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Slow Walking, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, C-41 film, photo © 2007-2019 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Slow Walking, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, C-41 film, photo © 2007-2019 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



In the spring of 2019, I signed up for Natalie’s online class Writing Down the Bones: Find Your Voice, Tell Your Story –– to remember who I am; to try to get back to a practice. It is slow. Liz encouraged me to take the film cameras out again. It reminds me of my roots. Photography is a practice to me. It is like breathing.

Liz returned from a photographic retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii in March. In late April, we walked the prairies and photographed the white willows at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Liz was shooting digital with the Fuji X100F and Sony A7 III. I grabbed the Minolta XD-11, the Canon Rebel EOS 2000, and a few rolls of film. A little rusty, I opened the back of the Canon Rebel to find undeveloped film inside. Whoops, light exposure! (The last time I developed found film, it turned out to be black and white Tri-X of my family from the 1990s.) I finished the rest of the roll and sent it off to be processed.

Now a photographer used to the instant gratification of an old iPhone 6s, I waited two weeks for the C-41 prints to be developed. The day they arrived, Liz and I ran out of National Camera Exchange and ripped opened the envelope in the front seat of her Subaru. There she was, Pedernal at Ghost Ranch. The way she looked over a decade ago at the four season retreat with Natalie.

Synchronicity.

I remember the group walking off to write haiku, swimming with koi in the pond, complaining about the heat. I remember falling behind and never catching up, walking alone by the cliffs and ridges, taking this photograph at Ghost Ranch. I think it’s a whiptail. Natalie would tell me I should know the names of the details around me. There was a photograph of her in the decade-old batch of C-41 prints that came back. She was walking down the road at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, headed back to her room after teaching. She glanced back at us; there was a smile on her face.

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P1080069

January Bear Moon, Olympus Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2012, photo © 2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.








Jewel of the North Woods
under the waning Bear Moon —
will you birth your cubs
on Lily's birthday? Or three days later,
when Hope's Spirit comes to play.









NOTE: Jewel the black bear is in the early stages of labor (you can watch at this link: Jewel’s Live Den Cam or check out the links in the poem to see Jim Stroner’s photographs of the bears). Jewel is a wild black bear, the sister of the famous Lily the Black Bear who gave birth to Hope on January 22nd, 2010 (we lost Hope last September during the 2011 Minnesota hunting season). If I remember correctly, it is Lily’s day of birth today, January 19th. I wrote the poem before I read the Wildlife Research Institute update tonight stating that it will be biologist Sue Mansfield’s birthday on January 20th (Happy Birthday, Sue!). The mystery remains, on whose birthday will Jewel of the Northwoods have her cubs?

The photograph was taken a few weeks ago at the Full January Moon. Liz and I went out into the urban Wild to photograph the Moon as she rose. Depending on your background, the January Moon is known as the Wolf Moon, the Cold Moon, and the Bear Moon (among many other names). It’s the Bear Moon all  month long, not just at the Full Moon, and is usually one of the brightest Moons of the year. Stay warm, Jewel. It’s -6 in the Twin Cities and -15 in Ely, Minnesota. We are watching your every breath.


-posted on red Ravine, , Thursday, January 19th, 2012, with gratitude to biologists Lynn Rogers & Sue Mansfield

-related to posts: haiku 4 (one-a-day) meets renga 52, MN Black Bear Den Cam: Will Lily Have Cubs?

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Black eyed peas auto

Black-Eyed Peas, Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2011, photo © 2011-2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


We are just about to dive into our rice and Southern black-eyed peas. A bowl of good luck to celebrate the New Year. It’s the anniversary of two couples that we know (Happy Anniversary!) and the birthday of our feline, Kiev. She was born January 1st, 1995 and turns 18 years old today. She will celebrate with her own tin of Fancy Feast Ocean Whitefish & Tuna Classic. Kiev is named after the city in the Ukraine and is the sister cat to a friend of Liz’s whose male cat was named Moscow. May he rest in peace.

Mr. Stripey Pants is sitting in a thunderbolt of sun, a zen-like state that makes me feel peaceful just looking at him. He is recovering well from his surgery. Happy New Year to red Ravine readers and people all over the world who are celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, and new beginnings. Peace, abundance, and prosperity on the journey through 2012. I hear it’s the Year of the Dragon. Does that include dragonflies?


Mane - 215/365



-posted on red Ravine, New Year’s Day, January 1st, 2012, Happy Birthday, My Familiar!

-related to posts: Dragonfly Wings — It Is Written In The Wind, Eye Of The Dragon Tattoo, Dragonfly Revisited: End Of Summer

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By Bob Chrisman

When I was eight, I received a new robin’s egg blue, girl’s bike for my birthday in May. I had selected that particular bike at the shop in the South End where we lived. I wanted a girl’s bicycle so I wouldn’t hurt myself every time I slid off the seat when I stopped. That always happened on boy’s bicycles and kept me from enjoying riding.

My father looked at the price tag and shook his head. “I don’t think we can afford this much. Let me talk with your mother.”

At eight years old, I had already heard that one phrase, “I don’t think we can afford this much” so often that I knew I would never own the bike I wanted. That’s the way things worked in my family: you didn’t get what you couldn’t afford and we couldn’t afford much at all.

On the morning of my birthday I ate my breakfast and opened my birthday cards. When I asked if I had any presents, my mother rolled the bicycle I’d picked out into the kitchen. “Your daddy and I decided that you were old enough to have this, even though it cost more than we would usually spend for a present. You’ve got to take good care of it. Okay?”

I leapt out of my chair and grabbed the bike before it vanished. Only when I held the handlebars in my own hands was it real. I had the bike I wanted.

Later that morning I opened the screen door and made sure to pull the bike out before the door slammed. I took it down all the stairs to the sidewalk and rolled it down the hill until I reached Ozark Street which was flat and graveled. Only then did I climb on my new bike and pedal along the street with the wind in my face. I felt so happy and so proud.

My friends congregated up the street and I rode my new bike up there to visit with them and show them my birthday present.

When I arrived, one of the boys said, “Hey, Bobby, why you got a girl’s bike? You a sissy?”

“No, I wanted a girl’s bike because it’s easier to get on and off. That’s why.”

“No, you’re a sissy. He’s a sissy, isn’t he?”

Everyone laughed.

Then the kid said, “I want to ride your sissy bike.”

