Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Caught in the headlights...

Caught in the headlights...
The author of Mark's Work, at the botanical gardens inFort Bragg...

Baseball been veddy good to me

Baseball been veddy good to me
SmallBoy doing his thing in the outfield...

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
C D B's... D B's R G's

Gluten-Free Mama and Ben-Jam-Man

Gluten-Free Mama and Ben-Jam-Man
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Butterflies know what's up.

If you've seen one skink, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one skink,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Hands R Us

Marigold

Marigold
June gems

Foxy lady.

Foxy lady.
Foxes are back.

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

markyboy1231@hotmail.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Time Capsule


The Time Capsule
You find the most interesting things inside time capsules, if you ever get the opportunity to check one out. I did recently, when my friend with whom I went to high school, paid me a visit up here on the mountain. John lives down in SoCal but has two adult children who have relocated to the Bay Area, one who has presented John and his wife, Brenda, with their first grand-baby

John and I graduated in 1970, so that’s a cool forty-five years ago. The first thing you think (I imagine) is, “Man, that’s old.” And that’s one point I am making. You can’t do this stuff until you are old; otherwise, it’s not much of a time capsule.

This particular time capsule contained memories, and those are the best kind. The interesting thing, though, is that John’s memories and mine would occasionally find themselves at odds with one another. For instance, he mentioned in passing that he remembered in particular, swooping me up when he was with some friends, and whisking me off to a Neil Diamond concert, one hot summer’s night.

Now I was a Neil Diamond fan, and John and I attended many concerts together, but I never saw Diamond in concert. So when John mentioned that little anecdote, I had to tell him that it was not I who went to that concert with him, since I had never seen the man perform. He was dumbfounded and even debated with me about it.

Then he got serious and googled the specific concert (“Hot August Night”) and came up with a date: August of 1972. Ah ha, I exclaimed, finally able to prove to him that I had not been along on that particular gig. Where was I in August of 1972, I inquired of him, and then he got it. 

7,000 miles away, defending my country on hostile shores, in the Land of the Morning Calm, South Korea. (Actually, I spent sixteen months in an office where we cut orders for those lucky enough to be going home.)

I countered with a casual mention of a particular friend who I thought I remembered John mentioning had passed away. He looked at me in surprise. “Jerry?” he asked. “No way. He is still with us. You say I told you that?”

“I thought you did but maybe I was dreaming.” What I might have said if I were talking to someone here on the mountain, is “I thought you did but I may have been high on the s**t.” With John there was still that conversation to be had.

When I wrote “Scraps of Tin Foil” (http://markyswrite.blogspot.com/2015/05/scraps-of-tin-foil.html) the other day, I alluded to an earlier conversation in which I had expressed concern that my need to take my meds (a bong rip) every so often, would produce discomfort with my SoCal guests. I was going to ask him before he left how that all worked out for them, but I didn’t find the ideal opportunity, so I passed on the question.

Another huge bubble was burst when I found out he was not a Los Angeles Dodgers fan. I was flummoxed because we had attended several games together in the company of a big part of our social circle. It turns out that he had been an Angels fan since they arrived in 1962 and had gone to the Dodgers games because it was fun and that’s where the rest of us were going.

The reason why this revelation was so significant, is because it opened the door for some remarkable dialogue between the two of us, since we were fans of two different leagues. I admit I had been anticipating asking him [as a Dodger fan] how LA folks could tolerate the antics of Yasiel Puig, but when I found out he is an Angels fan, it made things sweet.

I told him that I had been impressed with Mike Trout and how he had seemed to possess all of the five necessary tools to be successful in Major League baseball. John thought that was great because he said that often fans did not seem to give Trout his due. We watched parts of a couple of Giants broadcasts and it was highly enjoyable.

The time seemed to fly past when John and Brenda were here, and Annie and I enjoyed the visit immensely. I had a thousand questions lined up, and I only got about one-tenth of them asked, so I know there will be a repeat engagement.

