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The progress I’ve made since my January fall from my front porch, the legs surgery and rapid initial recuperation has been slowed to a crawl since, say, May. I worked myself pretty hard until I could locomote without the four-legged folding walker. Another major milestone in mid-May was finding myself improved enough to pull myself up to the flat top of a floodlight stand overlooking the airport tarmac where the airplanes (Cessnas, Bonanzas, Learjets, etc.) park to refuel or overnight while flight crew and passengers do business and pleasure in the city. The big advantage of climbing up on that raised base is that I can take pictures of arriving and departing airplanes without the fence getting in the way.

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This was the single most important accomplishment  since losing the walker. There should have been more significant accomplishments, but they’ve not happened. Until July 8,  my first day back at my employer after a four-day temporary “parole” away, spent mostly at the airport museum, I had been okay with using the railings on stairways to pull myself up the steps and brace myself to keep from falling forward and tumbling, coming down the steps.  Two events happened over the four-day hiatus from the plantation . . .  okay, from my employer if you insist.

Number 1 was my discovery that I’ve not had a working telephone land line since APRIL. Part of my life as been a daze of depression and simply denying the rest of my responsibilities because  I’ve been so bleeping SAD. I don’t receive many phone calls at home, and I just assumed life was going on as normal.  I’ve not tried to call anyone from my home in several months. When I need to call someone I use my employer’s phone or my cell phone. I rely a lot on e-mail. Even so, I wanted to keep my land line phone number. To do that I had to re-establish my phone line. I did that this afternoon. Paid the past due bill over the phone, and an e-mail from the phone company informed me that I’m re-connected.

Item B was a better understanding of how precarious my balance is. It was always an issue (Lousy sense of balance) in physical therapy (PT) at the hospital, and they urged me to practice; showed me the exercises, which — after they released me from further required visits for an hour PT — I of course did not do.   Starting July 8, a realized I am almost ASKING for another accident to happen if I don’t get serious again. Solution? I am making myself ascend and descend steps without touching the railings. I’m doing it s-l-o-w-l-y  now, but I’m doing it every time without hands on railings. As I get my balance back, the speed will come.

Part of my daze, really since the discharge from the hospital, has been my avoidance of the hospital bills. I am not earning enough to pay much, but I did qualify for Medicare with help from someone at the hospital, and I am s-l-o-w-l-y turning my attention to those bills. This is really going to be hard. But I have made a few steps in the right direction. I spent part of the 4th of July sorting the bills by companies indicated in the upper left corners of unopened envelopes. I’m summoning the strength of mind to open everything, pitch all by the most recent bill from each provider and go from there next week.

There are some more concerns awaiting the attention of a civil, intelligent citizen which I am trying to become. Maybe I’m running out of days and don’t know it. Things need to be set right whether I leave this world next week or 20 years from now. I need to do  this not because I’m running out of time but because it’s the right thing to do.

As the BeeGees used to sing, “The road is long with many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where.” As I once wrote in one of my songs, “I haven’t found the flavor, but I’m getting there.”

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

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She came into my life like thunder when I recited my poetry at the Taylorville, Illinois public library, in March 2009. Lenore is not her real name, but I’ve referred to her by that name in Honey & Quinine before, and though she’s been out of my life since May of that year, I still respect her.

After the recital, Lenore and I shared some happy conversation and soon after, she moved into my house just a little bit which is to say clothes in a chest of drawers I emptied to accommodate her, some food she often shared with me, a few towels and things.  She slept on my living room sofa, I slept on my bed, and that was that.

