Category Archives: A Pocket of Resistance

Batter Up

he could see the curve ball coming;
he knew it was going to break;
the score was 4-3, the count was 3-2;
a runner was on second;
’twas the 9th inning of the game:
the game on the line;
the hurler, known for his fastball,
was sure you were looking for heat;
had he thrown the heater,
he knew that he would fan;
he adjusted for the breaking stuff;
at least that was his plan;
the pitcher took his stride toward home;
the right arm released the horsehide;
he took his short stride to swing;
the pitch he quickly realized
was coming at his head;
he knew it was a curve ball;
he could tell by seeing the spin;
his reflexes then took over;
ignoring his well-thought plan;
he ducked away from the missile;
then it started to break;
down and away it tumbled,
catching the outside of the plate;
the would-be slugger shrugged.
his dream of being the hero
against the foe’s best arm
had not worked out as planned;
the at-bat and game were over.

the batter had struck out.


i climbed up our hill
to get away, reflect;
news today had not been kind;
i wished to reflect in the quiet
before sunset.

the sun, reflecting through the mist,
set above the Pacific
with about a quarter of an hour
before descending below the horizon
gave me the quiet
i desired for reflection.

wisps of cirrostratus clouds
were haloed in white brightness
turning pink and gray
as twilight beckoned
while Lupus the wolf
along with
Scorpio the scorpion
waited to pounce on their prey
just below the horizon
with Venus viewing the beauty
of it all from above.

the light and colors constantly
changed their makeup
as the lucky ole sun
began to sink;
she had joined me
to share my sadness;
she was needed support.

i smiled a faint smile.

i looked where the sun had gone
along the Pacific horizon
which was indifferent to
Magellan’s order to halt its tide
several years ago.

my world was changing
in my view
with time marching on
I was struck that
in many ways,
we all are alone
must answer to ourselves
how well we have lived,
are living,
will live

just like the sun.

Vega in the Morning

The other morning, i retrieved the paper in the dark, about a half-hour before first light as it is in winter in the Southwest corner. In winter here, Venus is below the horizon. She, the morning star is magical to me, and in other seasons when she is visible, i say good morning to her as i stand on our driveway near the end of the cul-de-sac.

But when she is gone, i turn my attention to Vega, the second brightest star in the northern hemisphere. Vega shines upon me above the airlines flight path to what Lindbergh Field used to be called. She sits in the highest end of the arm of Lyra, as her constellation is called, or lyre. This one was Orpheus’ lyre, which was placed there when he was stoned to death by jealous women, whose clamoring and noise blotted out the music Orpheus made that charmed women and about everything else due to the beautiful music Orpheus played with the original lyre made by Hermes, the “herald” Greek god…or so it goes.

Now, i can’t, nor have ever been able to charm women, especially with my limited musical talent, but i do love music. Vega and Lyra are a good way for me to start the winter morning.

i don’t think Orpheus ever played “Honky Tonk,” although he could have been playing it along with Bill Doggett at the Hazelwood swimming pool in 1956 Lebanon, Tennessee. i was sitting on a blanket in the poolside grass after a dip when it played. It was blaring over the speakers of the rambling recreation structure at the shallow end of the pool.

i moved then to the the guitar and the saxophone just like this morning. Inspired by Lyra, i put it on when i came back into my home office. The door was closed. Maureen was still asleep. i moved again, swaying to the music.

Enchanting? It certainly is to me.

i’ll let you judge for yourself.

If you would like to listen to another splendid version and move some more, i reckon you should look up Jimmy Smith’s version on YouTube. Jimmy, who also ran a Cajun restaurant in San Diego, could make magic out of anything he played.

i’m sure Hermes and Orpheus would be pleased even if there isn’t a lyre in either orchestra.

Eve in the Air

Well, it’s one hell of a way to start a new year, somewhere over Arkansas…almost a week late.

i can understand how the meltdown of Southwest Airlines could occur and shall not complain except it would have been easier if they had let us know our Tuesday morning flight home was cancelled.

We would have likely remained on Signal Mountain and had Christmas with the Duff family. They had moved the celebration because Mama and Papa Duff had another round of COVID during Christmas proper. We got a limited time with Allie, Max, Culley, and Olivia, then headed to Nashville on the shuttle with no notice we would be stuck. But no notification. Nothing. i found out as we checked into our Nashville hotel, preparing for our morning flight home the next morning. Not.

It worked out, once again bailed out by Henry and Brenda Harding, who put us up. They remain home away from home, a status Henry has had for at least 73 years.

We got our meat and three, although we narrowed it down to a meat and two at Snow White, an erstwhile replacement for the defunct Sunset Restaurant, a staple of mine since the 1950’s. We visited four of our favorite haunts in Nashville: the Frist Art Museum, where we wished my sister Martha had been with us as the Asian textile art exhibit was jaw dropping fabulous; the lobby of the old Union Station, now revived as a Marriott Hotel to the point that even a draft beer at the bar is elegant; Barcelona Wine Bar is one of our favorite tapas bars including its namesake on the Mediterranean coast of Espana (oh, where or where is that little symbol, the tilde used on Spanish “n?”); and Darfon’s in the center of the airport hotel area is a great place for a traveler’s break.

