Recently I set a goal of learning how to write an essay.

A 5 paragraph essay with an Introduction, a topic sentence and a thesis.  Five paragraphs with 3 for the body and a 5th for the conclusion.

I collect video with a google search, and written instructions on how to write an essay.  A recipe for the craft of essay writing.  The available information about the 4 types of essays, identifying a topic, the thesis statement, the introduction, the outline, the body, and the conclusion is unrelenting.  One difficulty has been the blur between an essay and a research paper.  Some of the essays on how to write an essay seem to blend the two.  So my goal of writing is leading me to a lot of reading.

I purchase 2 books located in the Essay classification at Barnes and Nobles.  I’m not certain the books qualify as essay instruction.  I peruse the section of books for a collection of essays that I can use as a guide.  Something to show me what a good thesis statement is.  Something to give me an idea of the form for a an essay.  I’m not familiar with either of the authors or the books.  I scanned the book stack, looked at the covers and picked 2 books.

The first is The Trip to Echo Spring on Writers and Drinking by Olivia Lang and the second is metaphor by Denis Donoghue.  I read the opening page from the first book which begins with the sentence “Here’s a thing” (1).  I always heard the phrase to be here’s the thing or so, here’s the thing.  Here’s a thing bothered me because I never heard anyone say “here’s a thing.”  Bothered me so much I chose as my domain when I created my WordPress account.

My interest include reading, photography, videography, drone flying, computers, programming, classical music, and more.  Seems I should be able to identify a topic and write 5 paragraphs a week with about 500 words?  So far with this post, I have 330 words.

I’m also interested in politics, but I hope not to involve my “essay” with political partisanship.  But, I do hope to be able to create perhaps metaphorical comments when the need might arise.

I had a thought and from the time I had the thought and logged into my account, I lost the thought….

… but I think the thought had something to do with my post over the week end coming up…  December 5 – 7…. I need a topic, a thesis and 500 words.

I’m adding several photographs

The first is a tree in my side yard.  I’ve lived in my house for 25 years and the tree is a magnificent Old Oak tree…. the foreground tree is in my yard and the background tree is in a neighbor’s yard……


The second is a tree that is no longer that I encountered on my daily walk… the tree was several years ago removed… and this picture may be all that remains…


and the final image is an electric/telephone across the street from me…. I’ve been in my house for 25 years and the pole was part of my daily routine as I backed out of my drive way…. and one day I take note of the pole and snap this picture….I”ve looked up at this pole for many years and one day happened to see differently…











Look Up

We are a civilized society.  Something many Donald Trump Enablers don’t appreciate, don’t understand…..?
But why stop at waterboarding…..?  Why not chop off a few heads…. we could create a public spectacle…. line up a few “NOT US PEOPLE” and whack, whack, whack…… that would show them….
I know, we could build a few racks….. our technology has advanced since the 14th, 15th century (even though our civilized nature apparently hasn’t) so just imagine what kind of machine we could build to pull and rip bodies apart, stretch them until they scream for mercy, by god we’d get the truth out of them with our 2016 version of the medieval rack… and that sure as hell would show them we mean business….. put that thing out in a public square some place and go to work…..
why the possibilities to torture humans are unlimited for the man of the 21st century…. we only have to be creative and our collective brain power could conceive of some of the most disgusting torture methods ever used by man…
yes sir, that would show them….. torture them until they scream for mercy and tell us what we want to know…..
But I think my favorite would be to locate a hill in some open area.  The hill can’t be too high but must be high enough so the citizens can observe what we are up to….. and in an open area so a crowd would gather…. spread the would be giver of information out and attach him or her to a cross…. you know, drive a large nail into each hand and a large nail into the feet, then stand the cross erect for display, for all to see and let that would be giver of information hang in the hot sun until the culprit gives us the information we want to know….
and by god, that would show them we mean business and you can’t fu*k with us civilized Westerners ’cause we are tough and mean and just as disgusting as any terrorist…..