If I had been smart, we’d still be friends today, but I was not smart; I was about as dumb as I could be. We had so many things in common, so many reasons to be friends — love of poetry, love of photography, pretty urbane outlook on life — it took me about two weeks for me to start dreaming of more than friendship. I wrote more poetry and songs about US than for any woman who inspired that kind of ardor. We were connecting intellectually in a way that I had not connected with former sweethearts, and the prospect of a future with her had me panting like a hungry Labrador, pulling on a chain that would keep me “at bay.” That was exactly the wrong thing to do. It became not a passionate interest in affection, though that was a part of it. It became an interest in more time. She had other ideas, told me she wanted me as a friend and nothing more. I should have accepted that, and I didn’t. The parting of our lives was not pretty, and I remain sorry to this hour for things I did which no gentleman should do. Suffice to say I didn’t lay a finger on her, and I didn’t utter an obscene or hurtful epithet at her. She left me. I don’t blame her. I was certifiable shark food for my part in the coming apart.

Since then, I have held on to a part of her.

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Lenore didn’t care for water from the tap. She drank it from bottles purchased at the supermarket. Since she left, I’ve not touched the bottle, not even to clean the shelf.
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Keeping it provided some miniscule solace in allowing me to be close to a small part of who she was. I thought of her — and missed her . . . and thought I was a blithering idiot — every time I opened the refrigerator.  After four years of this angst and regret and absolutely no hope of ever speaking to her again, or seeing her  . . . I decided it was time to say “goodbye.”

How should I say goodbye? Slit my wrists? The thought probably crossed what was left of my mind a time or two in the two or three months right after she left, but it didn’t occur to me on the 4th of the 7th of the 13th. I didn’t want to just pitch the thing into the kitchen waste basket. I wanted to do something symbolic. Plunge a large knife through that bottle and letting it drain into my freshly cleaned kitchen sink? Too violent and not really my style. I know I was less than princely during our parting ordeal. For her anger toward me in the withering tumult, I took my revenge as well, in ways I won’t share here, but I say again, I did not put a finger on that beautiful woman. I did not raise my voice to her. She is right to think that to this day I am pond scum. I had to find a way to say goodbye via constructive outcome of the inevitable.

So I drank Lenore’s water and then threw the empty bottle into the kitchen trash.
botwat=4Yes, there was some concern for the outcome of drinking four-year-old bottled water. If I had writhed in agony all over the kitchen floor as some viral toxin from the water ate me up inside . . . . . I would have been okay with that. Such a fate was not to be. The last trace of Lenore in my refrigerator nourished me. In penance for this act of saying good-bye I have fasted all day today except for four cups of coffee and Lenore’s water. I’ll have dinner at sunset today, about 8 pm, and I’m okay with that.

I’m sorry I waited so long to say goodbye. I hope Lenore is well and happy wherever she is.

This has been my Independence Day lesson lived the hard way. But I am the better man for having lived it the hard way . . . . . . than not to have lived it at all.

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

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I awakened about 9:30 after one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months. The location was Peter and Byung’s office-turned-guestroom on the ground floor of their condo, a scant 15 feet from the guest bathroom with the night light above the vanity. I had said my goodnights to my hosts and their friend Chris, a delightful woman whom I thought might go out with me if two of us lived in the same city. She was so charming that before I toddled down to the guest room with a final nightcap of all the Sauterne wine I could pour into a medium-size glass without likely spilling any, I gave her a copy of my book Confluence of Legends. It was third of three I parted with during my visit, the second of two I gave away.  I was so at peace with the world that I almost forgot about the pair of shorts (Fruit of the Loom if you must know) I had packed for the excursion. I did, in fact, think of them. I considered the circumstance. I hadn’t perspired much over the last day. Everything in the shortsall area was commendably clean and un-offensively scented. “What the hell?” I said to myself. “I’ll save these shorts for Monday.” And I did

!Peter had invited me to come upstairs to their living room and read when I was ready to meet the day, explaining he is a “night person (as is Byung) and would not likely join me until pretty well into the morning. I was fine with that. While waiting, I finished the Mozart biography I had started the day before on the train. It was a small book. Peter and I were munching sliced apple and sipping coffee by 11.
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Then it was time to roll. I can’t remember the names of the main roads traveled but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if Peter had not taken a liking to me when I recited at Vachel Lindsay’s house in October 2010, I would have passed to dust having never shared this vista on a Sunday morning in Chicago. I consider Peter to be the A.J. Foyt, the Mario Andretti, the Sterling Moss of high-speed driving!
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The second picture here has been slightly retouched.

