I’m eating Twinkies. I haven’t had one since I was a child. And it was rare then, only upon occasion.

Then the mailman’s name was Ray, and the mail was delivered twice a day. When there was a letter he would ring the doorbell or shout through the screen door. If it was a letter from my brother he would persist until someone answered. (My brother was off fighting whichever war we were giving then.) He didn’t have to persist often or long—we always watched for the mail.

There were milkmen who delivered milk in glass bottles and you could hear the bottles clanging in the carrier as he walked to your door. Some people got chocolate milk and we knew the houses they went to.

We played softball in the street in front of my house and quit when the streetlights came on. We had to go home then. If earlier and some other reason to go home, you would hear someone’s father’s whistle. We all knew the different sounds and pitches that belonged to us.

Those nights you could hear the sounds of laughter, and children’s voices, and cicadas calling with the tree toads, and a few birds still visiting. Sometimes you could hear wandering bullfrogs calling for their mates. And crickets. The sound of crickets was the music we fell asleep to. Once in a while you would hear a car go by, and the thump, thump of the tires as they went across the tarred strips.

It was quiet on Sundays, after the morning of ringing church bells. Whole families walked down the streets to the Church, girls wearing dresses and gloves, just like their mothers, men with hats, and suits and ties. Almost everyone went to church and afterward you came home to your big Sunday dinner and the readying for Monday—schoolwork, newspapers, clothes laid out, shoes polished.

We knew all of the neighbors and the houses around our block, and the stories they held. We knew the house where the woman had hung herself in the basement because her husband went out with other women. We knew the house where the poker parties were held on Saturday nights. Sometimes there was a special game on Friday night and you knew because of all the cars parked in the alley.

After supper you had to eat your desert inside, before going out. You couldn’t walk out with a Popsicle unless you had more to give your friends. And you ate your Twinkies inside, or out on the back porch.

stanisław wyspiański (1869-1907), portrait of józio feldman, 1905, pastel (national museum in kraków, poland)

stanisław wyspiański (1869-1907), portrait of józio feldman, 1905, pastel (national museum in kraków, poland)


Rumblings & Grumblings

Reading the New Yorker, you will find an article written by  on October 28, 2018. The article is about Lucetta Scaraffia, the lovely lady we see below and her campaign to have women play a larger role in the Catholic Church. She believes this can happen, and that it can be accomplished from within the Church. There are, in fact, many roles that could be filled by women, not the least of which is that of a Cardinal.

Cardinals, in any case, need not be called by God—only man. “Cardinals are an invention of the Church, to govern itself,” Massimo Faggioli, a professor of theology at Villanova said. So it is that Catholic theology does not mandate that cardinals be ordained.  Theologically speaking, laypeople, including laywomen, can be cardinals. This is how we got the Medici boys as Cardinals and how they (then with voting power) got to elect a Medici papa as Pope. (Think Borgia. Think The Godfather.) It wasn’t until 1917 that the Holy See changed canon law, restricting the cardinalate to the ordained.

Lucetta Scaraffia, posted by the New Yorker

Lucetta Scaraffia Is Trying to Fight Catholic Patriarchy from the Inside

Scaraffia and others are pointing out the differences between actual Church doctrine and Cannon Law. And there are many arguments that ensue around the purpose, intent, and traditions of the Church, not just about what can be done—but what can change—what should change. Yes, this in a Church that is run by men, and men alone in places of authority where women (nuns) are kept in subservient roles and are used to cook and clean for the men. The women serve and the men dictate everything from behavior to law.

I am impressed by the number of women, the newsletters, and the activism. The movement is strong and viable. The goals and hope and logic seem impermeable.

But the changes they covet will not happen.

The Church is run by men.

I have come to believe that women can only truly infiltrate the world of men in politics, in religion, in corporations, when women do not ask of men, but form themselves, and give themselves permission. Why aren’t women dictating? Why aren’t women forming their own enclaves? (Enclave, by the way, is a feminine noun.) Why don’t we say if and when men can join us?

Women have to acquiesce in order to be subjugated. It is women who allow men to rule. There are too many women who are afraid of power, because with it comes great responsibility.

So. In the meantime, the Church will be infiltrated by women who will influence, and maybe change, the Church from within. I just won’t see it in my lifetime.