I’m 65…. and when I was young, family lore had it that my maternal grandmother was part Indian and the family was proud of this fact…. as a young boy, sitting around the kitchen table I heard stories about my grandmothers heritage… and I never questioned my mother, my uncles and aunts… I never knew my maternal grandmother as she died when I was very young and the only memory of her was a photograph of her in her casket… and whenever I saw the photograph, I always thought she looked very Indian lying in her casket….and as I grew older I was always very proud of my Indian heritage and I never questioned her heritage or mine…..

when I was drafted, there wasn’t a place on the forms for race as Indian, only Other….. so I checked Other and no one ever asked me about my decision to do so.  As for religion, if I was killed, what denomination would say the magic words, I wanted NONE; no religion on my dog tags, but that wasn’t allowed and on my dog tags they put ‘no preference..’ and I always thought it funny that no one ever asked my why I put Other for race but gave me grief when I want ‘no religion’ on my dog tags….
so I always thought there was a little Indian blood flowing through my veins….. and never questioned what the family lore was and I was always proud of whatever small amount of Indian blood flowed through my veins.…

when I left the service I used the GI Bill to get an education at the local community college.  I filled out all the necessary paperwork and on one of the forms was a check box under the RACE category for American Indian so based on many years of family lore and that picture of my grandmother in her casket and an opportunity to come out of the closet so to speak, I placed a check mark in the American Indian check box.
Several weeks later I received my copy of the paper work and someone used white out to remove my check mark and the Caucasian check box was checked.. so I go to the admissions office and inquire about the change and I’m told that in order to use the check box I would have to provide evidence…
… so I told them about all the stories I had heard from my aunts and uncles and my mother, but that wasn’t good enough… so I told them about the picture of my grandmother in her casket and how much like an Indian she looked lying in her casket and that wasn’t evidence enough….. so I decided that I would allow the Caucasian check box to be checked and go on with my life, but I never stopped believing that grandmother wasn’t part Indian and I embracedthe family lore and still believe it is true to this day, I don’t feel any less Indian….
and when I hear and read all the commotion that Republicans make about Elizabeth Warren I chuckle,how small can you be and I know it doesn’t change anything about what one believes about who they are…..
there simply is no accounting for smallness and Trump does it well…

On Tuesday July 21st, I achieve a milestone that anyone is fortunate to achieve.  I celebrate my 65th birthday and retirement is just around the bend, the light that is at the end of the tunnel for all of us is now a reality for me…

In my 65 years I’ve attained the status of everyman.  Where’s Waldo and Kilroy Was Here…. but no extraordinary circumstances.

… I’ve written NO Novels with large $$ advancements or for the record, nothing that has ever been printed. I’m responsible for NO photographs that captures the imagination and earns me a retirement nest egg. No paintings or other art work that garnered me a big payday.

My approaching 65th birthday makes me reflect on events of my life. Who knows where the time goes…? I recall a CD by Nanci Griffith with this song and dig through my collection of CD’s. I have 10 or 12 of her CD’s. Nanci and I have grown old together, I know this but she doesn’t. The disconnect in being an Everyman. I know about other people, but they know nothing about me.

My collection of music is now digitized and I rarely listen to a CD. I have a collection of about 300 CD’s, about 100 music cassette tapes and 150 vinyl albums that have been stored for years. I no longer own a functional turntable to play the albums on. And I don’t really like the scratches anyway.

I inserted a CD into the CD player of my 2009 Honda Civic in July, 2009 (an anthology of Jackson Browne music), the week I bought the car and the same CD is still in the CD player of the Civic.

When I can find nothing to listen to on the local Public Broadcasting station, I cycle to the CD player and listen to Jackson Browne. I also have a Zune attached to the radio system with USB that I can listen to (I now own an Ipod also).

