Thursday, October 25, 2012

Modern Traveler Blues                                                         

Sitting in the airport, the view just can't be beat.
Watching people strip down to the waist, from my gate F seat.

Oh my here comes a Grandma, they're going to touch her where?
Gee Granny is starting to smile, I guess she does not care.

Now here come two businessmen, they look a little bit mad.
TSA took away their laptops, after wiping them with a pad.

Good news! TSA is handing them back, but they sure did annoy.
How dare they ever come between, a techie and his toy.

Those two guys had better lighten up, they really have the blues.
The one guy is still so friggin’ mad, he just forgot his shoes!

Still sitting in the airport, still waiting for our plane.
I think we are in Philly, they’re all starting to look the same.

We’re on our way to Knoxville, then driving to the sticks,
We're going to change our lifestyle, just call us two old hicks.

There’s limited Internet access, and no cell towers do you see.
It's just like here in terminal F
 , with my I-pad on my knee.

I cannot get to Facebook, no updates from CNN
There is no internet at all, do you remember when? 

They're making an announcement. What the heck did she just say?
Oh wonderful, wouldn't you know it, another 2 hour delay.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ENCINITAS 81                                                                                                                      

No you Road Atlas addict.
I’m not referring to a highway.
It’s a special place at a special time.
Back in the bye-gone past called yesterday.

A Spanish mission on a hill.
Split into apartments I think three or four.
With its terracotta roof and bleached white walls,
And a huge, arched, heavy wooden door.

One was my Brother-in-laws apartment.
He shared this Alamo with three ladies I recall.
He swears there was no funny business,
Yeah right, I’m sure he had a ball.

We slept on a waterbed there for the first time.
Just once, my back was killing me in the morning.
“I told you things were different out here.”
I should have heeded my wife’s warning.

Walking down the hill towards the beach
Past the Classic Movie Theater, past the Jesus Pizza place.
They would make any kind of pie you wanted,
but be sure to give thanks … and say grace.

We walked down the narrow path
Along a cliff face to the stony beach.
There were people 60 and 70 years old
Chasing Frisbees that were tossed out of reach.

Listening to Beach Boys music.  Wearing wet suits
and doing tumble salts into the waves.
Young and old were intent on having a ball
Until the day they awoke in their graves.

On the last night we went to a 5 star restaurant
in the place called Cardiff by the sea.
I thought I looked fine in my three-piece suit,
but everyone just stared at me. 

Our Maitre-de in his flip-flops,
our waitress in her terrycloth shorts.
On the beach the guests were playing “Over the line.”
It was a game like “beach softball” of sorts.

We toasted our host and thanked him
For his hospitality by the sea.
But we yearned to get back to old New York.
            And our life of normalcy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Who cut Jack O’Lantern?
Oh he was a plump one
Jack O’Lantern my dear old friend.
I knew him back when we were seeds
Now it’s left to me to speak of his end.

We begged farmer Jones, as we grew in the field
Please keep turning us as we grow fat.
Farmer Jones made us all a nice bed of hay
He didn’t want our side to go flat.

Oh no! Jack, they are coming to pick you.
Quick, hide over there in a rut.
Jack cover yourself with leaves and mud
Or you will wind up getting your stem cut!

Dozens of pickers wearing straw hats
Walking behind wagons these pickers came on.
I looked back towards Jack to make sure he’s OK
To my horror I discovered he was gone.

Who cut Jack O’Lantern?
I’m afraid we may never know.
But I saw him last night on farmer Jones’ porch.
His face was all-aglow. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Installment 3 of, A Walk in the Park                                                   

“Good morning Ranger.”

I looked up from the pile of paperwork on the desk that Mike had left for me to sort through and file away.  I saw four men in suits.  Men who just did not belong anywhere in these parts.

“May I help you gentlemen?”

“I’m agent Dawson, this is Agent Krug, FBI.”

“I’m Agent Wanser, this is Agent Zykerjoksi, from the State Bureau of Investigation… Just call him Agent Z, that’s what we all do.”

Dawson was obviously in charge of this fashion conscious gathering of law enforcement.  My phone rang, Dawson looked at his watch and said, “That would be under Secretary of Interior Templeton.” 

I answered it.

“Hello. … Yes Ma’am. … Yes Ma’am.  They are in my office right now.  Yes Ma’am, certainly Ma’am. … Ya’ll have a good day too.”

“Well now, it seems my name is known in Washington D.C.  I hope in a good way.  So, once again, how may I help you gentlemen?”

“You will be returning with us to the scene of the crime.”

Any further conversation was drowned out by the sound of at least 4 choppers passing overhead.  The last one circled and landed on the pad usually occupied by my chopper.

The 5 of us walked out back towards the landing pad.

“You know if my bird was back from repairs I’d fly us all in there myself?”

“Sit in the back with us.”  Dawson was as dry as a mouth full of cinnamon.  If he ever cracked a smile it would crack his face. Agent Z gave me a look and a raised eyebrow that said without spoken words … Yep, Dawson’s a dick.

