Friday, October 28, 2016

Rest Stop

The wet pavement of Highway 66 glistened in the light of the blue moon.   To the east the thunderstorm rolled on, lightning churning in its cloudbank.  I settled in for the long haul.   Mt Dew holstered in the cup holder, cashews and jerky sitting on the vacant seat. I flicked on the stereo and starting belting out 90’s boy band music, something I only do when I’m truly alone.

About 20 miles from the state line, I reached over for a succulent piece of animal flesh stretched, torn and soaked, when I saw her.   There in my previously empty passenger seat, was a disheveled old woman, wearing a crushed velvet green dress mud covered and off kilter, which along with her excessive make up migrating from her eyes to her jowls, was evidence of a night of dreams abandoned.

I almost drove straight into the borrow pit.  And slammed my breaks risking a jackknife.   “How did you get here?”

“go,” she said, then with emboldened enunciation, “GO!”  

Having hear plenty of tales from truck stops and late night diners, I figured my guest was not of this world.  I worked through the gears getting the rig back up to high way speed.   Better to move with a unwelcome guest than stay in one place.

She didn’t make eye contact, and we drove in silence.   I didn’t share my Backstreet Boys with anyone, living or dead. “So, um, where you headed?” I asked my paranormal passenger?

of course there was no reply.  Her lips quivered, her earrings dangled.  And her hands clutched a small bag close to her bosom.

I kept my eyes ahead. But couldn’t help notice her fidgeting.  Then a high pitched soprano voice sang this verse.

“It must be clean, the chrome must gleam, No smears, nor splatters, no paper in tatters.”  This kept repeating over and over.  Her fidgeting got more pronounced.

Wait a second I thought.  She needs to use the little girls’ room. “you need to, uh, take care of some business? “  I said.

She didn’t respond, just kept repeating, “It must be clean, the chrome must gleam, No smears, nor splatters, no paper in tatters” eventually adding, “no numbers etched upon the wall, enticing for a good time to call, Nor words profane not a single curse, and a nice little edge for one  to place  her purse”

“Well come on now beggars can’t be choosers.”  Still I wanted to get this ghastly roadie out of my cab.  “There’s a rest area at the summit” I said,  “we’ll stop there.”

Exit 6 couldn’t come soon enough.  I down shifted and skidded a little as I pulled into the rest area.  No other cars or trucks need a break at 3 in the morning.   The red light from the pop machine lit the path to the rest rooms.

I looked at my interloper.   “Well, here you go.” Her finger, which I now noticed did not bend in the correct direction, but instead took a meandering route to come to a point was directed to me.  Then she slowly moved it to the building containing the restrooms, repeated 4 times.   I got the hint.  As I jumped down from the cab, I heard her singsong voice with my marching orders “It must be clean, the chrome must gleam, No smears, nor splatters, no paper in tatters”

I can’t believe I’m cleaning a restroom for a ghost, I thought.   Three times I went back, and three times she rejected my efforts.   Dang it lady I’m a driver not a janitor.  Finally as the sun crested the peak in the east, I walked back one final time.  The cab was empty.

I don’t know how ghosts take care of their business in the private place.   But I got out of there as soon as I could.   So if you’re ever driving down route 66 late at night, and find a peculiar passenger in your car.  I hope you have Lysol, and scrubbers, but most importantly I hope you have gloves and a gas mask, because if you’ve been to a rest area, you know, the lady in need of a powder room was not the scariest thing I saw that night.

Monday, October 10, 2016

To be read at night


Ten
The bodies scurry away,

Nine
They think it's a game they're about to play,

Eight
They find a hole in which to hide,

Seven
Quietly, the innocent abide.

Six
The demon-thief will take from them,

Five
The mother's dreams--what might have been,

Four
Their stifled giggles would not emit,

Three
If their stalker's face were lit.

Two
But have a final laugh little
one.