I locate the Nanci Griffith CD and read the credits on the back. It’s definitely the CD. I take the CD to my computer and insert into the CD player and listen to the song. So as I often do, I google the song and discover that Sandy Denny wrote the song. I’ve never heard of Sandy Denny so I google Sandy Denny.

One of my favorites from Nanci…

Sandy Denny is a fellow time traveler. Born in 1947. She would be 68 now, except for an unfortunate accident in 1978. I don’t think Sandy would qualify as an ‘everyman (woman)’. Even though I didn’t know her historical significance, my not knowing should not diminish her importance to history. I am able to locate a youtube video and listen to her sing and realize the loss is mine.

So instead of sharing Nanci or Judy Collins, and each does a fine job, I will share Sandy who wrote the song.

This video is Lyle Lovett and Nancy Griffith at a barbque in Texas in the early ’70s….
… probably as early a video as I’ve seen…

But I’m still left with the question: ‘Who knows where the time goes?’

Or maybe the question I should ask is, what consumed all my time?

A question I might pursue in a future post…

This week gay Americans were boosted to the status of full citizen.  The Supreme court ruled that gay Americans can marry their significant other in ALL 50 states.  And in the same week a black American patriot climbed a flag pole in South Carolina and removed the Confederate flag, declaring:

“This flag comes down today.”


I had a conversation with a black friend at work.  He is having a difficult time wrapping his head around the FACT that gay Americans now have the Constitutional right to marry their partner in all 50 states.

“Marriage is a religious activity and shouldn’t be desecrated by same sex marriage,” he says.  “My religion teaches me that homosexuality is a sin and the sin of homosexuality shouldn’t be accepted by a Christian and to do so is a sin that I don’t want to be guilty of.”

“It’s a moral decision to rebuke the supreme court decision.  It’s a sin to be homosexual.  And you want me to give my stamp of approval to this sin, you force me to participate in this sinful behavior by selling flowers for the wedding ceremony.”

“What about my religious liberty not to participate?” he ask.  “I think it’s wrong, the wedding ceremony and being forced to participate.”

“Religion,” I say.  “Religion drives people to many extremes.  I’m not religious and I have no problem with gay marriage, so what does that tell you?  The issue isn’t same sex marriage, but religion.”

“And now we are going to have public displays of affection, a man holding another man’s hand.  And god forbid, another man kissing another man in public,” he says as he walks away.  “How do I explain that to my kids?”


Religion spawns ISIS.  Religion spawns most of the conflicts in the middle east.  Most of the conflicts on the planet that are worth mentioning.  Without religion, the planet would be a much better place.  It ain’t the atheist that are causing the problems most inhabitants of the planet earth face.

Same sex marriage isn’t an issue without religion, so challenge your religion  Be critical of all you have been told and believe.

I heard Van Jones on CNN discuss his marriage to a white woman and how his marriage would have been an illegal marriage without a decision of the supreme court.

‘The case was brought by Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other.’

source… wikipedia

And tonight Tyne Daly discussed her marriage of 45 years to a black man which was not legal in 17 states.

“On the 26th of June, 1966 I got married. That’s 49 years ago. [To a man with] black hair and he had black skin, and our marriage was against the law in the United States of America in 17 states. The following year in a case wonderfully called Loving vs. Virginia, took down those miscegenation laws.”

My dad pulls the old two-tone black and white Fairlane into the driveway.  “I’ll be back on Sunday to pick you up,” he says.  I fetch my small overnight bag and open the door.  “OK,” I say as I slide from the seat onto the pine needle covered road.  This is my first visit with my grandmother since the funeral.

I make the more than quarter mile walk to my grandmother’s house up the driveway that disappears into a large grove of pine trees.  Hundreds of pine trees.  Some more than a hundred feet tall.  Pine needles cover everything.  