Down in SoCal, perhaps?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Scraps of Tin Foil




Scraps of Tin Foil

I graduated from high school in 1970, was drafted into the US Army sixteen months later, and relocated to NorCal after I had served my two-year sentence in the Big Green Machine. In fleeing the San Gabriel Valley and eventually ending up in the northern-most section of Mendocino County, within hiking distance of Humboldt, I left a lot behind, most of it intentionally.

Mixed in there, though, were a couple of treasured possessions, if friendships can be considered as such. I have often reflected on that adage which proclaims that if a friendship lasts seven years, it will last a lifetime. I have many acquaintances but few friends in my life, but one friend I do have is John, with whom I went to high school. 

We were classmates as freshmen and sophomores-acquaintances only, really-and then we became friends. The summer following my second year of high school, I expanded my social horizons, and I joined a group of acquaintances who started informally gathering to play baseball. Sometimes there were plenty of guys, sometimes as few as four or five, so we would play Over the Line.

A huge factor was that our friend Eddie had gotten his driver’s license, and could chauffeur us around in style, in his parents’ Buick Electra. Eddie had made the varsity football team as a lineman and he had his license, but it never went to his head. 

And he smoked cigarettes, as his dad did. He smoked a lot. He was intelligent, witty and courteous, and now he’s gone, one of the few friendships I had that was swallowed up in that forty-five-year gap.

The single, thread-like strand that still attached me to SoCal, was the annual Christmas card that arrived each Holiday Season with a vibrant picture of John and his family and the briefest of synopses of the previous year.

Sometimes I got it together to respond and sometimes I didn’t, but the process remained intact and eventually the 21st century caught up with us and I hooked up with John’s better half, Brenda, through Face/Book.

I was baffled in my earliest attempts to reconnect with my SoCal brothers and sisters, to find that there appeared to be a complete indifference to the social medium, upon which I had come to rely so heavily. My attempts proved futile except for the most perfunctory of responses, bland and distantly polite, as though I were possibly a family member of a former spouse, with whom one had to be tolerant, but certainly not effusive.

However, once I was on f/b with Brenda, it was pretty natural that John and I would exchange emails. He tried to talk me into going down to the desert a year ago March, for spring training, so that we could talk baseball and reconnect.

I was cautious, perhaps too much so, and warned him that there was some significant gappage between the north and the south-that is-of California, more’s the pity. How much would it bug him, I asked, when I stepped out back of the motel/stadium every couple of hours, to take my meds, aka hitting the bong?

John worked with numbers his whole life, and retired three years or so ago, except during tax season, after being informed by his smiling spouse that she was fine with it, as long as he still left the house every day at seven, and returned around five.

Brenda has such the sweet smile.

Heck, I never would have figured John for numbers ever since we were sophomores in geometry and he orchestrated the great tin foil caper. Mr. O’Dea had found it necessary to leave the room for some reason and John quickly distributed little scraps of foil to all willing participants. Oh, we were so willing.

Upon the instructor’s return and given the discreet signal from John (a broad smile, slowly rotated as many of the 360 degrees that his neck would allow), we ALL smiled, revealing tin foil-covered teeth, reflecting back the glare of the banks of florescent lights in a merry sort of fashion, if you looked at it from the miscreants’ perspective.

When Mr. O’Dea fled to find the dean, there was a flurry of silver streaks as we all disposed of the evidence. Mine went into one of my shoes, and my ruler, protractor, and sharpened pencil were readily at hand, as I contemplated our pending fate. 

When the door burst open and Mr. O’Dea, he of the beet-red face, came hurtling into the classroom, accompanied by Father Luke, there was nothing but the sight of bent heads to be seen. To a man, they were industriously groping with spatial relationships and shapes, hands furiously scribbling cogent notes and numbers for the sake of posterity, if not for the homework basket.

Asked to give him our undivided attention, we all complied, and when he asked about the tin foil, all we could do is shrug our shoulders collectively, and slowly shake our heads no, we knew nothing.

Oh yeah, we all smiled.

Next: “The Time Capsule