Ready or not, here i come.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Ode to the Bookmarked


On the shelf waiting; anticipating, you've sat for too long old friend
I stuffed the bookmark in your thin off white messages; a promise of hasty return.
But then I went of to other new exciting tomes and left you alone on the shelf.
Not entirely alone, for them content you would be, no I left a promise that turned to a dagger.
As the seasons changed my hand would pass by you again and again, sometimes I'd even place my new friends on top of you. But you endured this indignity, this subjection because of the promise I stuck in your spine.
It said I would return to see where you led. It said we would spend time again.
But as the seasons gave way to a year you knew I wasn't coming back. The wedge in your pages was no longer a promise but a memorial to my disinterest. A rock in a shoe. An unforgettable annoyance. And also a shackle. For as long as my mark is slid between your pages, I have claimed you and no other may have you.
Nearly a decade has passed and you had given up on being anything other than a old maid. There are no best seller lists that bear your name. No zeitgeist compelling the masses to grasp you off the shelf. Dusty with an old piece of shrapnel in your spine. You have long ago given up being excited when my hand reaches near you on the shelf, not once in these years has it found you.
But today it does. My old hands pass you to small hands which trace your gilded title and read it aloud with a sense of awe. A friendly breeze removes the dust, and daintily cracks open your spine. The old mark is removed with swift precision, you're free. You have a new master now, who will read the pages I never bothered with. Who will tell friends about your wondrous secrets and wisdom. Who will allow you to fulfill the mandate of your creation given in a printing press so long ago.
I was a fickle friend, but the loss was mine. Your message I'll never know

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ross Park

In dire need of a poo receptical I pray for one that's just acceptable but what do I find in this east Idaho park? A doorless wonder I shan't even shart
Lined up in a row three stool stoops sit
But it appears they only bought half the kit
For dividers protect me from peeps from the side 
But the full Monty is shown from the front, I can't hide
Alas the poo time is appointed and it cannot wait
So I quietly squat doomed to my exhibitionist fate

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Civil War

He's my friend.
so was i...
red and gold vs red and blue.
the flying machine. The man with a tech heart becomes law and order. The one who shirked responsibility, accepts it's uncomfortable mantle
the personification of Liberty, our modern Columbia, born as propaganda, but he believed it, he became what the posters proclaimed. a Heart of honor. a heart of love. a heart of loyalty
Freedom and Order, in unending battle since mankind gathered into tribes and only intensified as society has become more intertwined.
Can security trump choice? If either wins, both lose. Elements of a fragile chemical reaction. If one over power the other, the reaction dies, and so does our humanity into totalitarianism, or anarchy.
Today, the tension begins again. we will marvel as the American Captain fights the Man of Iron

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

HomeBodies

There are some creatures in my room a whole society in fact. They live and love and grieve and die, the whole sentient experience in tact You cannot see them, of course they hide from a giant such as you, but if you listen closely in the dark of the night they'll speak and you'll hear not a few And so you see I cannot commit such an atrocity as destroying their homes, their whole way of life , for the comfort of merely me So that's why dear mother the piles must stay of clothes that have fallen to the floor. The toys and the books must be kept in their place haphazardly flung near the door. To the untrained eye it looks like only a mess, but if you look more closely you'll discover, my dear little friends who on this pig sty, rely, would you really kick out a young mother, or two lovers, please keep their cover.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

