4.30.2023 – Oh betacism

betacism shift
voiced labiodental
fricative sound change

Clementine Churchill said of her husband, Winston, that he was the last man to believe in the divine right of Kings or that kings derived their authority from God and could not therefore be held accountable for their actions by any earthly authority such as a parliament.

With that in mind, I do plan to watch the coronation of King Charles III at 5 AM this coming Saturday.

Though an American, I find the history fascinating.

It IS the first British coronation of my lifetime and may be the only one of my lifetime.

So far those once-in-a-lifetime things for me have come up a bit short.

Thinking here of Haley’s Comet.

When I was kid, growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Public Museum had a display on Haley’s Comet with the text that the comet would return in 1986.

For me, that would be in 20 years and I looked forward to the comet lighting up the skies and freaking out the world.

And when the comet showed up in 1986, I don’t recall that I ever saw it.

So I plan to watch this coronation.

And I wonder what might have happened had we not had the Declaration of Independence or George Washington back in 1776.

You may have caught that the Stone of Scone was moved from Scotland to Westminster Abbey last week.

In Scotland, any future King sat on this same stone block to be crowned.

At least until 1296 when Edward I (AKA Edward Longshanks or Hammer of the Scots) made Scotland part of Great Britain and took the stone back to London where a shelf was added to King Edward’s Coronation Chair (still being used today) and the stone was put on the shelf so that Kings of England were also crowned Kings of Scotland.

Notice there was no voting on this and some Scots have yet to get used to the idea.

In 1950 some goofy college kids broke into the Abbey made off with the Stone and tried to get it back to Scotland.

Then in 1996, the Stone went back to Scotland with the understanding it would be returned when (and if – who knew QEII would be around for almost 30 years) needed to England and now it has been returned.

The Scots got their stone but their are still not independent of Great Britain.

It should be noted that in 1914 when some suffrages tried to blow up the Coronation Chair, the Stone got cracked in half (but no one told the Scots until those college kids grabbed it and it came apart as the pulled it off it’s shelf. Which kind of freaked them out at the time.)

When I was in college in the early 1982, Canada got out of their obligation to the Crown when the Canada Act, also called Constitution Act of 1982, Canada’s constitution approved by the British Parliament on March 25, 1982, and proclaimed by Queen Elizabeth II, making Canada wholly independent.

I was in a class on US History through the Documents of 1776 and the Professor noted that had it not been for these documents, the US might just be getting their Independence as well in 1982.

In 1997, when Great Britain’s 99 year lease on Hong Kong ran out, I happened to be watching the then Prince Charles lower the Union Jack and paddle on out of Hong Kong.

By chance I was watching with someone from Taiwan.

She was with a group of people from a publishing house in Taiwan touring the place where I worked and she stopped to watch.

As the flag came down I asked her how it felt?

How did it feel to see the British finally leave this part of China and give it back to the Chinese.

She looked at the TV and she looked at me and she looked back at the TV and said, “It’s about time!”

We are American Citizen’s, thankfully, not British Subjects.

Still, I plan to watch,

And next weekend I plan to bake a Coronation Quiche.

It seems a simple recipe but it calls for broad beans, otherwise known as fava beans.

Which I have been researching which led to this haiku.

I was the checking the beans for this recipe on the website, https://hodmedods.co.uk/, which seems to a GB version of Whole Foods and the site went into a long discussion of the Coronation Quiche recipe, its ingredients in general and fava beans specifically.

At the very end of the story was this great line.

A good question was asked on Twitter: are fava beans similar to faba beans?

They’re the same thing!

The letter b does a funny thing of turning into a v sometimes.

It’s called betacism apparently.



Was that even a word?


It is!

It means from (phonology) sound change in which [b] (the voiced bilabial plosive) shifts to [v] (the voiced labiodental fricative). Betacism is a fairly common phenomenon: it has taken place in Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, and some Portuguese dialects, among others.

You know betacism when you hear it.

The voiced bilabial plosive [b] shifts to [v] the voiced labiodental fricative,

And that 2nd line.

Betacism is a fairly common phenomenon: it has taken place in Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, and some Portuguese dialects, among others.