We got to Hadley Ridge and set the chopper down along side of the three that had already landed.  FBI Agent Krug asked the questions while the dozens of other business suit clad underlings scrambled about their choppers pulling out and assembling all kinds of gizmos under the direction of Agent Dawson.

Krug had me recount every detail of what happened that day; every shot, every movement.  He could have read all that in the official report, but he was asking again.  It was soon apparent that they were waiting for me to screw up, to say something that didn’t match.  We were in for a long day.  I had told the truth then, and I was telling the truth now.  I wasn’t about to screw up, and the more they leaned on me trying to make me sweat, the cooler and more collected I got.  Krug and Dawson took turns, compared notes, and tried to trip me up again.  I had been through all this before with the local authorities and an internal investigation by the Forest Service.  Bureaucrats, wasting taxpayer money so they can buy their expensive suits.

When the Feds were finished, State Agents Wanser and Z came over.  Wanser spoke, Z just smiled.

“How you holding up Jim?”  Wow, first suit to call me Jim.

“I’m just fine.  I have a pile of paperwork back in HQ that isn’t getting any smaller.”

“You can head back with us.  We just need the FBI to concur.”

“So what’s going on here?”

“That’s Wanser’s call.  Wish I could tell ya, but it’s up to Wanser.” 

In other words I wasn’t about to be told a thing.


I got back to my office just in time to lock up, and head over to my mom’s place to see if she had gotten her medicine in the mail yet.

Mom was real happy to see me.  She had a hot meal on the table, and when I had finished eating she casually mentioned that a picture upstairs had fallen off the wall and needed re-hanging.  When I got to the top of the stairs my phone started to beep telling me that I had entered an area of good reception and had just received several e-mails. 

Three of them were from Tina.  The first two were the kind I liked to get, real nice, sexy, playful e-mails.  They made my mouth water in anticipation of the third e-mail.  It had attachments.  Oh Baby, are you sexting me or what?

The first picture was a little odd.  It was of a sign behind a bar. “Happy Hour 5 till 7.  Free round of shooters with every pitcher of beer.” 

The second picture was of a Bar Keep shaking a shaker full of shooters over his head.  Well now I wondered, is she an Alabama Slammer drinking girl or what? 

The third and final attachment was strangest of all.  In that picture Tina had a dead serious look in her eye, and with both index fingers, she was pointing at two shooters on the bar.

A light bulb went on over my head, figuratively and literally.

“Son, I don’t want you to be poking around up there in the dark.  Be careful.”

“Oh I’m going to be careful Mom, real careful.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Death of Summer                                                                                                                          

Dark clouds spread across the morning sky as if the great author of the world has dropped his ink well onto the atmosphere below.

There is a chill in the air. The South wind with it’s equatorial warmth is gone, and the North wind sails over great fields of ice, and it permeates every bone in my body.

I descend from my bedroom.  The steps of the staircase creak with friction, wood on wood, or are those the creaks of my joints, bone on bone?

I sit on my assigned half of the loveseat in the living room.  It no longer surrounds me with the warmth of a friend, but with the unfamiliar cold of a stranger. 

I cuddle under a colorful crocheted throw, and click on the TV remote.  A news anchor and his foil banter endlessly about last night’s sadness, as the weatherman starts to lie.

Sadder, and darker still is my uncertainty about what the season of sleep will bring.  The first rumble of the oil fueled heating system plays bass to the funeral dirge of the season. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Walk in the Park, Chapter 2

This is a continuation of “The Original 6 Page Work Called A Walk in the Park,"  Posted on this Blog on  9/24/12   Be sure to read that one first……….

I watched Special Agent Mills as she walked from the edge of my bed to the kitchen wearing nothing but my dress shirt.  She still had a slight limp, and she should be using her crutches, but after last night I might be the one who needs crutches this morning.  You never would have known that she had been shot in the hip less than two months ago.

She started opening cupboard doors looking for the coffee.

“It’s in the middle one, on the right-hand side.”

“Got it.”

It was instant, but I live alone.  I go to the local coffee shop on the corner if I want something special.

I was mesmerized by her figure as she bent over and searched the contents of my refrigerator for something eatable.

“Not much of a foodie are you Jim?”

“I’m only here one week out of any given month Tina.  You should see my spread up on the mountain, beats the pants off of this apartment hands down.”

Tina returned to the bedroom, and sat on her knees at the end of my bed.  “Now if you have no ham and eggs, what are we gonna do all morning?”  She leaned forward, straddled my legs, and started to crawl up the bed.

 I love the mountains.  I’ve always been a mountain man.  With the top half of my dress shirt hanging open, I had a perfect view of Tina’s mountains.  When she was face to face with me she kissed me.

“That place of yours in the park belongs to the Federal Government, Ranger Jim.” 

With that she tossed off the bed sheet and slowly settled herself down on top of me.  Yippie-ki-yay, the cowgirl rides again.


“Call me?”

“Hell yes darlin’. My momma didn’t raise no fool.”

We smiled, we laughed, we kissed, and we said good-bye.  I watched her 2-door sedan pull out of town headed north.  I straddled the gas tank of my motorcycle and kicked it over, then I left a trail of dust heading west to the Ranger station.