First stop on the day’s itinerary was the Chicago Zoo.
PP1216-5This part of the zoo is a small farm which is there to educate children of Chicago who will never see a farm: denizens of the city deep, who will never travel to rural USA far removed from a four-lane highway. I know this because Peter is a Chicago historian and tour guide for hire among other laudable attributes.
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We parked in a free parking curbside area near the lakefront. “On a clear day, you can see Indiana from here,” he explained. I was happy to see the lake; mad a memo to self to see more of it after the weather warms.  The zoo was closed for the winter, but the walking paths we well engaged by many on foot.

From this board walk, visitors in summer rent paddleboats to putter around a large, sheltered pond close to Lake Michigan. This area is part of Chicago’s Lincoln Park.
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One way to be certain you’re in Lincoln Park is this statue of Ulysses Grant on horseback close to the lake. At Chicago’s Grant Park, they boast a fine statue of Lincoln so visitors will know they’re in Grant park. This is a long telephoto pic, and I would looooooove to spend an entire morning or afternoon roaming this territory and getting close to Grant’s statue and beachfront.
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Another way to know you’re in Lincoln Park is this statue of Benjamin Franklin. That’s Peter posing for a picture he probably never thought would appear in this blog. The morning was chillier than I looks here. We were walking into a moderate headwind. It was good to know that the return to the car would be helped by  a tailwind.

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Mr Franklin was in good spirits. Must have been his hardy Boston lifestyle!

We were heading for the Chicago History Museum, a major attraction which should be on every visitor’s itinerary. It’s across the street from a major evangelist’s church, a beautiful brown stone complex with a sanctuary that seats about 3,000, Peter explained. He knew that the Sunday service had concluded shortly before we arrived on the museum side of the street, and he was curious about the place. So was I. There were still many attendees exiting the building after socializing, and the atmosphere was incredibly warm. Not a frown to be seen. We had no trouble entering that famous sanctuary and taking a few pictures. No one approached us and asked who we were or the purpose for our visit. Everyone was focused on their reason for being there; not ours.
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I could have spent an hour photographing the sanctuary.

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PP1216-13This is the view of the Chicago History Museum from the front of the church.
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Photography inside the museum is a challenge because of  the contrasting bright lights and moderate overall ambient light. Human eyes adjust to it better than cameras, but the displays are a real “tour de force” not only of Chicago, but of the culture of the USA as well.

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The woman is reading a very interesting, nutshell chronology of the land and the city. I knew the instant I saw her that I wanted to photograph her, but she was moving to the right faster than I hoped.  I neither know nor care what the door is on the right, and I know it’s a visual “ersatz element in this picture, but I did not want to interrupt her to ask her to “pose” for a picture more to the left.  I would have lost the authentic moment, and I do like how she stood at this fleeting half a second as she read the text on the wall.
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My true “photo harvest” from the museum came as we approached the stairway to the ground floor.
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The second picture is from the same position at the top as the first, but I stood closer to the edge to reveal the poster.

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Looking back up in the direction from whence we came.
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A final savoring of line and form.
PP1216-20Visible to the right of the fountain (closed for the winter) is the Chicago History Museum. Across the street is Ellie’s where we ate a fantastic lunch. It was terrific.

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A last look at a memorable museum.

I had a train to catch (that would depart Union Station) at 5:15, and we wanted to be arrived at the station with plenty of time to spare. En route back to Peter’s car — in fact almost across the street from it in Lincoln Park — we encountered this steel sculpture, another amazing presence . . .

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A pose of the wayfaring folkslinger (photo by host Peter). With Peter’s talent at the wheel, the trip to the station was a breeze.
PP1216-25Live long . . . . . . . . . . and proper.

Coming next on Return to Chi’ (or) I Didn’t Even Change My Shorts,  I have a picture perfect return to my home town as a sobering story unfolds before my ears. Look for it Sunday.

