5.30.2023 – but they were young yet

but they were young yet
there remained for them many
life’s uncut pages

Adapted from Jack London’s short story, Dutch Courage.

Back in the day, I worked at a publishing house.

They had an entire department devoted to creating the printing pages layout of a the books published by the publishing house.

Then, and maybe still, when a book is printed, the pages are not printed one at a time, like pages out of a copy machine and then bound together.

No Sir!

A book is printed out on sheets of paper, four feet wide and five feet long.

It seems to me that either 32 or 64 pages of a book were printed on one piece of paper.

Pages are printed on BOTH sides of this giant piece of paper.

A machine then folded and folded and folded this sheet of paper, origami style, so that when it was all over, what you had was a block of folded paper, with all the pages lined up in order.

Page 33 might be on the back of page 32, but when it was laid out on the paper, page 33 might be in the center of side 1, so page 32 had to be place in the correct corresponding place on side 2.

Layout was like a giant sudoku game.

A couple of things resulted from this process.

One was that sometimes, the page counted didn’t match up.

Did you ever wonder why you got a book and it had a couple of blank pages before the forward and after the end of the book?

And it is these blocks of 32 or 64 pages that make up the sections of pages that you can see in a book that has bound pages that have uncut edges.

Working in bookstores and libraries, I was taught that having an uncut edge was not a sign of sloppiness but instead the rough edged pages were a sign to those who knew, that the book had a sewn instead of a glued binding

But that was just the outer edge.

Of course, the inner edges of the book had to be cut, if for no other reason to remove the folded edges.

If those weren’t removed, the pages couldn’t be opened and the book couldn’t be read.

And there is the story of life’s uncut pages.

Some book collectors wanting a first edition, who also wanted it kept in mint condition could hardly be expected to want to read any book in question, the true collector just needed the book to complete their collection.

So the true collector bought first editions that were left UNCUT!

Early in their marriage, Young Eleanor perused the books in Franklin Roosevelt’s library and was dismayed to find so many books with uncut pages.

She had to tear open a couple pages just to see what the books were about.

“YOU DID WHAT?” asked Frank at lunch when she reported what she had done.

SO books with uncut pages at not uncommon.

Books with their stories wrapped up inside.

Mr. London, writing about two young men about to try and climb the famous Half Dome in Yosemite wrote this:

“What’s that for?” Gus asked, pointing to a leather-shielded flask which Hazard was securely fastening in his shirt pocket.

“Dutch courage, of course,” was the reply. “We’ll need all our nerve in this undertaking, and a little bit more, and,” he tapped the flask significantly, “here’s the little bit more.”

“Good idea,” Gus commented.

How they had ever come possessed of this erroneous idea, it would be hard to discover; but they were young yet, and there remained for them many uncut pages of life.

So many erroneous ideas.

But they were young yet, and there remained for them many uncut pages of life.

Pages that are waiting to be torn open.

Cut open.

Carefully.

Maybe not so carefully.

Only way to get at the story.

Moon and Half Dome – Ansel Adams – 1960

5.14.2023 – grown up in an age

grown up in an age
permeated by noise of
24-hour news

Adapted from this passage:

You have grown up in an age permeated by the noise of a 24-hour news cycle, by needless political polarization, by devastating gun violence, by the isolating effects of “social” media. You have seen hard-won civil rights rolled back. You have come of age at a time of existential threat — to the planet, to democracy, to the arc of the moral universe itself — and none of it is your fault.

In the Guest Opinion Piece, Against Despair: An Open Letter to Graduates on May 15, 2023 written by Margaret Renkl.

Ms. Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.

She, as is evident in the headline, writing to High School and College Graduates in the Spring of the year 2023.

All she says is true.

These graduates have … grown up in an age permeated …

by the noise of a 24-hour news cycle,

by needless political polarization,

by devastating gun violence,

by the isolating effects of “social” media.

You have seen hard-won civil rights rolled back.

You have come of age at a time of existential threat — to the planet, to democracy, to the arc of the moral universe itself …

and none of it is their fault.

But, I have to ask, it is within their ability to realize … there was a time, there was a place when life WAS NOT permeated

by the noise of a 24-hour news cycle,

by needless political polarization,

by devastating gun violence,

by the isolating effects of “social” media.

My children never spend a minute imaging a world without a cell phone.

