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Catching Up Again

What a year! I’m almost out of one bramble bush, but my path through what’s left of my life necessarily takes me to another one, leaving little time for relief; only regret, as I lurch, inexorably toward the next one..

In early May 2014, knowing I had serious cataract problems with my eyes, a condition that prevented me from driving legally with a valid drivers’ license, I consulted an eye surgeon, someone who removes cataracts. For more than a year I worked to arrange the procedures. When an agency wanted verification of my employment and pay history, my employer took not days or weeks but  MONTHS to provide them. A county medical assistance agency consulted with me over months as I waited for my employer’s information, and while waiting, last August or so, depressed as hell, I GAVE UP trying, even after I had received what I had asked for in May. I didn’t go to a scheduled appointment at the county agency, and soon after, I received a notice from them that I had missed the appointment, and that I would have to re-apply. In November I changed my mind about giving up, wrote the local agency whom I visited on time and followed their advice to contact the state agency.  I didn’t. I was miserable. In late April 2015 my case worker at the state agency called ME, asked if I was okay, wondering what the situation was with the eye doctor. After I explained SHE performed a minor miracle that re-connected me to my eye surgeon. She said the funding would come, but we’d have to wait another month because the Lasik surgery apparatus intended for my weaker eye, the right one, was available only one day a month, and we’d missed it for the current month. The surgery on the right one, and a month later on the left one (didn’t require the Lasik apparatus) was completed as scheduled. The operations were complicated, requiring pre-surgery preparation on my part and lots of self-delivered eye drops medications on schedule after. But the operations themselves were almost JOYOUS experiences for me. The medical people were friendly, professional, knew what they were doing, and my discomfort level during both was no worse than a pin prick. The business of post surgery eye exams by another eye doctor was less than happy, but he seemed to be competent, and I decided the Prairie Lasik and Eye Center would not have hired him if he was not. I kept my frustration with him. He was as warm as a cucumber, I got my glasses, and that was that. Not quite.

I find I STILL NEED to use a magnifying glass to read small print in some books. THAT BOTHERS the BEJEEBERS out of me! I had not expected THAT!  I’m disappointed. When my finances allow, I will visit another eye glass business — after I’ve paid the bills for the past year of treatments — and see about getting the glasses I thought I would get the first time. Even so, there is a sunny side to the outcome: I have a doctor’s statement to take to the drivers license facility. It says the condition that prevented me from a license has been remedied, and that my eyes are now of acceptable acuity to permit me to drive on Illinois streets. One would have expected that I would have rushed to the licensing people and obtained my new drivers license the day that statement was handed to me. I haven’t gone yet, but I plan to this week if I have the time. My outlook on life is still sub-nominal.

As the eye situation evolved some other events took place. Last October, the person who rented my upstairs duplex for four years broke her lease and moved out over two days, leaving a litany of broken fixtures, cat urine-stained carpeting and more. She had promised not to leave until spring since nobody wants to move into a new home after school starts and Chiistmas is around the corner. Even if the place had been left in perfect condition,  I knew chances were slim that I could get it leased before spring. Even so I put my rental sign into my front yard, and that later that week was called by a fellow who wanted to see the place.

I showed it to him and his pregnant girl friend. They loved it. He said he was an experienced renovator and he’d gladly fix it up if I’d discount the rent for a few months. So we agreed. And then I began writing checks and eating like a bleeping hobo. First to go , upstairs, was the cat-stained carpeting. The woman said the odor was dangerouts for pregnant women. They replaced it with hard surface wood veneer flooring that looked fine. He started to re cover the floors in two of the three bedrooms with new tiles but didn’t finish them after I purchased all the tiles he needed. Then I told me he could not lease the place because he had just been transferred to a job in Chicago, but he promised to finish the renovation before he had to move in January. In the meantime, the couple would stay at his dad’s house where they had lived for several months. Then they left and never came back. The next day I had the locks re-keyed. And the duplex remained vacant all winter. And it was a very hard winter with the loss of that rental income and having to drive at night (home from work) with cataracts in my eyes that were getting worse.

On Wednesday night, December 3, 2014, I decided after work to skip the Illinois Pilots Association meeting I had planned to attend and work in the museum I’m developing at the local airport. It was a lucky decision. Two hours into the evening the museum was visited by an impressive group of US Air Force Academy administrators who had landed at the airport to refuel their airplane so they could continue their home-bound flight to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Leading the group was the  superintendent of the Academy. We had a WONDERFUL visit. I get along well with aviation people. I took pictures. I promised to stay in contact with the superintendent’s aide de camp. It was a knockout terrific encounter of the best kind.

