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The Whispering Fall

The resolve to share an update has been gnawing my consciousness as Vachel Lindsay’s “mouse that gnawed the oak tree down.” Google “The Mouse That Gnawed the Oak Tree Down” by Vachel Lindsay to better understand the similie here. The year since summer has sapped the “artist” out of me. I don’t believe that part of me will ever return to me I hope that it does.  IF it does, it will be okay. I feel most who I am meant to be when I am the creative communicator with a guitar in my hands and a poem in my head,  sharing same with people who pay attention. And the loss of that capacity has depressed me like blazes.

The kettle of my consciousness had been warming gradually since last November when the woman who’s rented the upstairs of my duplex stopped paying the rent because of difficulties getting alimony from her estranged mate for life. I decided to not press the issue because she promised to pay all she owed after her divorce settlement came through. It was more important, to me, for her to pay her utility bills and keep the heat connected upstairs than for me to risk frozen pipes. I  knew chances for finding new residents over winter would be slim. Finally, in April she paid what she owed. But during that  long stretch my pickings — food, heat and outlook-wise – were slim and grim! The lease she signed in April  promised she would either vacate the place in August or renew the lease until spring 2015. When August came she said she didn’t want to renew the lease and that she “should be out at the end of September.” On September 1, I advised her that if she would not sign a lease, my note was her official eviction notice  I then decided to NOT advertise the duplex until she was physically GONE and I had changed the locks. I simply did not want to interface with her during her final month in residence. In late September, she asked me if she could pay the rent through October and stay that much longer, that she was having a hard time finding a place. I explained there were two choices: to be out by October 1 or sign a lease until next April when she would have 30 days to vacate. Two days ago she agreed to renew the lease.

In the meantime, I’ve not paid my  land-line phone bill, so it’s been disconnected for three weeks. My “employer” hasn’t paid me for MORE THAN A  FREAKING MONTH , and my electric and gas bills are past due.  If upstairs renter pays rent on time October 1, or if “employer” pays me Monday or Tuesday as I HOPE, I’ll be okay. Cross your fingers world.

But wait, there’s more.

Two friends I’ve known and cherished for more than 20 years — names here are 20 and 16 — and I had the most significant mutual dis-enchantment of any I have experienced in my life of 67 years. They were relative newcomers to the local poetry community which thrived before and during my years as a leader of sorts, one of several major players in the mid-90s. All of the early major poets/players parted company with the evolving core group  and went their separate ways. It grieves me deeply now that I must do the same.

I’ve decided that if a poet determines to be a poet/folksinger/songwriter and the most he can show in the fruit basket of rewards for his labors are more open mic recitals of usually three and sometimes longer performances. . . he has no reason to believe he’s much of a freaking artist. The abrupt confirmation of this reality came when 20 and 16, the new “leaders of the pacque” . . . . on two consecutive occasions, sternly limited me to reciting only two poems/songs, the second less than a month after the first. I could not believe my frikking EARS!

I believe there is more to my estrangement than an overblown reaction to my talking to 20’s friend 16w while 20 was reading a poem at an arts event we all attended. Logic screams at me that the reason connects with what took place in my life in 2009.

That year, a young woman shared my house with me. We had renewed OUR friendship that year when she attended my poetry recital at the Taylorville, Illinois public library. after not seeing each other for many years. In the weeks that followed she moved into my home.  It was all platonic and remained so to the bitter end. During a period lasting about 28 days after she moved in. I became hopeful for something more romantic and less platonic, — beautiful, intelligent women have that effect on me — and I became a problem. I never touched her, never verbally abused her, but it was not fun being in the same house.  She moved out so fast after the tidal wave of discontent crested, that she left some things I later returned to her through a mutual friend. She also left some things I kept and did not return.  I believe that sometime this summer my youthful poetess and fabulous photographer friend, whom I called “Lenore” (nameless here forever more) who was an angelic presence in my life in 2009, who warmed my searching heart, who inspired poetry and songs almost faster than I could write them,  told 20 and 16 earlier this summer of my stupidity and lamented, long-repented conduct. THIS I believe is what cost me friends 20 and 16.

I also believe there will be making up for what happened in 2009 and this summer.

The break is particularly bothersome because the only people I’ve IMAGINED to be my friends  since about 1993 have been contributors and participants in the arts community. There have been many cordial contacts in the aviation community, but before this summer the last disintegration of a major friendship took place in 1993, and that was with an aviation historian friend. We’ve not spoken to each other since.

So the only thing driving me out of bed in the morning is the museum I’m developing at the airport.  It IS FUN. And I’m not expecting to be friends with every person — in aviation and out of it — whose company I consider worth sharing.

But wait, there’s MORE. The third factor in my present, artless life will be shared later this week, probably Wednesday.

Thanks for allowing me to exorcise a load off with you.