I loved it as it says that Betacism is a fairly common phenomenon but every online entry I have clicked on for betacism, these sites use the same examples from the Latin and Hebrew.

I don’t think it is that common but it has that great name.

Which leads me to think, WHO STUDIES THIS STUFF?


And notice it is the SOUND CHANGE, so I guess this won’t show up in texts but only when the text is read out loud.




God Save the King!

  • Here is the recipe for The Coronation Big Lunch right from the Palace. BTW I plan on using my standard pie crust.


  • 125ml milk
  • 175ml double cream
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese,
  • 180g cooked spinach, lightly chopped
  • 60g cooked broad beans or soya beans


  1. To make the pastry…
    1. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl; add the fats and rub the mixture together using your finger tips until you get a sandy, breadcrumb like texture.
    2. Add the milk a little at a time and bring the ingredients together into a dough.
    3. Cover and allow to rest in the fridge for 30-45 minutes
  2. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the pastry to a circle a little larger than the top of the tin and approximately 5mm thick.
  3. Line the tin with the pastry, taking care not to have any holes or the mixture could leak. Cover and rest for a further 30 minutes in the fridge.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  5. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, add baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes, before removing the greaseproof paper and baking beans.
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.
  7. Beat together the milk, cream, eggs, herbs and seasoning.
  8. Scatter 1/2 of the grated cheese in the blind-baked base, top with the chopped spinach and beans and herbs, then pour over the liquid mixture.
  9. If required gently give the mixture a delicate stir to ensure the filling is evenly dispersed but be careful not to damage the pastry case.
  10. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until set and lightly golden.

4.29.2023 – heart of culture found

heart of culture found
in the hero – who is that
man who is revered

Based on a line written by Cormac McCarthy.

The complete line is:

The heart of any culture is to be found in the nature of the hero.

Who is that man who is revered?

In the western world it is the man of God.

From Moses to Christ.

The prophet.

The penitent.

For today, let me focus on just the line, Who is that man who is revered?, and consider how that has changed, say in the time, the years since 2016.

I don’t think I have to say much in the way of commentary about the time before and the time since 2016 and Who is that man who is revered? and the sad state of culture in the United States of America.

Consider the hero in literature.

Seems to me that a culture looked to the hero to protect them, to nurture them, to be, well, a hero in their eyes.

A hero would not exploit the fears of a culture to secure their place.

There are other words to describe those who exploit fear.

And it ain’t hero and they ain’t revered by history.

While this percolates, let me suggest another way to consider this.

What if we changed the line to:

The heart of any culture is to be found in the nature of its possessions.

What is that item that is revered?

What is that item that is revered above all others?

Not asking personally, but as a view on culture, American culture.

What is that item that is revered?

I think there is one answer.

And I think it is a possession built up on fear.

And I have to ask, when did we all get so scared.

On the first Christmas of World War 2, in his Christmas Day speech, George VI quoted from the poem, The Gate of the Year by Minnie Louise Haskins, saying: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

Hand of God … or a weapon.

What is that item that is revered?

4.28.2023 – there is no choosing

there is no choosing
only accepting – choosing
was done long ago

From the dark movie The Counselor, a 2013 crime thriller film directed by Ridley Scott.

I think I should have known it was written by Cormac McCarthy.

In movie, a lawyer gets caught up in things he would rather not be caught up in and seeks a way out.

He approaches some one in the inner circle of bad guys for help and advice.

What he gets is this.

I would urge you to see the truth in your situation …

That is my advice.

It is not for me to say what you should have done.

Or not done.

I only know that the world in which they are made.

You are at a cross in the road and here you think to choose.

But there is no choosing.

There is only accepting.

The choosing was done long ago.

The cold harsh logic of Mr. McCarthy’s that pervades most of his writing is chillingly present in this short soliloquy worthy of Big Bill himself.

Such simple words in such an unbelievable unfathomable combination.

In the more of this scene Mr. McCarthy gives a hint of the source of bit alluding to the poems of Antonio Cipriano José María y Francisco de Santa Ana Machado y Ruiz (26 July 1875 – 22 February 1939), known as Antonio Machado.

