Category Archives: A Pocket of Resistance

A potpourri of posts on a variety of topics, in other words, what’s currently on my mind.

Excessive Length Gives Way to a Short Thought

The photo below is of a Mexican fan palm. i am working on stuff i want to capture but it’s turning into a tome. So, let’s go with a thought i had when i found the photo.

These suckers can get upward of sixty feet tall. This one was dropped as a seed into our front side yard by some unknown bird. i thought it would add to the local aura of our landscape. It, along with another planted by another bird dropping a bit later looked like a permanent fixture.

Hey, i’m from Lebanon, Tennessee. i am not an agronomy expert for high desert vegetation. Those Mexican fan palms grew rapidly. i was pleased with the look…but then they grew. When the fronds died, they hung ugly off the top until they reached over 20 feet. i cleaned them up until my ladders wouldn’t let me reach the fronds. The tree trimming guy came out, trimmed the dead stuff off and charged me 200 bucks. i recognized the charges would increase exponentially as these things continued to reach for the sky.

i had the tree guy cut them down and removed the stump and roots. A good decision.

Of course, i had this beautiful Labrador, Cass, who knew long before me and showed his contempt for Mexican fan palms. He was right. If you look closely in the center of the fan palm, Cass showed his contempt:


Easter Sunday has passed. It was a wet one.

Southwest corner weather has returned to the Southwest corner today.

i have taken up my seat on our patio looking up on our slope and my flag. i will not include another photo as i am sure you have seen enough of those.

Those slope photos remind me of when i was carrying Korean troops to Vietnam and back to Pusan. i had purchased the finest quality and most expensive Nikon cameras and lenses with absolutely no sense of financial responsibility or in defiance of such responsibility to which i had been required to adhere while still living at home. Impressed with my newly found hobby, i took about three thousand photos of sunsets and sent them to my parents back in Tennessee, along with a few others of new friends and sights. When i returned to Lebanon, my father commented he didn’t know anyone could take that many photos of sunsets.

i will have to ascend and descend that slope tomorrow and put one of the chairs, which the storm winds blew over, back into its place. But tonight, i rest, waiting for another of Maureen’s gourmet meals and the Padres telecast.

One lone, large leaf blows slowly across the lawn and hardscape, pausing for a while and then moving on to the bushes by the stucco fence separating our side yard from our neighbors. The leaf’s trek was a stately retreat from the wind.

i recall when back home growing up, there were few fences between homes. We had an old one on the back of our property: a wire fence with wood posts and a strand of barbed wire running along the top. A hedge covered most of it and an opening about three feet wide was in the northeast corner where only the top wire, barbless, remained. Jimmy Nokes once told me when in his preteens, he had snuck out one night and was gamboling around town one his one-speed Schwinn bicycle (with a metal basket on the handlebars and likely with baseball cards in the spokes). He decided to cross the Loomis’ yard on Pennsylvania Annex behind our house and take a shortcut to Castle Heights Avenue through our yard. He saw the opening and hit it. His head caught that lone top wire, and he crashed with a scream. My father heard the commotion and went out to see what it was. Jimmy always thought the world of my father because he picked Jimmy up and checked on him, straightened up the bike sending Jimmy on his way and never told Big Jimmy Nokes.

i sit here with the sunlight sliding down behind the slope. It is a lovely time of Southwest corner day but cool enough for a long sleeve top.

Our Easter weekend with our daughter and her man was one of the best of the many wonderful ones i can remember. We didn’t do a lot, went to the botanical garden and museum, ate at some pretty cool places, sat around and watched sports, movies, and comedy serials.

But you see, i was in my daughter’s place. She was happy. She and Aaron (and Scooby, their puppy) have it worked out. They are happy.

And if there is anything that can make me happy, it’s knowing my family members are secure and happy.

Now that’s a good Easter.

A Day Early

Tonight, we are headed to Mabel’s Gone Fishing, one of favorite eating places.

This is for Maureen’s 73rd birthday. She has given me the okay to play golf on her actual birthday tomorrow.

i have written a lot about her. She says too much. i have included a lot of photos of her. She says too much. She may be right, but i can’t stop. i’m a lucky man, far luckier than i realized when we sort of jointly proposed to each other about 43 years ago.

Our love has grown. We keep finding ways we match or fit together because we don’t match.

Even our slope is celebrating her birthday. The coral trees are not completely in bloom but you can see a few buds in the foreground.

About too many photos, this is a brief pictorial history of one heck of a woman:

Happy Birthday, dearest Maureen.

Bat 2, Maureen & jim 0

The photo here is not a dirt dauber’s nest. It is in the top of our breezeway between the garage and house entrance. That little dark blob is a bat.

About a half year ago, we were getting droppings in our breezeway every morning. Maureen swore it was rats. That didn’t make sense to me, but i went along with her assessment. i know better than disagree…she’s usually, usually, right. But we hired this guy to get rid of some gophers that had decided our slope was an attractive abode. As he was leaving one day, i asked him about the droppings. He got down on one knee, looked closely at the droppings and then, looked up. He pointed to the dark blob i thought was…yep, a dirt dauber’s nest, and said “bat.”

i asked him how to get rid of the bat. He said when the bat had gone out for his nightly rounds to paint the area where he slept at night. i waited until dark, saw the bat was on his rounds, got out my tallest ladder, and painted the area. i woke early and as first light was showing, checked the breezeway. The bat had returned. Then Maureen read about a concoction to spray in the area that the bat didn’t like, boiled water, sugar, and peppermint oil. The next evening, i sprayed. The bat went somewhere else. He was gone. We rejoiced.

Fast forward to about a week ago. Maureen came in one morning to report the bat was back on the other side of the breezeway top. She made another batch of the magic elixir. Last night, when our buddy had headed out, i sprayed. This morning we were elated when no bat was where i sprayed. About an hour later, Maureen came inside laughing.

“He’s back in his original hangout,” she laughed. i laughed with her.

Bat 2, Us 0.

Tonight, i will spray again. Wish us luck as i am thinking this could become an Abbott and Costello routine.

i wished Sarah were here. When she was young, she and i would often go to the zoo. She always wanted to first go to the bat exhibit, a large cage. We would watch the bats hang out for a while and hit some other places that day. But each time, we would always go to the bat cage first.

i was also enthralled when Sarah and Blythe took me to that bridge in Austin, Texas. It was famous for the thousands of bats that hung out underneath the bridge. When startled and they took off, it was a sight to behold.

i like bats and am just glad we only have one for competition.

As long as he’s only one.