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Wayfaring Traveler Stories

After a Murphy's Law of Cyberspace
Archive of Earlier Storytelling
Pretty Soon

A Pearl Harbor Generation
22 April 2024

It was an early Sunday morning. My matronly grandmother had just arrived by ship in Hawaii. Pop Pop, elegant in tropical double breasted linen, greeted her with leis of plumeria and tuberose. She loved the fragrances of old Hawaii forever after.

(While still a young woman, in high button shoes and a whale bone corset, Grandmother ran up the gangway on one of the last boats out, when France fell in the first World War. Her party fled to England from her Grand Tour, escaping to New York Harbor before ship sinkings terrified both sides of the Atlantic..) 

Cozy on Oahu, my grandparents were breakfasting on the lanai.
Little did they know that she was waltzing, eyes sparkling, into her second World War.
They heard horrid roaring. Fighter planes with rising sun on the wings, an armada. came flying low, hugging the topography of the island. Pop Pop threw down his napkin, knocking over the chair. He pulled on his uniform jacket, and cap, whatever he could grab

Pop Pop, and separately, my naval aviator uncle, went roaring toward the explosions and roiling black smoke in Pearl Harbor. Uncle's car was strafed; he dove into the ditch as the plane flew overhead. 

They watched the huge American ships torpedoed, and sunk with crew aboard. Adm Kimmel, Commander of the Pacific Fleet, was killed in the attack. Pop Pop revered him as a man's man exemplar of an Officer and a Gentleman. 

Although the Japanese code had been broken, Kimmel had not been informed. It was hugely offensive to my grandfather, but politically expedient to scapegoat the Commander of the Fleet. Overnight, the US aversion to war changed tempo from truculence to eager. Farm boys and street smart factory townies, Rosie the Riveters, and those primed for adventure signed up.

Over there, over there.
Send the word, send the word over there,
That the Yanks are coming...

Boys no more, my uncle, dad and his dad made it home after the war. Pop Pop was flown to DC. My dad, commando rugged, heaved his duffel aboard the standing room troop train of returning grunts and officers. Men smoked in those days. They stank. Some fell asleep standing.

When Pop Pop was returned to the west coast, he had the pilot come down in a Texas cow pasture to visit his first granddaughter, staying with Mama and the Texas side till our men returned.

I try not to despair at trannies in skirts.

Bluebonnets Setting Seed
3 April 2024

We're cheering on their bold splashes of cerulean and indigo, fiery Indian Paintbrush, golden daisy-ilk and wine cup magenta.. Our green thumb Hill Country aunt told me a heel-clicking story. Their live oak property is gorgeous but no bluebonnets early on. She dug up a rose bush at a relative's lake home. Unbeknownst to anyone, two bluebonnets tagged along.

Well, they seeded and spread around the home place. Uncle and Aunt live on a rise above the Pedernales river. Blue bonnets meandered down the roadsides past their neighbors' dappled Texas Longhorns. Filling the neighborhood, with that quiet, winter's-over contentment.

So bless Lady Bird who saved Texas wildflowers, and those two family bluebonnets who toodled along with a rose bush years ago.

My cousin came and helped me this morning.
Brilliant weather and thigh-high wildflowers and weeds under the umbrella clothes drying set up.
Uh huh.

Have found snakes sunning where least wished, including a prairie rattler.. 
Snake angst has kept me drying stuff indoors.
She-ro cousin arrived with the weed-whacker. 
Bedding and Amish quilt how rippling in the sunlight.

Gardens are full of hummingbird come-hithers... Hullo in far Central America... Scarlet honeysuckle, crimson verbena, petunias, Esperanza, million bells.
Whar they be? 

Not cozening up to satellites beaming all life with 5G?
Dunno, but what if we were to let go, of faster netflix downloads?
Just supposin'.
Setting seed.

Rambling Rose
15 March 2024

Have always had a weakness for rose catalogues, sighing over varieties which would not grow in what ever wild locale I happened to be living. Of particular interest were roses brought back from the era of scientific "expotitions"... to darkest Africa, Persia, Tibet, Imperial China... Including the exquisite, but tender Lady Banks rose, named for the wife of botanist, Sir Joseph Banks. 