I‘ve made this walk hundreds of times to get the mail and to visit the old general store at the intersection down the road from my grandmother’s house.  I never fail to be awed by the majesty of the larger than life pine trees.   I reach my grandmother’s house and my Aunt Irene is sitting on the large front porch that wraps around the old two story.  “I’ve got a pot of pinto beans on the stove and cornbread in the oven,” she says as I place my foot on the first step that leads to the top of the porch where she is sitting.  “How is grandmother?”  I ask , reaching the final step and now up onto the porch.  I sit in a rocker and look at my Aunt.  “She’s doing as well as can be expected,” my Aunt replies.  “She’s very happy that you’ve come to spend the weekend with us.”

My Aunt rises from her rocker and I follow her into the house.   The house is divided evenly with a hallway that leads to the stairs to the second floor and a small bedroom tucked neatly in behind.  My bedroom when I was younger.  On the right is another bedroom, uncle Don’s and on the left is a door that leads to the living room.  The living room has not changed much over the years.  A large wood burning stove sits at the back wall, dormant on an early spring day in May.

My grand mother sits in the same chair where I’ve seen her sit for as long as I can remember.  She rises.  Small of stature, not 5 feet tall.  “Glory be!  Look  whose here.” Grandmother says, “ it’s little Staney,” wiping her wrinkled hands on her faded apron.  She shuffles slightly and I move to give her a hug.  I can feel the soft lose flesh of grandmother’s arms as she hugs me close.  My grandmother has pure white hair she wears in a bun.  I have seen her on occasion release her hair and comb it.  Family legend has it that she hasn’t had her hair cut since she was a small girl.

I ask her if there is any Muscadine wine on the back porch.?  A sly smile breaks through the wrinkles on her face.  My grandfather planted 8 Muscadine plants on a large trellis when he and my grandmother moved into the house.  I’ve spent many a day in the “vineyard” , which by now is fairly large, squeezing the grapes and popping out the sweet pulpy goodness.  My grand father also made wine from the grapes.  A large 10 to 15 gallon grey ceramic crock sits on the back porch.  A spigot , or as we call it, a spicket on the front and at the bottom.  Well within reach of a small curious boy.  I was never able to reconcile the taste of the wine and the wonderful sweetness of the fruit on the vine.
I hear my aunt remove the cast iron skillet from the oven.  I squeeze my grandmother’s hand and help her back to her chair.  My aunt is placing the skillet on the stove top and I close the oven door.  She turns the heat off on the pinto beans.  “Why did you have daddy put in jail?” I ask.

She stops what she is doing and turns to face me.  “He was disturbing the peace,” she says,  “and being a damned nuisance.”  “He scared your grandmother and me banging on the front door and stomping up and down the porch.”   “So I called the police and they came and arrested him.”

I don’t understand but I ‘m old enough to know it is something that I just have to accept and move on.  I tell my aunt that I’m going to take my overnight bag upstairs to my grandmother’s bedroom.  

The door to the bedroom is closed.  I open the door not knowing what to expect.  The bed is new as is all the furniture.  The floor has been painted a dark brown and the walls white.  New curtains hang on the windows.  There are no pictures on the walls or on the nightstand that sits by the bed.  One would never know that this room was my grandfather’s and grandmother’s bedroom for more than 50 years.

I place my small overnight bag on the bed.  I hear my aunt call and I turn to leave.  Before I step through the door I turn to look one more time.

No.  No one will ever know.

I have 3 dogs and a Red Jeep Cherokee. Lakoda- is the oldest, Blue the Siberian and Dingo the youngest.  But any story about my dogs has to start with my Red Jeep because I used the Jeep to bring each dog home.

Lakoda- is now 12 years old and was only 8 weeks old when I placed her in a cardboard box I took with me to fetch her home.

