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Posts Tagged ‘short stories’


THINGS I DID TO DESERVE

THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

by Barack Obama
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THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY COUNTRY

by Jane Fonda & Cindy Sheehan.

Illustrated by Michael Moore
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MY CHRISTIAN ACCOMPLISHMENTS &

HOW I HELPED AFTER  KATRINA

by  Rev Jesse Jackson & Rev Al Sharpton
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THINGS I  LOVE ABOUT BILL

by  Hillary Clinton
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Sequel:

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT HILLARY

by Bill  Clinton

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THINGS I  CANNOT AFFORD

by Bill Gates
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THINGS I  WOULD NOT DO FOR MONEY

by Dennis Rodman
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THINGS WE KNOW TO BE TRUE

by Al Gore & John Kerry
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A COLLECTION of MOTIVATIONAL SPEECHES

by Dr. J. Kevorkian

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TO ALL THE MEN WE’VE LOVED BEFORE

by Ellen de Generes & Rosie O’Donnel

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THE AMISH  PHONE DIRECTORY
_______________________________________

MY PLAN TO FIND THE REAL KILLER(S)

by O. J. Simpson
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MY BOOK OF MORALS

by Bill Clinton with introduction

by the Rev. Jesse Jackson

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AND, JUST ADDED:

Complete Knowledge of Military Strategy!

By Nancy Pelosi

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HAPPY READING…..

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Ignacio is a crusty old bastard.  Or so everyone told me after I met him for the first time.  He was one of those mixed breeds of men, a blood line blended from all the major human food groups.  He had a look of an old warrior, eyes that could penetrate the soul of any man and a laugh that was contagious as any I have ever encountered.

I met him that first time a number of months ago when I asked him to share my table at one of the many over-crowded greasy spoon diners that permeate the Midwest landscape along Interstate 90.  He had an air of “I don’t give a shit” and another one that said “Don’t fuck with me”, yet he seemed amiable enough when he sat down and nodded a thank you in my direction.

“How be ya, son?”, he asked me in an accent that had that a twinge of that “Downeast Mainah” thing going on.

“I recognize that accent.  You from Maine?”, I asked.

“Ayuh” he chuckled as he exaggerated the word, “Born and raised up around a place called Millinocket.  The gateway to nowhere.   Left there to join the military back in 71 and never looked back.  Get up that way to visit once in a while, but wouldn’t move back to live. Pretty country but the politics sucks.  Too many educated idiots making too many regulations to live by. 

“So, what brings you out this way?”, I asked

“Hell, this is probably just another stop along the way, although a longer stop than usual.  Since Vietnam, I really haven’t stopped moving.  I like variety, both in work and in location…..and in my women.” He added with what looked like an innocent grin though it was difficult to tell under his shaggy, salt and pepper beard. 

“Quite the gypsy.  Sounds like you have had an interesting life.”, I said

“Had?…Shit, man…I ain’t dead yet.” He laughed as his plate of home cooked beans and steak was dropped in front of him.  He looked up at the young waitress.

“Thank you, Emma.  Looks and smells great.”

“Any time Roach.”, she said as she walked off.

“Ok. You’re not dead yet.  Any plans for the future? I asked, hoping that it would lead into a longer conversation.  His demeanor and his attitude created this certain curiosity.  There might be a story somewhere inside this man’s life. 

“What was Maine like…growing up”? I asked. “And…Roach?”

He just looked at me with those black eyes of his and said something about Roach being another story.  I accepted that graciously and commenced to eating the greasy cheeseburger I had ordered, along with the greasy fries and my weakness…chocolate milk.

“Growing up in Maine?  Probably like any other backwoods country place during the 50’s.  We never locked our doors; we raised our own meat and vegetables and hunted when we needed to.  Were we poor?  My dad worked hard for little money, but we never were cold or hungry and we enjoyed ourselves as much as any kids of that time.  So, no, we were not poor by those standards.  Using today’s elitist criteria for measuring “poor people”, I would have to say we would probably be called poor today.  God damned government idiots.  Have to put a label on everything, based on unrealistic statistics, just to validate to themselves that they are important and that we are too stupid to take care of ourselves without government assistance.  Shit, what I carry in the treads of my boots has more value than most politicians.”