Discovered in China, and soon rampant in the rose-friendly gardens of Great Britain, she's a grand climber or slope-holding spreader rose. Often soft yellow, also white.

Which brings me, drum roll please, to the Southwest:
Cousins took their vintage Chinook and munchkin on a family adventure to the Arizona desert, a spring break bloom-time of year. They have returned with a rooted, budded cutting of a white Banksia rose planted in 1885, in Tombstone, Arizona by a Scottish bride. 

Her family shipped her a box of various rooted cuttings from her home country. 
And, oh my soul, you bet I imagine the ocean voyage to New York past the Statue of Liberty, or to Boston Harbor where the American Revolution began. Next, train and stage coach journey. probably through Chicago and heading into more arid landscapes for Tombstone delivery.

Am flabbergasted at the cousins' find.
The original plant might as well be a Sequoia of rose-dom. Enormous branches and an arbor which does not know when to quit. We are advised on full sun and unusually sturdy support.

Am rooting for a gazebo!

Prairie Glory Time...
Have you Ever Been to Texas in the Spring?
8 March 2024

Great splashes of color, technicolor-improbable. When I was a little girl, an elderly Texas neighbor of my grandparents explained to me about wildflowers:

Child, long, long ago during a hard time on earth, the Good Lord looked down on the misery of poor folks' lives. The rich had finery, gardens and plenty to eat, riding by shacks with hungry children sitting on the front stoops. The Angel Gabriel was sent down to bring promise of beauty and plenty. Gabriel went winging round this old world strewing flower seed, wildflower seed to come back every year for everyone. And that's why you could play in a field of Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Pink Buttercups and Indian Blankets this morning...

I held her hand... You want a gingerbread man with raisin buttons and eyes? Did some baking early...

Tip o' the bonnet to Lady Bird Johnson. I did not enjoy LBJ, who embarrassed me way across the pond with his boorishness, but you want to talk legacy? Lady Bird restored Texas to springtime glory. I got to watch the loss of wildflowers over years of visits back with the highway department's roadside herbicide spraying. She stopped that and got them to mow. 

I was at UT Austin during early seed collection efforts. I have fond memory of Big Bend camping and prowling for seed. Also white water canoe-ing down Santa Elena Canyon, the haunting call of the canyon wren.

Hope this verdant spring marks a road-taken, dear Robert Frost, a return to stewardship of our wild beautiful country.

West Texas Fires
28 February 2024

Dunno points of origin for the First Responders roaring to help. Just know Volunteer Fire Departments are a reminder... that flash mob looters and border hemorrhage are not our whole US story.

Just extraordinary folks, Fire Departments.
I once had a friend who decided to volunteer.
Only prob: 2-gender-she would not be considered to have sufficient upper body strength.

I laughed, and watched with interest.
She was big boned, big family, foster kids, and farm animals.

She did a slow burn when refused out of hand.
Came home and began doing pull-ups and rope shinnies out in the barn.

By Christmas, she was on the fire truck in full gear tossing out kiddo treats. 
Santa rode into town by the Fire Chief, for the lighting of the big balsam fir.
A snowy, old-timey Village Green Christmas. 

​Bless the First Responders, and can-do healing for our country.

Food Normalcy?
2 February 2024

In the US food processing plants are blowing up or lost to inferno.

Geoengineering freakazoids get to play bigly: mega-drought, ark-floods.

Ukraine, formerly the breadbasket of Europe, has turned into nuland/zelensky rubble. 
All negotiations refused.

The US breadbasket, the Midwest, is not bringing in volume or quality of staple crops due to induced drought, low snowfall, flooding for variety.

China cannot feed its own people. It is hoovering up every rice source it can bully or bribe. India stopped exporting rice last year, needing to feed its own population.

The Davos Fourth Reich will permit its serfs, its "useless eaters," coffee once a year, presumably at a satanic festival of their choosing. Coffee harvest has turned meager due to drought and/or rain and mold.