The next day after a lunch of coffee and peanut butter and strawberry preserves sandwiches, I had a minor stroke.

To be continued. Thanks for reading this.

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

So Many Strangers

Last night, for the last time, I attended an arts event where I always enjoyed sharing my poems and songs and poetry and songs of others. The last song I sang is one I wrote on March 31, 1991. Here are the lyrics . . .

Bullet in the Back

Have you ever prayed for a bullet in the back
That will kill you when you’re crying,
That will end the rain and agonizing pain
That you feel when you feel like dying?
Do you wait for the runaway truck in the street
To snuff away that last heart beat
As you wallow in a whirlpool of defeat
And memories of days that were sunshine sweet?
Have you ever prayed for a bullet in the back
That will make your life complete?

He’s a man who prays for a bullet in the back,
Who has lost his zeal for living,
Who’s ashamed to share the hurt that’s deep within
And is damned if he’ll try forgiving
Of his parents who did the best they could
Though he felt they  never really understood
Of his friends for offenses, though intentions were good,
And himself for not doing as he should.
He’s a man who prays for a bullet in the back
As he always feared he would.

There’s  a problem that comes with a bullet in the back
To a person thinking through it:
How to fabricate some morbid twist of fate
That will make some bastard do it.
Not a Buddha or a Christ will take the aim
Though a devil might relish assuming blame,
But an East Side demon with an alien name
Might send you back to where you came.
There’s a problem that comes with a bullet in the back
When it’s more than just a game.
When it’s more than just a game
When it’s more than
just
a
game.

Two months ago, some listeners I’d never met at Joe Gallina’s Pizza Restaurant in lyrical downtown Springfield, suggested I should sing my other songs (including some better songs) while sitting on a bench on the restored Old Capitol Square with an open guitar case. That is a greater shame than playing for the three people who I sang for last night. I love to sing and recite for people I’ve never met, but only when there is at least one friend present. Last summer I played during a festival or a sort at a restored stage coach village west of Springfield. The sound system was superb, there were many strangers, and there were three friends. Not close friends, maybe well-liked and respected acquaintances . . . and that was close enough. They had no clue how important their presence was to me. One had invited to play at this event.

I have read of so many artists who died penniless, friendless, and by their own hands, and I stand starkly, amazed and sorry about circumstances I wish I could understand.  Springfield poet Vachel Lindsay is a favorite. Lindsay scholar and a brilliant gentleman who had been good to me, Dennis Camp,  “went west” in his own way at his own chosen time. WHY?

If you are NOT sans friends — and not many of my acquaintances are NOT sans friends — (lucky bastards) you’ll not likely appreciate the comfort zone created by sharing your perhaps-inaccurately-perceived incapacities  and sins with strangers . . . so many strangers. We craft our joys and sorrows, We make soup into a steak dinner on a framed canvas, into a poem on a page or a song shared alive and evermore (as Fate permits) in recorded sound. Lots of artists have lots of friends. Deservedly so.

I wish I knew more about people who read Honey & Quinine. To understand that sometimes you ascribe “value” to what I share here with so many strangers . . . this is not working well for me. The time to hang things from the clothes line for passing, curious, readers to engage with eyes and hearts is AFTER they come, from the Whirlpool or Maytag, after the last spin cycle, from the laundry room in the basement. Some things will dry with wrinkles even after soap and sun. That’s okay.

In the meantime, I’m treading water. . . swimming when I have the hope that drives the swim . . . in strong current and a long way from the shore. And since sharing with so . . . many . . . strangers keeps my head above water — as it has for some years now — I will continue until I don’t. Thanks for being out there.

Live long . . . . and proper.

Long-overdue Update

For the past few months I’ve been concentrating on my book about John Thornton Walker and neglecting the rest of my life, blog-wise and beyond. It’s not been a happy time, mostly hot, anti-social in the main — though I “turn on the charm” when I’m working (volunteering) at the airport museum, and on many days out there, 90 percent of my time has been related to John Thornton Walker, the Hero Who Never Came Home. I have not opened and read about two months of regular posts from cherished e-correspondents including PetPer, PacPar, NewZea, but I have not deleted those posts, and I do look forward to reading them in the next week. I still have not found a renter for my vacant upstairs duplex, but a terrific local carpenter/electrician/plumber has worked a miracle up there, and I’ve placed the FOR LEASE sign back into my front yard for the first time since former renter Shannon Smith of Springfield, IL TRASHED it last October when she broke lease.and moved out. During the renovation, I realized why she broke her lease. She had BROKEN EVERYTHING. Nothing was working. She had told me nothing, though there were clues I should have recognized and resolved if I weren’t so wrapped up in aviation and poetry. In essence, I’ve surrendered my “man card” so I could appear to others (who really don’t give rat poop about me) a peaceful, average fellow.