100 things i love about the prequels


  1.             Quigon Jinn
  2.          Obi Wan Kenobi
  3.          Yoda Vs Dooku
  4.         Yoda Vs Sidious
  5.           Duel of the Fates
  6.   .       Darth Maul
  7.           Mace Freaking Windu
  8.           Purple Light Saber
  9.           Hundreds of Light Sabers
  10. 10.   Geonosis
  11. 11.   Padme’s wardrobe
  12. 12.   Naboo Star Fighters
  13. 13.   Watoo
  14. 14.   Sleepy Jabba
  15. 15.   Pod Racing
  16. 16.   The jedi council
  17. 17.   Yaddle
  18. 18.   Qui gon’s funeral
  19. 19.   Who is the Phantom Menace
  20. 20.   Who is Sifo Diyas
  21. 21.   Count Dooku
  22. 22.   Force Lightning
  23. 23.   Battle in the senate
  24. 24.   “good relations have I with the wookies”
  25. 25.   Tarful
  26. 26.   Comander Gree
  27. 27.   Comander Cody
  28. 28.   Comander Rex
  29. 29.   “if a planet doesn’t appear in our archives it doesn’t exist”
  30. 30.   Jango Fett is a dad
  31. 31.   Clones
  32. 32.   Boba Fett
  33. 33.   Komino
  34. 34.   Kenobi Vs Jango
  35. 35.   Mace decapitates Jango
  36. 36.   That Stare
  37. 37.   Palpatine and Anakin at the opera
  38. 38.   “you’re under arrest My Lord”
  39. 39.   “shoot her or something”
  40. 40.   “but Lord Sidious promised us peace”
  41. 41.   Mustafar
  42. 42.   Battle of the Heros
  43. 43.   Battle over Lava
  44. 44.   “I will do what I must”
  45. 45.   “you were the chosen one”
  46. 46.   Palpatine’s manipulations on the Invisible Hand
  47. 47.   Anakin saving Obi Wan
  48. 48.   Jedi Star Fighters
  49. 49.   Sonic Charges
  50. 50.   Slave one chase
  51. 51.   Darth Vader breathing at the end of Phantom Meanace’s credits
  52. 52.   The queen’s decoys
  53. 53.   Order 66—so sad
  54. 54.   Ki Adi Mundi-the look on his face when he sees their betrayal
  55. 55.   General Grevious’ light saber collection
  56. 56.   General Grevious cough
  57. 57.   General Grevious 4 arms
  58. 58.   Obi Wan’s sweet ride
  59. 59.   The Utapau leader
  60. 60.   Darth Vader marching on the temple
  61. 61.   Jett Lucas handling some clones at the Jedi Temple
  62. 62.   Yoda impelling a clone trooper
  63. 63.   The twin sunsets at the end of Revenge of the Sith
  64. 64.   We finally see Alderaan
  65. 65.   Bail Organa’s sorrow at the creation of an army
  66. 66.   Bloated Cow riding
  67. 67.   Always a bigger fist
  68. 68.   Droidekas
  69. 69.   “they’re still coming through”
  70. 70.   Wat Tambor
  71. 71.   Death Star Plans
  72. 72.   Young Tarkin
  73. 73.   Palpatine’s Transformation
  74. 74.   Killing the battle droids
  75. 75.   Double Bladed Light Saber
  76. 76.   Curved light saber
  77. 77.   Dooku was an apprentice
  78. 78.   Anakins limb loss
  79. 79.   Bionic hand at wedding
  80. 80.   “have the protocol droids memory wiped”
  81. 81.   We find out who “the maker” is
  82. 82.   Hundreds of jedi in battle
  83. 83.   “around the survivors a perimeter create”
  84. 84.   Dooku and Sidious on Coruscant
  85. 85.   Coruscant
  86. 86.   “you wanna buy some death sticks”
  87. 87.   “you want to go home and rethink your life”
  88. 88.   R2 making the droids burn
  89. 89.   Grevious body guard
  90. 90.   The beauty of Naboo
  91. 91.   The opening scene of Atack of the Clones
  92. 92.   “and now we will discuss a new treaty”
  93. 93.   Yoda
  94. 94.   Blockade Runner
  95. 95.   James earl Jones asking about Padme
  96. 96.   The Emperors sadistic joy at Anakin’s fall
  97. 97.   NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
  98. 98.   The twins
  99. 99.   Owen and Beru
  100.        Fade to credits, end theme

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Lies

The warm comfortable lie Such is the lie that forgives our base actions Such is the lie that feigns comfort and help to the weak and weary, but, offers no solution Such is the lie that blocks us from our future Such is the lie that keeps us in our past This lie takes the wounded and comforts them in place, while they still lie wounded on the battlefield, with the enemy advancing The cold hard damning lie It hates, it destroys from within. It stops progression by fear. It tells us we have no potential. It tells us friends are not real. It tells us that we are second class. It tells us to stay in one place out of fear


The warm lie gives way to the cold lie as we try to leave the field. No longer able to keep us in unknown danger with sweet nothings whispered in our ear, the beautiful nurse transforms into a wraith, a banshee, who will tear our psyche apart if we will not stay with her. Her lies keep her there, she cannot follow, but can only call out. Can only scream. Can only use words to keep us with her. For all her thrashing she is as powerless as we make her, or as strong

Friday, December 18, 2015

A few thoughts on the new star wars movie



That title should be enough for you to not read this if you don’t want spoilers.  The person who doesn’t want spoilers has the responsibility to not click or read stuff.  Especially after the movie has come out.