But now, we are almost home. The three-forty five start will likely put us in bed before the bewitching hour. That’s okay. As Martina Clarke responded to my plans during the overlay, we made “lemonade out of lemons.”

Well, we hit Dallas, made it to the Southwest corner in the drear and mist. Luggage is unpacked. Mail and packages are opened. We ain’t gonna make wake until midnight.

Now, onto another year. In twenty days, i will be one year shy of 80, i.e. 79. To be honest, i am running down the last runway. That runway could be pretty long. If i match my parents, i will have about twenty years remaining. But i’ve lived a bit wilder life than they did. So even though it looks alright right now, it could be short.

Therefore, i’m getting ready. My first task is to get my “kick the bucket” business in order. This is to make a guide for all the paperwork and folderol required for those left behind: trusts, wills, cleaning out my stuff, designating what i leave goes to whom (if they want it) and how other affairs should be addressed. i’ve seen too many folks and even been one myself to have to deal with some pretty big messes.

i’m even writing my own obituary. And then, i’ll go back home in a small urn buried next to my parents. Home the sailor will be from the sea.

Gotta tell you it ain’t likely all is gonna be done before i go, even if i live to about 236 years old.

More immediately, i’m backing off my full court press on marketing Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings. If someone wants me to talk about the book, i’ll be glad to do so, but i’m not going to go chasing such things. It’s work.

Instead, i plan to do what i enjoy most. Writing. Here. i only see possibly one book in the future, at least in the near future. i hope to repackage my poem/stories about “Willie Nod” with the illustrations my daughter Sarah has drawn. i initially began writing them for Blythe when she was five years old. i continued to write them for Sarah when she came along and then again for my grandson Sam. If any of. you reading this indicate you would like to have one, i will reassess what path to take to make them available.

i have several projects in mind in addition to posts that pop into my head.

Several folks have inquired about my putting a book together of my newspaper articles and columns. i plan to go back and republish them here on a periodic basis. Hopefully, the first will be tomorrow. You know, the first day of 2023.

Next, i’m going to pretend to be Charles Dickens. That man published most of his novels in serial form in his magazines. i am thinking of doing that right here, folks. i plan to start with my tale “A Tale of the Sea and Me,” a history of my time in the Navy. Being the tale of a mariner, it is a bit too salty for number of my friends, but it is me, it is my time at sea. All lines clear. Underway.

The number of my friends around my age are dwindling. It is the way of life. One of the certainties in this world is if you live, you will die. It’s just damn hard to accept when it happens to others before it happens to me.

So, for all of you, live it to the fullest.

For friends from one to ninety-three, have a wonderful, incredible, awesome, healthy, and bountiful 2023.

Good night, 2022. We hardly knew you.

On the Eve

The below was written last year, the day before the big eve. We are not “home” this year but home for Christmas. We’ve been in this home for Christmas almost every year since 1992. Mr. Mean COVID kept us away for two years. it is good to be back. My sister Martha and her husband Todd Duff’s home looks like a Currier, and Ive’s scene for the big day, and the big eve like today.

There is even a skiff of snow on the ground. It’s colder than any Christmas we’ve experienced here. Yeh it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

i just finished reading today’s lead story in The Wall Street’s Journal (of all things) Art section about “The Annunciation.” It is an extremely wonderful piece of journalism about the meaning of Christmas, a meaning i can buy into…lock, stock, and barrel.

And what i wrote last year back in the Southwest corner seems so appropriate:

The fire in the hearth was really not needed. It was in the low 50’s outside, high 60’s inside. A rain storm was moving in for the weekend. The rain, the fire, the decorated and lighted tree in the corner evinced the feeling of Christmas.

Handel’s “Messiah” was playing. We read. No television. No movies. The heat was off and the interior temperature was moving lower. The fire was good.

i felt still. Quiet. The beautiful and amazing work of Handel filled the sir. The fire’s heat warmed me. i looked at the tree and thought about how this holiday thing has morphed over the years. With all the lights, commercials, decorations to the hilt, Hallmark tear jerker movies, movies upon movies, this idea of Christmas seems to be hidden behind the decorations on the tree.

Lots of folks don’t believe, don’t care about the meaning. Some question the veracity of Jesus’ birth. Some, especially the older ones, don’t believe in Santa in spite of what Francis Church wrote to Virginia.

You know what. i don’t care.

Not true.

i don’t care if people spend too much, emphasize the giving , the meals, the church services, or the decorations too much, or even the plethora of sports around and even on Christmas Day.

Sitting in my chair, that quiet, still feeling gave me hope, hope that even with all that distracting stuff, all of us would stop for just a second and hope along with me that there would be:

“…on earth peace, good will toward men.”

That is what i care about. i think that covers it.

Merry Christmas.

…and i add once more: Peace on Earth.