“No, you can’t. It’s brand new. I just got it and I want to ride it for awhile before anyone else does.” I held on tight to the handlebars.

“Hey, sissy, that’s not very nice. But, I don’t want to ride a blue girl’s bike anyway.”

I turned around to ride home. The kids screamed names at me as I rode away. I’d reached the end of the block when a clunk sounded on my rear fender. A cheer went up from the kids. I crossed the intersection and started pushing the bicycle up the hill. When I was out of sight of my friends, I looked at the rear fender. Someone had thrown a big rock and dented and scraped a place on my new bike. I lost it. I couldn’t stop shaking and crying, but I pushed the bike up the hill, up the stairs and parked it on the porch.

My mother came running out of the house. “What’s wrong? Did you fall?”

I couldn’t speak so I pointed at the rear fender. My mother looked at the damage. “So that’s what you’re crying about? For heaven’s sake, it’s only a bicycle.”

No, it was so much more than that.


NOTE: WRITING TOPIC — MY FIRST BICYCLE is the latest Writing Topic on red Ravine. Frequent guest writer Bob Chrisman joined QuoinMonkey in doing a Writing Practice on the topic.

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By Bob Chrisman


The idea of spring cleaning stayed with me through the night, but vanished this morning, when outside, sleet peppered the streets. My tax appointment required me to catch the bus to go downtown. I rushed around and all thoughts about the meaning of spring cleaning disappeared.

As I pulled the front door closed behind me. The sound of sleet hitting the grass and trees sounded like the dry, clacking bones of dancing skeletons. What an odd association. I played with that idea as I walked.

Monday, February 28, would have been my father’s 97th birthday (and the third anniversary of my mother’s death). Perhaps they returned as dancing skeletons to remind me.

My relationship with my father has troubled me for years. I’ve written about it and published the pieces on red Ravine. The troubled times between us and the difficult life he lived aren’t all I remember about him. Perhaps the idea of the skeleton came to me as a spring cleaning of sorts, a chance to pull out the good memories I hold of him and air them.

From my dad I received a curiosity about the world and the people who inhabit the planet. My father observed the goings on around him. He liked to see how people acted in different situations and could predict what they would do. He frustrated me with that ability when he would say, “I can read you like a book.” And he could too, which made me mad.

My father read voraciously: books, magazines, newspapers, whatever printed words he could find. When he attended family gatherings he would collect reading material and retire to a chair where he would spend the time reading.

His greatest pleasure came when he found a box of books for sale. He bought it, carried it home and searched for reading treasures. The contents of those boxes rarely disappointed him because he liked books about any subject. Really he just liked books in general. He passed on that love to me.

He instilled in me the importance of questioning everything, especially religion. We had the Bible in various editions, which the late 1950’s required in the fight against godless communism, but we also had The Book of Mormon and the Quran. Although a Presbyterian, he didn’t believe that one denomination, or Christianity itself, had an inside edge over other religions or spiritual practices.

He knew how to fix cars and kept our used cars in working order. We never owned a new car, only different ones. He bought odd cars like the brown, streamlined Hudson with the plush interior when the cars of the time favored extravagant fins over aerodynamic design.

He brought home a Simca, a tiny French car, and probably the only French car in the entire city. Unlike most American cars, the gearshift stuck up out of the floor rather than off the steering column. When the shaft broke off one afternoon, Dad welded a metal bar in place and would have driven the car forever had the giant hole in the rusted floor board on my mother’s side not allowed water from a giant puddle to gush up and soak my mother’s favorite pair of Sunday shoes.

The last car he purchased before his stroke was a Corvair, the Nader deathtrap. I learned to drive in that car.

He loved the outdoors and took us on long drives through the countryside to see how the land was doing. Despite my hatred of those drives and my frequently voiced wish for Indians to scalp us, I learned to love the landscape around me. Seemingly pointless drives in the countryside bring me peace nowadays.

He helped out the neighbors. The elderly man next door spent a lot of time at a bar. He sang and shouted as staggered up the sidewalk. He fell. My mother would say, “Len, go help him. He won’t make it up those stairs to his house without hurting himself.”

Although Dad left for work at 5:30 a.m. and the neighbor returned home well after midnight, my father pulled on his pants and went outside to help the man home. Frequently my father assisted the wife in putting her drunk husband to bed. He never judged the man and never complained about the loss of sleep.

My funniest memory of Dad involves a Sunday morning church service. As an elder, he introduced applicants who, as a part of the hiring process for ministers, preached a sermon. During the weeks prior to that Sunday, Dad had worked many long hours and not had much sleep. He introduced the minister and then sat down in one of the plush, red velvet cushioned chairs on the platform and promptly fell asleep. My father snored like an approaching tornado.

Aunt Annie, director of the adult choir, motioned for someone to wake him up. Despite a variety of hand signals, no one moved. My father snored his way through a rather lengthy sermon. When the guest minister finished, he waited for Dad to announce the final hymn, but my dad had died to the world.

My aunt asked the choir and congregation to stand and sing. Dad slept on. When the ministerial candidate realized that my father wouldn’t say any final words, the young man approached the podium. “I hope I’m not responsible for Mr. Chrisman’s sound sleep.” My father remained oblivious to the world and to the congregation’s laughter. The minister shrugged his shoulders and walked down the aisle alone to the main door to shake hands with members of the congregation. That incident became a church and a family legend.

As I write, sleet continues to fall. The skeletons dance outside my window. In my mind spring cleaning reveals fond memories of the man I called my father. Happy Birthday, Dad!




About Bob: Bob Chrisman is a Kansas City, Missouri writer who frequently writes memoir about his family. His last pieces for red Ravine were Exit The Telephone, Desecration Day, and Uncle Howard At The Cemetery.

Other pieces of Bob’s in which he writes with humor and compassion about his family members include: Aunt Annie’s Scalloped Oysters and The Law Of Threes. He also published these pieces about the life and death of his mother: Hands and In Memoriam. And he produced a trilogy about his father: My Father’s Witness, Bearing Witness, and My Life With Dad. Spring Cleaning In The Attic Of My Mind was inspired by the birthday anniversary of Bob’s father and Writing Topic — Spring Cleaning.

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By Teri Blair

This spring I turn 50.