It was a good movie.  A good adventure.   But I do feel a bit melancholy.    And I don’t think it’s really the movie or JJ Abram’s fault.   I’m just sad George Lucas wasn’t a part of it.  I’m sad they didn’t use his outline.   I’m sad for the end of an era.  The end of the man who created this universe being involved in it.

I’m well aware of people’s feelings about George.   But I love his work.  I feel like he’s the Storyteller.   Every story, I have enjoyed has been held up against star wars.   When I bought a TV, I thought, “how will star wars look on this”   Star Wars is my escape,  my fictional universe.  There are other galaxies, worlds, and times I enjoy.  Even enjoy a lot.  But Star Wars, the Jedi, The Force,   Death Stars, princesses, holograms and Light Sabers.  Droids, wookies, youth, Sith Lords, younglings, Cloud City, Ewoks, Vile Gangsters, Star destroyers, rebel ships, Mustafar—oh my Mustafar, pod racing, double bladed light sabers, Tattooed sith, Tattooine, Owen and Beru, Luke, Obi wan Kenobi, The galactic Senate, Jar Jar, beast, Dooku, political intrigue, trade federation, destiny, midicholorians, speeders, Bail Organa, the epic sound track, the opening crawl, these are what make up my favorite universe to visit.

And the creator of the universe was George.   He had quirks, which I love.  I loved that so much of him was in the movies.  He did things his own way.  Told the stories he wanted. And they made a butt load of money.  All of them.   And so I’m a little sad I guess.   The universe Is gone from him.  I don’t begrudge him at all for selling it.    But I miss him.  I miss his hand in this universe. 

He left us with a great universe to play in.   And he always let others play in it.  The expanded universe.  The video games, and even some less than stellar entries like the holiday special.  

But when a creator leaves a universe, those who pick up are left with the task to either repeat what the creator did, then people will say they did it just like the creator did, or grow it,  Introduce new ideas.  And those ideas may be amazing, awesome, and fun.  But they are not a natural outgrowth.  The spark of creation, that existed in the creators mind is gone.  They are others ideas.  An attempt to guess where the genius of creation should go.   Or in this case a conscious choice to go  in a different path.

Episode VII was great.  It’s a great movie.  Holy cow.  How cool is Kylo Ren.   He can stop a blaster bolt with his hand.   How fun was it to see Han, Chewy, Leah.   And some pretty sweet scenery.  The star destroyer wreck, the falcon (did you notice it had a different satellite dish on it—nice attention to detail seeing how it lost the original in the second Death Star).   That saber was awesome.   A Storm Trooper who got a soul.   A droid on a mission.   And a search for Luke Skywalker. 

The death of Han Solo (if I just ruined the movie for you, it’s your own fault)  Was powerful.  Family has always been such an important part of Star Wars.  Especially parentage.  When Solo went out on that bridge after his son, Kylo Ren (yep another spoiler, why are you still reading) I feel like he knew he was probably going to his death.  He knew how evil Ben had become.  But he had to try.  I think primarily for Leah.  She asked him to bring their son back.  He had to try.   I think for Ben.  There are some things you do, because you love someone.  You have to try-disregarding your own safety.

In that way, Han Solo, was like my favorite character, Obi Wan Kenobi, who went to Mustafar after Anakin.  They both stepped out of their own safety, to do what was right.  That is what a Hero is.  Han Solo may have started a smuggler.   But he was a man who did what was right.  And he died a hero.

I mourn for Leah, who lost a lover, at the hands of their son. 

