Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot. - Charlie Chaplin

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The post that wasn't...and is

As you can tell from my last post, I'm quite the nostalgic fella.  I've always been, and when not nostalgic for something, some idea, some one or some place from my own past, then I look to which existed150+ years ago.

It all began with two books: one on the American Revolution and one on the American Civil War.  They and several friends came to my brother and I via family friends, who, I'm guessing, were cleaning out their bookshelves.  I immediately remember the smell.  I was in third grade when I first cracked them open and I'll always remember the smell.  It could've been the paper they were printed on, the glue in the binding, maybe the type of wood they sat on since first being purchased in the late 60s.  Whatever it was they had a smell.  They were used but not abused by any means, their dust jackets taking the brunt. 

I toted these two with me to school squirreling them into my desk, anxiously waiting until break time when we gnashed on soft pretzels (15 cents each!) and escaped into little groups or an individual oasis for about 15 minutes.  To me, the words weren't as important as the pictures; men decked out in uniforms of all kinds, accouterments hanging off of them, armed with rifles and swords going head-long, brave, into battle.   

I was with a college class visiting a local museum, when, as I rounded a corner, I saw it. 

Nation Makers by Howard Pyle - Brandywine River Museum

Stopping in my tracks, I looked to a classmate, excitedly explaining how I remember seeing the painting in a book when I was little.  It wasn't because it was considered amazing artwork, or that it was by Howard Pyle.  No, it because back in the classroom, I saw myself marching through the fields of high grass, smelling the spent powder lacing the air, feeling the breeze that fluttered the tattered flag.  I had not returned to a familiar painting, but a familiar place.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Where'd my post go?

Had one typed up and it went away . . . no clue why.  Maybe it was a boring post and my computer just couldn't take it.  Too tired, gonna post tomorrow-ish.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

catch and release

I just gotta draw your attention to the bottom of the page, past all of my posts, to the fish.  Place your mouse arrow over the "water" and they'll come swimmin' up, looking for food.  "Click" to drop some food.  I didn't wanna do it, but that little boy Matt welled up in me and screamed "FISHY!" clicked on the gadget and now look.   

My brother and I received fish as a first pet, three of them:  Alvin, Simon and Theodore.  Apparently I wanted to be a vet at that age and had a habit of taking them out to do check ups.  Luckily I wasn't at the age for some of my other firsts and they generally made it back before going to the big tank in the sky; first pocket knife, first fry-pan, first sushi for example.

We went fishing as well, walking down a long field along side our grandfather; a former machinist, coal miner and Navy vet, who retired to a life of all kinds of tinkering and diligently tending an annually large field of strawberries.  It took a lot to drag Pap away from the weeds of his strawberry patch, but on most summer afternoons we succeeded, rippling the smooth face of the water with our lures until sun-down.

Taking our catch back to my grandparents' deep sink next to the washing machine, we'd watch our new finned friend swim and after washing and a quick snack, we'd watch them, well, die.  And I will say it that bluntly because luckily there were people in my life growing up that didn't sugar coat the fact that to eat we'd have to kill Charlie Tuna (er, Bass).  After the deed was done, the fish sometimes went into something I now wish I had, the smoker.  It was the only cooking I knew my grandfather to do and he did it well.  

After dinner my parents, brother and I would stroll back down to my grandparents screened-in porch.  For the life of me I can't tell you what we all may have talked about, but I'll always remember the cocktail of smokey fish, pretzels and beer, carried around the room on the sweet country breeze.  It would be the last visages of the day before I fell asleep on my dad.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

fleeting bloggery

I tried blogging about three times while I was on vacation, one entry made it through.  It was the first one, I wrote it at my parents' house.  I had a few paragraphs typed up those other two times and just didn't, I dunno, want to post them.  I made something that was on the internet ephemeral, able to select the whole block of text and hit DELETE.  I didn't feel the need to fill in a blog entry just to do it.  But the funny thing is, the thinking process, the writing and the ultimate deletion felt good.  It felt like the blog fulfilled its purpose if only to be a white box, there to fill with black, Arial text for 10 minutes.    

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

inconvenient truths

If there are speed bumps in life, I've hit one.  More of a speed hump; I've hit the plateau and really want to get to that drop off on the other side.  If only it was just ME hitting this hump it wouldn't be so bad.  In short my family is in a crazy state of flux, where up isn't up and left is right.  Death, joblessness, uncertainty and ultimate depression are plaguing this second-half of 2010, and doing it efficiently.  

Vacation has yet again begun in a fog.  I wish it would take only another tattoo to come out of it, or a good beer, or meal, or maybe a sunny day with a cool breeze.  Let's hope.