And chocolate, the Female Food Group? 
West African poor harvest.

Enter the Houthis and neighbors, enraged at the US/UK/Israeli 2000 pound bombs dropped on civilians. 
Bibi fending off jail time by forever war.

So, Suez Canal, Red Sea, Straits of Hormuz...?
Commercial vessels now missile targets, if Israeli, or its enablers, US and UK.
Nothing else has worked.

Hurt perpetrators, aka... 
The Shining City on the Hill, 
In the pocket.

Elders and the attentive have been counseling preparedness for years...
Imagine a hurricane...
Empty grocery shelves, mobbed gas stations...

Are we there yet?

​Old Guard Military vs
Woke Recruitment
29 January 2024

A friend and I were discussing steely-eyed grandfathers, hers Sicilian, mine USN, Class of 1912.
Both formidable, the Sicilian not a snuggle-bunny husband or father...

In my case, the admiral was a trusted exemplar-quality naval officer... Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead...
I spent most of my life noting his apparent lack of Mensch-hood, though in fairness, his crews did not.

My dad, after the admiral's death found a letter from me, which the admiral had saved, written in my adulthood, hoping for peace at the last. It included the admission, that I had learned to appreciate him, rather late in the day... having considered him: "cold and calculating..."

Am rethinking warrior leadership in our current context of limp-wristed armed forces.

How would my grandfather and his peers have regarded branches of the military funding "gender-affirming surgery" [cut off those patriarchy testicles.]
Affirm Diversity with uniform skirts, heels for beta-males, and a drag queen recruitment video? 

Or the latest desperate recruitment ploy by the USN? 
No High School Diploma or GED required!

Next up: Military-age Border Invaders. 
Uncle Sam wants YOU!

I curtsy/salute, the Alpha-Males who have served.

Horn of Plenty
25 January 2024

Reporting from this side of the locked ward, buzzed by clown-cars.
Fewer adults seem to be minding the store, the fruited plains of the North American continent.

Living in the boonies, we pat ourselves on the back that we are not hunkered down in Manhattan, San Francisco, Chicago, or closer to home, DFW. We have heavy farm gates and cattle guards, not homeless encampments, feces and drug paraphernalia on the sidewalks. In fact little towns may not even have sidewalks, or traffic lights. 

Some do have Constitutional Sheriffs. The Great State's Governor and AG have asserted State Constitutional Rights, which supersede federal abandonment of Rule of Law via open border invasion. Representing what plan? 
Freebies galore for future grateful voters? While US Veterans sleep in cardboard boxes, tents and commit suicide?

In startling developments, enough already, other states and the Speaker of the House are standing with Texas. Will rogue swamp creatures allow that? Alphabet pathologies may have mayhem up their sleeves.

Turning attention to real stuff and maybe some stocking up...
I had to leave New Mexico's "Enchanted Circle"  where I once could reach a fab health food super market, by bicycle. Now to access a pale facsimile, it's a 60 mi round trip. 

So getting real about mobility and the spectre of empty shelves:

Any supply chain uncertainties?
Gasoline/petrol cost and availability?
Grid down via CME or rogue agencies?
Moronic woke entitlement demographic on the loose?
Border rupture of military age criminals, terrorists, traffickers, cartels?

Rice and beans are the most cost effective pantry items.
But how will you cook them?

Hawthorn, an Old Heart Remedy
28 December 2023

Mercury Retrograde, while often a foot-stomping pain in daily life, and in communication of all sorts, can be a fruitful time of re-assessing. What if anything did I learn, un-vaxxed, but trapped among the max-vaxxed?

Face plant into a snow drift landed me in the hospital... I who had not swallowed an aspirin even, in forty years...

Site of multiple miseries, was AMA-Central, including no visitors with the latest covid fear-state. One misery, being electrodes across my chest, connected to computers in Albuquerque. Not permitted to move, except to roll out of bed and pee in a one holer. If I dislodged an electrode, personnel descended on my room to see if me heart were stopping... In aftermath, plenty pain/exhaustion.