On that long lonely ride I had plenty to think about.  I was close to 10 years older than her.  She was smart.  She was pretty, and she was in my head after just one night.  I started an in depth discussion with myself as to when would be the best time to call her.  Tonight? No way, too soon.  Tomorrow? Maybe, that would be cool, yet caring.

As I turned up the road to the National Park Welcome Center my cell phone started to vibrate.  I nervously pulled over and answered it on the first ring.


“Yo Jim-bo this is Mike.”  My disappointment at hearing it was Mike, my Supervisor, and not Tina was immediate and deep.

“What’s up Mike?”

“Jim-bo I got a call.  They want me down in Tahoe to supervise a forest fire fuel reduction effort.  I only expect to be gone for two weeks.  If you haven’t guessed son, you will be acting Supervisor while I’m gone.  I left a rotation schedule for the Fire Watchtower assignments on my desk.  Anybody gives you any crap about an assignment, kick ass and take names.”

“Two weeks Mike?”

“More than likely son.  I am sure you can handle it, any problems radio dispatch should be able to get me.”

“OK Mike.  Just make sure you run the other way when those lumberjacks yell TIMBER!”

“Will do Jim-bo, will do.  Bye.”

“Bye Mike.” Crap.  Two weeks of playing boss.  Two weeks of not daring to take any time off.  Two weeks of not being able to see Tina.


Tina had a long drive back to her place.  Her place?  Not really.  She had been living with John for three years, one happy, one sad, and one miserable as all Hell.  In the past year John had turned into a controlling and manipulative ogre. She didn't want to move back home, but that would be the only option available in her immediate future. 

One night with Jim had been the catalyst to her courage.  The final straw, the missing piece to the puzzle, now found, the picture of what she had to do was complete.  Even if it was not Jim tomorrow, it was Jim last night, and that was good enough. She was finally certain that there would be life after John, maybe even love. She just hoped that John would not be there when she got back.

It wouldn't be like she would just show up on her mother’s doorstep.  They had been talking regularly for the past year, ever since Tina’s father had passed away.  Her mother was lonely, and would welcome her back, or so Tina reasoned.

Tina filled the back seat of her car with her clothes, and took those things she had brought into the relationship back out with her.  She took her CDs, and left his, and so on through the apartment, except for the TV remote.  The big-screen TV was Johns, but she took the remote control because she knew that would piss John off the most.

Tina drove up to her mother’s house and parked by the white picket fence.  Her mother was outside picking weeds in the flower garden.  Tears started to drip down Tina’s cheek as she opened the gate and slowly walked up the path to her mother.  Tina’s mom looked at her daughter’s face, and the pile of clothing in the back seat of the car.  She knew.  She opened her arms and embraced her daughter.  They walked quietly inside and had a cup of tea and a good cry.  Tina’s room was waiting for her, just the way she left it 3 years ago.

Mom’s house did not have internet service.  Personal phone calls and internet usage were taboo at work, and Jim spent most of his time in a dead zone.  Tina started stopping by the internet-cafĂ© after work and wrote long love letter E-mails to Jim, and he reciprocated in kind whenever he could.  Tina was thrilled that this handsome hunk had such a romantic spirit. 

There was one problem they were not aware of.  Tina had no idea that John had hacked her e-mail logon and password years before.  John was not impressed with Jim’s romantic ways, or his woman’s desires to be with this other man.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Presented to honor those who served.

Those Who Served Their Country

 By D. E. Allen

We were those who went while others stayed behind.  They may have been afraid, in truth, so were we, but we went where others dared not go, and did what others … failed to do. We asked nothing from those who gave nothing of themselves, perhaps a bit of respect or common courtesy be shown, to those who served their country.

I have seen the look of terror on the faces of my comrades; I am sure that I have worn terror on my own face as well.  I have been so afraid that my body shivered with cold, in the 100 degree heat.  I have been so relieved in victory that I laughed until I cried; while sitting in the midst of the battlefields post apocalyptic veil of smoke and blanket of blood. Such is often the communion cup that is passed around, to those who served their country.

When I add up all the emotions and memories together, and look back so many years ago, I recall times that many would say are better to be left undisturbed; but there is a risk in letting these memories rest in convenient silence.  Relating the lessons learned to future generations is the awesome responsibility of, those who served their country.

We must remember the tears, the sacrifice, and the pain, least the fools be allowed to preach that war is somehow glorious, and that freedom is somehow free.  What have I gained over those who did not go?  Today and always, I am proud to say, I am one of those who served their country.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ignatian Inspiration                                                                   
Dear St. Ignatius
Teach us the way of patience.
Let us know your faith.

Spanish Knight from Basque
Champion of Pamplona
His Son brought you peace.

Praying in a cave.
Seeing the light in darkness
Jesuits emerge.

Daily Examen
A guidepost along my way.
Look toward tomorrow.

Teach us to pray twice.
Once to see what lies ahead.
Once in reflection.

Dear St. Ignatius
Teach us the way of patience.
Let us know your faith.