These photos are from Bob Good Photography, taken at Lawrence Lake near La Crosse.

I look at these, walk down the dock and I can smell the scent of the water and fish, feel the slap-slap movement of the boards, know the calls of the birds skimming the water. For so many years summer life centered on the water and the boathouses there. Beer was kept by being dropped into the cold of the river. (Fish nets put to good use.) Many a beer, many a fish fry. Diving off docks, swimming against the current.

It’s where we lived, it’s where we played and slept. Then you could keep boathouses directly on the river and ours were docked just past and under the big Mississippi bridge that crossed over to Minnesota. When those were gone we were not allowed to replace them. Time moved on, faster than the current and quicker than a walleye jumping for a June bug.

Now these photos below of the lake are for a different story. The one that will be told of lakes and eddies where it’s still okay for the parking of the boats and boathouses. They’re not on the Mississippi; they’re not in the way of the main lane for the big boats, the new business of summer, the new Riverboat Queen.

And so it goes—another bridge built, another song. And I wonder how they keep their beer cold?


Noting Observations Of Yesterday

“Note this before you note my notes, there’s not a note of mine that’s worth the noting.” ~ Much Ado About Nothing ~ Wm. S.

I finally got myself to the swimming pool. The one over in Seven Hills because they are replacing the building in Broadview Heights. I have no idea why I was struggling so to get there. An oversimplified fear of the unknown? A left-over fear from childhood? The one where you go in and do something incredibly wrong within the social norms of that place and are ever after known as the “newone” or names much worse. Ostracized by the fact of not knowing and therefore stupid. Children rarely allow for outside effects and circumstances; they are judges of the now. The right now, in black and white. (Maybe children should be the only juries we have.) That all seems silly to me. And yet—is fear, hidden to the self, why we call ourselves lazy?

But here’s the funny thing, the reason I noted the swimming pool visit: I got a sunburn, and it’s an indoor pool.

After the pool, I went to one of my favorite eating places which is right in front of the community center, Eddie’s Pizzaria. My intention was to get a martini and a salad. Yeah, right. I wasn’t craving pizza and I’m on a semi-successful diet. (Worth noting is that the swimming suit, once a struggle to put on, is now too big.) I managed the part of the intention that involved the martini. For desert I had one of those small fry-pan-looking things filled with a very large and warm chocolate chip cookie garnished with two large scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. It is decadent. deliciously decadent. I left not a crumb behind. This all leads to the subject of Will Power.

Will Power. First cousin to Free Will. If there is such a thing. (Some argument ensues in my mind. If there’s such a thing as my anything at all.) Staying with the subject of Will Power, among many other things there is more than one school of thought. The most recent propaganda espousing the limits of Will Power is the replenishing of same. Namely, Will Power is not strengthened by use, rather is run out by continual use. In order to replenish, one must refrain from all of that use. Just what constitutes over use is unknown. Unfortunately I must have run out of Will Power just after leaving the pool. That’s what I get for using up all that Will Power to get to the pool.

And I don’t know how to replenish this Will Power. Just how long must I refrain from using it? I want to know. Right now I am practicing disuse of Will Power. Wait, wait!…Doesn’t that call for Will Power?




From Notes While Reading & Talking & Eating

He left over and over. Kept leaving, trying on I think, the best tirade, the most emphatic, searching the core, the very essence of leaving. He did that. Yes. Over and over.
I finally left.

I know that I could completely transform my life if only I could live by water.

Trope and meme should be nominated “words for the 21st century.”

Isn’t it annoying when the star of a series is continuously discounted when in all of the previous episodes she’d been right? Just saying.