The man who wrote:

Wayfarer, only your footprints
are the path, and nothing more;
wayfarer, there is no path,
you make the path as you walk.
As you walk you make the path,
and as you turn to glance behind
you see the trail that you never
shall return to tread again.
Wayfarer, there is no path,
only wake trails on the sea.

(Proverbios y cantares” in Campos de Castilla, 1917 edition)

There is no choosing.

There is no path.

Only wake trails on the sea.

There is only accepting.

The choosing was done long ago.

To be or not to be.

Such simple words.

I have access to all these same words.

It is getting these simple words in these combinations.

There’s the rub.

Wayfarer, there is no path, only wake trails on the sea.

4.27.2023 – rid assets of names

rid assets of names
symbols displays monuments

Congress finally parted company with the myth of the noble Confederate in 2021. It overrode a presidential veto to order the Defense Department to rid its assets of “names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia” that commemorate the Confederate States of America. The legislation established a commission that brought forward new names for nine Army installations in the South.

The main event of the renaming project unfolds on Thursday in Virginia, when Fort Lee is rechristened Fort Gregg-Adams. This change derives its emotional power from the fact that the saint of the lavishly racist Lost Cause is being replaced by two African Americans who served in the Army during the Jim Crow era.

From the Confederate Tributes Are Losing Their Patron Saint By Brent Staples in the New York Times, 4/27/2023.

I have long wondered why the losers got forts.

Fort Knox was a Revolutionary War General.

Fort Jackson is named after General Andrew Jackson of the War of 1812, NOT that Stonewall feller.

Bragg, Hood, Benning were all the loser side.

I was told, as a kid, that this happened during World War 1 for the sake of unity.

The story as recounted in this article relates a story that is sadder than I ever imagined.

When I sent off to the National Archives for my Great Great Grandfather’s Civil War records, the first document in the pile was his Casualty Sheet listing him as Killed In Action.

Which surprised me as he was NOT killed in the Civil War but was badly wounded and captured after the Battle of Gaines Mill.

It benefited me greatly that he was not dead as he didn’t get married and have offspring, that led to me being born, until he returned home.

When someone gets around to apologizing for shooting Great Great Grampa, I’ll consider listening to it.

4.26.2023 – brought the sense of change

brought the sense of change
or irresponsibility
reckless as they were

I was going to write that if you read the books and essays of the 100 years ago, your know the phrase, “The Lost Generation” but as so few folks read books and essays of 100 years ago I am going to write that I came across an interesting comment on the people of the lost generation.

I came across a series of books published by George Plimpton’s Paris Review titled, Writers at Work.

There are 9 or 10 books in the series and they are collections of interviews with some of the great, well known and great mostly unknown writers of the 20th Century.

Certainly I have my favorites and I quickly searched out the interview Dorothy Parker.

Hoping against hope for something good (Jim Harrison once wrote that in every interview he ever gave, he would just repeat the question and say, I AGREE, to get the interview over with IE Question: MR. Harrison, would you say that while Hemingway must be counted among the American Greats, today he is little read and has even less impact? – Mr. Harrison : “Yes I would say that while Hemingway must be counted among the American Greats, today he is little read and has even less impact!” Harrison said nothing made interviewers happier than responses like this – but I digress) and I was stunned to read this quote in the Dorothy Parker interview.

Gertrude Stein did us the most harm when she said, “You’re all a lost generation.” That got around to certain people and we all said, “Whee! We re lost.” Perhaps it suddenly brought to us the sense of change. Or irresponsibility. But don’t forget that, though the people in the twenties seemed like flops, they weren’t. Fitzgerald, the rest of them, reckless as they were, drinkers as they were, they worked damn hard and all the time.

Now to wikipedia, The Lost Generation was the social generational cohort in the Western world that was in early adulthood during World War I. The generation is generally defined as people born from 1883 to 1900. The term is also particularly used to refer to a group of American expatriate writers living in Paris during the 1920s. Gertrude Stein is credited with coining the term, and it was subsequently popularised by Ernest Hemingway, who used it in the epigraph for his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises: “You are all a lost generation. Lost” in this context refers to the “disoriented, wandering, directionless” spirit of many of the war’s survivors in the early postwar period.