I always wanted a Jeep Cherokee and in 2001, I bought a brand new Red Jeep Cherokee.  My new Jeep has 4 wheel drive and I couldn’t wait for the first snow.  Now, I live in Tennessee and we don’t get much snow.  I purchased the Jeep in December and thought, “surely and most certainly we will get snow this year.”  But for the remainder of 2001 and the start of 2002, no snow.  Spring and Summer pass and into fall I’m beginning to think that I need a dog to complement the new Jeep.  To sit in the passenger seat and look fascinated by the passing scenery.  I have a friend with a Australian Shepherd and begin a search of such a dog.  I search the local paper classifieds and see an ad one Sunday worthy of investigation.

I drive the 70 miles to Crossville Tennessee and arrive at the home of future Lakoda in total darkness.  Darkness such that you can look into the sky and see thousands and thousands of stars.  No street lights.  No traffic lights.  Just darkness except for an occasional automobile head light.  I find the house and pull into the drive.  I get out of the Jeep and I’m greeted by the persistent protective barking of the mama of little Lakoda to be.  A door opens and a body steps through.  He speaks and I introduce myself.  He tells me to follow him.  His flash light provides a path into the darkness and we arrive at a fenced enclosure.  There are several small dogs excited by the presence of something other than the darkness.  The flash light provides me a glimpse of the small dogs.  I see one with a swirl of red, a female and I have to look no further.  I pick her up and we walk back to the house.  I pay the man and walk to the Jeep and raise the back lid.  I locate the cardboard box and lower little Lakoda to be into the box and head for home.

That was more than 12 years ago…. today she is a lot like me in the morning.. slow to get up and going.  That little puppy who today thinks I’m the center of her universe.

After a year, I think a friend to keep Lakoda company while I am at work is in order.  i start a search in the local paper.  i want a dog with blue eyes and preferably an Australian Shepherd.  I don’t find an Australian Shepherd but I do blunder into a Siberian Husky.  A year old and free to anyone who will take him.  A dog with blue eyes and I named him Blue.  If you have never been around a Siberian, I can’t begin to describe the shedding.  Bags full of undercoat each spring and constant vacuuming in the house.

One evening as I’m walking Blue I see a stalkey looking 6 inch long growth projecting from between his legs.  The only other image I can conjure is the horse on my grand fathers farm.  I take Blue to the vet the next day and surgery is in order.  It is simply a growth of unknown origin that needs to be removed.  Three months later, Blue is lame and a trip to the vet confirms that he has a torn cruciate ligament that requires surgery to repair.  Blue has blue eyes that can be piercing at times.  He can’t talk, but he can look at me with those blue eyes and say volumes.  More than most humans with all their vocabulary.  A single request from me to sit and down he goes.  Out in the open and a request to come back is met with selective hearing.  A total hearing loss.  “Here Blue!” several times and he reluctantly concedes and will head in my direction.

In October 2012 Blue comes up lame.  His left leg is drawn up close to his rib cage and for several days I fret about what to do.  I’ve scheduled a trip to Asheville North Carolina to knock door to door for President Obama’s re election.  I’m going to board the dogs with the vet while I’m in Asheville and I guess Blue can have the surgery.  On Friday morning I drop Blue for his surgery and Lakoda and Dingo for boarding.  I have photographs of the surgery with I of course can’t locate, but when I do, I will post.  I spend the weekend in Asheville knocking on doors trying to turn out the vote.  I leave Asheville Monday morning and arrive back in Chattanooga at 1pm.   I’ve talked to the vet and I’m reassured that Blue is doing well.

Lakoda and Blue don’t much care for for one another.  Basically, Lakoda doesn’t  much care for Blue.  Blue is the most non aggressive dog I’ve ever seen.  Lakoda, well is the alpha female; in charge and it doesn’t matter how large you are.  So after a year or so, I go  in search of dingo.  This time I go to the local animal shelter and bring little Dingo home, that was 8 years ago.  Blue accepts Dingo immediately.  Lakoda pretty much ignores him.  Blue and Dingo become best friends and are so today.  So the 3 Amigos are complete.