I came to attention, with my own knowledge base, and ordered an old formula still wildcrafted in the US:
Dr. Christopher's Hawthorn Syrup.

Had first gotten real about Hawthorn, an old cottage/monastery/grandmother remedy when reading an account of a Bavarian herbalist who emigrated to Australia, and introduced Kombucha Downunder. Was astonished to be handed a breakfast goblet of black currant Kombucha when WOOFing in New Zealand.

The Bavarian spoke of making Hawthorn Kombucha for his dad, who had been refused by the Kaiser's Imperial Army in WW1, due to his weak heart. Son kept making the stuff for his papa. When Pater reached his 90's and entered hospital, hanging on, the physician said, "Really it's his time to go, but his heart is too strong."

[Obligatory Disclaimer: This is an anecdotal report, not a prescription. 
For medical concerns, please see your health care provider.]

Christmas in Podunk
Love Little Towns
18 December 2023

While I was in the PO, an elderly black man and I set eyes on each other; we both smile. 
(An I-know-you kind of hey.) 
"How you doin?" he wants to know.

"It's a little crazy out there, but I'm doing alright. You?"
He laughs, just a wonderful basso belly laugh, eyes twinkling.
"Doin jest fine."

Bring on the holly... candles at the window, carols at the spinet....
All appearances to the contrary, all is well.
I have met Christmas.

Am on my way to deliver the Angel Tree gifties.
The local bank's Angel Tree is for people in the Old Folks Home.
I heave the wrapped packages onto the Teller's work area.

Think to ask if all the angels have been taken; today is the deadline.
No, but a customer scoped it out and has left a big cash donation.
One of the tellers will go a-shopping-ho.

At my cousins' church, the Angel Tree is for needy children in the county.
My cousins chose an angel for child #9 in a family of ten kiddos.
She wanted a bicycle; she's getting one and some pretty little clothes, of her very own.

When my cousin and I talk about the embarrassment that is our government,
And the contempt in which most seem to hold citizens...
My cousin gets quiet, and reminds me:
"They don't know us."

Mercury Retrograde Holidays
12 December 2023

Batten the hatches, Matey. 
Mercury Retrograde Frolics begin today... through New Year's.
Computers, conversations and travel plans may go sproing.

Or not. 
I have a friend who finds Merc Ret delightful, an interlude when things slow down.
While I mutter danse macabre, drop things, go dyslexic and fall over my feet.

Cognitive-impairment could be enhanced... (Did I SAY that?) 
Black ice road rage just getting there, 
And p*sssing contests around the big screen tv's.

Pass the demm gravy...

Then again, midnight Ghosts, Marley...
Auld Lang Syne, my dear... 
and Tiny Tim, humble as the Wise Men:
God bless us, everyone.

​Holy Land,
Fraught & Translucent
7 December 2023

My weeks in the Holy Land with a mostly discordant group, I was alone a lot. They were just embarrassing, self-identified seemingly, as hotshot Americans. Had they no manners, in this already highly-charged nexus of history? I walked the crenelated Crusader ramparts of the Old City... bumbling along in some caricature-reprise of the book, The Ugly American. Tried to get some understanding of the tribal energies very much alive in the bazaar of shops and holy places. 

When in the Old Jerusalem environs, I made it a point to explore the Arab Quarter.

Two reasons.

1) In some parallel somewhere, I apparently had karmic bidness to attend to. Palestinians caught sight of me and went engorged with rage... Moi?...What?... In fact, I had a strong irrational apprehension of not being safe, among an otherwise hospitable people. 

I made myself return again and again. What on earth are they seeing? Had I blundered into some strange land beyond travel brochures?... And you betcha, I did pray... Please, show me; give me a hint? 

A particularly impressive Bedu all but flung an image my way... of a tall blond Knight Templar wearing the distinctive Christian surcoat. Was totally gobsmacked.  I stopped in various shops and had conversations, Turkish coffee or mint tea, and it finally ebbed. 