And I have ever been taught to regard the original statement by Ms. Stein the term as used by Mr. Hemingway as something sacred in American Literature.

See, these folks were lost.

See, these folks were hardened by their times.

See, though says Ms. Parker, we got a pass. We’re lost!

A sense of change.

A sense of irresponsibility.

See we’re boomers.

See we’re Gen X.

See we’re Gen Y.

See we’re Millennials.

See, it’s not our fault, WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

4.25.2023 – can miss, ride the wave

you can miss the wave,
ride or be crushed by the wave …
a matter of tide

Not another seaside inspired haiku.


I was picking my way through the pieces of the FOX News coverage and in the story, The Tragedy of Fox News (NYT 4/25/2023) by Bret Stephens, I loved this paragraph where Mr. Stephens wrote:

“All this makes Fox’s business challenge approximately the same as for the surfers at the Portuguese beach at Nazaré: miss the wave, ride the wave or be crushed by the wave. For Fox, riding the wave will no longer come easy: Angry populism is a force that can only be stoked, never assuaged.

Not that I cared that much about FOX but I loved the line, miss the wave, ride the wave or be crushed by the wave and having moved to the Atlantic Coast, I am much more aware of how waves are influenced by the tide that comes in and out two times day since time began.

Talk about a new tide sweeps clean, the beaches here are power washed twice a day leaving behind an untouched canvas for thoughts, ideas and beach chairs.

And I was reminded of my brush with Rupert Murdoch.

I got my start in Web Work when I was hired to be the ‘Corporate Librarian’ at Zondervan Publishing House in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Zondervan was known, then and now, as the publisher of the New International Version of the Holy Bible or NIV.

Through the office of Corporate Librarian, I kinda of ran wild over Zondervan.

They had no real plan for the position and I had no real plan of what to do.

I was included in Human Resources and had easy access to the Vice President of HR and once hired, I kept pestering the VP as to what they wanted me to do as Corporate Librarian.

Out of frustration with my pestering that VP looked at me and said, “Mike, your role is to foster reading throughout the company.”

I went back to my office and puzzled about this for a day.

What did it mean?

Foster reading throughout the company.

Then I thought, what doesn’t it mean!

And I drove a truck a through it!

After that, anything I did, I justified by saying, I am fostering reading throughout the company.

And it worked, oh boy let me tell you.

I got away with murder.

I had a room for the corporate library.

I had no furniture.

I knew the Cascade Township Library, where I had been working, was being refurbished and I offered them a deal that they could come to Zondervan and select as many books as they wanted in exchanged for their old library tables.

When Zondervan folks asked how I made the deal, I said I was just fostering reading throughout the company.

Also as Corporate Liberian, I did research for anyone who had a question about anything or fact checked any fact that needed checking.

To do this, I needed access to that new World Wide Web.

It was little known at the time and even to this day, that Zondervan is owned by Harper Collins in New York.

Harper Collins is owned by News Corp.

That’s right.

The feller who runs Fox News and owns Bart Simpson also publishes the NIV Bible.

And at the time I was at Zondervan, News Corp. also had an online service provider.

This company was known as Delphi and it was Rupert Murdoch’s big plan to be THE (read out loud as THEE) Internet Service Provider to the world.

If you worked for Zondervan and needed to be online, you got a Delphi Account.

I would get to my desk, turn on my computer, connect my modem and DIAL INTO the Delphi Network and after some sqawks and squeals and I would be online.

I was online so much that when it came time to create a Zondervan Website, the committee in charge decided that I should be a part of that team.

After the first meeting I had with the team, I found that all the other team members would be very happy if I took over the web effort and they would not have to worry about this latest ‘fad’.

It wasn’t so much that I took over as that they asked for a volunteer to be webmaster and I raised my hand to ask, “What did you say?”

Now 30 later, I am a webmaster dinosaur.

One of those people with 30 years experience in web design but no college degree in HTML.

There was no HTML when I was in college.