Live long . . . . and proper

1st Days of Year 67

Last night I did something I had not done at home since  my TV broke a year and a half ago: I ate dinner seated in a chair at a table at home. Usually I dine with my dinner in a pan or on a plate in my lap, seated in my living room recliner-rocker with iced tea or wine on an end table by the right side. Sometime I dine at my desk in the home office while at the computer. September 5  was my 67th birth day. I write this post as I approach the end of the day that followed.

I am a heck of a lot less certain about life 24 hours (more or less) after turning 67  There is no longer any “song in my heart.” Instead of melody, I have malady. The problem with my cataracts officially diagnosed last May is still not corrected with Lasik surgery slated initially for July. It was delayed for more than a month by the procrastination of my employer who really didn’t give much of a darn about my concerns and about consulting with his CPA about my earnings for the year. When I finally got the information needed, I procrastinated myself for more than a month before contacting the social service agencies which promised financial help.  Events having to do with my local  social life significantly sullied my outlook on LIFE . . . . Why BOTHER? WHO GIVES a RAT’S ASS? As September approached in late August I decided that without ME giving a rat’s ass, nothing is going to happen, and  something MUST happen if I am going to continue to “happen..”

I’m no longer seeking opportunities to share my poetry and songs. If an opportunity comes for me to perform MORE THAN TWO FREAKING COMPOSITIONS, I will.  I am so bitter STILL about two events this summer that almost doomed me,  I could spit nails through a  two by four, and there is no outlet for this anger. All I can do is keep it to  myself.  And that’s what I did all summer. Over the last few weeks I decided  it would be better for me to bite off my TONGUE to avoid than sharing my anger vocally with a living hummin’ bean. As my 67th birthday approached. I “gave” some people an opportunity to at least acknowledge my big day as I have acknowledged theirs for the past decade or so. And. . . late in the day of the 5th, they did.  Things will never be the same regarding poetry and song in my life, my satisfaction with their terse acknowledgement, was akin to the redemption that comes from the opportunity of  building a new house using only the remains of the dreams and hopes that went to hell. house that burned down. A victory of ashes.

The single mom who has rented my upstairs duplex TUMULTUOUSLY for three years is moving out, and I am at wit’s end over this. She paid the final month’s rent on time, but I have not YET (September 9) read her note to me about her intentions. I cannot bring myself to communicate with her by phone or even Facebook messaging which I’ve used in the past.  She placed her rent and a note of some kind inside my outer door the day after receiving my note telling her I must rent to someone who will sign a lease, and since she would not sign a lease, she has 30 days to be gone from upstairs. I didn’t even look inside the envelope for a week because I didn’t want whatever was in there to spoil my BIRTHDAY. So on Monday the 8th I opened the envelope enough to see the rent check and deposited it today, Tuesday. I will read the note next Monday the 15th. I know I am prolonging my agony over this.  Though I told her I’d advertise the coming vacancy and showing it to potential renters this month, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t even want to SEE her until she’s moving out. This little antic of mine will cost me $650: the money I expect to lose over October as I try to rent the place.  So freaking WHAT? I’ll LIVE with it.

I intend to make more time for poetry and stories from my life here at
Honey & Quinine IF I can get the cataracts fixed and a new renter.

And my hearing is going south on me.

Live long . . . . . . . and proper.

My involvement with the Springfield, Illinois poetry community has diminished in recent weeks due to circumstances I will not describe in print. This retrograde turn has sullied and soured a great deal of my life, my life-long love of poetry writing/reciting  and songwriting/performing has not diminished. I decided to attend This is POETRY at Springfield’s Legacy Theater because, from the look of their public relations material, the group renting the theater for the night had a good handle on a part of the poetry scene I knew nothing about.

 

Saturday afternoon 6-ish.

Saturday afternoon 6-ish.

 

The FREE program was slated to begin at 7. Here's the theater more than an hour before.

The FREE program was slated to begin at 7. Here’s the theater more than an hour before.

Pictures here are thmbnailed. Click on any for  a larger image and back to return to the blog.
All pictures posted here were taken by, yours truly, Job Conger.

I was surprised (the word “DISAPOINTED” doesn’t begin to say what I really felt) to find the hostess was a drag queen who could as likely be your postman or accountant when not “dolled up” for theatrical productions. I felt I had come to what I thought would be a program of poetry only to discover that the main event was a sheep that could count to ten with its fore hooves and dance to Johnny Cash tunes on two legs. I didn’t “get” the point of it. That said, he seemed to know what he was doing. He takes his art (?) seriously.

Comedian Mike Bryant also performed. The saving grace of his performance was that the sound was so muddy and reverberating in the Legacy Theater’s basement that I could hardly understand a word that was said. It might have been that my seat was in the wrong place or — equally likely — that my hearing is going south on me, and I can’t hear as well as I did  when I was younger . Others in the large hard-floored area seemed to laugh occasionally. It did not seem a particularly supportive, tuned in crowd. The hour from 6 to 7s was the opening part of the night, attended by probably fewer than 200 of us who paid $15 for the opportunity to have some beer or wine and mingle, to buy books from the book sellers.