The cleaning on my mind these days is an internal one. 50 is a significant marker, one that won’t be ignored. I saw Bonnie Raitt in concert the year she turned 50. She was playing the Grandstand at the Minnesota State Fair. She called out to the women in the audience, “Don’t be afraid to turn 50! It’s great!” And I could see she meant it, too—not just trying to buoy herself or us up. That was 11 years ago, and I was still in my 30s. 50 seemed like ages away. But it stuck with me. Her attitude.

I went to a 50th birthday party once for a woman who had a ritual to drop everything in her life that had held her back. It was done with drumming and shouting and people. Powerful stuff. She was brave and she made an announcement to her herself that she was turning a corner. A big one.

I don’t feel bad about turn 50. Mainly. There are things in my life I’m not satisfied with, but I don’t suppose that will every change. There’s some sort of release happening inside. A knowing that I don’t have all the time in the world. And because I don’t, I think about spring cleaning, and what needs to go and what needs to be aired out or left behind or turned over to the garbage heap. I don’t have my internal spring cleaning list completed, but it’s formulating. I don’t turn 50 until May 5th, so I’ve got some time.

I’m not sad about youth being over. That sounds bold and so against the grain of our culture, doesn’t it? I want to be healthy and strong. I want to take care of myself. But I don’t want to be 20 or 30 anymore. Nor do I want to pretend that I am. Nor do I want to watch someone half my age for clues about how I should live my life.

I am watching older women now. Elderly women. They seem far more interesting to me. I met one this month named Gladys—an artist/writer who has made it in the art world. She moves quietly and humbly through life. She listens well. She always seems grounded. Clearly, she had done her spring cleaning.


-Related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – SPRING CLEANING (HOMEMADE CLEANING REMEDIES). Also related to posts: PRACTICE — Spring Cleaning — 10min by QuoinMonkey, PRACTICE — SPRING CLEANING — 10min by Bob Chrisman, WRITING TOPIC — CLEANLINESS, and Wanda Wooley — The Lean Green Clean Machine.

[NOTE: SPRING CLEANING was a Writing Topic on red Ravine. Frequent guest writer Teri Blair joined QuoinMonkey in doing a Writing Practice on the topic.]

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After The Break - 313/365

After The Break, BlackBerry 365, 313/365, Goldsboro, Pennsylvania, November 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





Scorpio birthday
the NightOwl’s idea of fun,
playing pool with Mom.





51014


Note: The night I flew into Harrisburg was the eve of Mom’s birthday. Lady Luck smiled down. We went out to dinner with Paul, won $120 on the push tabs, and had a great time playing pool to jukebox tunes. Mom beat me almost every game. Amelia is a good pool player.


-posted on red Ravine, Monday, November 22nd, 2010

-related to post:  haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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Not A Velociraptor, Lake Creature spotted in Lake Harriet, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2009, by QuoinMonkey. All photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey and SkyWire7. All rights reserved.

 
 
Liz and I set out on my birthday to geocache around the Minneapolis chain of lakes. One of the joys of caching is the chance to learn about local history that might otherwise be swallowed by day-to-day routines. We dropped off two Travel Bugs and scooped up three caches that evening. Along the way, we headed over to the edge of Lake Harriet to listen to a full orchestra perform at the band shell and waved to passengers on the retro streetcar rumbling along tracks that stretched all the way from Minneapolis to Lake Harriet in the 1880s.

Perched high on glacial debris, Lake Harriet was formed when continental glaciers spread over Minnesota during the Great Ice Ages. Starting with the Mississippi River channel at the Plymouth Avenue Bridge, a preglacial valley runs almost directly south beneath Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, and Lake Harriet to the Minnesota River at Bloomington. Lake Harriet lies 250 feet over this ancient valley filled by glacial deposits, and is nestled between hills that piled up when the ice front paused in its final retreat about 10,000 years ago.

At dusk, we were making our way home when Liz spotted a shadow skimming the lake surface with a shape much like Dino, the Flintstones’ pet dinosaur, or a distant relative of the Loch Ness monster. Quickly pulling over to the side of the road, we scooted down the hillside Indiana Jones style, and landed right smack dab next to the Minneapolis Lake Creature. Had it risen from the depths of a preglacial valley?

 

Several fishermen paddled behind the creature oblivious to any danger; we decided it was safe to approach. The air smelled like honey, the night quiet and breezy — no mosquitoes. The sun fell behind the oaks, ash, and elm. A couple on a tandem bike stopped to photograph the 13-foot creature. Kids could not resist leaning over the edge of the rails to get a closer look. “I wonder if it’ll move,” one boy said. “Yeah, we wouldn’t be standing here for long!” his sister replied.

 

 

Everyone was drawn to the mystery — the power of public art.

 

 

 

After Lake Creature’s mysterious appearance in Lake Harriet on July 8th, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation came forward on July 16th to formally announce that it was the sponsor of a special art project in the parks with its first sculpture being the collaboration with New York City artist Cameron Gainer who now resides in Minneapolis. According to Cecily Hines, President of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation:

 

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation and artist Cameron Gainer came together because of our shared passion for the arts and belief that public works of art can truly enrich a community and the lives of its residents. We are proud to bring that passion and belief to life with Gainer’s _[ and invite people to share in her beauty while enjoying the Minneapolis parks with family and friends.

Gainer’s work includes film, video, sculpture, and performance art and explores human perception and the notion of “cinema inside out” when you encounter something in an environment and are not exactly sure what you are looking at. Symbolically titled _[, Lake Creature is based on the iconic, “Surgeon’s Photo” of 1934 that was presented as evidence of the existence of Scotland’s Loch Ness monster. Though later proven to be a hoax, the photograph remains a universal representation of the mystical lake creature.

In support of the Arts, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation has also established a new Public Arts Fund to support future art projects in Minneapolis parks. The Foundation believes that public art is important, especially in tough times, and can make a difference in a community’s quality of life. Public art is not only free, it’s accessible and:
 

Φ  inspires imagination
Φ  can be enjoyed by all age groups
Φ  helps foster a sense of community and mutual enjoyment
Φ  accesses audiences that may not be going to art museums
Φ  allows people to encounter art in their environment which creates an unexpected “moment of access”
Φ creates opportunities to reach audiences not expecting to see art which increases appreciation for the Arts

 
  -from the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, Public Art In The Parks, Lake Creature

 

Lake Creature At Sunset, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2009, by SkyWire7. All photos © 2009 by SkyWire7 and QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
The Lake Creature project leads me to think of Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk, another public art project collaboration between Saint Paul Public Works and the City of Saint Paul. These projects are living reminders of how the Arts matter and I’m grateful to all the people and organizations that make them possible.