I have to say there is a certain je ne sais quoi to the quality of one’s web coding when one learned to code and create websites when 20k was the considered HUGE for an online image.

But back to Mr. Murdoch.

As I said, Mr. Murdoch had visions of Delphi being the largest internet service provider in the world.

Ol’ Rupert was going to ‘OWN’ the World Wide Web.

According to legend, Rupert came into work and asked for the Delphi balance sheet and then asked when could he expect his number of users to match, then pass, AOL.

Back then there were still people who dared to tell Rupert about reality land.

And someone told Rupert that not only would Delphi never pass, let alone catch AOL, Delphi was not even playing in the same league as AOL.

Rupert listened to this report, looked at the balance sheet and then said, “Shut it down.”

In 2 weeks Delphi ceased to exist.

And I got Microsoft Internet Explorer added to my computer for the first time.

Miss the wave, ride the wave or be crushed by the wave.

It is just a matter of tide.

4.24.2025 – suspended between

suspended between
the bottom of the sea and
the top of the sky

Men who ache all over for tidiness and compactness in their lives often find relief for their pain in the cabin of a thirty-foot sailboat at anchor in a sheltered cove. Here the sprawling panoply of The Home is compressed in orderly miniature and liquid delirium, suspended between the bottom of the sea and the top of the sky, ready to move on in the morning by the miracle of canvas and the witchcraft of rope. It is small wonder that men hold boats in the secret place of their mind, almost from the cradle to the grave. —

“The Sea and the Wind That Blows,” 1963; Essays of E. B. White, pp. 205–206.

Part of the series of Haiku inspired by from In the Words of E. B. White: Quotations from America’s Most Companionable of Writers (2011, Cornell University Press) by Mary White. This book was compiled by Mr. White’s grand daughter and while I am grateful she pulled all these together in one book, I am not sure I don’t consider this cheating.

4.23.2023 – if you are going

if you are going
into a food fight, always
come with the most food

Not making a statement on either side, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times made me laugh when in her opinion piece, DeSantis’s Puddin’ Head Campaign, she quoted David Axelrod saying, “If they’re going to get into a food fight, Trump always comes with more food.”

First, though I have to recognize Ms. Dowd for the homage Mark Twain’s The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson (please read if you haven’t – you won’t regret it) where the assembled crowd notes that, after the man (Mr. David “Pudd’nhead” Wilson) in question said something dumb, was a … “Perfect jackass — yes, and it ain’t going too far to say he is a pudd’nhead. If he ain’t a pudd’nhead, I ain’t no judge, that’s all.”

Then let me go to the simple wisdom of the Axelrod quote which I boiled down to today’s haiku.

if your are going
into a food fight, always
come with the most food

Is there a better description of our current political system as it now stands?

Back in the day I went to college in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Due to many and various reasons, I was starting in the Winter term, not in the fall like most folks.

Due to this, finding a place to live was a problem but through a kind hearted brother-in-law, I wound up ‘boarding’ at a frat house.

Living and dining at a frat while not a part of it.

It was a good deal.

I had a room, laundry facilities and meals.

When I signed my papers, it was explained to me that if I took a kitchen job to help out, I would get a break on the dining fees which is how I ended up making Sunday Noon Dinner for 40 guys but that’s another story.

We ate family style at 3 long tables.

The dishes for the meal where set down at the end of each table and then passed along and we helped ourselves.

There was this one kid who managed to arrive late for dinner one or two times a week.

The empty seats were always the furthest from the food and he would rush in late, sit down at the far end of a table and immediately ask for everything to be passed his way.

One night, this feller ran in and sat down, late, next to me at the end of the table, but before he could say anything, one of the other guys yelled out, “Pass the meat, please!”

Someone else yelled out, “Pass the potatoes, please!”

“Pass the bread, please!”

Then they stopped saying things and just passed everything on the table, napkins, salt & pepper shakers, dirty plates, everything was passed down.

Desserts had just been set out and the dessert was passed down and I found an entire banana cream pie sitting on the table in front of me.

The feller in question was oblivious to all of this but on the other side of me sat Bob.

Bob was a frat boy.