All early show attendees were given a copy of This Is Poetry a well produced anthology with another “surprising” title. Billy Collins, one of my FAVE bards, wrote a book titled The Trouble With Poetry which I purchased, looking forward to reading what I THOUGHT would be a light-hearted “critique” of contemporary poetry.  To my surprise the book was a collection of his recent poems, and not a bad read at all, but not what I expected. There is no disputing that between the covers of This Is Poetry are poems. Since the promised book coincided with the event that featured poets from New Hampshire to California, I anticipated an anthology of poems written by the participating poets. Instead, it’s an anthology of poems by women poets. I don’t know if Lady Jasmine is included; haven’t looked yet. There’s no question it’s a well-produced book, and I’ll share a review of it, and all the other books I purchased, here at Honey & Quinine.

As the floor show continued I visited the booksellers on the landing. The sponsoring organization permitted me to place some of my “folksinger” cards, poetry performance brochures and Vachel Lindsay Historic Site brochures on their table. I also encountered my friend Jeremiah Walton setting up his sale area for books donated to his Books and Shovels mobile bookstore.  To be sure I could occupy a good seat for photographing the poets. I headed upstairs to the very nicely arranged theater about 6:50. About 35 minutes later, the 7:00 show began.

The rest of this post is pictures and captions. Anyone who can identify poets I do not identify is welcome to name them in comments following the end of this post. Poets I considered un-photographable because of microphone placement and a few times because their sharing of their craft simply didn’t make a positive impression, are not included here.

In the red dress is Lady Jasmine Michael. Behind him, event organizer Michele McDannold adjusts the sound.

In the red dress is Lady Jasmine Michael. Behind him, event organizer Michele McDannold adjusts the sound.

 

Adam Nicholson (foreground) watches the assault. Up the stairs in the background, publications distributed by organizers and the traveling Books & Shovels mobile bookstore were offered for sale. Behind us, the Legacy Theater operated a bar that sold beer and wine, nicely set up and friendly.

Adam Nicholson (foreground) watches the assault. Up the stairs in the background, publications distributed by organizers and the traveling Books & Shovels mobile bookstore were offered for sale. Behind us, the Legacy Theater operated a bar that sold beer and wine, nicely set up and friendly.

Poetry in motion; aye? Lady Jasmine did his schtick with Adam less than two feet from me. This is a candid. I wasn't angry, but I wasn't amused. Entertainment, well performed is good, even if it's not my cup of tea, and this was pretty good.

Poetry in motion; aye? Lady Jasmine did his schtick with Adam less than two feet from me. This is a candid. I wasn’t angry, but I wasn’t amused. Entertainment, well performed is good, even if it’s not my cup of tea, and this was pretty good.

Comedian Mike Bryant

Comedian Mike Bryant

 

 

Mike Bryant

  Mike Bryant

The sponsor's sales table on the landing was terrific. I was familiar with none of the authors' names on the books and CDs but production quality was first class everywhere I looked.

The sponsor’s sales table on the landing was terrific. I was familiar with none of the authors’ names on the books and CDs but production quality was first class everywhere I looked.

Jeremiah Walton of Books & Shovels mobile bookstore and a featured performer, looks over a poem he would read when the fun began upstairs.

Jeremiah Walton of Books & Shovels mobile bookstore and a featured performer, looks over a poem he would read when the fun began upstairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Jasmine was the emcee, and fully 45 minutes of the first hour consisted of him dancing to music and prancing up and down the center aisle. I don't know what he did (I was seated in row two back from the stage) and I didn't bother to look.

Lady Jasmine was the emcee, and fully 45 minutes of the first hour consisted of him dancing to music and prancing up and down the center aisle. I don’t know what he did (I was seated in row two back from the stage) and I didn’t bother to look.

Jeremiah Walton wsa the first poet to take the stage.

Jeremiah Walton wsa the first poet to take the stage.

He was one of two poets who read and recited sans microphone. He did not need one. The other one did.

He was one of two poets who read and recited sans microphone. He did not need one. The other one did.

 

The microphone and sound quality had been set earlier, and sound quality was first class all the way.  In a large, upholstered venue like the theater, voices, even the best, strongly shared, suffer. Jeremiah did a fine job without the mic.

The microphone and sound quality had been set earlier, and sound quality was first class all the way. In a large, upholstered venue like the theater, voices, even the best, strongly shared, suffer. Jeremiah did a fine job without the mic.

This photo has been slightly retouched.

This photo has been slightly retouched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did not get this poet's name, but he knew how to use a microphone, had solid stage presence, and we all heard every word he said. That's what it's all about, Alfie.

I did not get this poet’s name, but he knew how to use a microphone, had solid stage presence, and we all heard every word he said. That’s what it’s all about, Alfie.

nice work

nice work

Another solid sharer of his poetry, I don't remember his name.

