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Granny and the Mountain Lion (A mostly true story)

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The wind was howling that dark New Mexico night, and we sat huddled in the middle room next to the parlor stove. Granny was putting together a picture puzzle, which was complicated by the feeble light of a kerosene lamp. The men had gone to Colorado to purchase logging supplies. We had just gotten an order for mine timbers from the mine, and they would need to be bringing trees down to the saw mill as soon as spring would let them.

Granny had a single shot .410 shotgun for protection. The homestead sat at the foot of the Sangre-de-Christo Mountains, and mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats were always trying to get into the chicken coop.

Something outside went “crash!” and let out a long creaking moan. Granny grabbed the kerosene lamp and went to the door. I don’t know how to describe a moonless winter night in that area, but it is very, very dark, and Granny couldn’t see a thing.

She shut the door and went back to the puzzle, and had hardly picked up a puzzle tile to try and fit it into the puzzle before a “rawrrrrrrr” sounded outside. Granny went to the door again, but this time she took the shotgun with her. I heard her mumble “mountain lion” as she opened the door.

Rawrrrrrrrrr! Screeeeeeeeeee!

Granny slammed the door shut, and we kids trembled in terror. I had never seen a live mountain lion, but I had read stories about African lions, and I sure didn’t like what I heard.

Granny picked up the kerosene lamp and carried it to the door, and again looked out, and just as quickly slammed the door shut. We were really frightened now, and it didn’t help to see Granny’s jaw tighten as she firmly grabbed the shotgun, opened the door and “Blam!” and slammed it shut again.

“I could see it glaring at me across the road!” she said breathlessly.

Rawrrrrrrrrr! Sreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Went the mountain lion again. Our blood froze and granny reloaded the shotgun, open the door and fired off another shell.

“I think I got him!” she said. “His eyes went out!”

Granny took the shotgun and the lantern and went out, and very shortly returned. “I could see drops of blood on the snow.”

We didn’t hear any more as the night wore on, and we slept a fitful, wary sleep until the first rays of dawn showed through the window shutters. Granny and I got dressed in heavy woolens, she reloaded the shotgun and I picked up the metal fireplace poker, and we cautiously went out to make sure we didn’t have a wounded cat nearby.

The red drops of blood glistened in the snow in the snow next to an old trailer we no longer used. I warily approached the trailer, hoping that the cat wasn’t lying wounded underneath it. Squatting down to look, I didn’t see anything under the trailer, and breathed a sigh of relief. I thought to follow the blood trail to see where the cat went, and went over to the first splatter.

It was then I noticed that the blood had frozen in the snow. Or so I thought. On closer examination, I discovered that Granny had shot the taillights out of the trailer. The tailgate had been blown loose by the wind, and I went over to put it back. “Rawwwwrrrrrrr! It went as rusty bolt turned in it pivot. “Screeeeeeee!” it went as it swung back.

Granny had killed the trailer!

Over the decades, Granny never lived that one down. When the men heard of it, they howled with laughter, and Granny would smile through clenched teeth. I am not sure but what she didn’t get even somehow. She was that way.

Some mornings are just good …

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040413_1736_Betweenthes1.jpgSo many things are going through my mind today as the noise of the flooring contractor interrupts my morning quiet. But that is OK … at last I will have a bathroom that fits me, and the red oak flooring is going to be much nicer than carpet that was there. Whose idea was it to but carpet in a bathroom? Geesh. Certainly not by anyone who has had to clean one.

So todays thoughts drift to this curious idea of freedom so many people have. I don’t know what it is that makes people think that health care, gun control, wimmens reproducible rights and student loans equate with freedom. We have bastardized the word, and I think it is too already too late for us. But I got mine. It will be up to some future generation to spill the blood of its youth throwing off the yoke of an all-encompassing “Daddy” …

An old friend has reappeared in my life. Odd that they come and go with Mz Muze. But we takes our inspiration where we gets it. Welcome back, C.

The day is a bright yellow and green Spring day, the rains fled, the rye and wildflowers are shooting up faster than I can keep them chopped down to civilized heights. A new character appears in the novel, another is killed off. A new birdbath sits disassembled in the driveway awaiting its installation. A tree branch awaits being cut into next winters firewood.

The coffee is great, but then, it always is. Some things need to stay at a high level of excellence!

Good morning!

r

Between the sleeps

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Ages ago when people were ruled by the real sun instead of a mechanical sun, people rose with the sun, and retired with the sun. Summertime was production time, the nights were short and the day was long. Wintertime was resting time, the nights were long and the days were mercifully short.

Some linguists became curious about the phrase “between the sleeps” by 16th and 17th Century writers, and rediscovered the obvious. Babies tiny tummies hold a maximum of four hours fuel, and that mommies have been getting up in the morning watches to refuel them since the beginning of time. The main problem is the extra two hour sandwich between the two sleeps that stretches the bed time from eight hours to ten hours, cuts into precious daylight.

