Sunday, June 23, 2013


Long ago and far away there was a small group of friends. They socialized, joked, made music, and laughed when they didn't have to be serious about the job at hand. They studied hard (well, most of them), grew up and got on with their lives. But, when they got together every five years or so, there were remembrances of some old social faux pas. There was the one where the false eyelash dropped off of the eye and stuck on the cheek (alcohol was involved) and was noted by that evening's date as, "is there a caterpillar on your cheek?" Embarrassment  for both, but that is where the alcohol eased the awkwardness. Then there was the time when, totally sober, a guy remarked after noting quite heavy and colorful makeup on an acquaintance, "Did you just get done with rehearsal?" Answer, "No." Response, "Oh," while quickly turning to walk away. Guess I just wasn't used to seeing that much red, blue, green, and other non flesh tone colors on something other than a clown. Jeez, I was only eighteen. There were many other tales of embarrassment and awkwardness that were recalled. We had to be careful during these stories so that we had no liquid in our mouth, otherwise there would have been modern versions of these tales ("Remember when you spewed wine all over the hors d'oeuvres?").  We were all much wiser now. Here is a thorn among the roses forty years later.
I can look at things like this and hope we will all be here in the future. Some didn't make it, but for those who do we will be waiting.
The fun part about this is watching young ones go through this cycle and wondering what adventures they will have and hope their mistakes aren't big or serious and that their imaginations will take them places they saw in their dreams. This one is expecting to fly.
And this one is hoping to see beyond the horizon. The only way to do that is by going up.

With a little luck and good fortune we may all be back in five years to do it again. We stay in contact with phone, email, Facebook, and other ways, but face to face doesn't happen all that often. Amazingly enough, we are still recognizable and time hasn't been all that devastating. 

In the immortal words of David LaFlamme founder of "It's A Beautiful Day"

  Time is too slow for those who wait
And time is too swift for those who fear
Time is too long for those who grieve
And time is too short for those that laugh

And love is too slow for those who wait
And love is too swift for those who fear
Love is too long for those who grieve
And love is too short for those that laugh

But for those who love
But for those who really love
But for those who love

Sweet time
Precious time
Lovely time
All the time
Time, time, time, time...
is eternity

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Two weeks ago was my 40th (that’s right kids) reunion from college. It is in an idyllic town whose motto is “Home of cows, colleges, and contentment.” At the edge of the prairie sits this small, Lutheran-oriented institute of higher learning.  I was not the greatest student, but I muddled through. The military draft was still in place, but ended during my senior year, so I didn’t have to go off to Southeast Asia to kill people for some political reason or other. 

From "The Hill" to the Prairie.
Note the symbolic goal post on the football field. Reminds me of the song, "Drop Kick me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life".
It was fun to see that many of my class had good and productive lives and some happiness. Unbelievably, 37% (about 255) made it back to “The Hill” forty years after we graduated. There were doctors, lawyers, preachers (I did mention the Lutheran thing), data processors, housepersons, salespeople, artists, musicians, writers, and just about anything you can imagine. Marriages, divorces, children, out of the closet, cancers, aches, pains, surgeries, and a couple of dozen didn’t live this long. Several had achieved great humanitarian things, but overall someone thought we blew it. There was a great opportunity to make this world much better. We had the world by the short hairs, it seemed, but the entrenched culture and human condition was more than we could move. Sure, we made some advancements and eased some of humanity’s suffering, but we thought we could do so much more for the improvement of the species. Maybe we were just young idealists whose bubble was burst by the harsh realities of the world.
On the other hand we still could party pretty well for a bunch of people approaching geezerhood. Even I, who usually conks out by 9 or 10 in the evening, managed to stay out and up past midnight for two nights in a row! Downtown and Bridge Square were rocking all weekend and they even did a reenactment of the Great Jesse James Bank Robbery. The music was good and the beer was expensive and some of us regained that spring in our step. The next morning that was followed by the proverbial hitch in the get-along. 

Bridge Square

Our friend Ellen came with her father who was there for his 70th year class reunion. Unfortunately, only about 6 or 7 were able to make it to that one. He was a great guy with more hair than I have.  

The campus was even more spectacular with the addition of a few things. Here is a chime tower, the timber framing coming from my own local Folk School.
For a while they had me fooled as I thought they had actually grown these basaltic columns right in there own rock garden.

 Yes, colleges and universities are amazing places. Many important things have been discovered at research facilities. I was always told that if they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can make something out of you. I know they tried.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Where have I been?

Now that Spring is finally here the busy season has started. Everything outside is nearly a month late and so am I.  I have been planning to go to my 40th reunion of my college graduation, a trip to Europe with my friend Andie, and converting the farm to summer mode from winter mode. I am only gone 10 hours a day for the day job, but still it gets busy during waking hours. Luckily I got to an ortho doc to inject my knees and get rid of some chronic discomfort, so I could do all this with less distraction. They need replacing, but we will put that off for a while. I will fill you in on these events soon, I want to show you our regular visitors who, so far, only show up at night.
It has been an interesting month as the seasons change. The transitions can be fascinating and frustrating at the same time. Sometimes you get the red sky at morning.
Yes, I am an early riser. The big lake still has its off days, but fewer of them in the warm months.
Then there's the farm work to be done. This is a shot of Manure Mountain which is in a growth stage as I clean the paddocks. There is no soil up here to speak of, so this is a highly prized commodity where people actually seek it out in order to grow food and flowers. Made fresh daily!
I reached a milestone last weekend as I headed back to the campus of my alma mater where I received an education all those years ago. It was very cool. Stay tuned. Note the symbolic goal post.