Monday, August 29

That Brave Old World

Not too far down the road Americans will wonder what it was like to fill up the car at a gas station. The kids in the back seat will see abandoned pumps and ask, "Daddy, what in the world is that!?" Then Dad will launch into an extended story about the cost of gas in the 'last gas days' before the Oil Wars, and how his grandfather died in South America somewhere.

"Yeah, didn't they make a movie about that?" little Jetson will say. And his littler sister will reply with, "What's a movie?"

Thursday, August 25

. . . And God Created Cats

"The cat with eyne of burning coal. . ." says Shakespeare in the third act of
Pericles. No burning coals for Jack. His are a more the bard's "green and yellow melancholy" (to match his tepid temper and white goatee). But Angel dotes on him --- has to hug and love him far beyond his worth. Jack is the dog she never had --- he is pawed, played with, poked and provoked without one mild meow. At most, he'll slink away in disgust.

I told Angel yesterday, "Jack's an old man now. His play days are over. You need a puppy." To be continued . . .

Tuesday, August 23

Every Good Gift

Milene sent me this photo of her and Darrell in the Winner's Circle at a car show in Louisville, Kentucky. This is after they drove to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to see a fly-in. The award was for being brave enough to travel the farthest for the event --- all the way from little 'ol Paso Robles. Their only problem was a pesky fuel pump. Congratulations to you both!

And three safe weeks of travel is indeed a wonderful gift, Milene. Thanks for reminding me of those simple blessings that fall out to us from above.

Saturday, August 20

Dancing With the Big Boys

What do you think? A no-nothing, nondescript website like mine ranks with other first pagers after mousing a Google search. Must be something wrong with their algorithms and other secret formulas. The annual Google Dance attempts to help webmasters find the best ways to get their fare higher in the rankings.

Google says the key is creating a "user-friendly" site - simplicity must be that one critical component for success. Thank you, Google, for awarding such high honors.

Unfortunately, you have to key in more than just Paso Robles for our page to get first in line. Add 'USA' or 'history' and that's where you'll find us. I remember not too long ago that a Paso Robles search yielded about 2500 page references. Today it's about 793,000. Yes, Paso is 'dad-blamed cultured. Yesiree!'

Tuesday, August 16

Behind the Lens

It was off to an early start. Oak Park days on the north circle when I was about nine or ten. We were suddenly dadless, dirt poor and didn't have a car for awhile. Mom had to walk to work and bum a ride home, she said. So who paid for the film and processing?

Here I've captured my first 'action' shot of Marty kicking off while Mom holds the ol' football. This must have been around 1956 or so. She waitressed at Wilson's Restaurant and also picked up parcels at the airport for the Conrad's Greyhound Bus business. We kids were treated to huge cartons of baby chicks to keep warm on the space heater overnight or live minks in cages. Very odd indeed.

Seems everyone took pictures in those days in my family, especially Grandma Skinner in San Luis Obispo. The kid and grandkid thing. Some of us started looking through viewfinders early, got hooked and entered that creative space called point and shoot. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Sunday, August 14

That Other Life

As the years stretch behind us, we forget the pain of adolescence amd wonder about those we've left behind.

Nancy snagged me when I transferred from CCSF to UTEP in 1965. She was in her junior year. The bubbly type. The straight A type. The social type. Why she wanted me to traipse behind her is beyond my pea-brained understanding. We weren't more than good friends and confidants who liked to touch each other. There were no head-over-heels butterfly feelings between us. But we did like to do bird counts together at the local lakes.

The attraction wore off after a few years (she graduated). Then I came back to California. I saw her again after some months in El Paso. She had married a guy in the Air Force and had a baby. End of story.

You've doubtless had a similar disappearance in your life. Someone you'd like to 'get caught up' with. Someone whose smile you miss. Such are broken old relationships. Just be thankful for the memories, forgive the faults, and enjoy the present. All things are meant to be.

Monday, August 1

Breakfast . . . And Beyond

A Monday off during a very slow work week. We'll drop in on the "non-legendary" Tom Cruise [Lauren Bacall's estimation] and War of the Worlds after choring around the house.

It begins with breakfast only dreamed of when I was a kid. Starbuck's coffee, 7-Grain toast and imported German strawberry preserves. Wow! Thank you, Lord, for tastebuds that still work! I eat alone while Barb finishes her sawing in the bedroom. After a bit of world news and entrance of the sleepy half, it's time to tackle that short to-do list.

Yeah, let's shorten those two old 2 x 8 pieces of framed lath to 2 x 6 and mount them behind some new climbing vines I put in awhile ago. Have you ever tried this? A tedious and precarious endeavor to say the least. Strips fall off as you hand saw. Remove the old nails and straight piece from the 2 footer and go to it with those new nails that are 1/2" too long. Lay it on the lawn so you can pound those 6-pennies all the way through! That's it. Now turn it over and bend over all the points. Hey, no one is going to see the backside! It didn't take too long and were easy to mount, so job numero uno is finished.

Poor Dave hates to throw anything away, so what does he do with the leftover pieces?
They find their way to the backyard to enhance some fence-art faces, what else?!

Then it was time to clean off the work bench, cut down computer stuff cartons and finish painting a handmade Indian motif wood roadrunner for Eliz and Gary's newly spruced-up duplex. Another knick knack, but at least it's signed by the artist. No pictures cause it's already gift wrapped.

Now it's your turn. Oh, Happy Birthday, baby brother Kenny.