordable housing market in the state. Bet that plays a huge role in this. That’s another blog, another day.
I left Duluth in 2004. When I returned in 2011 it was like a totally different city. I am not afraid to use the skywalks or go downtown at night. It’s cleaner, better lighting and not as intimidating as it once was to me. I don’t work downtown so I don’t use the skywalks often as my daughter who works downtown and every once in awhile, someone will ask for money to buy food. She hands them her homemade lunch and then goes out to eat that day.  Good move.
Superior Street has cleaned up immensely. There are great coffee shops, unique gifty stores, nice bars (not like the old days when all the old dumpy bars were downtown), pizza places with live music and lots of coffee shops have live music during daytime or evening hours. On the west end of downtown, there’s a yoga store selling candles, incense, and my kinda stuff.  The east end of Superior Street has a glass blowing store where artists are displaying their works and the torch is always lit. They demonstrate how to blow the glass while you watch. I think it would be fun to take one of the classes they offer. We have several interesting galleries to browse on a cold winter day. They have hot drinks and cookies to take the chill off.
Bayfront Park is always hopping no matter what time of year. Each weekend in summer we have festivals with familiar bands playing down there. Have you heard Trampled By Turtles music?  They started as a garage band in Duluth and now they are world known. They like coming home to play for us! If you haven’t heard their music you must download it today. A few years ago Bentleyville came from Esko to Duluth’s waterfront. It’s a display of lights that lasts for hours each night from Thanksgiving thru a couple days past Christmas. There’s usually a giant fireworks display on the last night. It’s all free too including the cookies and smores and hot cocoa. You can google that too. All ages enjoy!
Boaters, paddle boarders, and kayakers fill the harbor on weekends in summer. Folks stroll or ride bikes around on the Canal sidewalks. Photographers love it here!  You can sit anywhere along the shore and watch sailboats and ore boats mingling out in the water.
Enger Tower is spectacular! The panoramic views are second to none and the air is so fresh. They keep up the gardens as if it’s a national park.  There’s been a coffee truck serving cappuccinos, lattes, and hot chocolate along with fresh baked goods and sandwiches parked up there this year.  The Prince of Sweden showed up for the Easter Egg hunt a few years ago.  I can’t believe they don’t charge admission. It’d be worth visiting even if they did. Everyone of all ages enjoy Enger Park.
You can always see this tower from the lake and it always looks the same, but what a spectacular area they have made all around here.  Picnic tables, the big bell, the gazebo-type overlook, plenty of benches, open bathrooms, landscaping, flowering trees… this is beautiful. It was lit in purple the week that Prince past away.
And it’s free… what could be better!
There are so many hiking trails, butterfly gardens, parks, streams and wonderful wonderful scenery surrounding our beautiful city. I’ve thought of moving from here, but within a few days I start to feel sad thinking of it…so I stay. I realize Winter is a longer season than I prefer it to be. But there’s lots to do in winter, if you are into snowmobiling, snowshoeing, skiing, ice fishing or playing hockey. I prefer to visit sunny warm climates during our winter.  I could never imagine spending Christmas away from here tho. Probably due to the fact that this is where my family congregates for Christmas. When they all grow up, I may entice some to spend one in Estes Park Colorado with me!
The Rose Garden is almost done for the season now.  I spend many sunny mornings there.  Love the roses that smell peppery. There are always out of towners looking for a nice friendly woman to take their pictures.  I am happy to oblige. It gives me pleasure to suggest restaurants or other sites to visit while they are in our area. Everyone is laid back and easy going. It’s a good place.  Across the street is a new blacksmith shop. I watched the blacksmith make a tripod to hang a kettle on over an open fire.  You don’t see that every day. The glassblowers own this biz too and often hang out there.  I’ll keep this place in mind on a cold winter day, Aha!
Last summer I found a new place to add to my tour. Further up on the Northshore there’s a Black Beach. The sand is blackened from the taconite pellets. It’s up near Silver Bay. The rocks are pink and white and the sand is black. Cool.
I missed my calling, I should have been a tour guide!  Maybe that’s my last career. I can lead the pack on Segways. One day I’ll give Segways a try.”
If you would like to write a Guest Blog and post it on my site, I would love to have you. (Gives me a break from thinking so much). Just send me an email and we can talk (sort of).  Burljjohnson@gmail.com.