Another solid sharer of his poetry, I don’t remember his name.

 

 

If memory serves, three women poets read during the first haf. This was one of the most memorable. I did not get her name.

If memory serves, three women poets read during the first half. This was one of the most memorable.                       I did not get her name.

Lady Jasmine called each poet over to the microphone and chatted after their readings. Unfortunately there was only one microphone so the poet responses to L cool J could not be heard. Taking the mic in hand and holding it close to the interviewed poets would have worked well at these times.

Lady Jasmine called each poet over to the microphone and chatted after their readings. Unfortunately there was only one microphone so the poet responses to L cool J could not be heard. Taking the mic in hand and holding it close to the interviewed poets would have worked well at these times.

This gent was the penultimate poet of the first half. I did not get his name He recited without a microphone.

This gent was the penultimate poet of the first half. I did not get his name He recited without a microphone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By a country mile, Bill Gainer was one of only two poets in the first half I would travel 60 miles to see and hear. J. Walton is the other.

By a country mile, Bill Gainer was one of only two poets in the first half I would travel 60 miles to see and hear. J. Walton is the other.

I talked too briefly with him following the conclusion of the first half of the show. I also purchased two of his books.

I talked too briefly with him following the conclusion of the first half of the show. I also purchased two of his books.

 

Bill is one more reason I wish I lived in California, even though I love Springfield, which I have come to realize, is a good place to hide.

Bill is one more reason I wish I lived in California, even though I love Springfield, which I have come to realize, is a good place to hide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All poets who participated in This is POETRY are invited to post their names and links to their web sites in the comments area that follows this post.

All poets who participated in This is POETRY
are invited to post their names and links to their web sites in the comments area that follows this post.

Bill is immersed in the poetry scene in California and, no doubt, beyond.

Bill is immersed in the poetry scene in California and, no doubt, beyond.

 

Bill and his fried A. Razor, who shared in the second half of the program, knew Charles Buchowski whom I hold in stellar esteem. When A. Razor (a pen name do you think? He wouldn't say.) told me he had shaken the hand of Charles the great, I shook his hand, with his permission. With Bill's permission, I also shook his. :)

Bill and his fried A. Razor, who shared in the second half of the program, knew Charles Buchowski whom I hold in stellar esteem. When A. Razor (a pen name do you think? He wouldn’t say.) told me he had shaken the hand of Charles the great, I shook his hand, with his permission. With Bill’s permish, I shook his too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill was the quintessential friend of a microphone. He didn't have to use a "stage voice" to be heard in the back row. He was casually conversational, and his head was never absent mindedly thrust awaaaaay  from his friend.

Bill was the quintessential friend of a microphone. He didn’t have to use a “stage voice” to be heard in the back row. He was casually conversational, and his head was never absent mindedly thrust awaay from his friend.

chatting with Lady Jasmine after reading. I laughed as hard at his poem (book tltle too) The Fine Art of Poisoning (or something like that) when I read it at work two days later as I did when he shared it Saturday night! If his wife had put two or three drops in the gravy, the man would not have shaken my hand Saturday night!

chatting with Lady Jasmine after reading. I laughed as hard at his poem (book title too) The Fine Art of Poisoning (or something like that) when I read it at work two days later as I did when he shared it Saturday night! If his wife had put two or three drops in the gravy, he would not have been on the playbill for This is POETRY!

 

During the intermission I returned to the landing downstairs to buy some books. This wojman was shopping at the sponsor's table.

During the intermission I returned to the landing downstairs to buy some books. This woman was shopping at the sponsor’s table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over at the Books & Shovels mobile bookstore tables, Capt'n Lyn was busy pushin' books to convivial customers.

Over at the Books & Shovels mobile bookstore tables, Capt’n Lyn was busy pushin’ books to convivial customers.

Capt'n Lyn also posed with copy of my book of poetry Minstrel's Ramble,, the blue book below the  OPEN sign, which I donated to Books & Shovels.

Capt’n Lyn also posed with copy of my book of poetry Minstrel’s Ramble,, the blue book below the OPEN sign, which I donated to Books & Shovels.

It was late, I was tired, hadn’t eaten a thing all day and my camera battery was about dead. So, to avoid further imprinting of visions of Lady Jasmine on my liberal-but-squirming bray-een, I didn’t stay for the second half of the show. As I departed Legacy Theater I encountered elements two and three of “the traveling bookstore trio” and chatted with them before heading home to dinner.

Sam Lennon and Jeremiah Walton, new amigos from New Hampsha (as they say in the  former colonies). The next afternoon they  and Capt'n Lyn would leave Springfield for St. Louis and destinations west. Their saga continues. And so does mine. :)

Sam Lennon and Jeremiah Walton, new amigos from New Hampsha (as they say in the former colonies). The next afternoon they and Capt’n Lyn would leave Springfield for St. Louis and destinations west. Their saga continues. And so does mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
It had been an evening to remember, and I promise to support any return of the sponsoring organization to the Legacy Theater.  KUDOS to all who attended and everyone who was a part of This is POETRY.