Bob was, in the most 1980’s way, preppy, stuffy, spoiled and insufferable.

I looked at the pie in front me.

A banana cream pie that could have come from the kitchens of the Three Stooges I am telling you.

I looked at Bob in his pink izod, dockers and duck shoes.

Bob looked at the pie and he looked me dead in the eye and started to say, “Don’t even think about it!”

He got as far as “Don’t …”

Bob later told me that he counted to ten before he reacted.

If that was true, he counted by banging my head against the table.

I had picked up the pie with both hands, without turning, and with one fast motion, lifted the pie to my left and into Bob’s face.

As Mr. Twain (again) would write about dropping a watermelon on someone’s head from a third floor window, “I doubted the judiciousness of this, and I had some compunctions about it, too, because so much of the resulting entertainment would fall to my share and so little to the other person.”

To this day I doubt the judiciousness of this, and I had some compunctions about it but it was, above all else, really funny.

I was laughing all the time Bob was banging my head on the table.

When Bob stopped I sat back with tears coming down my face, making streaks in pie smears.

Bob, himself covered in pie, grabbed double handfuls of pie and threw it in my face and then rubbed his hands through my hair for good measure and left the room, slamming a door.

It was not until then that I noticed that the explosion of pie had led to a general food fight in the dining room.

Rolls, handfuls of potatoes, jello (a real accomplishment if you ever tried to throw jello) and whatever else was left from dinner was all flying through the air.

I had read about such things but, truly, this was the only food fight I ever experienced.

The place was a mess and after things calmed down, the guy who functioned as frat steward stood up and asked everyone to leave and that I would be staying until the place was completely clean.

I stood up, accepted the responsibility for the moment and apologized for the mess and got to work on the clean.

Then a goofy thing happend.

I would guess about 10 or 12 other guys pitched in and helped me with the clean up.

Afterward we went somewhere and I bought them all a beer and thanked them.

I made a toast of thanks and then I had to ask, why did they help me?

They all laughed and one guy spoke for all of them.

Are you kidding?” he asked?

You got Bob!”

4.22.2023 – Kool Aid, Cool Kool Aid

Kool Aid, Cool Kool Aid
where oh where is my Kool Aid
look for red mustache …

I grew up in a Kool Aid family.

There wasn’t a lot of pop around the house except at holidays.

We had Welch’s grape juice because my Mom believed in a weekly dose of Cod Liver Oil.

We would line up in the kitchen on Saturday nights and my Mom would set out two shot glasses.

One at time we would get a shot of Cod Liver Oil chased by a shot of Welch’s to cover up the taste.

Then Mom would refill the shot glasses for the next person in line.

This aspect of home wellness did not continue long into my lifetime, I was 8th of 11 kids and I think my Mom just gave up, but those shot glasses stayed in the kitchen cupboard forever.

For years when someone new to the family was directed to the cupboard to find a glass, they would find the shot glasses and grab one and ask, “What it is this for?”

And we would tell them.

I will also say that a shot glass of grape juice after Cod Liver Oil made me look at Communion with what is called a suspect animus.

Of course we always had OJ and Lemonade from frozen concentrate.

To this day, the rules for cans of concentrate are the same and I bet you can recite them.

Three cans of cold water for OJ.

Four and 1/3 cans of cold water for Lemonade.

I have never understood that in the century since the invention of frozen lemonade concentrate, no chemist has come up with a way to produce a product that needs the same three cans of water as OJ.

Doesn’t this call out for consistency?

Three cans of water regardless?

But no and forever we go one guessing at how much is four and 1/3 cans of water.


In the summer time the drink was Kool Aid.

Mom would unpack the brown bags of groceries and down at the bottom of one bag would be an assortment of Kool Aid packets.

Mom would get the standards of orange, grape, lemon lime.

I could not stand strawberry or watermelon.

I think because the goto drink for Youth Meetings at my church were those two flavors.

And at church it was an off brand Kool Aid Kool Aid kind of beverage that was provided, as I recall, with double the requested amount of water and half the amount of sugar.

That and how we all got red mustaches from drinking the stuff.

For me, the gold standard. the best flavor, Kool Aid at its finest was black cherry.