I’m still running pretty hard here. I must get the final proof of the Walker book to distant Walker family members for them to read closely and correct factual errors. When I make the inevitable corrections I will find a local printer and produce 200, maybe 300, copies of a “first edition.” Where I get the money for that is anyone’s guess. One thing at a time around here. There are other items to mention soon, but I am STILL RUNNING but glad for the time taken to share this much with you.

Thanks for reading this. Be nice to each other. Have a great day!  :)

On this Memorial Day May 25, 2015, I’m working on my book about a Springfield liaison pilot who never came home. Among the wonderful collection of documents Connie Ann Walker, his and wife Geraldine’s (Gerri’s) only child  shared with AeroKnow Museum was a scan of the letter JTW’s commander, General Mark W. Clark wrote to her following his unexpected death. This transcription will be included in my book “Story of a Hero Who Never Came Home.”

Headquarters 15th Army Group
Office of the Commanding General
APO 777, U.S. Army
February 23, 1945

Dear Mrs. Walker:

It is with deep sorrow that I write you of the death of your husband Lieutenant Colonel John T. Walker. I know you will have received the telegram from the War Department now.

As you know, Jack had served as a member of my personal staff as my pilot for seventeen months. He had told me so much of you and your daughter that I feel I was acquainted with you both, a fact which makes this letter even more difficult to write. He had made many plans or his homecoming; plans that were about to be realized, when destiny intervened.

As a reward for the superior manner in hwich Jack had performed his duties with me, I had arranged for him to return to the United States on a twenty-three day leave of absence. He was to make the trip by air. Jack boarded the plane, a twin motored bomber, on the morning of February 19th, on the first leg of his journey home. The plane took off from the field, then, when  only five hundred feet above the ground, was seen to shudder violently and go into a spin.  It crashed about half a mile from the field, instantly killing all aboard. I went immediately to the scene of the crash, but nothing could be done except mourn the loss of a gallant soldier and comrade.

No definite cause for the crash has been established. However, from the reports of several of Jack’s friends who were at the field to see him off, it is believed that one motor failed, the resultant drag on the other motor causing the plane to turn over.

Funeral services were conducted on February 20th at an American cemetery near here, and a memorial service was held at my headquarters at 11:00 A.M., February 22nd. I attended both services, along with  his many other close friends on my staff. I know how much it would have meant to you, had you been able to be present. As this was impossible, I made arrangements to photograph the ceremonies. The photographs are enclosed with this letter.

I am also enclosing a photograph of Jack receiving his Legion of Merit, awarded in recognition of this outstanding service with me, on February 10th. As far as I know, it was the last photograph taken of him.

I know that there is nothing I could say that would in any way temper your grief in your great loss. Knowing Jack as I did, however, I can more closely share your grief. He was one of my finest officers, loved by all who knew him. His memory lives on in the hearts of his many friends.

Please accept my most heartfelt sympathy.

(signed)
MARK W. CLARK
Lieutenant General, USA,Commanding

FOR SOME NUTTY REASON, I CANNOT re-format this text to standard; not italics. When I highlighted a title to change to italics, the title changed, and so did the rest of the blog.

Tuesday May 19th I decided to push past a feud with a friend and return to a regular “all poets and songwriters and essay writers open microphone (open mic)” at a favorite restaurant in lyrical downtown Springfield.  On Wednesday, I did.

It was a poetry-event-thing-feud, details of  which are not important now. Friends not connected to it had urged me to put it behind me and by last Tuesday, I knew it was time.  People I hadn’t seen for several months confirmed with their smiles and warm greetings that I had made the right decision. Only when the enjoyable evening was almost over did I come to realize it had not been a FEUD had touched me off like a rocket last August; it was a misunderstanding. The difference is important.