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PP1215-4Visiting the Windy City the second time by Amtrak is a lot easier the second time than the first.  I knew that wherever I exited the station at street level, if I turned right or left and kept the station on only my right or left side, walking around the block, eventually I’d see the familiar CVS Pharmacy across the street at one of four corners I knew I would encounter,  and that was the corner where I would wait for Peter. The night before, I had explained in a brief phone call that I had shaved off my mustache, but I had kept the rest of the manicured full beard.  It was conceivable that without that advisory, he would have driven by that guy with the brown leather jacket that looked like the one I wore last year when I visited . . . and the same guitar . . . and the same dress slacks . . . and not stopped because I was missing a vital element above my upper lip. Happily for MOI, he recognized me. The time was about 10:40. The rain was light.

One of the first subject to come up after stowing the luggage and instrument in the trunk was lunch.  Peter assumed I had eaten on the train. He wasn’t hungry and he didn’t expect to be hungry for a while. It was 10:40 in the morning and I hadn’t touched food since 7 last night. I wasn’t famished-hungry, but my body was telling me it was time for more. Even so,  I can miss a few meals, and not have to buy new pants. Besides, I had not come for the cuisine, I had come to see the city. Soon we were barreling down a major avenue in the direction of a silent auction fundraiser at a visual arts gallery/studio which had been a beautiful large home in ages past in a healthy-looking neighborhood in the general vicinity of University of Chicago.  PP1215-5We arrived about 11:10 when they were taping yellow silent auction forms to a wonderful variety of creations already placed. More was on the way. Peter knew Laura, the director of the event, had taken a course at this house. The arts organization that had rented it for years had lost their lease, and the auction would raise funds to help the move to a new location if they could find a new location. I felt I was visiting a funeral home before the “guest of honor” was wheeled in and the chairs had been arranged. The event  — the silent auction — would begin at 1 pm, but we were welcome to look around, even go upstairs. There was a lot to see: within and from within. Former fireplaces were focal points in every room on the ground floor. I would have loved to have seen the large portrait that must have hung above the piano room pictured here. What was his/her name? Occupation? What had happened to the painting? It’s obvious in the picture that one honkin’-big painting had presided over that room possibly in the early 40s but not likely much later.
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We strolled past the piano room into the room where the wine would be shared. Everything was very much “in process.” I believe the hanging fabric was an artistic creation, but I didn’t get close enough to tell for sure.
PP1215-10I paused to take this picture before we drifted up the stairway to the second floor . . .
PP1215-9  In addition to the gift shop at that level were rooms which had been studios, maybe living quarters for artists. I could imagine being inspired by the natural light  and perhaps sitting for a portrait in the room pictured left.
PP1215-6The view from a window in the “gift shop” revealed a Unitarian church just down the street we would soon  walk by it on the way to building that might have served as home to King Arthur.
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On the way back to the stairs, I noticed the Soft Room with the door slightly opened. It was a fascinating concept. The “no shoes” warning was an excellent touch. If we had visited on a sunny morning with a little more time, I would have taken off my shoes and gone inside.

Peter told me about the place we were walking to, but I didn’t have my digital tape recorder, and I wasn’t taking notes.  It was much more than a meeting hall on the University of Chicago campus. The few pictures I took inside will say only what they can say . . .
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This was the central gathering  area. Forward here took us to a lecture hall if I remember right. To the right was a hall to other rooms and to the left was a stairway going up.

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View from a landing halfway up to the second floor shows a tastefully garlanded hand railing. I imagined this space in the 30s before plastic event registration tables and folding chairs contributed a touch of garage sale ambiance to the otherwise Harvard-esque tableau. It was time to go.

