Friday, August 19, 2011

Where the heart is... and ain't

Norwalk Tunnel- Sparta_Elroy Bike Trail
It was a quick trip, less than 24 hours, back home, which is a funny way to describe it as I lived there only twelve years as opposed to the almost forty I have lived here, but it is where I grew up.  Western Wisconsin with it's hills and valleys and small running creeks and foggy bottoms and farms always will seem like home. It is where my parents lived.... and I guess, in some sense, it was where my home was.

We sold my mother's house. There were items I had left there, stored there, that needed to be moved and this was the time it had to be done.
I didn't get about on this trip... spent time with my sister and brother-in-law, cleaned out the last little bit out of the house and came back..... home.  But it got me thinking about where home really is.

I went to grade school there, High School, played football there, went to prom, had my first girlfriend, got laid for the first time, first beer party, swimming in the lakes, doing the bike trail, it always felt like home, and yet, when it came time to leave yesterday... I felt relieved... to be coming home.  Here.  Where I went to college... joined the debate team when I could not make the football team... had multiple girlfriends, smoked my first joint.... and made friends that are still with me.  Here.  I got married, had children, bought a house, got a divorce, watched my children go to the same college I did... I guess here.... is home. Oshkosh.  It is where my parents got married, where all my relatives lived.  Well they are mostly all dead, my son has moved to Oregon, my daughter graduates in December and I do not expect her to hang around.... here... home... for very long after that.  So, will this, here, still be home?
I think of moving where in particular, just elsewhere, and extinguish this notion of home altogether.  But then I know it will never be possible... as long as I have a memory and a heart.

Back... home.... there is a nice thirty some mile bike trail that was made of a old railroad bed, a neat level grade through the hills.  I used to ride it frequently... made special trips just to ride it.  Years ago, when home for holidays I would gather my kids, their cousins, and take them on a hike on the trail, through the longest tunnel, nearly a mile long.  They would hoot in the darkness, collect bugs and leaves that would strike their fancy, look for frogs in the creek and generally have a great time being kids.  Now they are gone; Portland, Minneapolis, San Diego, Madison, Milwaukee. I miss those hikes...and their laughter.
  In their lives, so far, they have gone places I never have and never will... Korea, Australia, Germany, France, Peru, Vietnam, Italy,......... It was like they walked through a tunnel... and went home.  Where ever that is.

Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound
Home, where my thought's escaping
Home, where my music's playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me
Silently for me
Silently for me

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mid August and How I Count My Richs and Get Stimulated...

I broke into my Savings..... thought I would go out and buy one a dem HD LCD PCP LSD HIFI STP 40050 inch flat screen TV thingees... do my part to try to stimulate the economy of Japan....

...... maybe put it over by the fireplace......
but when all the counting was done... I only had enough to stimulate a bit of the local economy...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This little piggie.....

SPAM is the undisputed king of mystery meat. Made of pig parts and secret spices, cooked in its own cans right on the assembly line

 ...hmmmmmm....lemmmee see, lotza Pork in Iowa..... hmmmmm.... The Spam museum is in Minnesota..... hmmmm are there dots to connect...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

a shared room is forever

Uncle John on his porch
I call my younger brother John most Sunday mornings.  I need to wait until almost 10:30 CDT because he lives just a few miles south of British Columbia and a scant few just east of Puget Sound. He rises early enough, but prefers to talk after he has had time to fully wake up.

He is just two and a half years behind me in age but, at 6'8", a full eight inches taller. His voice has the tone of a bear in springtime asking for a fresh cup of coffee. When he was in HS we called him Lurch. He had that kind of presence. Generally, he is a kind soul, but when angry he is like a bear in springtime without a cup of coffee.

As kid's we shared a bedroom.  He would steal my comics. Sometimes I would get them back. Other time's he would hide them in the attic and disavow any knowledge of how the got there... except we  all knew he was the only one who went into the attic.  It was his cave when we were kids.

Now he lives on six or so acres in northern Washington.  His wife is a Canadian.  They have apples and pears and cherries and kiwi that they grow and press into juice or make jams and jellies, depending on how plentiful the harvest was; when it is a good harvest he mails me a box of jam at Christmas. His wife cans salmon and halibut and fixes the plumbing.  He tends to the chickens and geese, which they give names to, but subsequently eat. He once told of having to buy a slingshot to shoot at the eagles that would perch in an old dead tree on the property and prey on his chickens.  Finally he just cut down the tree. His chickens are truly free range and he rounds them up at night.  I think he buys them comic books, too, just so he can steal them.

I remember driving with him from Wisconsin to Idaho back in '77 when he first moved west, but before he moved to Washington. His old Pinto station wagon would not make it up a mountain in Montana, four-cylinder cars need more air than mountains will give, and I had to push it up the last few feet.  Then he scared the shit out of me driving down.  He likes mountains. I visited once and we went camping in the Olympic mountains.  His idea of camping is just a sleeping bag, some granola bars... and a pint of whiskey. Maybe a flashlight.  I think I preferred sharing a bedroom with him rather than a mountain, but he taught me then that reading stars can be more entertaining that comic books.

They are having a party next week, always the last week in August, when their Canadian friends come down from Vancouver and they harvest blackberries and drink wine and sit around grilling Salmon, playing music, smoking dope and eating fresh veggies.  I hope to go next year.

It is almost time to give him a call.  I hope he has had his coffee, see, I wouldn't want to talk to him when he is grouchy.  He may steal my comics....but that would be ok, cause once you share a bedroom with a brother..... it is almost better than sharing parents.

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