My grand children, digital natives as they are called, grew up in a world that I am fond of pointing out, never existed anywhere.

Never existed not even in the wildest dreams of worlds that Science fiction and non fiction writers ever imagined.

A world where we all carried some of the most power computers ever designed.

Computers that we carry so we can send pictures of ourselves in places that other people aren’t at.

Now they are a part of life.

They replaced what we now call land lines.

Are they missed?

Do these graduates miss these other things.

They are just as gone.

That they are gone is not the graduates fault.

Can it be their fault that they don’t know them well enough to miss them?

5.7.2023 -instagrammable

instagrammable
moments that did not make it
on to instagram

Any one who reads these essays will know that I often rant about the instagrammable moment.

The idea that proof of being somewhere is better than the being there itself.

For example, 80% of the people who visit the Louvre in Paris are there to see only the Mona Lisa and when they get their 60 seconds in front of the painting, they turn their back on Lisa del Giocondo so they can position their iPhone to take a photo that captures their self with the painting in the background.

Viola, the instagrammable moment.

These moments can be based on an event as well.

Their self at Times Square on New Years, at a big league ball game or taking a walk on a beach at lunchtime.

Something to show you are where you are and other people aren’t.

There hasn’t been a British Coronation in 70 plus years.

For many, it could be a once in a life time event.

An event, that if you were present at, would almost demand to memorilized with an instagrammable moment.

Yet …

As I watched the pageantry playout on my TV and men bowed and women curtsied, not once did I see a slender white box of an iPhone.

I did not see the extended arms of the Instagram Salute.

I did not see anyone turn their back, a breach of etiquette all its own, so that someone could capture that instagrammable moment.

I like pageantry and such.

I’ll watch Inaugurations.

I’ll watch the funerals of past Presidents.

On Christmas Eve, it has become a tradition started after setting out all the gifts and candy for Christmas Morning, that the wife and I watch the service from St. Peters.

Of late, all of these events are filled with the image of people making images.

As an aside, how a Secret Service agent makes the split second decision that someone is reaching out with an iPhone and not a weapon is beyond me.

Last Christmas it comes to mind that one person in St. Peters in the background behind the alter was making such a show to capture selfies that a Vatican Official had to tap her on the shoulder to please sit down.

But yesterday in Westminster Abbey, I didn’t see a one.

When I first noticed I was so pleased that the people in the Abbey were there for the sake of being there and not proving they HAD been there.

When I time to think about it, my thought was, HOW did the Brits accomplish this?

Did Charles have a note at the bottom of the invitation saying something like, “Please refrain from taking selfies. In respect to the moment, the use of hand held devices is prohibited.”

If the invitations did have such a line, would the Brits go along with it?

And you know, I think they would.

You can find lots of indications that Brits don’t like they Royalty but I think that while they say it, they don’t mean it.

I remember a clip of an interveiw of one time Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan by Dick Cavett.

Mr. Cavett was asking about the process of Royal Honors and Mr. Macmillan explained that when he was in charge he would contact people and say, “I have in mind to recommend you to the Queen for a Knighthood,”

Mr. Macmillan explained that way, the honor would be turned down before it was ever offered (it ever one was ever turned down – Even John Lennon took an MBE before, years later, he gave it back).

Mr. Cavett grasped the idea and summed it up saying, “So you wouldn’t be saying no to the Queen.”

Mr. Macmillan agreed, “Saying no to the Queen? It just isn’t done.”

5.6.2023 – sorry your Highness

sorry your Highness
organised properly for
next coronation

So said Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Effingham, to His Majesty King George III when the Earl apologized for all the mishaps at the coronation of the King, Tuesday, 22 September 1761.

The coronation was supposed to be managed by the Earl Marshal, Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk; however, being a Roman Catholic, he had to step back and dropped the planning into his cousin’s lap, Mr. Howard.

According to Wikipedia, When George III complained about the problems to the Earl, Effingham “ … admitted that there had been “some neglect”, but that he would make sure that the next coronation would be organised properly.

Wikipedia also reports that George was highly amused by the answer and made Effingham repeat it several times.”

The first time I heard this anecdote, the quote given was, more along the lines, Sorry Sir, We will get it right next time.

Oddly enough one of the problems was that a jewel fell off the crown which later had some people saying was a bad omen that predicted the American Revolution.