2) Also I had lived a memorable sojourn in post World War II Germania. I was appalled at the latter day Hitler-Jugend dressed in blue and white shorts, shirts and ties, carrying Uzis, and lording it over their Palestinian elders. The teenages in blue and white uniforms stood armed on every street corner, and favored marching through the Quarter singing bellicose anthems. Or so I surmised from the hunched shoulders and flashing eyes of the shopkeepers. I do not speak Hebrew or Arabic and felt the deficit keenly.

Ever since that journey, in quiet moments I breathe out a prayer:
Help us to forgive one another.

Courthouse Square Christmas
5 December 2023

I attended a really dazzling small town Christmas Parade; more about that in a moment. First I had to get there.

Earth was in the midst of a geomagnetic storm, with aurora borealis for the fortunate. And not long thereafter, massive quakes in the Philippines. Some folks experience that sort of planetary dis-equilibrium in their bodies, maybe as headache or faux-flu. It can even be hard to walk.

Huge crowds were gravitating into town, which left only remote eccentric parking, probably illegal in daylight. I nudged my putt-putt, emergency-braked with its nose pointing down into a creek bottom, under a big old live oak tree... Reaching the Courthouse Square, I limped in behind South Texas Trail Riders, their necks and their horses' proud ones draped in multi-colored holiday lights. As though winning the Derby! 

All the shops, from the 1890's, had been transformed in a day or two into  Dickensian come-hithers. Here and now, hundreds of shmart phones added to the buzzy EMF of Old Sol's Coronal Mass Ejection. Lord have mercy.

Finally standing at the foot of the steeply angled stairs leading to my friends' celebration. I began self-talking my way into gear: (You've climbed the Wetterhorn, for goodness sake; pull yourself together... Dizzy, achey? Come on.)

Part way up, I heard footsteps. A tall man stopped just below me on the narrow stairs, introduced himself as he put out his right hand palm-up. (He wants me to hand him something?) I gave him my satchel with the popcorn I'd made. He shifted it to his other hand, and tried again, introducing himself and offering his hand. 

(Slow, but I got it, and managed not to cry: You're in Texas, toots. He's not a soyboy. His gender has offered your gender help in getting up the stairs.)

Once in the high, pressed-tin ceiling space with original waxed floors, I drifted out to the upper porch, past the groaning board of nummies, and nekkid lady ship figureheads on the wall. Settled into one rocking chair of eight. Still early, and quiet up there, though a rollicking cast of thousands down below.

Small towns from all over participated, some so small they have no stoplights, but did send floats of "Miss (tiny town)... and her Court." Young women in rhinestone crowns and evening gowns, sequins glittering, waved from snowy palace and grotto fantasias. Someone(s) in all our flyover country had poured love into Christmas of 2023. Various Stetsons were moving quietly along the edge of the melée, keeping things running.

A paradise of !!Fire Trucks!! blowing sirens and klaxons, wonderfully decked out, garish with lights, hove into view. I peeked over the garlanded porch railing at thrilled little boys racing around. The championship uniformed football team formed an unadorned brown study on a flat bed. Much cheering as they passed.

Texas is devoutly serious about showing up and rooting for its communities. High School bands marched through with hotshot drummers and dancing cheerleaders twirling flags. There were floats from churches, 4-H Clubs, tractors swathed in Christmas lights, a Ford Model T farm truck restored to warm red and brown.

Trail Riders came prancing, some hunkered down in carts and wagons drawn by burro, mule, Shetland ponies. A tractor followed and the costumed elf passenger hopped off and on, scooping up equine poop with a snow shovel. Elf was also cheered. She offered her tilted rear view to helpful insults shouted by friends... Shriners zipped in an out on small ATV's,

Chairs had been set up all around the Square and some businesses routinely provide benches with cushions. Lots of babies asleep no matter what, wild kids careening with sugar rushes, dogs barking and trying to kerfuffle. Across the street encircling the chateau-esque Courthouse, white crafter tents, lit from within, were doing business selling treats and stocking-stuffers. Shoppers strolled, laughed, many with leashed dogs in Santa or reindeer jackets and headgear. 

Wouldn't have missed it, an evening of incandescent silliness. 
And didn't, thanks to kindness going up the stairs.