_[ has been seen in New York City, the Salt Marsh Nature Preserve in Brooklyn, and Key West, Florida and is making plans to explore another Minneapolis lake sometime this summer. Keep your eyes peeled on a lake near you.

There is also a storytelling contest to name the Lake Creature and create the mythology surrounding her life. What nickname would you give to the Lake Creature? You can enter the contest and tell your story at Nickname the Lake Creature.

 
-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

-related to posts: State Of The Arts (haiku for Kuan-yin), Wet Cement (It Only Takes A Second), A Little Less War

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Happy Birthday, Mabel Dodge, Taos, New Mexico, photo © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Happy Birthday, Mabel Dodge, Taos, New Mexico, photo © 2007-
2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.







tombstone in winter;
knowing Mabel’s ghost lingers,
we write for our lives







I’ve felt the ghost of Mabel Dodge Luhan. She walks the adobe halls of the house at night, creaking on the steps leading down into her bedroom. It was pitch black the night of her visit. The dogs of Taos were howling in the distance. I didn’t look up from the hand-carved bed frame. The frame that I once read Dennis Hopper wanted to chainsaw into pieces and remove from the room. Someone must have stopped him.

Mabel would have turned 130 years old on this day. Those who benefit from her artistic vision sit on black cushions in silence; it’s the first week of what will be a year of study with Natalie. Whatever you think of Mabel or Tony (and you can hear an earful from the locals around Taos), together they created a pulsing creative space at the foot of Taos Mountain. One large enough to hold them both — and the rest of us, too.

Mabel’s grave is in a lonely corner of Kit Carson Memorial Cemetery. I visit there every time I am in Taos. Below is an excerpt from an article by Henry Shukman when he was hot on the trail of the ghost of D. H. Lawrence. It’s a fitting tribute to Mabel. Sometimes people are remembered most for the things they leave behind. Happy Birthday, Mabel. I hope you didn’t think we’d forgotten.



It was from the foot of Taos mountain that Mabel Dodge Luhan — heiress, patroness, columnist, early proponent (and victim) of psychoanalysis, memoirist and hostess — planned the rebirth of Western civilization. She moved to Taos from the East Coast in 1917 and fell in love not only with the place but also with Tony Lujan (later anglicized to Luhan), a chief in the nearby pueblo. She promptly left her second husband, married Tony and expanded a house on the edge of town, turning it into an adobe fantasy castle (what Dennis Hopper, who owned it in the 1970’s, would later call the Mud Palace), and began to invite scores of cultural luminaries. The idea was to expose them to the Indian culture she believed held the cure for anomic, dissociated modern humanity. After dinner, drummers and dancers from the pueblo would entertain the household.

Today her house is a museum, guesthouse and literary shrine all in one. For anyone on the trail of Lawrence, it’s the first of three essential ports of call. As I make my way up the groaning narrow stairs, the sense not just of history but of peace hits me: no TVs, no telephones. Instead, the deep quiet of an old, applianceless home. There are a bathroom with windows that Lawrence painted in colorful geometric and animal designs in 1922 to protect Mabel Luhan’s modesty, and floorboards across which Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe and Thomas Wolfe creaked. (In fact Wolfe stayed only one night. He arrived late and drunk, decided he didn’t like it and fled the next morning.)

D.H. Lawrence’s New Mexico: The Ghosts That Grip the Soul of Bohemian Taos by Henry Shukman, from the NY Times, Cultured Traveler, October 22, 2006



Winter In Taos, Taos, New Mexico, November 2001, C-41 film print, photo © 2001-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Winter In Taos, grave of Mabel Dodge Luhan, born February 26th, 1879, died August 13th, 1962, Taos, New Mexico, November 2001, C-41 film print taken at my first Taos Writing Retreat at Mabel’s House, photo © 2001-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



In a cold like this, the stars snap like distant coyotes, beyond the moon. And you’ll see the shadows of actual coyotes, going across the alfalfa field. And the pine-trees make little noises, sudden and stealthy, as if they were walking about. And the place heaves with ghosts. But when one has got used to one’s own home-ghosts, be they never so many, they are like one’s own family, but nearer than the blood. It is the ghosts one misses most, the ghosts there, of the Rocky Mountains. …because it is cold, I should have moonshine …

— D.H. Lawrence from Mornings In Mexico


-posted on red Ravine for the 130th birthday of Mabel Dodge Luhan, Thursday, February 26th, 2009

-related to posts: haiku 2 (one-a-day)WRITING TOPIC — HAUNTED, The Vitality Of Place — Preserving The Legacy Of “Home” (with photos of Mabel & Tony and links to many of their contemporaries)

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Nikki Giovanni At The Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Nikki Giovanni At The Fitzgerald Theater, along with MPR host, Kerri Miller, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



It’s the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln and celebrations are going on all over the country. We watched a couple of PBS programs last night on Lincoln’s youth in Indiana and Illinois. The tall man with the high-water pants lost his mother from “milk sickness” at the early age of 34. I was struck by how much he looked like Nancy Hanks Lincoln. He helped carve the pegs for her coffin.

Lincoln loved and understood the importance of words and there have been no shortage of books written about him. I listened to an NPR program on the way home from work this week: Three Books Explore Lincoln’s Complex Genius by Eric Foner. In his reviews of David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln, James Oakes’ The Radical and the Republican, and Richard Carwardine’s Lincoln, Foner dives into Lincoln’s relationship to power and passivity, and his complex friendship with black abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

In a couple of lines, Foner, author of Our Lincoln: New Perspectives on Lincoln and His World, sums up why Abraham Lincoln is still one of the most important figures of our modern times:


Every generation of Americans reinvents Abraham Lincoln in its own image. Politicians from conservatives to communists, civil rights activists to segregationists, have claimed him as their own. Lincoln is important to us not because of how he chose his cabinet or what route his train took to Washington, but because the issues of his time still resonate in ours — relations between the state and federal governments, the definition of American citizenship, the long-term legacy of slavery.