I mourn for Ben Solo.   How can someone go so far into the darkside?  And how can he have any hope for peace in life?  He killed his father.  He squelched the light in him (as the light from the sun disappeared) and His Journey to the darkside is now complete. 

I’m pretty dang excited to see where this goes.   I’m betting heavily on Rey being the Daughter of Luke.   That makes her and Kylo Ren cousins.   The Son of Leah and the Daughter of Luke, will do battle again.  

How precious was it to see Luke.  A wizened old Jedi master.  The Jedi master.   I had hoped this new movie would have scores of Jedi.   They are my favorite part of Star Wars.  That’s probably why I loved the prequels so much.   But seeing Luke--the last hope for the galaxy—on that rocky island, was a perfect end for the movie.


So here we go again. A new trilogy has started.   It looks pretty sweet.   I will pour out a glass of blue milk and burn an action figure in memory of George Lucas.   Thank you for your great universe. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Potatoes

Ethel Burbank lived for 94 long years, however she only had Christmas, in 93 of them.

It was December 14th, 2015.   An angelic little girl came to visit Ethel.  I assume she was her granddaughter, I had only worked at the Senior Center for a few weeks.  Her small perfect hands grasped Ethel’s gnarled stiff hands with arthritic bulges. 

“I brought you a Christmas present.  Here open it.” 

Ethel didn’t seem to notice. 

“Please Grandma.”  The girl’s father whispered something to her.  And she gave up.   “I love you so much.” And with that the little angel gave the most sincere hug, and kiss on the cheek I think I’ve ever seen.

One of the most painful parts of Alzheimer's is the way people who suffer from it sometimes react.  They don’t understand what’s’ going on.  It’s hard on adults, but even harder on children. 

“Get off me you little brat!” Ethel barked, “get out of here.”

Time paused at the angel’s face went from love to confusion, to sadness, to a full bawling.  Her father scooped her up and carried her from the room.  The daggers of the shattered mind, had flown once more.

I didn’t see them again, for the rest of Ethel’s life.  

The holidays kept on coming.  The snow fell.  Church groups came and sang.  Families bustled in and out.   Ethel had a few other guest, but she was even less responsive than normal.

About a week later, I was working the graveyard shift.  The lights were dim.  I was reading some blog.  And Ethel came shuffling down the hall. Cradled in her armss were TV remotes, pictures from our bulletin board of volunteers, and a banana.  Sometimes a patient will revert to hoarding.  A little flustered at having my quiet night shift interrupted, I took the items away and took Ethel back to her room.

Two hours later, Ethel was  going through the pantry.   Once again back down the hall with her.   She kept muttering “Christmas, it’s Christmastime.  Don’t you like the snow?  Do you think Anna will come see me.  She has such pretty eyes”

The next day Ethel was all about presents.  “Have you seen my presents? Can we go to Macy’s?  I must buy something for Anna.  Where is Mark?  He would take me.  You’re useless.  All you do is sit around here.”

Ethel coded that night.   She was gone.  I felt bad for not taking her shopping, not that it’s something we do, but still-- sometimes you just want to humor an old person.

As we cleaned up Ethel’s room, and organized the few things she still owned, I found some lumps under her mattress.  Solid, misshapen things, like her hands I thought, and immediately felt bad.  Pulling back the mattress there were a dozen or so potatoes.   Taped to each potato was a photo that I recognized from our volunteer or staff boards. Each photo had been scrawled upon.  Most were illegible, but some said “Merry” others  looked like “Christmas”  and on a photo of the little angel girl who had come to visit her before was written “love you.”

I wasn’t sure what to do with the Christmas Potatoes as we called them.   In the end we decided to give them to the people in the picture.  Some people were confused, but some had bright eyes as they received Ethel’s last Christmas gift.

I tracked down the angle girl, who I noticed had the most beautiful blue eyes.  Her name was Sarah.  Her father and her had adopted Ethel as grandma after their own had passed away.

I explained that we had found the potatoes and I knew it wasn’t a normal present—Sarah cut me off.