A major challenge to emcees at open mics involves dealing with new, aspiring communicators, some young and inexperienced behind a microphone and some old and inexperienced behind a microphone; some who have learned their craft and some who are essentially the same wordsmiths they were in 1993 when the local literary community began coalescing into an active organization which is, today, known as Springfield Poets and Writers. Many writers of all stripes have come and gone over the years, but three of us have remained, more or less, coalesced. Some of the newer participants — even a few of the long-timers — regard open mic nights as their opportunity to rehearse their one-person show they imagine is destined to play  at Carnegie Hall. During the early years, we who learned as we loped along came to be cool with the notion that three poems or songs were a fair way to share, as a set, behind the microphone. Many newcomers noticed this and caught on, gladly. But some, newcomers and long-timers, did not.

Since most of my time behind the microphone since day one has shared poems and songs I had memorized, I had become well and happily acquainted with a little thing called PRACTICE. That’s how we memorize and maximize impact of what we say with appropriate projection of our voices, pauses, steady and changing tempos. I always been aware of how long each poem or song I intended to share took. I was not as aware of the time I intended to spend introducing content. My proclivity for happy  banter when introducing poems, songs, was sometimes longer than what I had practiced. Even so, if my poems took a little longer than planned, thanks to my pausing for people on the far side of the microphone to finish reacting, no one seemed to mind. Other participants who went on and on and on and on and on and on . . . . disappointed some of the audience. It made excellent sense to draw a line in the sand of time allotted for each participant — I mean EVERY–  open mic participant. Those of us who planned ahead would not mind adjusting our content. Sharing shorter poems and  less banter made sense. People had come to share art; not ad-libbed quips from a second-string Rodney Dangerfield. Longer poems require less banter, but all “art” stands best that stands alone, does not require a map before beginning to reveal it.

If I am compelled to share a longer poem, the best way,  at some open mics, is to share a sample of it: an excerpt, a taste. Listeners can offer me a dollar for a copy (I will bring copies to future open mics) or buy my books. When an open mic emcee/coach announces a time limit. . . . . . it makes good sense that this is how I will play the game in that ball park.

After the microphone was put away and we were saying goodbyes, getting ready to head home, I apologized to my friend for what was my misunderstanding. I said that I,  NOW, better appreciate how it works to the benefit of us who do what we do reasonably well AND for those who are still learning . . . and those who will never learn.

She thanked me for attending and participating. That meant a lot to me.

We wh0 do what we do reasonably well may consider developing other performance opportunities, perhaps inviting two or three poets-songwriters-essayists who KNOW HOW to use a microphone, who KNOW HOW to recite or read a poem or essay without stumbling over and repeating every eighth word, can speak clearly and be understood, who KNOW HOW to and WANT TO engage the audience to DO IT without the line in sand of  time. Nobody gets to Broadway without knowing how to use the voice and how to deliver lines clearly.  It’s not about technique or persona behind the microphone. Not everybody wants to be Rod McKuen or Boxcar Willie. Variety is wonderful.

We in Springfield are lucky to have Robbie’s on third Wednesdays and an intelligent, disciplined emcee/ringmaster whose devotion to good writing is evident and appreciated.  Robbie’s owner and area writers have supported third Wednesday open mics for several years.

Most of my day at work before heading downtown was spent selecting two poems appropriate to share. I knew I would recite TWO. If I did well, the folks would look forward to my reciting poems again. If my poems were recited poorly, at least there was no major investment of time in prepping only two poems.  I did not expect to do poorly and I didn’t. My view of the audience told me I did fine. Traditionally I “opened” with a Vachel Lindsay poem “Niagara.” Before the first word of the poem, I invited anyone who knew about Vachel and wanted to talk about him to talk to me after everyone had shared their writing. The poem I wrote, that after considering every poem in my first book “Minstrel’s Ramble: to Live and Die in Springfield, Illinois” I thought appropriate to share, was “I Want to be Sedated.” That poem follows this pre-poem ramble.

I had a fine time the evening of May 19 and look forward to attending the next open mic there. June 17, starting at 6 pm and concluding about 8 pm.

I Want to Be Sedated
by Job Conger

This world, it seems so topsy-turvy,
hell-bent for Armageddon soon:
too many creeps passing for prophets,
and mystics baying at the moon.
It’s hard to find a lucid stranger
and make it past the surface smile
in an age that’s sadly superficial;
a litany of bitter trial.
I-I-I want to be sedated.
Don’t want to feel so mad and mean.
I-I-I want to be sedated.
I’m even swearing off caffeine.

The many demons in my closet,
they shake the door, they yell and scream,
and though the door is double-bolted,
the noise is curdling my cream.
And noise from demons all around us
contaminates the life once sweet.
It’s getting louder by the minute.
I need to make a swift retreat.
I-I-I want to be sedated.
Don’t want to hear your angry bile.
I-I-I want to be sedated.
The sound of music’s more my style.