I find it hard to say why as I was no big fan of cherry flavor or cherry pie or cherry pop tarts.

We lived in the heart of farmers fresh produce stands and in the summer time, there were often bowls of fresh from the tree cherries and black cherries in our fridge but they weren’t on my list.



My Mom believed in Dixie Cups and the Dixie Cup dispenser.

To come in from playing in the what I was led to believe was the HOT summer of West Michigan (which would amount to a warm winter afternoon where I now live in the Low Country of South Carolina) and open the fridge to see a tupper-ware plastic pitcher of black cherry Kool Aid was the ultimate reward for playing outside in the hot summer of West Michigan.

I would take out the pitcher and reach up to the dispenser and pull out a dixie cup that I would fill TO THE BRIM and then standing there, with the pitcher in one hand, I would pour that Kool Aid down my throat in one or two gulps and slam down the dixie cup like I was Wild Bill Hickok in the Girl of the Golden West Saloon in Dodge City.

“I’ll have another,” I would yell to no one in particular and I fill up the cup again with the purest, bestest, coldest, sweetest drink on the face of this planet.

Black Cherry Kool Aid.

Over the years I may have lost the appeal of Kool Aid over all, maybe being a parent with 7 kids and dealing with the special staining aspects of Kool Aid had something to do with it, but I never lost the taste … or at least the memory of the taste of ice cold Black Cherry Kool Aid.

My kids will tell you that whenever any discussion of favorite foods and drinks took place in with my family, I would say, “This is good, but …” and the kids would answer, “It’s not Black Cherry Kool Aid”

Alas, while it is still made, it rarely shows up in stores and my kids only know about it from my stories.

Recently my son Jackie was getting ready to make a run to Walmart and he asked, “Need anything?”

And out of the blue I said, “See if they have any Black Cherry Kool Aid.”

He laughed and said okay but when he returned he had to report that he did look all over, but nope, no Black Cherry.

I said that I didn’t expect it as it was around much anymore.

Then my son said, “Dad, there is place called Amazon …”

I had not thought of that.

Then I did think of about it.

Then I thought, why not?

And I placed an order for 15 packets with the purest, bestest, coldest, sweetest drink on the face of this planet.

The order was accepted and I was told I would have my delivery in one week via the United States Postal Service.

I waited and thought about Black Cherry Kool Aid.

One week later I got notified that the package had been delivered to my mailbox!

I was at work and I waited and thought about Black Cherry Kool Aid.

I got home from work, took a walk with my wife and ended the walk at the mail boxes for our Apartment Compled.

Got out the key, opened the box and looked in … to see … nothing.

I checked my messages again and it stated – VERFIED DELIVERY – Left in buyers mailbox.

But it had not been left, at least, it had not be left in MY mail box.

So the process of tracking down the package has started.

The Mail Service here in the Low Country is, well, like the posted hours of restaurants, more of a suggestion.

That the mail carrier did track my package and beeped whatever tracking was on the package, the number of open slots that the mail carrier had to choose from was too much and the wrong slot got my package.

That means someone else got my Kool Aid.

Some else, disregarded my name and address on the package, even though I am just a few yards away from where they live.

Some else is mixing up and drinking my Black Cherry Kool Aid.

Some else in this apartment complex has a dark red mustache across their upper lip.

And I am looking for you.

To Be Continued …

4.21.2023 – eyes that often seem

eyes that often seem
capable seeing things not
visible to men

Any sort of disturbance, whether man-made or elemental, is of immense interest to a goose, and geese watch the world through eyes that often seem capable of seeing things not visible to men. I have always envied a goose its look of deep, superior wisdom. I miss the cordiality of geese, the midnight cordiality. And they are the world’s best drinkers, forever at it. —

Postscript to “The Eye of Edna,” April 1962; Points of My Compass, p. 14

Part of the series of Haiku inspired by from In the Words of E. B. White: Quotations from America’s Most Companionable of Writers (2011, Cornell University Press) by Mary White. This book was compiled by Mr. White’s grand daughter and while I am grateful she pulled all these together in one book, I am not sure I don’t consider this cheating.