PP1215-13  The Smart Museum of Art, also on campus was next.  It was the highlight of the day.  I could have spent two hours here solo with a camera, pen and paper for taking notes.  The incredibly spacious lobby — big as Texas — featured a coffee shop with baked snacks, table and chairs. I seldom eat when I can avoid eating, so I had coffee, and it was excellent.
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This is the view of the lobby. A welcoming greeter is behind the desk on the right, refreshments behind him and tales and chairs in the center area. The large mural is a black & white composite photograph from Czechoslovakia (if I recall correctly)  created on a  fabric hanging that came together from four separate pieces, each about as big as Vermont. The photo above shows natural color photograph.  The mural is very interesting; lots going on  For the fun of it I created a colorless rendition from my original.
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This is the ‘grey scale edition.

By fully saturating the picture with my computer’s photo software, I “hyper-colorised it.
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I gave the same treatment to a closeup of one of my favorite parts of the wonderful mural.  PP1215-28 PP1215-29                                                                 The following photos are shared for the most part with no information about the art. I was floored, knocked out, by the variety and quality of what was displayed . . .

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PP1215-17 PP1215-18           PP1215-23                                                                                   PP1215-21                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               PP1215-24                                                             Here, my friend and generous host Peter reads about the table and chairs designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.   It was approaching 2:15: time for lunch.
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Here’s the view of the opposite side of the enclosed yard as we departed for the excellent walk back to the car. There were people on the sidewalks walking places. No one got in the way. Faces were focused forward . . .                                                                                                   PP1215-31

       a closer view

Peter recommended a place called Steak & Egger. I was in no mood for breakfast, but I was game for anything but a filet of sole with the name Floursheim embossed into it.

Located in a former very high traffic location during the industrial age, the territory around was still busy after becoming home to many newcomers of Mexican and Spanish origin. Even so, the menu was in English. It reminded me of a Steak & Shake with a long counter overlooking the major part of the cooking area and surrounded by a wide “U” of tables and chairs. There was a lot of convivial patter and chatter, smiles everywhere and surprisingly busy for mid-afternoon. I was absolutely delighted with Peter’s taste in restaurants! After a delicious fried chicken special with mashed potatoes, string beans and a nice dinner salad. The owner kindly wrapped the thigh and breast I had not eaten in aluminum foil. I intended to savor the leftover for dinner  after I returned to Springfield. I honestly and truly recommend Steak & Egger to all friends and amigos y amigas visiting Chicago with time to find it. Peter took my picture outside before we headed for his condo about 4:15. You see here a satisfied man!
PP1215-32After unpacking at Peter’s and Byung’s I sat in on some Ph.D candidate students’ informal gathering with Professor Byung whom they addressed by her unmarried last name — Professor Soo, I believe. They were all deep into paperwork and final projects. most planning  to graduate next year.  The field was school administration. The friendly repartee between professor and students was as between colleagues focused on great mutual affection and respect and shared goals. After the conference, the students departed and friends began arriving for the Christmas party where I had been invited to play and sing.

It was a most terrific Christmas party!

Live long . . . . . and proper.

Next time on “Return to Chi’ (or) I Didn’t Even Change Shorts” our hero and his exceedingly kind host Peter visit Lincoln Park, the Chicago History Museum and during the long day’s journey into night, I listen to a marriage come apart as my seat mate argues with his wife about their coming separation on his cell phone. Stay tuned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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I procrastinate. Most of the work I do is done to avoid doing something else. Still procrastination pays dividends.  I used to often find  myself delaying attention to my lawn, often on nice cool days only to finally wheel out the lawnmower on the hottest day of the week . . . . and enjoy cutting the grass, not paying particular attention to the temperature! Same thing with journalism. I had two and a half weeks to produce my story about local food trucks for the September Springfield Business Journal. Absolutely critical (which is like saying “each and every”) to my stories are the photographs; interviews less so.  Just as I know I will cut the grass, I know I will write the assignment. There is never any doubt of this. Still I procrastinate and wallow, for days, in the self-imposed SHAME that I manufacture for myself from the process. By the time I must put words into play, I’m comfortable. The words come easily as apples from the low branches of a tree.