Lincoln was also a key player in the execution of thirty-eight Dakota Sioux on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota. The hangings followed trials which condemned over 300 participants in the 1862 Dakota Conflict, the largest mass execution in U.S. history. The complexity and controversy of the decisions he made while president are a testament to his own internal battles and the time in which he lived.

In Birchbark Books last weekend, I picked up Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. She won the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. And one of the most fascinating sites I found is The Abraham Lincoln Bookshop with historic and rare authographs and photographs of Lincoln.

The site also offers a whole section on Women’s History, from the women’s point of view. There I found Catherine Clinton’s, Mrs. Lincoln: A Life, a chronicle of Mary Todd Lincoln:


Born into an aristocratic Kentucky family, she was an educated, well-connected Southern daughter, and when she married a Springfield lawyer she became a Northern wife—an experience mirrored by thousands of her countrywomen.

The Lincolns endured many personal setbacks—including the death of a child and defeats in two U.S. Senate races—along the road to the White House. Mrs. Lincoln herself suffered scorching press attacks, but remained faithful to the Union and her wartime husband. She was also the first presidential wife known as the “First Lady.”

I think the women in Lincoln’s life are as compelling as the man. Catherine Clinton will have a virtual book signing on Valentine’s Day if you’d like to join in.



Love Poems, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Bicycles: Love Poems, on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



After all this, the event closest to my heart is a Birthday Tribute and Wreath-Laying Ceremony on February 12th, 8am EST at the Lincoln Memorial. President Barack Obama has been invited to commemorate the 16th president at the Memorial erected following Lincoln’s Centennial. He invited poet and author Nikki Giovanni to recite her new work, written especially for the Bicentennial.

When Teri, Liz, and I went to see Nikki read at the Fitzgerald last month, she hinted at the contents of her poem, something I don’t want to miss. Teri sent the following email out to our Poetry Group a few days later:


Poetry Hounds,

Following closely on Elizabeth Alexander’s reading at Obama’s Inauguration, another poet is being called upon to read her work.

February 12th, 2009 is the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. At the Lincoln Memorial on 2-12, there will be a special wreath-laying ceremony with a program that includes poet Nikki Giovanni. It will be at 7:00 a.m. (Minnesota time). I’ve included a link; I presume it will be broadcast widely.

Last week, QM, Liz, & I heard Nikki Giovanni live at the Fitzgerald in St. Paul. She blew us out of the water. She’s 65, was active in the Civil Rights Movement, teaches at Virginia Tech (where the massacre occurred in 2007), and was like seeing a touch of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks rolled into one.

Keep poetry alive, man.

Love, Teri

I’m going to try to get my Night Owl self up early! Happy 200th Birthday, Abe. Your life and legacy are alive and well in the year 2009. And when we attend our Poetry Group tonight, we will all be celebrating the poets and poetry honoring the day you were born.


-posted on red Ravine on Abraham Lincoln’s 200th Birthday, February 12th, 2009

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Jim and his lapdog Rafael, Rafie in need of a bit of love, November 2008, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



Jim is a Solstice baby. As a kid he resented that his birthday fell so close to Christmas. He still tells stories about how everyone gave him “combined” gifts. “Here’s your birthday and Christmas combined.”

We try to make a big deal out of his birthday. Separate gifts always, and not just a t-shirt. Definitely a birthday cake, homemade, with frosting and candles.

Jim’s birthday has passed and, yes, we’re on to Christmas, but before his carrot cake is just a few smudges of butternut frosting on the cake dish, I wanted to say a few things about him:

  • See the photo of Jim and his lapdog Rafael? Well, Jim is something of an animal whisperer. Critters of all types love him. And the reason is that Jim lets creatures be themselves. He’s part animal himself, in a good way. He speaks to them through some special language. So when 75-pound Rafie sidles up to Jim on the overstuffed chair, Jim knows immediately that Rafie just needs to get on Jim’s lap and fall fast asleep. The way Sony gets to do on my lap.
  • Jim loves the cold and winter. Right now he’s outside, has been all day, getting the corral ready to bring our horse over for the start of the new year. Jim works like a horse himself, and in the cool and cold months, he’s always outdoors. I used to think it was Jim’s Scandanavian blood (his grandparents were Swedes) that made him so comfortable in the cold, but I’ve come to realize, Duh, he’s a child of the Solstice. Winter doesn’t bother him one bit.
  • Jim sometimes forgets to take off his fleece cap when he comes inside. Sometimes it’s not until he’s about to get into bed that he realizes he still has it on. Jim’s not the kind of guy to look at himself in the mirror, even when he’s brushing his teeth. Once I gave him an old-fashioned shaver and shaving brush for Christmas; guess what I added to my sister’s flea market goods a few years later? I like that he doesn’t have a vain bone in his body.
  • Jim’s hair is longer than mine. He always said he wanted long hair, but since his hair is also wavy, he’d hit that awkward Bozo-the-Clown look and I’d beg him to cut it. Finally, he just did it. We both survived the “I am a ragamuffin” stage, and now he has lovely long hair that he pulls back into a pony tail, unless it’s right after a shower and he wants to make us all laugh (in which case he wears it loose, like Jesus). 
  • Jim doesn’t much care to get old. He came from the generation that mistrusted anyone over 30, and now being over 50, well, Jim doesn’t like to make a fuss over yet another birthday. But I have to say, and this isn’t my bias speaking, he’s aging well. About a dozen years ago we went to his 20th high school reunion. We took our newborn baby in a sling (she slept the entire event) and one guy asked if that was Jim’s grandchild in the sling. Apparently, most of Jim’s peers had their kids ages before and were already grandparents. I whispered to Jim that he definitely wasn’t old enough to be a grandfather. Yet.
  • I can’t quite figure out if Jim is Sagittarius or Capricorn. His birth date is on the cusp, and he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever get his astrological chart done, so my only cues are the ones I find in astrology publications. I’ve always considered him to be a Sag, probably because they say that Sag and Gemini (me) are compatible. Which we are. But there are some aspects of Sagittarius that don’t fit Jim, such as being an optimist. Jim can be a “glass half empty” sort of fellow, which is something I’ve often thought had to do with the dark side of being a Solstice baby. Yet, he’s definitely adventurous, honest, outspoken, and independent—all qualities associated with Sagittarians. Then again, he’s got the Capricorn characteristics of being tenacious, resourceful, wise, and constant.
  • Mostly Jim is kind-hearted, loyal, a good father and good steward of the earth, and the one I love.