Comfort zone………….

Tonight I went to watch the sunset at Baldwin Beach. Not the Sun over water, but very nice. Picture 82 degrees, light wind off the shore, warm sand in your toes.

Then I heard the music. I contemplated getting in my car, but something drew me towards the woods. It’s unlike me to try something new these days. I will fill you in on the next blog about that. And knowing it’s probably a bunch of young kids, I didn’t feel right about intruding on their space, but I did it anyway. I missed the flaming fire dance by a few minutes (I could see it walking down the beach), but what I did get was an unrehearsed drum set, and a guy playing the banjo while a young man beat a bucket for a drum. You can’t see anything except for a light or two, but it’s all about the music. Here are the drums on the beach in the dark. Turn up your volume, close your eyes,  and enjoy.

After the drums stopped, the man with a banjo started in, with a guy beating a bucket in the background. Here again, dark, but the sound is great, live.

I find myself being more withdrawn since I exited the working world. I want to change that. Because it was dark, I feel I was able to enter that world unnoticed, thereby no consequence. I think the next time I am watching the sunset from that beach, and there are drums in the woods, I am going to go over there when there is some light yet. What’s the worst that can happen?

I might have fun…………….

A picture and a poem….

A picture and a poem as a reminder to celebrate life on this beautiful September day.

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September 29th, 2017

Imagine me a turtle….floating in the sea,

A giant green sea turtle- life would be a breeze.

My friends are the fishes, dolphins, sharks, and whales,

I like to eat sea grass, sometimes a tasty snail.

 

What makes me very special is the shell upon my back.

When I get super tired, I go in and take a nap.

I’ll crawl up on the sand, and warm up in the sun.

When I’m done with napping, I’ll go and have more fun.

 

My ocean home is troubled, it’s filling up with junk.

Unless I’m really careful, I get caught up in the gunk.

You can help to keep me safe, pick up all the junk you see.

Playing with my friends- who wants to be me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One more hand to hold…………..

A child reaches instinctively for their parent’s hand when crossing a busy street. A parent holds their child’s hand in a large crowd. Young lovers hold hands to show their intimacy. The aged hold hands for support. Friends hold hands to feel connected, the spiritual hold hands to connect. A newborn’s hands are held to comfort. The dying’s hand’s held tightly to prevent fear. There is much comfort in the act of holding hands.

I was reminded of this intimate human act while at the beach today. An older couple were walking and holding hands. They moved slowly, enjoying all that was around them, and they looked at peace, enjoying the feeling that someone loved them. The reason it stood out to me, was that it’s a rare thing to see these days. Whether it’s out of fear of too much display of intimacy, or there is none, or in this day of information overload, we don’t take the time to feel that connection with another.

As you probably know, humans give off an aura and an electrical charge, with positively and negatively charged protons and electrons. We have all had that zap handshake, or someone zapping your ear with static electricity.  I think that when you hold another’s hand, a synergy is created of electrical power. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Or the connection itself can charge another when they are in need. That is why holding hands is such a comfort. When you are hurt, emotionally or physically, you are in energy deficit. Holding another who is stronger than you at that point will give you the strength to heal.

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My son is just now starting to not want to hold hands when going places. He has always been a touch-type person and wanted to hold hands when walking into strange places or when he gets a bit fearful. Now he ignores my hand when I reach for his, a sign that he has found strength on his own, and doesn’t need the comfort anymore. That makes me tremendously sad. I am going to miss that touch. My daughter, on the other hand, never wanted to hold hands. You would have had to handcuff her in order to do it. I was fortunate that my son wanted to because that’s how I am.

What greater pleasure in life than when your baby grasps your hand tightly. Or a new crush reaches for your hand on a date. Or your parent’s hands. The ones that held yours so tightly to protect, comfort, guide and love you. Or the lingering handshake of an old trusted friend. Hands are more than a tool. They are your expression. Don’t underestimate this power. You need to look no further than Michelangelo’s painting of the “The Creation of Adam” in 1510 to see the tremendous power of touch.