Watching the ceremonies today and I have to ask what aspects of history of kings and queens and family and such might go through your mind if you were in Charles shoes?

I point out that if look at the Crown that Charles wore when he left the Church there are four pearls that dangle down from the top of the crown over the purple cloth.

Those pearls are reported to be earrings that were worn by Elizabeth I.

When Elizbeth I was Queen, it was known that she always wore a ring that was special to her.

When she died, it was found out that the ring was a locket.

Inside the locket was a miniature painting.

A likeness of Queen Elizabeth’s mother.

Anne Boleyn.

2nd wife of Henry VIII.

Like I asked.

What might go through your mind?

5.5.2023 – a bit of the past

a bit of the past
suddenly appearing in
front of us again

Based on the passage, … it is going to be an incredible thing to see this happen again, just because the sheer antiquity of it is something to marvel at. It is really like a bit of the past suddenly appearing in a time machine in front of us.

From the article, How coronation of King Charles will revive some of oldest British rituals by Esther Addley.

So this feller Charles III will be crowned King of England, the Lord’s anointed one to lead the people of Great Britain.

Chosen mostly because of who his ancestors were back when Queen Anne survived all of her 5 children who survived at birth (she had 12 others who did not) so that when Queen Anne died in 1714, the Brits went looking for King and chose the the Queen’s 2nd cousin, the first of the German George’s of Hanover whose family tree led to, eventually to Charles.

And the Brits get a new King but no choice.

While over here, though it is over a year away, America is facing an election that according to most polling, will offer two choices the no one in America wants to chose from.

So there you are.

Not for me at this time to say which way works out better.

I, for myself, am fascinated by the history.

In the article I quoted from there is this great point.

When King Charles enters Westminster Abbey for the coronation ceremony on Saturday, he will be preceded, among many other items of royal bling, by a short gold rod topped with a small cross, known as St Edward’s staff. Unlike the stone of destiny, the sword of mercy or the bracelets of sincerity and wisdom – all real items of regalia that will play symbolic roles in the ceremony – the staff has no role whatsoever. It is carried in at the start of the service, set on the altar, and then carried out again at the end.

In fact, no one has any idea what St Edward’s staff is meant to represent. When Charles II, restored to the throne in 1660 after the English Civil War, ordered his goldsmiths to remake the crown jewels that had been sold or melted down by parliamentarians, the inventory of items that had been lost included a staff of Saint Edward. And so one was made to replace it – an important symbol of something, even if no one could remember what.

I feel the whole spectacle is an important symbol of something, even if no one could remember what.

I feel there used to be a lot of things here in the United States that USED TO BE important symbols.

Right now, I can’t think of one that hasn’t been cheapened, lessened or just make small in recent years.

I can remember what they used to stand for.

And I miss them.

Take something relatively recent like FDR’s four freedoms.

Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Freedom of speech is under attack and abused at the same time.

Freedom of worship seems to still be around but the religion itself has been defamed and cheapened by those who use it for things other than to further the Gospel and worship God.

Freedom from want is promised yet in the worlds “Greatest” country yet promised at terms that are near draconian and citizens go hungry.

And as freedom from fear, now that everyone has a weapon, I feel less safe than ever. How this works out as the cost of being free has me at a loss.

This weekend I will sit in front of a time machine and watch a little bit history unfold in front me and think of times past.

5.3.2023 – happy memories

happy memories
to be sitting in the rain
making sand castles

Some of the special British details she describes I recognize – afternoon tea, double-decker buses, and so on. Others are more confusing to a colonial. One of the “special British moments” Eggs [Victoria Eggs, a London-based designer] tries to capture is a childhood memory of sitting on the beach in the rain. “We would go on holidays to the seaside, and it would be raining but that didn’t stop us building sand castles and sitting having ice-creams and fish and chips,” she tells me. She remembers “being wrapped in a towel which, if you were in another country, you’d be lying on. We had it wrapped around us in the drizzling rain, eating fish and chips”.

In all honesty, I don’t know what she’s talking about. But it also does sound like the most British thing I ever heard in my life: happy to be sitting in the rain making sand castles. Not only happy. This is one of her happiest memories. Nostalgia compensates for the discomfort, I guess.

From the article, God save us all: Britain is about to get the king it deserves, subtitled, Viewed from Canada, the coronation is especially absurd – and the contradictions of Charles III perfectly suit the moment, by Stephen Marche in The Guardian.