 Happy birthday, old man! You’re still a hottie.




 

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By Bob Chrisman



Mom, October 1927 (age 12), all rights reserved

Mom (1927), author Bob Chrisman’s mother in October 1927 at age 12, all images (unless otherwise noted) © 2008 by Bob Chrisman. All rights reserved.





On November 30, 2008 my mother would have observed the 93rd anniversary of her birth. In her life she witnessed many things. Sometimes we lose ourselves in the muddle and mire of our everyday lives. We rarely step back to see the sweep of history that has unfolded during our lifetimes. Here are some of the things my mother experienced.



Mom, circa 1919, all rights reservedMy mother came into the world in a little rented house in rural northwestern Missouri. Most women didn’t have babies in hospitals. Her family lived in a three-room house heated by a coal stove. They had no indoor plumbing. The outhouse sat out back. The water pump stood in the side yard. They heated water for baths and bathed in a washtub placed next to the stove. In the fall, they dug a hole in the backyard, lined it with hay, and stored vegetables and fruits. They lived off that storehouse during the winter.

Mom, 1944, all rights reservedShe and my father bought and paid for a house in the 1940s, only four rooms, but they owned it and it had indoor plumbing. She kept the refrigerator-freezer packed with food bought at grocers, then markets, then supermarkets, and finally at SUPER marts.

She rode a horse to the one-room school house. She quit school in the 8th grade to work at the local switchboard with her sister, Faye. Her parents needed help. She made sure that both of her children attended high school and college.

The wall-mounted box phones of the 1920s turned into heavy black things, like the one she had for 57 years. She never liked portable phones or cell phones. They belonged in science fiction movies or the Dick Tracy cartoon strip. Not everyone owned a phone. When more people did, they had party lines, not private ones. She had the last party line in St. Joseph.

Her first radio sat in a huge cabinet filled with tubes. Only one person could listen to it through a headset. Radios shrank to portables and then transformed into transistor radios until they virtually disappeared into matchbox-sized squares.

Mom, 1954, all rights reservedShe bought a black-and white TV in 1957 “for the kids.” The colors on the first color television hurt her eyes so she didn’t buy one until the late 1970s.

Music progressed from popular music, played by ear by her youngest sister, to records shared by friends. Records changed from brittle 78 rpm platters played on hand-cranked machines to thin, plastic 45s and LPs played on systems. She listened in high fidelity and then stereo. Records became 8-track tapes, then cassette tapes, and finally compact discs.

She used a wringer washer, which was a great improvement over the washboard and wash tub. She never owned an automatic washing machine. When a wringer broke in the early 1990s she tried to buy a new machine. “Bob, they told me they stopped making those about 20 years ago.” She never bought another washing machine. She discovered the laundry mat.

Mom, mid-1960s, all rights reservedShe line-dried clothes, outside in nice weather and inside in the kitchen during inclement weather. She bought a clothes dryer in 1969 when the amount of laundry generated by my invalid father required quickly dried clothes.

She went from Lou Levin’s “Happy Days Are Here Again” to Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.” She endured “Scotch and Soda” by the Kingston Trio, a favorite of my sister, to Aretha Franklin screaming “Think,” my favorite. She never stopped loving Bing Crosby and Big Band music.

The first time she saw a car and an airplane, she thought how odd they looked. She never learned to drive. She flew for the first time in the early 1960s. She watched animals go into space, followed by humans, and then Americans who landed and walked on the Moon.


Mom, Christmas 1973, all rights reservedShe lived through the numerous conflicts in which America engaged: World Wars I & II, Korea, and Vietnam. Her life ended with the nation at war in Afghanistan and Iraq (the sequel). She saw enemy nations become friends and then enemies and sometimes friends again.

She didn’t worry about who became president. She survived the administrations of 16 presidents: Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, FDR (three times), Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. She never missed an election. Besides, she couldn’t complain if she hadn’t voted.

Women won the right to vote during her early years, but she never saw the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Despite her lack of equality, she ran the household. She joined other women who ran their households, churches, and school and civic organizations. She knew that women ruled the world. She lived to see women lead nations and corporations and go to Congress.

Mom, early 1980s, all rights reservedShe saw Blacks fight for their rights as citizens and she supported them. She believed that ALL Americans were created equal and should be treated equally by the law. She supported the equal rights of homosexuals. During “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” she wrote letters to her Congressional representatives. “I told them that ho-ma-sex-yalls and lespians should be able to serve their country. If we had more of them in the service, we wouldn’t have all those illegitimate children running around overseas.” An argument I have never heard expressed by anyone else.

She survived the flu epidemic of 1918 that killed millions of Americans. She protected her children from polio during the 1950s. She watched advances in medicine that eliminated so many diseases, yet never cured cancer or AIDS.


momapril2002-200She made it through the Great Depression, the Red Scare, and the anti-war movement. She saw the assassinations of JFK, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Bobby Kennedy.

Hemlines rose and fell, the same with empires, nations, religious leaders, and the stock market. She outlived her parents, her sisters, her cousins, and some of their children. She experienced a lot of life in those 92, going on 93, years.



Take some time and reflect on your life. What have you seen change in your lifetime? For 10 minutes, go.





Mom, 1999, taken by the author's friend, photographer Sandra McGuire, photo © 1999-2008 by Sandra McGuire, all rights reserved

Mom (1999), taken by the author’s friend, Sandra McGuire,
photo © 1999-2008 by Sandra McGuire. All rights reserved.






Bob Chrisman is a Kansas City, Missouri writer who frequently writes memoir about his mother and his childhood. The first piece he published on red Ravine, Hands, talked about his mother’s final days and her death.

His other red Ravine posts include Growing Older, Goat Ranch, Stephenie Bit Me, Too, and The Law Of Threes.

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Happy Birthday, Mom, Georgia Memoir Series, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Happy Birthday, Mom, Amelia & Jack in 1941, Georgia Memoir
Series, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey.
All rights reserved.



It’s my mother’s birthday. She was born November 10th, 1937 in the eighth sign of the Zodiac, Scorpio. I miss her and have fond memories of jumping out of a giant cardboard box and surprising her last year (due to the generous and loving nature of my siblings, their spouses, and extended family).

I love this photograph of Mom and her brother, Jack. She is 4 years old. I have found that in many of the family photographs, she is often by Jack’s side. The handwriting on the back is probably my Grandmother Elise’s. I can’t be completely sure, but I think I recognize it from past letters.