So it is, as well at the airport museum where I’ve been since 5:30 this morning. I’ve been on a “marathon,” on my feet filing away in the Research Room, fully focused for easily 11 of the 12.5 hours I will have been here when I leave at 6p. I had no breakfast, nor lunch, nor snack during this time  because I didn’t have a penny in my pocket, I”m running low on checks, I didn’t want to leave the museum to drive home where I have food, and equally importantly, I knew food would slow my pace, and today, I was pushing myself. I liked the challenge, and I knew I would have all the food I wanted later.  I was grateful for the coffee and water I’ve consumed during short breaks to check e-mail and Facebook — about every hour and a half.

Bombardier CRJ of United Express takes off from Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, Springfield, Illinois, September 1, 2012.

So I’m going to head upstairs and close a door, turn off some lights and head home.

The day has been good to me, and I have been good to the day.

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

Once, as I was filing I noticed a United Express Bombardier CRJ airliner taxiing to the end of a runway, realized it would be passing nearby as he rose from the runway, and was where I needed to bne for some decent pictures I posted on Fb within minutes.  That kind of diversion made a lot of the fatique disappear, and the afternoon has whizzed by.
I’m savoring, as I write these words, the contentment that comes from knowing when I have posted this installment of the “Approaching” blog and posted notice of it at Facebook, all I have to do is go upstairs and turn off the fan and lights and close one door to be done with the day.

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At 6:45 am when I arrived at my museum office, a realized how strange it was that I was looking forward to dinner. I wasn’t hungry, and as things would transpire, all I’d have between  last night about 9 and tonight about 7:30 would be a Payday candy bar from the pilot lounge vending machine. What I would be having for dinner was a “pleasant cloud” sailing serenely through my consciousness like a memory of Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop on Saturday morning TV at 9:30 and I’m eight years old. What do you suppose I was anticipating; steak? I haven’t brought intact beef into my home since the late 90s. Sausage? Yes. Chicken? Yes. Processed fish? Yes.) Is an apple pie waiting for me? If I could afford it, you bet. But no pie tonight.

I can’t wait to leave my airport office early tonight. Not because I am hungry. I am beyond hunger. Most of the time, food holds no particular allure for me. Several years ago, I ate no solid food for two weeks after saying goodbye to a beautiful woman who “itemed”  next to me socally and in the shower. I drank lots of water and probably some wine. But I was working very little and moping a LOT. Only the ripening of tomatoes in my backyard garden returned me to sanity. I would not let them rot, and I would not give them away.  Few things approach “food of the Gods” like fresh, sliced tomatoes between whole wheat bread spread liberally with Hellman’s Mayonnaise. To be honest, I knew that much more of my protracted POUT could do me more harm than good, and the tomatoes were a handy “rationale.” When I am busy and reasonably content, food is an option; not a requirement for up to 24 hours a stretch, and to a large degree I go along with it because I know I can always purchase food. If I could not purchase food, I’d be pretty miserable. I AM my married mother’s lucky son! But I can’t purchase steak and I wish I could eat more pie. And ice cream.

Tonight I will savor a Chef Salad packaged in plastic, that was prepared by and offered for sale from a refrigerated bin in the deli department of Shop ‘N Save on North Grand, just a slight diversion east en route home from the airport. I am looking forward to this salad more eagerly than anything I could bring home from that store. Why? Because I know I am doing something that will work well for my body and outlook seven days before I mark the BIG SIX FIVE.  It’s a nicely presented salad that will sate my appetite. Cost of the salad was just over $3.50 when I purchased three of them two days ago.

It’s a well-prepared meal with lots of adequates: shredded cheese. turkey, lettuce, half a hard-boiled egg. Every salad, including the store’s prepared sea food salad, turkey salad and chicken salad used to include two cherry tomatoes.

The ones I brought home have three cherry tomatoes. I’m not a “cherry tomato person.” I eschew cherry tomatoes. Last week I started placing the cherry tomatoes into am empty Jiff Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter jar. As the jar is filled with these I will empty the jars full into part of my back yard next to a hurricane fence, and it cherry tomatoes start to grow next spring, I will give them to everyone who wants them.