Thanks for reading this post.

Live long . . . . and proper.

Pictures are thumbnailed for faster loading. Click on any for a larger image and “Back” to return to the text. QUESTION — Do all blog readers interested in Honey & Quinine KNOW about thumbnails by now?

Robbie’s Restaurant is a favorite dinner and meeting place for several of my artist and artisty friends. starting at 5:30, last Friday, a local jazz group with an unconventional name I can never remember how to spell — something like “Chahrm” would be playing and my friend Mark Pence would be celebrating his birthday. I knew it would be a friendly room, so I attended as well, Sony Cyber-shot in tow.

John Mundstock from Miss Allen's second grade class at Lawrence School.

John Mundstock from Miss Allen’s second grade class at Lawrence School.

As I paused in front of Robbie’s, looking over the people outside strolling by and the restored  Old State Capitol Building nearby, I heard my name and I turned to face a fellow about my age, whom I didn’t recognize. I apologized for now remembering his name, and he told me: John Mundstock. I last saw this fellow in SECOND GRADE! We were great friends at Lawrence, but we lost touch for five decades. There were four of us  — Allen Sherman and I drew pictures of airplanes throughout the day in Miss Allen’s class. John Mundstock and Jeffrey Halden drew ships. John’s mother was British. I used to visit John at his house a few doors north of Jeffrey’s on south College; attended birthday parties there and he attended at least one of mine. We remembered our friends. Jeff had taken his own life in the 70s. John told me how he died. Sad, sad . . . sad. I told John I was looking forward to a good dinner with friends, hearing my harmonica-playing friend Mark play some jazz and  helping my friend celebrate his birthday. I gave him my cards (Balladeer for Rent  and AeroKnow Museum) and said I hope we will meet again. I really do> Terrific fellow!
“Chahrm” was playing as I entered Robbie’s. I looked for familiar faces as I searched for a table, and sat down. Less than a minute later, Cheryl Pence came over and invited me to the birthday party tables, pulled together less than 10 feet from where I first sat down. I was happy to sit next to Mark’s sister Rosanne Russillo and their mom, MRS. RUSSILLO and across from friends Siobhan and Sam. Then the photographycal phun began.  The rest of this post is captioned pictures. I hope you enjoy them  . . . .

Left to right: in green shirt, birthday boy Mark Pence, Mrs. Russillo, Rosanne Russillo  applauding a number just concluded by Chahrm at the far end of Robbies.

Left to right: in green shirt, birthday boy Mark Pence, Mrs. Russillo, Rosanne Russillo applauding a number just concluded by Chahrm at the far end of Robbies.

Mark Pence -- photo   cropped from previous broad shot.

Mark Pence — photo cropped from previous broad shot.

"A festive table nicely set" as I wrote in a song about another fine dinner. That's Cheryl Pence standing at the end after she took a picture looiking toward us. I thought it appropriate for a picture looking her way as well.

“A festive table nicely set” as I wrote in a song about another fine dinner. That’s Cheryl Pence standing at the end after she took a picture looiking toward us. I thought it appropriate for a picture looking her way as well.

Then I took a telephoto of Cheryl. That's KAT Corrigan in the lower left.

Then I took a telephoto of Cheryl. That’s KAT Corrigan in the lower left.

 

Mark Russillo juined us at the table for a short break after finishing the first set.

Mark Russillo joined us at the table for a short break after finishing the first set.

 

Rosanne, visiting from Maryland with her mon, graced the evening by singing some mellow jazz standards.  Shes the one in the dress. Also pictured left to right, Mark R., harmonicaman, John Crips, keyboard  and guitarist Alexis ______/

Rosanne, visiting from Maryland with her mon, graced the evening by singing some mellow jazz standards. Shes the one in the dress. Also pictured left to right, Mark R., harmonicaman, John Crips, keyboard and guitarist Alexis V. Rogers.

Rosanne Russillo

Rosanne Russillo

 

Rob711-20    Mark R. is a smooth vocalist as well as harmonicaman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob711-16

I did not learn the name of the boy who danced so well, but he was great fun.

I did not learn the name of the boy who danced so well, but he was great fun.

Rock steady guitar harmonies and improvising throughout the evening from Alexis!

Rock steady guitar harmonies and improvising throughout the evening from Alexis!

The legendary John Crisp!

The legendary John Crisp!

Rob711-8  Rob711-25

Ada Mae brought "a touch of Ella" to the microphone. It's always great to hear her sing.