To Grand Dad From Jack and Amelia
Jack is 5 and Amelia is 4

Cryptic words and numbers on the back of old photographs are as meaningful to me as the image. And I imagine a relative taking a few minutes to scribble down names, ages, places, dates, that in the future become invaluable to me in piecing together the past.

The year Amelia was born, the Golden Gate Bridge opened in San Francisco and 200,000 pedestrians were the first to walk across it. In 1937, the first social security payments were issued by the U.S. Treasury, Wimbledon was first televised, and inventor Sylvan Goldman introduced the shopping cart. It was also the year the Zeppelin Hindenburg exploded at Lakehurst, New Jersey, and the first animated feature film, Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater in Hollywood.



Happy Birthday, Mom, photograph of my mother, Georgia Memoir Series, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.To Grand Dad - Amelia Is 4, back of a photograph of my mother, Georgia Memoir Series, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Happy Birthday, Mom, photograph of my mother, Georgia Memoir Series, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.To Grand Dad - Amelia Is 4, back of a photograph of my mother, Georgia Memoir Series, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I have always loved the name Amelia. It reminds me of Amelia Earhart. I never thought to ask Mom if she was named after the famous aviator. Amelia Earhart’s plane disappeared on July 2nd, 1937 near Howland Island in the South Pacific. Mom was born 4 months later.

I feel fortunate to have spent time with my mother in Georgia the last few summers: visiting with relatives we hadn’t seen in 10, 20, 50 years, excavating family history, honoring the past. It made me even more aware that many of the details of our history will leave this Earth with her. I want to mine as many of her memories as I can; it has brought us closer.

So, Mom, thanks for putting up with my endless questions about the past. (Ask any of my friends, the questions never end! I guess I’m the curious type.) I’m sorry if my card is late (it takes 4 days to go by snail mail from Minnesota to Pennsylvania and I forgot the pick-up wasn’t until 1p.m.!) And thank you for all the support you have given me over the years, especially around my writing, always encouraging me to follow my dreams.

Happy 71st Birthday. I miss you today, and wish I lived closer to home and could take you out to dinner. I’m grateful for every moment together. And in the times when I can’t be near — I have my memories, enriched all the more by ones you have shared with me.



     To Grand Dad - Amelia Is 4, back of a photograph of my mother, Georgia Memoir Series, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  To Grand Dad - Amelia Is 4, back of a photograph of my mother, Georgia Memoir Series, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

To Grand Dad (Amelia Is 4), handwriting on the back of a photograph of my mother, Georgia Memoir Series, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Monday, November 10th, 2008, day of my mother’s birth (and also the birthday of Mr. StripeyPants who is 11 years old today!)

-related to post: November 5th, 2008 – ybonesy’s father is a Scorpio, too. And we were recently sharing with each other how much we enjoy being able to share old family photographs and history with each other on red Ravine.

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Baby Elias, my father as an infant (with a distant relative) circa
Fall 1924, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.










5th of november
my father turns 85
best birthday ever












Words and words have been spilled about this moment. I have little to add.

But I do want to acknowledge today: November 5, 2008. As my mother said, “This is one of the happiest days of my life.”


For this step forward and for another year with my father: Thank you, grace.


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Dee Butterfly, cell phone photo of my oldest daughter when she was about eight years old, photo © 2003-2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.


I gave birth to Dee on Labor Day thirteen years ago.

“Some Labor Day!” folks joked afterwards.

It was a beautiful birth. I had her in our bedroom, attended by Jim, my best friend, and our midwife.

For a while I didn’t think I could do it. I was on my back pushing yet nothing was happening. Finally my midwife, who up to then sat quietly in a corner letting me be in control of my birth, came to check on me.

“Ah, your water’s not broken,” she said. I had told her it broke before she got there. “Go into the bathroom and visualize your water breaking. Once it breaks, the baby will come.”

I sat on the toilet and stared at the circles on the linoleum tile. Open, open, open, I said to myself. I closed my eyes and could see a faint imprint of circles in the darkness. Open, open, open. Splash! It worked.

Dee came in to the world in the early morning. I birthed her crouched on the floor beside our bed. The air was cool, sunlight soft. Mexican sunflowers stood guard outside our windows.

Every human being brings with him or her into the world a bundle of traits. Some characteristics deepen with love, others are quashed from lack of support. New talents and quirks emerge based on home life and the world at large, but I know with certainty that every one of us arrives with something and not as a blank slate.

Dee brought with her a fiesty attitude, curiosity, and a natural tendency to question and challenge. She was expressive, sensitive, argumentative. She held her fork in her fist while she waited for her meals, refused to take a bottle, and cried every time she woke up from a nap. She was serious and at times stern. She was also compassionate and could break out crying at the knowledge that someone or something was hurt.


Using the words Brave and Face in a sentence, Dee’s second-grade homework, image © 2002-2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




Jim and I each grew up in homes that stressed respectfulness, courtesy, and good manners. Jim’s parents, especially, valued proper behavior in children. My parents did, too—Grandpa’s motto was, Children are to be seen and not heard. However, Mom’s tendency to rebel against anything conventional translated into exposure to many vices (poker and Black Jack games at any family gathering, smoking, drinking, cussing, etc.).

It was apparent early on that Jim’s ideas about the right way for children to behave would not set well with Dee. Although she was often quiet and inside herself, she never hesitated in voicing her opinions. If she didn’t understand something, she asked questions and always in a way that sounded like she didn’t quite believe what was being said.

Jim’s sister came to visit one day when Dee was three. We were at the kitchen table talking about something that happened when Dee insisted that Jim’s recounting of events was not right and began telling her version. Just as Jim was about to reprimand Dee for the interruption, his sister stopped him.

“Let her be. If you teach her to not speak up when she’s a child, she’ll have a hard time finding her voice as a woman.”

I joined Jim’s sister in describing how so many women I see at work are reserved and conditioned to neither debate nor question, how they let men dominate conversations and meetings. While courtesy was important, we said, Dee carried an innate respect for all humanity. If it came down to teaching proper manners, wouldn’t it be easier to learn good etiquette later in life than it would be to unlearn reticence?

To his great credit, Jim listened to the women in his life. In bringing up his daughters (because he was the one who had the most influence in their early lives) he has resisted the urge to constantly keep them in check. That’s not to say he is overly permissive; he still appreciates a well-behaved child.