“Oh it’s the most perfect present ever.   Ethel was so nice and beautiful.  And sometimes mean…   But that’s ok.  She’s with God now and He loves her, and she didn’t know what she was doing”

“How do you know that”

“She saw me last night, and her hands were soft, and she gave me a hug.  And told me”


I took my own potato out of the my car, and kept it near my desk.  A gift is more than the present itself.  A gift is a vessel of good intent”

Monday, November 23, 2015

So much!

There is a pile of mashed potatoes calling you.  Mashed perfectly, with just the right amount of butter, salt, pepper, and gravy.  There is cobbed corn waiting to be boiled, just for you.   A turkey was raised from his egg, fed, housed, and killed, just for this meal.  He gave his life for your belly.  Someone woke up in the early hours of the morning, to get some rolls raising.   Pie.   There is Pie, a piece of pumpkin pie with your name on it,  also banana cream, waiting to fill the void we affectionately call, the pie hole.  So many pies, so little time.   Sides of green beans, beats, salads, some new dish, some ancient family dish, all waiting to be set on a massive table.   Eating will commence at 1 pm, and will continue for hours, then a rest, then some pie, then some left overs.

This is the holiday of eating.  


But really the food isn’t what makes it.  Imagine a feast such as this, in a lone room.  Eaten in solitude.  A place setting for one.    No, this holiday isn’t all about the food.  There is one final ingredient.   The people.  Family, friends, new or old.   A feast must have people to share in the abundance.   Find your people.  Whoever they are this week, and as you shorten your lifespans together, be thankful for the abundant life, most certainly evidenced by the mounds of starches, carbohydrates and proteins, but more importantly evidence by those who take devour the turkey, potatoes, yams, and stuffing alongside you.   That is where our abundance is most evident.     

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Late for Dinner

Five miles in on a dusty dirt road, a young man walked alone.   It seemed a good thing to help the chap, so we pulled of and offered a phone,

Or ride, or food whatever the case we’d get him out of this dark night.   His smile had a catch, a pasted on look, his eyes never blinking or shuttered

“I’m seeking my friends out here in the dark” his voice was as smooth as a feline.   “will you give me a ride, up the road to my truck.  The engine last I heard did sputter”

We obliged, tis the way you treat strangers or kin who come needing your help in the country.   Man’s got a duty to help, another in need, in the dark wide expanse of Elberta.

Up the Slant road we drove, then I noticed the cold metal of a Mossberg pump action.   My foot pushed on the gas, the tires spun out real fast,  trying to gain enough traction.

“So what brings you here, out in the deep dark this night, your friends and you, what was your doing”.  My heart beat did race, but was beaten, and lapped, by the sprinting thoughts of my spooked mind contraption.

His lips barely moved, his words slithered out, “we’re hunting for sport and for game.  If we find ourselves enough we’ll be fed here for days.  Won’t need help from another faction”

We came round the bend, a red pickup sat there, I said “ I reckon this is the last I’ll be seein’ ya.” 

His famished eyes looked my portly body up, and down, then up again.  His finger left it’s rest on the trigger


“You’re a lucky man” he said.  I was still full of dread, “my people we don’t really like gristle.” 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Weekend Escape

Come friend. Follow me down the interstate as it switches from eight lanes to four; then onto the highway where goes from 4 to 2. As the lanes melt away feel your shoulders relax, your brow lighten. Come up the mountain side as you lose lane markings and pavement, see the gravel. then the dirt. Trade your lawnmower for four wheeler, Your shaving blade for a pocket knife. Billboards have been replaced with Deer crossing signs.
It is good here. Soon enough you'll be back in the valley. Soon enough you feet will miss the living sod. Soon enough your log by the fireside will  be an ergonomically correct office chair. Soon enough instead of counting stars you'll be counting calories
Free your soul in the land made by Providence for soon enough you will battle again in the jungle of Man.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Grandeur-

He felt himself a man, but merely a boy, if that.  
He strutted and preened on the open flat.  
The bear approached. He thought, i'm bigger than him,
the bear thought but little and made him his din

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Passing Lane

Passing Gas in the elevator when you're alone 
seems like such a good idea at the time.