Ada Lou brought “a touch of Ella” to the microphone. It’s always great to hear her sing.

sharing a short conversation from the amazing, dancing sprout! :)

sharing a short conversation from the amazing, dancing sprout! :)

a touch of Chicago in Springfield, Illlinoise

a touch of Chicago in Springfield, Illlinoise

 

Sometimes a photo, not tecknically successful as a conventional, sharply focused production, can be transformed by good exiting software, into something special. I believe that is the outcome of this picture.

Sometimes a photo, not technically successful as a conventional, sharply focused production, can be transformed by good exiting software, into something special. I believe that is the outcome of this picture.

Rob711-23  Rob711-29

Frank Parker j-- trumpeter extraordinaire on far left, joined the jazz jubilee as the evening drew close to closing.

Frank Parker — trumpeter extraordinaire on far left, joined the jazz jubilee as the evening drew close to closing.

Frank Parker

Frank Parker

 

classical

classical

 

Rob711-38

asdfDSC00337

Cats and friend of cats talk after the set.

Cats and friend of cats talk after the set.

I never know the order  in which my  pictures will appear. When I hit the “publish” button, it’s always a surprise despite my effort to establish a semblance of organic flow. Suffice to say, the evening was terrific. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Live long . . . . . . . . and proper.

These pictures were  taken June 28, 2014. All are thumbnailed. Click on an for a larger image and “back” to return to this post.

It’s been at least two years since I attended a Prairie Art Alliance gallery opening reception. I still appreciate the organization immensely. But if my friend Delinda Chapman (I purchased a fantastic painting from her some several years ago. Does that tell you something?) knew the extreme paucity of dollars in my humble (stark would also work) household, she would not have hand-written her friendly invitation to support PAA with more than pictures . . . with the fund-raising material mailed this spring . AND she did thank me for being a supporter  in the only way I can until another relative who loved me dies or I land professional employment as a writer/photographer. That said, I was glad to return with my camera in hand. I was equally glad to have a terrific time there (as always, previously) and to meet some terrific people whose kind words and what follows after the reception MAY allow me to contribute  in the GREEN(BACXS) mode by this time next year.

The pictures and captions tell the story.

Thanks for  visiting Honey & Quinine.

Live long . . . . . . . . . . and proper.

Walking from parking space to PAA, SIRENS! and the first photo of the visit.

Walking from parking space to PAA, SIRENS! and the first photo of the visit.

 One of the first faces encountered was also one of the friendliest. Katherine Pippin Pauley poses by her painting "Pin Ball Wizard."

One of the first faces encountered was also one of the friendliest. Katherine Pippin Pauley poses by her painting “Pinball Wizard.”

Lothar Soliwon

Lothar Soliwon

 

There's a  tremendous amount of lore behind this creation. I always  loved the "Tommy" album but didn't know the details behind the story and in she crated here. If you're a "Tommy" aficionado, this creation reads like a book!

There’s a tremendous amount of lore behind this creation. I always loved the “Tommy” album but didn’t know the details behind the story and in she crated here. If you’re a “Tommy” aficionado, this creation reads like a book!

Teri A. Zuckworth (left) and an admirer and a bird, nicely rendered in paper mache by the talented TAZ.

Teri A. Zuckworth (left) and an admirer and a bird, nicely rendered in paper mache by the talented TAZ.

The pictures and captions tell the story.

Polly want a picture? Another by Teri.

Polly want a picture? Another by Teri.

View from the HD Smith Gallery's west-facing window.

View from the HD Smith Gallery’s west-facing window.

PAA member artist Liz Drake helps her grand daughter to some refreshments.

PAA member artist Liz Drake helps her grand daughter to some refreshments.

Jerry Josserand, Gloria's husband chats with a well wisher. It was great seeing him; says he lost some weight after Gloria died, but he's putting it back in recent weeks. Pure  GOLD this ceramic master artist!

Jerry Josserand, Gloria’s husband chats with a well wisher. It was great seeing him; says he lost some weight after Gloria died, but he’s putting it back in recent weeks. Pure GOLD this ceramic   master artist!

Info about Rosemary Hutchcraft's fine abstract. I called it "WOW!" but Rosemary named it "Bubble Bath."

Info about Rosemary Hutchcraft’s fine abstract. I called it “WOW!” but Rosemary named it “Bubble Bath.”

I could have written a check for this in a heart beat if I could have written a check for this in a heartbeat.

I could have written a check for this in a heart beat if I could have written a check for this in a heartbeat.

A slightly different approach. I'm not a MEMBER of the PAA, but I am an artist, in my own way. I'm using my Artistic License here.

A slightly different approach. I’m not a MEMBER of the PAA, but I am an artist, in my own way. I’m using my Artistic License here.

Pumper westbound to put out the fire. This SHOULD BE the last picture in this post. Is it? We shall see. . . . .

Pumper westbound to put out the fire. This SHOULD BE the last picture in this post. Is it? We shall see. . . . .

Artistic License used here too. I cannot control the order in which these pictures appear, there was a logical approach, but it didn't come out that way.