For her part, little Miss Dee is a confident, newly annointed teenager. She can be quiet, especially among strangers—another one of those characteristics she brought into this world. But among her friends and family, she continues to speak her mind.

This morning Dee said that tonight she’s not going to cry over leaving behind her childhood. She’s ready for what’s next. (I, however, might be a different case altogether.)

Happy Birthday, Dee! You are an impressive young woman and human being.





[NOTE: I don’t normally publish photos of my family, but this photo of Dee was taken so long ago, plus with the face-painting, I decided it would be fine to share this one.]

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By E. Elise


Liberty's Torch, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.

Liberty’s Torch, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.



It’s my Granddaddy’s birthday. We were going to New York by train. In New York we’re going to see the Statue of Liberty, and the “Vampire State 50 Cents, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by reccos62. All rights reservedBuilding” as my cousin, Isaac, used to call it.NYC - Room With A View, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.

My family that went with me was Granddaddy, Jenny, Uncle Larry, Isaac, Erica, and Paula. We had to wake up extremely early at 3:00 am to be on the enormous train by 5:00 am. I could hear people yawning and groaning like bears coming out ofhibernation because it was so early. The train can go more than 170 mph. I could barely see a city full of energy because of the smog.

When we got out of the train, I could smell the nice warm breakfasts. Also I saw so many suitcases, I thought it was an airport! We went on the subway Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.quite a number of Face Of Freedom, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by reccos62. All rights reservedtimes. The seats felt like ice. I could hear it roaring and screeching to a stop, like a car about to drive off a cliff. Also it was really nerve-wracking to jump on the train.

On the ferry ride to Ellis Island, I could taste the fruit punch Gatorade from the snack shop on the lower level of the boat. Some people were standing on the benches with high-priced cameras trying to take beautiful snapshots of the Statue.



“This is the original torch,” said the tour guide. In the Statue of Liberty, the base is like a museum of her. The Statue of Liberty was supposed to be the artist’s mother, but she was unable to stand. So he used his wife’s body and mother’s face. At her feet are chains to resemble the end of Ellis Island, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by reccos62. All rights reservedslavery.

When it was time to go to the train station again, we were tired and hungry like an animal who didn’t catch their prey. We had dinner and a smoothie. On the way to Harrisburg’s station, we saw a skyscraper with a flashing light in every window. It was almost like everyone was taking pictures of the train. I love New York!

Yes, that’s what I said, New York was awesome! One of my favorite parts was security. In the Empire State Building youhad to go in a box where it blows air from the ground. My hair went wild. Next time, if ever, I want to see everything in New York.



The Statue Of Liberty, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.           The Empire State Building, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by reccos62. All rights reserved




About E. Elise:  E. Elise lives in Central Pennsylvania with her mother and older brother. She is currently a student at Broad Street Elementary. She likes to swim. One exciting time was when she went to New York. This is her story.




Liberty's Robe, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.

Liberty’s Robe, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.



The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This tablet with her sonnet to the Bartholdi Statue of Liberty engraved upon it, is placed upon these walls
in loving memory of Emma Lazarus

Born in New York City, July 22nd, 1849
Died November 19th, 1887


-quote on the bronze plaque from the Liberty exhibit in the base of the Statue of Liberty (photo above). It was presented by philanthropist Georgiana Schuyler in 1903, twenty years after Emma Lazarus wrote her sonnet. Originally displayed on the interior wall of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal, it was placed in the Liberty exhibit in the base of the monument in July, 1886.

Post Script:  When I was visiting home in November for my Mom’s 70th birthday, my niece, E. Elise, tugged at my sleeve, and asked if she could read me her latest pieces of writing. She said she had asked her teacher if she could bring her writing folder home to share with me. And even though the folder was never supposed to leave the classroom, her teacher agreed.

I listened intently as she read (Whose B-Day) Going To New York out loud to me and my family in the dining room on the couch before the cake was cut. The story was about her Granddaddy who came up to visit from South Carolina last August. And over his birthday, my brother arranged a family trip to New York City.

I was ecstatic to see E. Elise so excited about writing (she is named after her Great Grandmama Elise). I loved her piece. And after I saw the family photos of the New York trip, I knew it would be a great post for red Ravine. I hope you are thrilled as I am to see my 10-year-old niece as our Guestwriter this week. And to see the young ones so jazzed about writing!

 

 

Chrysler Building, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by reccos62. All rights reserved  South, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by januaryshadows. All rights reserved  Ode To Ground Zero - Detail, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved. Vertigo II, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.

 

 

Photoblog Credit:  The photographs were taken by members of my family who graciously allowed me to upload and post them in this piece. I gave anonymous credit in the links (thank you reccos62, R3, and januaryshadows). And if you click on each photograph, it will take you to my Flickr account with larger views and more NYC photographs not included on this page. I also wanted to mention that the names in this post (other than the author’s) were changed to protect the innocent!

-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, December 26th 2007

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Mr. StripeyPants At 3 Months, photo by Liz, Feb 1998, photo © 2007 by Liz. All rights reserved. When Liz woke up this morning, she mumbled something about Mr. StripeyPants’ birthday.

“What?” I said. “I missed his birthday?” I strolled into the kitchen and checked out the refrigerator door where Liz has the cats’ birthdays posted.

There (in Liz’s neat artist block print) was the following:

Kiev – ‘Kiki Bell’: Jan. 1, 1995
Chaco – ‘Wooley Pokes’: March 22, 1996
Mr. StripeyPants: Nov. 10, 1997

Sure enough, Mr. StripeyPants turned 10 years old last week, while I was visiting my family in Pennsylvania. And guess what November 10th is? The same day Amelia turned 70.

Happy Birthday, Mr. StripeyPants. Here’s to another 10 years, and counting. I didn’t realize until today, you have the same birthday as Mom. I’ll never forget your birthday again.


  Mr. StripeyPants, Up!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   The Lick, August 2005, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by SkyWire Alley. All rights reserved.  Mr. StripeyPants, Down!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   Mr. StripeyPants, All Around!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Pants, so cute you could eat him up!, July 30th, 2005, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by SkyWire Alley. All rights reserved.

Pants (so cute you could eat him up!), Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2005, photo © 2007 by SkyWire Alley. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, November 17th, 2007

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