But hey! I am retired. Why should I conform to society’s clock? I am discovering a productive time of writing when I arise for that two hours in the night watches. If it was good enough for King David, it is good enough for me.

The rains have rolled away, leaving high thin clouds and drying breezes rustle the leaves. I miss the rains already. I remember reading when I was a child about the digging of the Suez Canal. Many of the native workers had never been around plumbing and had no concept how it worked. In the construction towns, people would leave the faucet running for fear that the water would stop permanently. I am like that with the rains. When they go, I start asking if this is the beginning of a sixth year of drought?

So today’s agenda. See if I can upgrade Snooks computer so she can load the latest edition of PhotoShop™ on it. Move the poorly running cassock air filter into my studio. Install new showerheads in the master bath. Meditate on a new character in a novel I am writing. I think I love her too much and will have to kill her off. Dead.

All in all, a day of promise.

~r

Blogging at night chronicling the morning

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OK. Evening is here, the pups got their goodies, the parakeet is nagging me for boogie type music, and I haven’t done a damn thing but comment on other blogs. The deal is, I gotta write every day. It don’t matter if it is on the novel, or in the journal, or a snide letter to the editor.

“Thou shalt write of it every day. Each and every day thou shall write of it.”

OK. I writeth of it.

It has been a rainy day. Great and glorious rain. Drizzling rain, pouring in sheets rain, showers, mists. We have been in such a long drought that I have forgotten what a rainy day looks like. Long dormant grasses and wild flowers have sprung up, sere trees are budding with an eye aching green, fields look like they are covered in green velvet. And the smell of wetness pervades all.

And today is a buying day … we picked out woodlike flooring for my studio and the guest bathrooms. The installers will remove the toilets, install the flooring and quarter round and be gone in one day. Who could hope for more?

And I bought new planters for the front porch to screen me as I sit and spy on the neighborhood comings and goings. My house is like the gate house … everyone has to drive by that nosey old man on the corner. Now that summer is here, I can take my morning coffee at sunrise there, and be entertained by the mourning doves lonesome coo, the mocking birds olio, and the cardinals fussing.

There you have it. A chirpy morning blog written close to bedtime. No broody reflections, no morose opinions. Just don’t get used to it.

~r

 

 

Ms. Muse Reappears!

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I was sitting at the PC when I glanced up and saw her perched on the top of my monitor, peering intently at me with her legs inelegantly crossed at the knees, revealing the bottom of her thigh and the dark band of her hosiery. Her tight, ratty and once fashionable tweed skirt pulled up past the knee from the straining, leaving a view I really wasn’t prepared for. I averted my eyes with a shudder.

“Good Lord, if you aren’t a mess. Do you lay around the house like that all day?” she asked. “I would ask you when you last bathed if I dared.”

“Yeah, I do lay about all day. Why do you ask? It’s not like you cared. You left with the rest.” I shot back.

“As I recall, you tossed me out with the rest.”

“You don’t recall very well. I didn’t toss you anywhere!”

“You tossed out the women who inspired you. You didn’t have any other inspiring things around?” She asked.

I fleetingly though I caught a wisp of genuine concern from her, but quickly dismissed it as wishful thinking.

“Apparently not. I usually write for someone’s approval. My ego just doesn’t hold much in the way of inspiration for me. Besides, I didn’t toss them out. They left.”

“If they were smart, they fled.” She cackled in that annoying way of hers.

“Well, whatever. They are gone, and I shut the door behind them. Jeesh. They really believe I am going to ‘have a cup of coffee’ with them some day. Why do women do that?”

“And you moped around for three years afterwards?”

“Yeah. I did. Turns out I also had an undiagnosed illness that made an emotional wreak out of me. I wasn’t prepared for that, and was doubly shot down. So tell me why you ask.”

“Cripes, what a mess you are. I think you need to get a new set of lounge clothes, get a professional barbering, and start sitting straight at the keyboard.”

“You don’t look so good yourself.” I snarled

“At least I am dressed. You are still in your damned PJ’s.” She retorted

“At least they are not ragged. You too busy to stop by Goodwill for a new skirt? That ragged thing went out of style in 1972. And a red Rayon blouse?”

“What would you know about style, hero? You write like Mickey Spillane.”

“Yeah. I do. When I write. I dunno, I have never really ever tried to develop a style. Besides, Spillane made tons of money writing like Spillane.”

“Spillane made lots of money by writing.”

“Well, money isn’t the object at this point. Just catching a theme that could hold my attention for more than three days would be remarkable progress.”

“So you haven’t done anything with Akashaic?”