The elevator tempts you with it's feeling of seclusion. It's like a mobile bathroom stall just for your breaking wind pleasure.

but then, like the lucifer and all cruel mistrisses, she betrays you. She opens the door, and there is your director, who walks in and becomes intimately aware of the product of your inner workings.


you have no recourse, you may attempt to slide into obscurity, but he knows. and he will never forget

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Woman of Stone



Who do you mourn, oh woman of stone; what pain, oh what sorrow, do you cry for?
Why do you mourn, oh woman forlorn; whose hand made your tears fall so lonely?
Who do you watch or'e full day and all night; whose corpse does your silence still call to?
When will you leave; from whence your reprieve? Your sorrow does serve you no more. 
But stay you will, cold quiet and still. Your wound is still open and dripping.
The pain stays with you. The sting becomes you and your choice to remain is eternal. 
The life that was lost should have been but one cost, but with you old man death got a couple.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Last day at the Farm.



It was good to be there.  The Farm.  One last time, with ma and pa and Zac.   Walking through the field, the tall grasses, the bushes, trees, riverbed of rock and sad.

Here, the cathedral.   Where movies were watched late at night powered by an old pick up truck.   

Here the field, barren as it should be in the dead of winter.   Yellow stubble is all that's there now.   Nowhere to be seen are the pipes thirty on each side of the riser, that we moved so many days, so many times,  in wheat, alfalfa, and some new fangled canola seed.   The vast expanse of the field cannot hold the memories and feelings of just one Packer, let alone an entire family.

Grandpa bought the farm to teach his kids to work.  His grand kids worked there, and played there.  Disc golf, camp outs.  My only memories of tin foil dinners are from the farm.  My first memories of dutch oven cooking, and at the old camp ground, that burned with the great fire, i learned that if you put water in a paper cup and put it in the fire, the cup won't burn.   Opposition in all things?  maybe.  Maybe just a cool science trick.  

The old campsite.  The old out houses.  The old trailer, with the flattened corpse of a porcupine.   just below the dike.   Which kept the flood waters from the old houses. 

Sucker fish in the ditches.

A pond.  And an old cabin.

Half of the farm was fun, exploration.  The other half was some errand for mother.   Usually getting rocks.   And on this day, we had one last task.  to haul wood from the old cabin, which Grandma Ruth said held the first white man born in Bingham county.   So we haul wood.   Dad says its enough, Mom says we need more.   We get more.  

My blue shirt has cockaburrs all over it.   this time i don't remove them.  I still haven't.   they are my last connection to the farm.  No annoyance, their hooks keep them in that shirt through washes.  Their hooks are like the hooks of memory.  The hooks this place has in my soul.  

And so as an accord has been reached between the parentals, and the wood we have is all we get, I snap a picture of dad looking across that barren field the stubble hiding the potential of the coming crop.  this land has been less than half my life.  It has been all of his.   

I let the hooks in my soul tare a little piece out.  And i leave some of my soul here, in this land, located between Thomas Lane and the Mighty Snake River, just down stream of Wadsworth island. 

Part of my soul will always be here.  If i ever drive past the curve in the road, where the Snake is closest.  I will feel it.  I will remember this space, where the old cabin's wood was stacked, where Grandma and grandpa made their own cabin, before the fire, and where i entered a car to leave this place. 


Good bye cotton woods.   Good bye river bottoms. Good bye Farm.    


Friday, October 31, 2014

True Yuletide Story

This is a Christmastime story, that for years i thought was cute. But in retrospect must have been scary for my parents.

One year when i was 3 or 4 my brother and i shared a bunk bed in a small house in western Wyoming. It was Christmas eve and we had already read Luke 2, and looked at the red light in the sky (from a radio tower) and confirmed Rudolph and Santa were on the way.

As visions of transformers and Legos and star wars toys danced in our head, you can't expect young boys to go immediately to bed. But i knew if Santa caught me awake, he wouldn't leave any presents, so when later that night i heard noises in the house, I peaked through the hole in my foot board to see what it was. To my young mind I saw Santa turn the corner of the hall with a wooden lantern and glance toward my room. Then leave. I stayed silent and tried to sleep, amazed that i had seen Santa.