Some people flirt with boozy weekends
and chug the their drinks like popcorn shrimp
while others ride passionate hormones
and get their jollies from a pimp.
The chemistry from basement gardens
will never see this body through,
but if you have a good solution,
I sure could use a dose or two.
I-I-I want to be sedated
with more than nods and knowing grins
I-I-I want to be sedated
and find the road where hope begins.

written July 24, 1995

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

pre-poem ramble:

I’ve been better.

When I had cataract surgery a few months ago, the prognosis from the good doctor was that after conventional, less expensive, treatment of my better left eye and the Lasik, high priced spread, laser fix of the right eye, both involving corneal implants, I’d be issued eye glasses in early April  for close-up vision and my longer range sight would be much improved. n, It hasn’t quite worked out that way.

The cataract “the size of Milwaukee” which had prevented the doctor from even seeing the back of my right eye, also prevented accurate diagnosis of the condition of that eye. Post Lasik examination revealed my right eye is slightly smaller and not as well-developed as assumed. Nothing is going to improve the vision in that eye. Vision in the left eye has improved in a major way: no more halos around oncoming lights. Things I see are brighter than they were and . . . . well, not so fast.

The doctor assigned to me by the clinic after the operation is not a surgeon doing post op evaluation, he is an optometrist — or at least something like that — doing evaluation of resulting condition, preparatory to the providing of prescription eye glasses. For weeks I self-administered three eye drop medicines intended to complete the healing of the eyes so that glasses could be made and worn. Two of the prescriptions were discontinued after a month. The third continued. The anticipated progress did not happen, even after two weeks between optometrist visits instead of what had been almost a three-month routine of weekly visits. My vision in my left eye is LESS than it was before the cataract removal, and he doesn’t know why.

So it’s “back to the  drawing board.” I’ve been scheduled to meet with a new member of the clinic staff for some serious “look see.” I know this because I’ve been told I’m going to  have to take a cab home after the visit. That’s no big deal, I’ll drive to the doctor, cab home, cab back the next day for follow-up and drive to work. That’s the plan. All I really want to do is get a certificate from “a qualified treatment professional” that tells the Illinois Secretary of State’s people I am legally qualified to drive. And please get some eyeglasses made for me so I can read smaller type.

The optometrist wants to be sure the great clinic staff (and they are; just terrific people) has done all that can be done to maximize my vision before they release me. I appreciate that attitude. I shall stay with this. No pain is involved; just SIGNIFICANT cost, even with Medicaid, and time away from earning a living.

Other factors in my life are contributing to a sense of near-constant hopelessness. Still no progress repairing the upstairs duplex so I can find residents for it; suffocating under the daily thinking and communications incapacities of my employer, too much to do at the museum where I’m investing 90 percent of my thoughts and 50 percent of my activity in a 24 hour day, no time to catch up with blogging, taking care of my finances, yard work that I’ve much-too-long neglected! . . . . . I’ll jabber more, but for now, you’ve suffered enough.

September Trees
by Job Conger

Where are songs
of robins warbling in the park
in late September?

Could it be
that there is nothing left
to sing?

The mates have found their mates.
The un-mate-able are resigned
to their loneliness and sublimation.

The fledgelings have flown away,
and with those young
have flown the dreams.

There is nothing left to learn,
nothing left to prove
that can be proven.
No one left to love
who can be loved.

—————————————- written 10:10 pm, October 3, 2002

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

Unopened Letters

In 1992, I welcomed my father back to Springfield. Since leaving the family in 1967 to work in management for a clothing store up north in Rockford,  he had done exceptionally well for himself, but he was recently retired, living alone and wanted to come back to be close to his first son. My younger brother Bill was divorced two or three times and living way south in Florida, and my older sister Dorothy had not spoken with him since about 1965 — totally written him out of her life. I had always felt some modest pride in being named after him, and though our relationship had suffered over the years, I welcomed him back, visited him often in a house he rented less than three blocks from the house where he and my mother raised our family. This post is about unopened letters, beginning with one I wrote to him after he moved back.