For past few months, I’ve been eating more and more of these salads, always with Kraft Catalina dressing. At the end of this week, I will have enjoyed three of them, gladly and gratefully. When I run out of Catalina, I”ll start exploring more dressing flavors: Ranch, Russian, Thousand Island and others. What is YOUR favorite salad dressing?

I am easing away from serious activity here at the museum after even just three hours at Stone Circus. My outlook, even after a good day there, is pretty tempered which is not to say “riddled with resignation,” though I concede the possibility.

Had a long day at the airport, from 6:45 until 1:45 before leaving for three hours at “le cirque de granite.” Before I did, I welcomed a couple a Cirrus SR-22 charter pilot and the pilot of a NetJets-operated Cessna Citation. The latter escorted me out to the parking ramp where I took a picture of his beautiful flying machine.  Here is the best of them . . . .

Cessna Citation X business jet

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

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donated 1942 newspapers from central Illinois

It’s been a productive day at my airport “home away from home.” This time last year, I wouldn’t even be awake at the time I arrived, even though by this time last year, I had moved in everything I “had” to move out here. A year ago, I didn’t feel the hand of “Destiny” on my shoulder, and this year I do  . . . . not a heavy hand, not a wussy hand, but a hand.

Probably 10 years ago I walked into the office of Illinois Times to pick up a paycheck for an article of mine they had published. On a table in the reception area I saw something of a “mishmash” of old newspapers, and I asked Brenda (her real name) about them. She explained an IT reader had discovered them as flooring contractors were removing the floor boarding in the house they were restoring. They had been there a long time, judging from the most recent date of 1961 on a Sunday funnies magazine supplement. Others dated back to early December 1942. The papers had been placed between what was then the structural joists (I think that’s the right term() and a new foundation material in a 1961 floor improvement project to even the level of the new floor throughout the room. The people who brought them to Illinois Times thought they might have historical value. That value was INSTANTLY apparent to me, and I could not believe my ears when I asked, “May I have them?” and Brenda happily assented.  Home they came!

Club Rio gave Springfield’s Lake Club serious competition

For years they remained in a corner of a large table in my home office after I gently examined each piece of paper. About five years ago, I took a more critical eye to reading each piece.  Any item of LOCAL value was set aside for future reference and separated by notes on new office paper that identified title and date of each series of saved articles. Local business advertising was saved along with important news of local people and Sunday newspaper comic strips. I knew I would preserve the “goods,” but the timing was bad. Three years years ago, to keep them away from direct sunlight I stowed them under my bed. About two months ago, with things gradually settling down at AeroKnow Museum at the airport, I brought them out to the “Processing Room” upstairs. Today, the 26th I began processing my treasure.

the original Rocky, perhaps, circa December 1942

Who remembers THIS strip? I sure don’t. I suspect it was a spin-off of the incredibly popular Alley Oop. I worked five straight hours on these, and I’m not 5 percent toward DONE with the project. There are many clips I’ve saved that are about local involvement in World War II, people who were participating, a young man Louis G. Bender, Mt. Pulaski’s first “casualty of the war” who died in a plane crash, a flight training accident at Foster Field, Texas. The aviation clips will be shared as time permits at my AeroKnow Museum blog.

The pictures shared in this post were taken with my Sony Cyber-shot digital camera. All clippings saved for future reference were scanned on a professional-quality scanner as shown in the first picture. They are preserved in a .jpg format that allows their enlargement and optimization of color. Some of the scans will be preserved as colorless black and white; others will be preserved as color images but edited heavily to maximize their legibility, readability.

It’s been a rewarding Sunday, including the time for this blog because it allows me to share an offer to readers. If YOU have newspapers from any central Illinois publisher before 1970 that you will consider sharing (loaning or donating) with me so that I can scan and save articles and photos of special interest, please respond to this post with a comment. Or call me — I’m in the Springfield phone book.

Today I have also started to move my local and state aviation files upstairs because I’m running out of room for them here next to the computer on the ground floor.  But that’s a story for another blog.

Have a terrific week, readers!

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

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