Artistic License used here too. I cannot control the order in which these pictures appear, there was a logical approach, but it didn’t come out that way.

That's Jed Leber on the left.

That’s Jed Leber on the left.

posing very nicely and smiling too. . . That's Jed Leber's waterfu wondercolors in the background.

posing very nicely and smiling too. . . That’s Jed Leber’s waterfu wondercolors in the background.

another

another

Info about Mr. Baxton's "Purple Gaze."

Info about Mr. Baxton’s “Purple Gaze.”

The incredible. . . This is a candid.

The incredible. . . This is a candid.

Meet Anthony Baxton who has a couple of terrific painting in the show. The one behind me hit me like a ton of BRICKS! WOW AGAIN!

Meet Anthony Baxton who has a couple of terrific painting in the show. The one behind me hit me like a ton of BRICKS! WOW AGAIN!

Can you say WOW?

Can you say WOW?

some of the wonderful watercolors by Jed Leber. Awesome work!

some of the wonderful watercolors by Jed Leber. Awesome work!

Cathy S. Mosley

Cathy S. Mosley

Friends Cathy A. Mosely (left) director of White Fox Social Media and Lothar Soliwon, president,   Zukunft Group Worldwide gaze at a terrifc painting of Abraham and Mary by Delinda Chapman.

Friends Cathy A. Mosely (left) director of White Fox Social Media and Lothar Soliwon, president, Zukunft Group Worldwide gaze at a terrific painting of Abraham and Mary by Delinda Chapman.

was touched to see this creation by my recently demised friend Gloria Josserand.The yellow dot says it's sold. The face attached to a camera in the mirror is mine.

was touched to see this creation by my recently demised friend Gloria Josserand.The yellow dot says it’s sold. The face attached to a camera in the mirror is mine.

In the past few years, I’ve been told I should not be driving at night because of cataracts in both eyes that impair my night vision.  I consider myself a married mother’s lucky son to have been invited by long-time friend/musician/songwriter Dennis Darling to  play at two recent open mics at afore-said location and to ride with him there and back from Springfield. June 27th’s event was great fun. I want to see it “grow audience and participants.”

Captioned pictures will follow another few paragraphs of narrative. They’re thumbnailed so you can click on and image for a larger, and back to return.

I had in mind what I wanted to share, and, having learned how badly out of the “frequent-performing-groove” I proved  myself to be at my first visit to Chatham Goodwill, I practiced at my employer Friday afternoon. He doesn’t mind, and the sales rep from Chicago enjoyed my sharing of my “Preposition Song”. — which I hasten to add, was not planned for sharing at Good Will’s likely much younger audience. I did practice ” Lemon Tree” made famous by Peter Paul & Mary and Trini Lopez.  I practiced reciting Vachel Lindsay’s great poem “On the Building of Springfield,” and “Niagara,” but as the chemistry evolved hours later in Chatham I performed none of those I practiced. I allow the chemistry, ambiance, mood of a room, the manner of the emcee’s (in this case, “emcees'” or if you are from Hicksville, ” emcees’s”) to affect my confidence and delivery sometimes. Other times I rise above it, and things like that don’t keep me from delivering a “Class A” performance, even if it’s only four songs.

Co-hosts Dennis Darling and Joe Allen opened the evening with tunes in duet, Dennis on guitar initially and then on a Yamaha keyboard, and both played solos. These guys READ MUSIC; had the charts spread out on the music stand and the top of the Yamahaha. Reading music is like a magic trick with me, and those who can do it rank high with me. As a musician and vocalist, Dennis — if he wanted to — could be a “piano man” in any metropolitan club. As a guitarist, Joe plays Chet Atkins tunes and much more, literally note for note and as smooth as butter on silk . . . . well I’m sure there are better analogies, but you know what I mean.

I  followed and played ragged during Round One. Joe commented after that my “Vachel Was a Preacher” song sounds much better LIVE than on my computer-camera-recorded version in my Facebook “Balladeer For Rent” series. I agree. I’m energized by living faces, even those that glance at their watches. At home, the Fb recordings are like “singing to God.” I know He’s listening, but connecting through the eyes is important to me, and I don’t get that at home.  I recited Vachel’s “A Curse for the Saxophone” and for first time in my LIFE in a public performance, lost track of the words; found myself gong from “Jezebel and her pajamas,” completely omitting Judas and Henry the Eightth, coming in at the end of that segment and finishing — after some hasty spluttering and whining that I had “screwed the poem” — finished it conventionally with John Wilkes Booth and the rest of the poem with no problem. I was, in two words, CRUSHED, and for about ten minutes, sitting in my seat, visibly withdrawn from the action, until I regained a modicum of composure and enjoyed what was happening at the microphone. For Pete’s sake, I told myself, this is  an open mic in a wonderful coffeehouse; NOT CARNEGIE HALL!  Hell, not even ROBBIE’S in lyrical downtown Springfield.