Notice the lower case k in king.

That is all you need to know what this article is about if you don’t want to take the time to read it.

King … with the lower case k.

That and these other sentences.

… it also does sound like the most British thing I ever heard in my life: happy to be sitting in the rain making sand castles.

Not only happy.

This is one of her happiest memories.

Nostalgia compensates for the discomfort, I guess.

I live in a resort town and when I can, I go for a walk on the beach of Atlantic Ocean on my lunch break.

In the early months of the year, even in South Carolina, the beach is the NOT the best place to be even though a bad hour on the beach beats most places.

Still, no matter the weather, the wind, the temperature of the ocean water, there those vacationers are.

They are there.

They are on vacation.

They have paid a lot of money for this.

And they are going to enjoy it, no matter what anyone else says.

As the Activities Director at my Resort once told me, “They are freezing to death, but they will never admit it.”

So there are the Brits.

Stuck with Brexit and no one understands it.

And stuck with Charles.

But, doggone it, they paid for it.

They are going to enjoy it somehow.

I have to love

Just right!

But there was a sadder note in the article when Mr. Marche quoted Jonathan Coe.

For Coe, the lack of enthusiasm for Charles has an obvious source. There is “no enthusiasm for anything”, he says, “The nation is demoralized.”

Boy do I hear that.

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

There is “no enthusiasm for anything.

This nation is demoralized.

I guess I’ll watch the coronation.

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.

Betacism?

Really?

Was that even a word?

Betacism!

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?

Betacists?

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.

Fava?

Faba?

Oh BEANS!

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.

Filling

  • 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

Method

  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.

4.26.2023 – 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.

4.22.2023 – 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.

BUT I DIGRESS.

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.

But BLACK CHERRY KOOLAID?

SIGN ME UP.

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 …

4.20.2023 – I said to my wife

I said to my wife
think might start taking a piece
of my childhood back

In reading the article, Yes, People Will Pay $27,500 for an Old ʻRockyʼ Tape. Hereʼs Why by David Streitfeld in the New York Times (April 18, 2023), I thought this passage stood out.

I said to my wife, ‘I think I might start collecting tapes,’” Mr. Carlson, 43, said. “I was taking a piece of my childhood back.”

Many others are, too. The stock market, real estate and cryptocurrencies did poorly in 2022, but the global luxury goods market grew 20 percent. People may have had less, but they spent more on fine arts and collectibles that serve no function except to provide pleasure.

The culture is bursting with new material — every day, thousands of new books are published and 100,000 new songs are released on Spotify — but the old stuff offers a sweeter emotional payoff for many. It could be tapes or posters or pictures or comics or coins or sports cards or memorabilia. It might be from their childhood or the childhood they never had, or it might merely express a longing to be anywhere but 2023.

I liked the lines, “People may have had less, but they spent more on fine arts and collectibles that serve no function except to provide pleasure.” and “It might be from their childhood or the childhood they never had, or it might merely express a longing to be anywhere but 2023.

It might be from their childhood or the childhood they never had,

… or it might merely express a longing to be anywhere but 2023.

I work on an Island where one of the big attractions is bike riding.

I do NOT mean cycling.

While there are cyclists on the island with their … interesting … outfits and skinny little bicycles, I am talking about bikes and bike riding.

Bikes and bike riding from like when I was a kid.

Big fat tires.

Big fat seats.

Big fat seats on big fat seats I guess you could say.

No gears.

Back pedal braking.

No helmets.

I watch these people and I ask myself how could they spend all that effort and time and money to get to this island and then torture themselves on one of those bikes.

Then I understood.

The guy who flew in here on his private jet and stayed in his private place on the ocean, drove into town with his wife, parked outside a bike lot and said to his wife, “I am taking a piece of my childhood back”.

It might be from their childhood or the childhood they never had.

It might merely express a longing to be anywhere but 2023.

It would serve no function except to provide pleasure.

And the guy rented a bike.

A bike with big fat tires.

A bike without gears.

A bike with a pedal brake.

And the guy got on the bike, and put his big fat seat on the big fat seat and pedaled off.

He pedaled off without a helmet and felt the breeze in what was left of his hair.

It might merely be a longing to be anywhere but 2023.

It would serve no function except to provide pleasure.

He took a piece of his childhood back.

Put a price on that.