“No. I set up a timeline, pared some of the characters and demoted some more, and wrote bios for the remaining ones, but the story has sat for three years. I started a series called Shaman in the Sagebrush, but it got mostly ho-hum comments, so I shelved it.”

“And your Journal?”

“I started three or four sites on multiply.com® and one on Blogster®. But I really am not all that social, and the current crop of lefties are ignorant, effete asses, though most of them pat themselves on the back for their stellar intelligence. I think their trashing of Paula Jones back in the Clinton era exposed them enough for me.”

“Geesh. You still bitching about Clinton? You are an anachronism.”

“Don’t use big words, it confuses the lefties. Anyway, I am migrating my Journal over to WordPress® and my writings over to Blogger®. I may link to them from Blogster® for a time if it works, but it appears that most people on Blogster wont do links, so I may lose many of them.”

“Are you going to pick up Akashaic now?”

“No, I think I’ll journal for a bit, tell some vignettes, and maybe try my hand at simple poetry for a bit. I am not ready to bury myself into an epic now.”

“Well, hero, I am here if you need me.” she said, giving a little wiggle on top of the monitor.

I averted my eyes.

~r

A wave offering

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Counting the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot (starting with the second day of Passover) is essentially a Biblical command: “You shall count for yourselves, from the morrow of the rest day [of Passover], from the day you bring the Omer as a wave offering seven weeks; they shall be complete. You shall count until the day after the seventh week, [namely,] the fiftieth day”.

This is the first day of the counting of Omer.

It is another of those mysterious Jewish traditions where we begin count barley stalks for the days and sheaves for the weeks. The scriptures tell us to count the days, and to count the weeks. So today, across the world, some streams of Judaism will wave one barley stock and recite an ancient blessing.

There are seven daily blessings, and seven weekly blessings. At the end of all this counting is Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks. And according to the holy writs, fifty days after leaving Egypt, the Israelites were given the Torah, or the Law as some are wont to call it.

It also points to another future event. Some feel that it will mark the beginning of the rebuilding of Temple, which brings a whole host of other problems, namely that the Muslims have built a gilded mosque on top of the ruins of the Temple.

There be wars and rumors of wars … a warning to Christians and Jews alike. For that matter, the atheists among us need to be a bit worried too.

Anyway … waiting for the flooring salesman this morning. We are putting new floors in the guest room bathroom and the studio bathroom, and installing handicapped toilets in the studio. Not that we are handicapped, but rather I like the idea of not having my chin on my knees when I use the potty. We have a “Jack and Jill” bathroom between my study and Snookums sewing room that we share during the day, so it has become a priority.

It is all good. I have time to journal and listen to talk radio this morning along with some coffee sippin’ while waiting. And this is the day Snookums volunteers at a local food bank for a few hours in the afternoon, leaving the house to me and the animals.

But along with my new studio, and improved view, I see all the undone yard work. Broken tree limbs need to be cut into firewood. An unassembled concrete birdbath awaits removing an older plastic one. The front lawn needs over seeding. The driveway needs weed killin’ … and life goes on.

Good morning!

Monday’s Journal

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Writing-1

Late Monday morning … breakfast is done.  Kippur the budgie scolds me as I sit down to write a morning journal. I think spring has actually arrived here in my little corner of paradise. The fields around me are a cautious green after the long droughts. They have been fooled too many times by sudden rainstorms that rolled through weeks apart, so the wildflowers are not showing like they normally do.

I mowed the verges last week, then read that the monarch butterflies are thin this year, and need milkweed plants to survive. I normally leave an un-mowed patch of wildflowers and weeds somewhere in the yard, but wasn’t thinking much about it when I mowed this year.  Ah Well.

Jenna, our white possibly American Shepard escaped today, but returned home after an hours romp through the neighborhood. I am always glad to see them return, because there is a busy narrow road on the East side of the property, and there is not enough room for a car t

 

o dodge an animal. Every trip to town reveals a new free ranging pet lying on the road.

It is time to set out the tomatoes in their hanging baskets. Last year I tried those “Topsy-Turvy” baskets, and they worked ok, but are definitely ugly. I am going to try making my own out of heavy plastic pots that look like they are terra cotta.

I am reopening my WordPress® blog. My time at Blogster was a disaster in the making. I am just not tolerant enough for social sites anymore. I think one post denigrating “Fux” news that got a lot of chuckles sort of unhinged me. Not that I am such a big fan myself, but the p

eople who denigrate it are the same people who believe they are so diverse, but in reality are very narrow group thinkers who despise half of their fellow citizens.

Ah well. Here on WordPress® and Blogger® you subscribe to the blog, not the service. I’ll link the blogs facebook® and perhaps twitter. If people want to subscribe, they can, and if it is too much work for them, they won’t.

Anyway, life goes on here in the heart of Texas, spring arrives on the grasslands, and in Rusty.

Good morning!