An employee at the Goodwill store, Carla, played some modern vocals very well, accompanying herself on guitar. She clearly knows how to play the instrument!  The HIT of the NIGHT was Lea (probably not spelled correctly) who played some contemporary-sound “covers” from women vocalists — the tunes you’d hear on modern music radio. She played DD’s Yamaha as well as though she had brought the instrument herself! Dennis had accidentally forgotten to bring the boom part of his microphone which would have allowed placement closer to Lea’s mouth, the her talent and “cool” came through like gangbusters! Very impressive for a young lady who will be a senior next year at an area high school.

We all had two extended rounds. I sat on a chair instead of standing for that round, and did much better. The event event concluded very nicely.

A few minutes later when I made it into the coffeehouse part to ask for a “doggie bag,” to take the rest of the brownies I had bought home, a family dining at a table called me over, told me how much they enjoyed my “Don’t You Take the Mashed Potatoes” song and asked me where I was playing these days. Of course I told them I am playing wherever anyone wants me to play, but that I had nothing planned for another few weeks at least. With the store manager’s permission, I took out my guitar and played a Tom Paxton tune (“Ramblin’ Boy”) and a Woody Guthrie tune (“This Land is Your Land”) and gave them my “Springfield’s Oldest Living Folksinger” card. Then I thanked them for their kind words, caught up with Dennis, and came home very happy with the positive recovery of the night.

Here are the pictures . . .

Dennis (left) and Joe

Dennis (left) and Joe

Big D on board of key. I don't like the exposure here. Will improve it in a day or two.

Big D on board of key. I don’t like the exposure here; will improve it in a day or two.

Dennis Darling

Dennis Darling

 

The closest I've come to Chet Atkins in Springfield. St. Louis' John McClellan is clearly at the top, but John lives 100 miles from here.

The closest I’ve come to Chet Atkins in Springfield. St. Louis’ John McClellan is clearly at the top, but John lives 100 miles from here.

 

 

GWOM-1

Keyboardist/contemporary vocalist Lea (right) poses with her friend and coach before she performed.

Keyboardist/contemporary vocalist Lea (right) poses with her friend and coach before she performed.

co-hosts and sound men extraordinaire help arrange the equipment before Lea sang

co-hosts and sound men extraordinaire help arrange the equipment before Lea sang

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Carla works at the Goodwill bookstore/coffeehouse.

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Carla is also a skilled guitar player and a fine vocalist. The quality of other pictures I took during her performance came up short Friday. I will try harder in July's open mic.

Carla is also a skilled guitar player and a fine vocalist. The quality of other pictures I took during her performance came up short Friday. I will try harder in July’s open mic.

 

Joe's friend Cheri's daughter Jesi (left) is a buding harmonica player. Here she played some blues with Joe.

Joe’s friend Cheri’s daughter Jesi (left) is a budding harmonica player. Here she played some blues with Joe.

Dennis played solid rhythm during the trio's happy performance. Great FUN!

Dennis played solid rhythm during the trio’s happy performance. Great FUN!

Thanks for reading this post.

Live long . . . . . . . . and proper.

 

So Many Yesterdays
by Job Conger

What tales I could tell
As the memories return
From the pictures of me as a boy
That were taken by parents who happily loved me.
Up to high school, ’twas joy after joy.
How they capture the moments
Of happy times poses
When life was exciting and new
It was sweet not to know
Of life’s great ebb and flow
And young dreams that would never come true.

(chorus)   So many yesterdays
From a life that was grand
How did I come to be
Who I am? I cannot understand.
The glories of younger ways
Touch my heart, haunt me so.
So many yesterdays
So long, long ago

From a Bressmer’s
Christmas-time gift box
A keepsake from our bustling mid-town
Comes a glorious tableau of lost youth in the 50s
Rising fast in the 60s then tumbling down
Lessons learned as lived, crazy
From college and lovers,
Turned my sunny horizons to dark.
I would never again be the kid with snow cone
Caught by my father’s camera at Washington Park.

(chorus)   So many yesterdays
From a life that was grand
How did I come to be
Who I am? I cannot understand.
The glories of younger ways
Touch my heart, haunt me so.
So many yesterdays
So long, long ago

At this stage at my age,
I’m amazed just to be here
And recalling in lyrical lines
I lost track of dreams, banished
To the far side of the moon
The dark place where the sun never shines.
Waves of solace and logic
Roll in now like high tide
To help wash away wondering why.
And to pictures I found in a Bressmer’s gift box. . . .
To the times savored sweetly:  good-bye

(chorus)   So many yesterdays
From a life that was grand
How did I come to be
Who I am? I cannot understand.
The glories of younger ways
Touch my heart, haunt me so.
So many yesterdays
So long, long ago.

written 2:53, Tuesday, June 17.  2014
=====================================
I’ll play this in public for the first time tonight.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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