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As I write this, I am remembering all the many times I have held hands, and how it affected me at the time. It is one true memory with no negativity. There has never been a time when I have held another’s hand and regretted doing it. I can’t say that about many, if any, memory.

I wish I had held my Mom’s hands more when I could. I wish my Dad was here to hold mine when I need it. I wish my kids still wanted me to hold their hands. I wish I had held the hands more of the ones I truly loved. I guess I do have one regret.

I wish I had done it more………………

 

First car……………..

 

The day started just like most, my daughter complaining about her brother in the back seat, window rolled down, trying to spit without smearing the window behind him (didn’t work so well yesterday). “Why do boys spit so much?” she asked her all knowledgeable Dad. “Just because I said” Good answer I thought.

After we dropped her off (much to her relief), my son climbing in the shotgun position next to me as usual, and our conversation turned to cars. (Again). “Dad” he starts,” I think I am going to settle for a Ferarri instead of a Lamborghini or Bugatti”. This is a big decision for him. All he has talked about for the last year has been supercars, and how he is going to get one when he gets his license. I, of course, go along with it knowing he will figure it out when he gets older (I hope). He looks at them online, knows where all the dealerships are, and his idea of a perfect vacation is flying to LA and going to the supercar dealership there. That would make him happy (until the next thing).

The joke between us is that I have threatened to give him my old Honda Pilot when the time comes for him to drive. He thinks I was joking but with a hint of it in his head that I would actually do it. When I sold it, I think it was a big relief for him. He was into Range Rovers at the time, and I told him that I would buy Range Rover decals and paste on the Pilot, and none of his friends would know the difference. He saw right through that one.

He is experimenting turning the wheel as I drive on the way to his school. He says it’s practice for when I have a heart attack, and he has to take over to avoid a crash. He says the only thing I have to do is step on the brake, which he will yell for me to do when I have it.  He also says he will drive me to the nursing home when I am eighty. Good kid for sure. But I will have to get used to riding in his Ferarri, and he says he is going to go pretty fast. Then I drop him off at school. (much to my relief).

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Mine was blue

That gets me to thinking about my first car, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS. I got it the same day I turned 16, the same day I passed my driver’s license test, the same day as my first ever date with a girl. That was a big day.  My parents had bought it for my Mom the previous year with the intention of giving it to me. (Hey, they were only in their 40’s). I loved that car, although it had the smaller engine of the models. Which was probably a good thing. My first week I had the car, I rear-ended a teacher at my school when he stopped in the middle of the street to pick up a hitchhiker, and I was fiddling with the radio. We were going pretty slow, didn’t cause much damage,  but it taught me never to look away from the road, and my parents weren’t mad at all.

The car had a quirk of going into full acceleration if I made a left turn too fast. The gas pedal would go all the way to the floor, even in town. Many mechanics looked at the car, said it was in my head, so I just got used to driving it that way. About a year later, I hung around with some gearheads whose Dad owned a service station, and we figured it out. It had a broken motor mount, and the engine would tip over when making a left, pulling the cable to the gas pedal. We also figured out how it broke. Because the car was too underpowered for me, in order to squeal the tires I had to power brake it (holding the brake and gas down at the same time to rev up the engine). Kids.

The memories of my first car are endless, from my first girlfriend (wish it had a bench seat in front), to friends going to games, beating the loop (in town), going to the A & W to eat, playing music as loud as I could, all the windows down, hair blowing in the wind, and just being free like only a car can give you. A nice car at that age gives you status, and I think maybe I went up the scale from being a farm kid to having a very cool car. I was pretty much ignored by girls up until then. That soon changed, but that’s another story. Can you remember your first car and the memories you made? I bet you can.

My first girlfriend named my car, which I can’t remember. I think it’s a little late to give her a call and ask her what it was.

My daughter,14, has no interest in cars and driving. I will want her to get something safe (and slow). But no matter what I have to do, I am going to make sure my son gets a very cool car as his first car (no, not a supercar). A car defines you in a way, I should know, working in the car business for 28 years, we could accurately guess the personality of the owner by the car they drive. (And sell them accordingly). I don’t want him to be labeled as a nerd (sorry Prius owners), or poor, or mean, or dumb, or stuck up. I want him to feel good about what he drives, just like I did.