The One true story of the Myth of The Fall:
It was a grapefruit tree, not an apple tree, nor a pomegranate one. The reason is thus: having eaten of the grapefruit Adam said, Yuck! This is the worst fruit I’ve ever eaten. It is sour. What is this doing in Eden? Eve thus inspired went in search of sugar cane which she was soon to find, being picked in the horror of slaves and migrant workers who could not speak the language of Eden. To therefor sweeten his life and bring Joy to him, she return to Adam and gave it to him thusly: Use this for your Grapefruit and thereafter call it the Gratefruit as it will be sweet and forever palatable by disguising the sourness of life and the fact that a Heaven forever does become a Hell. And so, being easily led and owning a tendency to blame, Adam ate of the sugar from the sugarcane that was to sweeten his Grapefruit. It was thus that he and all of humankind were cast out of Eden (Story sound familiar? Do we know of anyone else being kicked out?) and forever were to be cursed with the black mark of Original Sin, having eaten thereof the Tree of Knowledge of Sugar and being the burden of all things Evil to man. Eve was cursed with the letter T (another myth dispelled—note the play on “spelled”) as a symbol of Temptress, forwhich she—as woman—would forever be branded and mocked for all Eternity. When all she was doing was attempting (tempt?) to please her man by bringing sweetness into his life. (For which she was created, remember?)

This underscores the Heart of the Matter for the whole issue of Responsibility and Free Will and Sin and All Such Things: Having been made by God to be Curious and Psychologically unsound and Rebellious, can mankind then be held responsible? Given 1.) a fair and just God, 2.) a test of obedience, and, 3.) a God-given test, and 4.) the so-named Adam and Eve, knowing everything at the point before Sugar, are fully aware of the consequences and that God will see everything, and 5.) an act of Free Will is undertaken. (By both Eve and Adam, thus eradicating the need for Temptor (Eve) and Victom (Adam) ) And, And, nonetheless allowing that the Evil Deed cannot be transmitted by Eve alone, but can only be Ancestored Sin from Adam. Thus in turn setting free patriarchally descendent patrimony.

Side Question: Is there a single book in the bible written by a woman?

On Friday
at the Three Musketeers where Shirley & I stopped to wait & eat while the dog was being groomed, a man in a Robin Hood hat with a very long feather walked by. He stopped at our booth. He greeted us as goddesses and mother-goddesses. He said to me, I love your glasses. I can see the light shining through them. And I like your hat, I quickly replied. He doffed his hat, gave a deep flourishing bow, and moved on. I thought it was beautiful, magical, and a blessing. Shirley made a face of disgust. This is why I love her. It was a very wonderful day, that day on Friday when we took the dog for her grooming. I lost my glasses and Shirley found them. We contemplated the Dogwood Tree for Mumzie.  Shirley was clever and funny. She was very tired and thinks that her Sister will now love her forever. It is sad to know that that will not happen. Right now the sister’s whole family has filled Shirley’s home.

S also said that the reason my book isn’t selling is because of the title. She maintains that no one likes Fat. Who wants to buy something about Fat? That and I don’t do the marketing which should be done.  She’s right, I don’t market. Not much anyway. My bad. She made me leave a business card in the booth. She also said that the story was dark. Oh dear. I didn’t think it was dark at all so now that will be a question for friends of the book.


Business Card front & back


Book Cover

Notes on Then and Now

[from today, work in process and not proofed]


It was beautiful. The scents wrapped themselves around you as soon as you went down the road. It was a warm-wet smell, run through with mud and wild herbs and animals, tall grasses and pussy willows and cat ‘o nine tails. Wild violets grew there, and swamp trillium and sometimes wild iris.

The two-track dirt road ran from a turn off right before the bridge that spanned the river. The cottages began to appear in a staggered order once past the first turn. The initial ones sat directly on a slab or on cement blocks which raised enough to see through them underneath, a view of the beds of raccoons and other small creatures when the river hadn’t flooded the year before. Further on down the road the cottages sat on stilts, mostly painted the same color as the houses, sand brown, stadium green, and mud brown, the same color as the river, the muddy Mississippi. It must be admitted that it wasn’t below some people to paint a mixture between top and bottom, sometimes even side to side or half-way up somewhere. After all, even if you hadn’t run out of paint, why waste any? In summer the trees filled out with their many colored green shades to block the view ahead, until you came right upon the clearing that had allowed the building of the homes, most with their stairs going straight up to front doors and small, utilitarian decks that only allowed for equally small rowboats or skiffs to be stored there. No one sat on decks for fear of the huge mosquitoes large enough to carry away a small child.

Find picture of bridge to insert here.