I had an opportunity to buy a duplex house where I thought I would enjoy living, but I had some concerns about the neighborhood. Since Dad had some real history in Springfield, I wanted his feedback to my concerns. We drove by the house, got out, showed him the nice front porch. He would live on the ground floor and I’d live upstairs. We’d build a ramp to the porch because he was getting older, and wouldn’t want to deal with the four steps leading up to it. I explained that his thinking about my purchase of the house would determine my buying it or forgetting the idea. Dad didn’t respond. A few months later I bought the duplex but continued living next door to Dad, visiting him every day, making sure he was okay. There were no problems with my purchase. About a year later, over coffee in his kitchen I asked him what he thought about my purchase of the other duplex. He responded with “Job, I never read the letter you gave me. You told me what it  was about. I just didn’t read it because I thought your purchasing of that house was the stupidest idea I had ever heard of. The whole neighborhood was declining. It was obvious. I didn’t even bother opening the letter!” His reaction disappointed me horribly.  Our relationship continued under heavy tension until he died December 12, 1994 and I saw the world without family for the first time in my life. My sister Dorothy had disowned me, wouldn’t speak to me because of my support of our father. Brother Bill and I were occasional callers over the phone, but he remained anguishingly remote.  Less than a year before he died, he called me on my birthday, and we reconciled. I called him on his next birthday, and soon after he was gone.

A few years later, I had a major disagreement with a person I served with on a historical Society board. In my letter of resignation from that board, I explained why I was resigning, citing my conflict with the root of the problem: Nancy C.  and never returned to the board or attended a historical society event. I’m still a life member. Nancy wrote a letter back to me. I never opened it. I still have it.

One of my best friends and I met after I put on a program at Vachel Lindsay’s restored historical house in Springfield. He invited me to Chicago, and I visited twice over weekends via AmTrack in the following two years. He and his terrific wife hosted me in a guest bedroom. It was wonderful. Pete arranged for me to speak to a terrific “thinking persons’ club” in his city where I talked about Springfield poet Vachel Lindsay, recited several of his poems. Also recited some of my poems and with my guitar, sang some of my songs. Pete visited me twice over weekends, happy to sleep in a sleeping bag given to me by a visiting friend from Kings Cliffe, England some years ago. Here I did the driving and showed him a lot of MY city. I LOVED/LOVE Chicago. But I began having some challenging circumstances in Springfield, and our friendship suffered. Over the course of the last year, Pete wrote me three letters. The first was very encouraging. Pete thought I could have really done something with poetry and song up there. But I’ve not opened the following two letters he sen, though I’ve not thrown them away. They’re around here someplace. I have had no time to spare in my life since I began developing an aviation museum at the local airport. I’ve lost almost ALL contact with some wonderful people in the local visual and poetic and songwriting/performing arts community.

Last summer my best friend in the poetry community and her paramour, also a talented poet , disappointed me MAJORLY at two poetry events, and I’ve not spoken a word to either since. When I suffered a very minor stroke, she emailed  me offering to help me during my subsequent recovery from a brief stay in a local hospital.  I was totally surprised, heart-warmed, flattered by the email but early last December, anticipating a very lonely Christmas after a very lonely Thanksgiving and a very lonely rest of my life, instead of thanking her for her concern, I brainlessly, BITTERLY responded with a note saying how disappointed I was over what happened last summer. I should have thanked her and moved forward with her generous interest in helping.  She responded to my e with one of my her own that began with something like “just like you to look for reasons for everything. . . .” — I never read the rest of it, but I SAVED her email. It’s still here.

I’ve been meaning to become more involved with the local arts community which I almost totally walked away from so I could pour my SOUL into the aviation museum. I’ve been intending since March to write a Honey & Quinine post about unopened letters. On April 18, I returned to Vachel Lindsay’s historic home for the first time since walking away from IT in 2013 following a disappointment with the site director. The Lindsay house is suffering from reduced state funding, the former director of the site retired and hasn’t been replaced, open hours have been almost totally cut. The house was open the 18th for a special reception for a talented local artist whose illustrations accompany a new book of Vachel Lindsay poems intended — they say — for children. When I announced my intention to attend the event on Facebook, a friend — the rare kind: someone who still interfaces with me regularly — responded to the post, approvingly. I attended with camera, bought the new books by my visual artist acquaintance, and will post a Honey &  Quinine review of the event  later this week.

After I close this post, I’m going to return to the email from my poet friend and READ all of her response to my bitter note. I need to do that because I respect her talent, and our long friendship has benefitted me GREATLY over the years. No one I know (who’s alive today) has been nicer to me. If she tells me to go to hell, I will live with that. I will try to put it all behind me. . . . . . I need to show her the same respect and appreciation she showed me over the years. If I can digest what she said and take her words as a big pill I must swallow to digest  and continue healing from this past winter of horrible anguish, I will do that.

Thanks for reading this post.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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