Thursday, November 23, 2023
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Quacking and waddling
hurriedly in our direction,
the ducks seem to intuit
that the containers we cradle
contain cat food meant for them –
though cats they are not.
They don't care what the food is called,
or what animal is depicted
eating it on the bag,
or about the therapeutic value
we find in feeding them.
They gobble down
the food we toss out
and waddle away when it is clear
the containers are empty.
I doubt they think about us
at all when we are not there.
But I – I have pictures
and this poem.
Friday, October 13, 2023
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Today I went on a drive north into the mountains. Here are a few of the pictures I took, the first three in Hiawasee, GA (including where I had lunch!), and the last two in Sylva, NC:
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Sunday, September 10, 2023
Today I took Gabriel to meet a friend of theirs at Hidden Cove Park in Decatur. The park doesn't have its own parking lot, but it's right behind Decatur's Westchester Elementary School, and, when school is not in session, park visitors can park there.
That's just what we did. I intended to take pictures of the park, which I did, but my favorite pictures from the day were taken at the elementary school:
Monday, September 4, 2023
I may not be a dog person, as I wrote back in July in musing about the dogs I had growing up, but I do like to hear people sing about their dogs.
In something I wrote for Instagram a couple of months ago as a commentary on a Peanuts cartoon, I referred to Grandpa Jones and "The Banjo Am the Instrument." Ever since then I've been listening, nearly but not quite completely exclusively, to a Spotify playlist of songs by Grandpa Jones. Among my favorites are those about dogs.
The dogs in these songs have names like Towser, Rattler, and Old Blue (maybe more of a description than a name, or a name that came from a description; who knows?), they all are dearly loved, and they are all used in hunting (mostly of racoons and opossums). I didn't even know there was a tradition in country music, or folk music, or wherever it came from, of songs celebrating dogs, but there seems to be, and Grandpa Jones carried on the tradition, singing about "good old Towser," and "Old Blue, you rascal you," and the rest.
So, while I myself don't have a dog and am not remotely interested in hunting, I love to hear Grandpa Jones sing about both.
Thursday, August 3, 2023
As I write this, we are in the midst of a heat wave, with temperatures all around the country approaching, in many places exceeding, one-hundred degrees. This picture is a reminder that it hasn't always been hot; sometimes, in fact, despite what Elyse believes, it even snows here in Georgia.
This is our house and front yard in Lilburn covered in snow. I'm not sure exactly when this picture was made, but it looks like probably the late 1970s or the early 1980s; I'm going to call it 1980. The car you can see most clearly in the carport is our 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and I'm pretty sure the car beside it is our 1977 Toyota Corolla; we had both of those cars, but not yet Dad's company car, the Cadillac, by 1980.
There's a pair of tracks in the picture, very near the bottom of the frame, in what would have been our neighbors' yard. They're very regular tracks, like a car's tire tracks, though I of course have no idea if they were made by a car or not. Our neighbors were the Winterses: Beverly, the divorced (I think) mother of two boys, Jeff and Kevin, who were enough older than me that we never went to the same school, but not so much older that they were already out of school when I started school. I found what I think is the mother's obituary online; if it is her, she also had an older son, Alan, of whom I have no memory; he may have already left the nest (as it were) by the time I became aware of the family next door. In any case, she, Beverly, lived until a little over two years ago. I have no idea when she moved away from Lilburn.
There's also visible in this picture a figure walking by the car. At least, that's what I think it is; it's hard to tell. It might even be me!
Thursday, July 27, 2023
I wasn't there that night, but I know this kitchen well. I had many a Christmas Eve dinner there in the 1970s and early 1980s, all many years before this picture was taken in the late '80s.
According to the timestamp on the picture, which I have cropped off in the version posted here (as I have cropped off the dog, at which Mom was looking when the shutter was snapped), this photograph was made a couple of days after Dad's birthday that year – 1987, when he turned forty-three. What we see here, then, is, I'm pretty sure, a Birthday Dinner; probably that year Dad's birthday fell on a weeknight or some night when Mom and Dad or Tommy and Kathy had other plans, so they celebrated my dad's birthday shortly after his actual birthday.
I'm not sure who took the picture, but there is in the picture some evidence of that person's presence: five chairs at the table, though only four people sit at it; five glasses of tea on the table; five plates; etc. Someone clearly rose, camera in hand, and recorded the night for posterity, as they recorded a few other scenes from that night, but I don't know who that camera-wielding person was.
Other things I don't know: Where I was, or Jeff, or my cousin Rick, that night. However, I do know this: By then we were all teenagers and surely not interested in having dinner with our parents, and too old to be made to do so.
This photograph was made twenty years before Tommy's passing in his late 50s. The house is no longer in the family, but it's still standing, and I drive by it periodically and marvel at how much it's changed. (That's true, actually, of a great many places.) I would love to see the inside of it, to see how much it's changed; I believe that the company that bought the property uses the house as an office, and I doubt it's changed dramatically, the living room and bedrooms making good offices as they were. I have great memories of going there and seeing Tommy and Kathy and playing with Ric. It is one of the important places of my youth, and I treasure the memory of it.
Saturday, July 15, 2023
Today we went to Fort Yargo State Park for a few hours. These are some of the pictures I took while we were there.
|This is the (relatively) new visitors center|
|Inside is the gift shop, which is pretty good, but kind of dominates the visitors center|
|Anna texted me this picture of the fort when she and Elyse were walking around it.|
Thursday, July 13, 2023
I'm not really what you'd call a dog person.
Not that you have to buy into the artificial binary of "dog people" and "cat people." I've known plenty of people who love both, perhaps even have one (or more!) of each as a companion. And some people don't like either; it's weird, they say, to let an animal have free reign in your home and even sleep in your bed. Sometimes I see it that way myself.
But most of the time, I'm a cat person.
Not in the Val Lewton sense, of course, but if I am going to give an animal free reign in my home and let it sleep in the bed with me, I would much prefer it be a cat than a dog. In fact, Anna and the kids and I do have three cats, all of whom do have free reign in our home and sometimes do sleep in the bed with us (until they get kicked out of the bedroom for pouncing on people who are trying to sleep), and zero dogs. Before we had kids, Anna and I had six cats (yes, all at the same time). We've never had any dogs, and don't intend to get any anytime soon.
However, I must say that a dog was a great pet to have for a little boy.
The first picture is me and my first dog, Spike, probably in about 1973 before I'd even started first grade. I didn't have Spike for long – as I remember it, the backyard of our house in Lilburn wasn't fenced in, and he just had that small corner to live in (you can't see it in this picture, but Dad built a little lumber and chicken-wire pen for him), and he got wild and unmanageable as he got older, and eventually Dad took him to the pound.
Pookie, the dog you see in the second picture, came to live with us shortly after that. We had the yard fenced in, and Pookie was my constant companion for the next…well, many years, until I lost interest in dogs and got more interested in guitars and science fiction and the other things that can sometimes pull a boy away from his dog. Nonetheless, as I remember it, Pookie was with us until after I graduated from college, more than sixteen years. I've never had another dog, but I have had lots of cats.
So, though I may now be a committed cat person, I started life as a dog person, which is just how I think it was supposed to be. Pookie was a great dog and, even if I don't want a dog in my life now, I'm glad I got to grow up with him.