Of course this all comes from the memories of two young boys. According to my mom we shared the exact same story, down to the lantern and other details. Mom treated it like a special event and always reminded us of the time we saw Santa, would even have us tell our other siblings when they thought they knew the truth about St. Nick. I have always wondered what happened. Was it my dad dressed up as Santa, did two boys just make it up with their late night talking. With the memories so distant, who knows what happened.

Years later when i was an adult, i asked my mom to tell me more. Finally she dropped the facade of it actually being the jolly old elf.

Even though we were safe, in a new house now, I saw a cloud come over her face as she recounted, how it had been a happy Christmas, with my parents spending too much money, on their children. Her two sons were playing with their new lego set, when we mentioned we had seen Santa. She thought it was just a funny thing at first, but when we described him, he didn't sound like Santa at all.

Separately we both described a man wearing ewok clothes, with a lantern. He wasn't fat, but was actually skinny. Why would we boys think this was Santa, except for the fact that it was Christmas Eve. My mom said she had been a little concerned, but when my dad found that he had left the back door unlocked, and footsteps leading to and from it. They both got pretty scared.

Mom said she didn't know what the guy was looking for. Nothing was taken or disturbed, but someone was in our house that night.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy Bday



A D20 is a  20 sided dice.   The numbers are what you roll on it.
I wrote this for a friends bday.  and thought it turned out well.  

Roll a D20

IF you roll a 20  Happy birthday,  the mountains shout and beautiful women flock to your house hourly bringing figs and wines and cute edible puppies.   You parents also just bought you an island, which, has a fully functioning armory and missile battery that can reach 4 of the seven continents.  

If you roll a 15-19   A talking horse, carries you away on a magical carpet ride.  You are treated to the sights of Indiana, you even have a variety of corn named after you.   Your siblings all become your slaves and you rename them after various scatological terms.  

If you roll a 11-14  fairly normal day, high lights include cake, ice cream, you get more facebook comments than ever, and a slightly better present than you were hoping for

If you roll a 10  cake, ice cream underwear, socks, and breakfast in bed.  

If you roll a 6-9  the cake made you sick.  Hence you spend the evening on the toilet.  Which coincidently has fungus on it.   You get many fine books and games… that you already have.  Also for some reason all the clothes you get are size xxl.  Someone writes a long facebook birthday message with very poor grammer and spelling, as if ! punctuation is an art^^form and not a science()

If you roll a 2-5 finally the recessive gene your parents both carry becomes manifest. .. unfortunately all it does is cause your appendages to fall off.  But at least torso boy is an attractive stage name for the circus.  You are strapped to the underbelly of a llama for transport.  While traveling you are kidnapped by a strange cult in the mountains who see you as the long promised liberator.  But when you fail to liberate they force feed you wheat and cinnamon until your gizzard is full.  Then they roll your limbless body down a stony hill into a fire pit.  As you begin to burn your cell phone falls out of your pocket and you see a text message from your mom “hey forgot it’s your birthday, is it ok if we have Spaghetti-o’s tonight?”

If you roll a 1  the planets aligned and you stumble into a time warp.  You find yourself in a small farming town a cool breeze blows.  The local theater is playing 3 men and a baby.   You walk down the street and notice a couple walking behind you.   The woman suddenly seems much more interested in you than her companion.     And starts following you.   She is oddly familiar.   She lays on the flirting quite heavily, you have icecream, and find yourself dancing to (I had) The time of my life, which everyone seems to know.  Half way through the dance, you feel your body start to lose feeling.   You look and appear to be fading out of reality.  The pretty lady withdraws in horror, everything is getting more and more blurry.  It’s as if your existence is being stripped away.  You fall to the floor.   As the dance floor clears you see a calendar on the Wall.  December 1st, 1987.   One of the pretty ladies friends is comforting her, and you realize you never asked her name.  As you slip away from existence, you hear her friend say it.  “There there Leah.  It’ll be ok”