Motorboats were docked at the river’s edge. During the winter they were stored in boathouses or inside the cabins themselves, back end, aside of the kitchen. Any porches were screened in. Some of the places had bedrooms and indoor plumbing, but not all. A bed is a bed—what difference does it make where it goes? It’s only going to be slept in. And, if you have electricity, you can watch TV to fall asleep to. Coleman lanterns and sometimes Coleman stoves. Fire pits in front yards with cooking pots bubbling turtle stew. Smoke houses with their own billows piped out into the air filled with cricket and frog noises. Birds calling, loons after dark, owls, king fishers.

It was rumored that once, years back, there had been a long house where the road ran out. It was a place where folks played instruments, danced, and drank beer. If you wanted anything stronger you had to bring your own bottle. But folks gathered there, even if it was only to fry your fish—crappies, sunfish, and pike—and potato patties, ears of corn, on the stone grills outside. And listen to the stories. Most of the stories were tales about the monsters in the very deep of the river: forty-pound catfish, bodies of dead men loosed from anchor ropes, turtles the size of small cars that could dive and hold their breath for an hour. Then too, the snapping turtle that had clawed their would-be captor’s face to shredded meat and yet another who had snapped off a whole hand at the wrist. The alligator snapper, of course. These tales that at their backbone carried truth, sent shutters through small children and some adults. Still, some were willing to try for the capture of a good sized snapper as he made the best turtle stew, had more meat, and was easier to clean up and prepare.

Find picture of cabin to insert here.

Most of the people who live Under The Bridge lived there year round. Some, it is said, only live there in the spring and summer, sometimes autumn. Yet there is another area, an off trail at the start of the two-track. The people who lived there all did so year round, in the tents they had pitched or in the cardboard sheds they had put together. You could walk to the make-shift settlement there from downtown, or the warehouses. It was easy there to ask for food, or take it from the boxes that were left by the large truck doors, where the trucks drove in and unloaded. The crates mostly held fruits and some vegetables. They were the ones that had wilted or fallen out of the shipping crates while being transported. By the end of the day all of the crates had been emptied.

One person who camped at the bridge settlement had a truck. That was when the state had long ago required driver plates on vehicles. The state had, but cities were slow to follow, especially small towns. But by this time, the city had begun the insipient capture of all legally defined passenger vehicles. The Bridge Guy however, was exempt. The cops turned a blind eye when the rusted and rattled old truck made its way thru the town, often helping someone move in or out of the bridge settlement. The driver, a strange man with a said-to-be torrid past, (it was rumored he had killed someone with an axe, years before) was not one to be messed with. Any of the kids who decided to torment soon learned better. When he jumped out of the truck to pursue anyone who dared, they left shaken and panting. He had a variety of nicknames which he lived up to: the flash, truck man, who-do Harley for a few. It helped that he was tall and big, ugly, bearded, and never spoke, only growled. And certainly no one went to the bridge settlement when it was dark.

It all provoked a harmony of sorts. Things were as they were and that was that. The river flowed and the people moved around it. When the river left its banks and moved beyond the road, the settlement moved out. When the river regained itself and it was dry enough, they moved back in. Life went on, moving with the current.




The road and trail have been closed off. It’s impossible to see where they were, only tell-able by the feel of knowledge. What was. Of course the people who had lived there are long gone along with the cottages that were torn down. Their children might remember but their children in turn, aren’t interested in what was and is now invisible. After all, it’s just a memory. And the memory belongs to someone else.

But there has been a replacement …. continue from here (and don’t forget Dead Man’s Slough)



I set myself on fire again. It was quite a surprise…I’ve not done that in some time. The flames surprised me, showing up to the right and the left of the book held firmly in front of me. I thought at first it was a joke, something from the universe in a laughing poke at time held so light and fragile in the candle light. Red cinnamon it is, two wicks. the scent arriving at a time to mock dreams, to cancel the thoughts that should have surrounded it. The flames blazed up, the sky changed by the appearance, the motorcycle handlebars firm somehow within my hands, gripped as if they would open the doors of belief by being there. Quiet. Just before the panic and stamped out flames, the bargain also a surprise in the convergence of all the stories and all the thoughts and all of the encounters of passion. Death. Life, Silently put out, like the past that cannot be reached. I was there. I am there again. And it burns.