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I think this pretty cool.

Whatever happened to the Camaro? Well, cars in those days don’t last as long as today, and we ended up selling it for $800. I moved on to a convertible. I sure wish I still had it today. One thing I know for sure. It would be worth a whole lot more than a Jim Beam bottle collection……

 

 

 

Childhood home…………..

At least three days a week I bring my kids to school. My daughter’s school is about five minutes from my house and my son’s about 20 minutes from there. So for the first five minutes, it’s trying to keep my daughter from being annoyed with her younger brother. He is coughing, spitting and passing gas. She sits in the front, him in the back. After I drop her off, he climbs through the seats to sit up front. That gives us twenty minutes of quality time driving a winding road to his school through the tropical forest.

I let him pick the subject, which is usually something he wants to buy. Like a surfboard, or a bike, or new sneakers, or a skateboard ramp. He’s a shopper, what can I say. Likes to spend his time looking on Amazon. So this morning started out no different for about five minutes, then to the conversation about how he misses the home we just moved from. He talks about that a lot too. His childhood home, the only one he has ever known. Unless you are still living in your parent’s basement, we have all been there.

I grew up in a very large five bedroom home on the farm my Dad owned. I have always thought of that time as Camelot. My childhood was wonderful. My parents finally sold that home when I was about 25. Even though I hadn’t been living there for a few years, it was tough on me I won’t deny. Although the reason was economic for them, I guess I still resented the circumstances, not them, that separated me from that house. As I sit here typing this out, I can recall every room, the tiled floor, the big living room windows, my single bed, the dishes in the cupboard.  To tell you the truth, I can probably remember more right now than I did my whole life. Funny, isn’t it.

As we were talking about him missing his childhood home, I asked him what memories he cherished from there. I had to rephrase, what does he remember? He started talking about the neighbors, the kids that moved away, his stuff. When I asked him specifically what he remembers, he said he didn’t remember a whole lot. We are talking Holiday’s, Birthdays, his room, our dog, the smell of the kitchen, the colors of the living room. It’s only been a few months. I don’t think it’s not because he doesn’t remember, he just never paid that much attention.

Is that any different than any of us? When we were kids, we weren’t aware of the things it takes to run a house, the bills, the planning for Holidays, the arguments, the drama, the day to day. We had enough stuff of our own to worry about. Sure, he misses the safety of something tangible. Something familiar. That home was his rock, the walls his castle, his room the shelter from all harm.  I have a sneaky suspicion that his memory will improve as he gets older and experiences running a house of his own. When he worries about what couch matches the carpet, the color to paint the babies room. Right now, it doesn’t matter. He misses his home, and I will comfort him in that.

After I dropped him off, I spent some time thinking about my memories of my childhood home. I remember the clothes in my closet, my Mom cooking in the kitchen, my Dad coming home for lunch, the first night I got home late, working on my car in the garage, the huge Christmas tree we had every year. All the presents. Then I realized it wasn’t the home that I remembered or missed, it was the memories of family. The home was just a representation of the family. And we all have a different interpretation of the same event. What I remember is probably very different than my two sister’s memories.

Whenever I hear “I’ll be home for Christmas” I cry. It’s the knowing I can never go back to those times, not to the home, but to my family frozen in that time. Someday I’m sure my son will think back and remember the times with his family as we were. He is young and just starting making his memories. My only job is to make sure he remembers the good ones and understands the bad ones.

I think of this every now and then. I picture someone shaking me awake, and I open my eyes to see my parents when they were young, looking down together at me in my little bed, and I, a boy, coming out of a dream. The dream of everything that has happened in my life. And I think to myself as that boy. “It was just a dream. All of it. My parents are here, I am here, everything is ok.” What I wouldn’t give for that to be real.

When school was done for the day, I picked my daughter up first, and we had some time to talk. I mentioned that her brother and I had talked about our old house, and I asked her what she remembered, and specifically, what was her fondest memory. She couldn’t pinpoint anything, so I mentioned Christmas, and she said…….all the presents.