“Problem with today, son, is the government is running scared.  Politicians are scared of losing their ill-gotten and undeserved benefits and their status with the people is lower than whale shit.  Government agencies have infringed themselves into people’s lives without permission and they are now beginning to understand that the citizens of this country are becoming extremely pissed off.  Rules, regulations, licenses, fees, taxes, spying and a whole shitload of other unnecessary crap.  Ain’t much that does get me riled except the fucking government, religious fanatics….. and thieving insurance companies.” he added with another grin.

“So, who the hell are you”?, he asked.

“My name is Bruce Swanson.  I make my living by writing and photography.  Nothing special, but it pays the bills.” I answered him.

“Shit, that is all that counts.  Doing something you like and earning enough money to get through life.  More people need to follow their dreams but don’t have the cojones to do so.  Be a lot less bitching to listen to if they did.” He said as he finished his plate.

“Anyway, thanks for the chair and have a good one.”,  he said as he pushed his chair from the table, dropped a couple dollars for a tip and headed to the cashier.

For some reason, I liked the coot.  He was opinionated and sometimes vulgar but he was the genuine article.  He wasn’t like the many people I have met that offered little, if any, transparency of their life.  Always trying to impress with exaggerated innuendos of how great they are.  This guy didn’t care one bit if you liked him or not, had actually lived the political history of the social upheaval of the 60’s, of the hippy movement with their “Peace, love, dove and pass the joint” philosophy and the vulgar events of Vietnam.  And due to his long history he could definitely understand that the recent raping of the Constitution by our so-called leaders is a serious problem that would eventually come to a head.  I needed to learn more about this guy.  What actually made him tick and how he faced life with patience, understanding and a slightly off kilter perspective that might make for good reading.  Now all I had to do was figure out a way to get to know him without pissing him off.  This type of guy you don’t piss off.  I needed a plan……(con’t)

Fish Pond, Northern Maine in autumn.

Fish Pond, Northern Maine in autumn.

        

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Sunsets, mountains, solitude, a comfortable old rocking chair and a unique companionship.

The Missouri River

Another hard day of work faced him, but his commitment to this new life drove him on with an intense determination to finish the uncountable tasks he needed to complete before the snows hit.  That morning, a light patchy mist enveloped his ridge, appearing to him like an unknown army of wavering ancient ghosts upon the muffled landscape. Taking sips of his strong, pungent coffee, waiting for his breakfast to finish frying, he noticed a subtle movement on the edge of the haze covered tree line. He watched as a large wolf emerged from the ghostly mist and walked slowly and deliberately towards him. Something inside told him he had nothing to fear, but he reached for his hunting knife anyway, slipping it close just in case his instincts proved to be incorrect. The old wolf continued to approach, stopping several times to survey the old man before coming to within several feet, then sitting back on its haunches, and looked at the frying with sizzling meat. There is definitely something unnatural happening here and the old man sat in wonderment. With slow movements, the old man took a piece of uncooked venison from the cooler and tossed it to the wolf. With movements that reminded the old man of a favorite dog from many years before, the wolf bent down, sniffed the piece of still bloody meat that landed close to his immense paws and picked it up, slowly chewing. He seemed to savor not only the morsel, but the ease of its gain.  He old man chuckled as he realized he was not entirely alone on this mountain side. His fantasy provided a pseudo companionship that was missing from his life. A bond seemed to have developed, and the old man sat in peace.

“You know, you and I. we’re both the same. We live our lives alone, relying on our instincts in nature to keep us alive and never giving up our freedom.” the old man said. “Maybe some day, you will understand what I am telling you.” The wolf stared back and blinked. 

Breakfast finished, the two departed and the old man went back to work. Progress was continuing slowly and the rain tight roof began to take shape. Soon he would be living comfortably in his little one room log cabin. The plans for this new home came from his dreams. Small, warm, and with a front covered porch facing the setting suns.

“Home.” he thought. “And here I will watch my final sunset.”

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”  Crow Nation

More at ryeder

And at Tanka

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Sunsets, mountains, solitude, a comfortable old rocking chair and a unique companionship.

He remembered vividly the first encounter with this magnificent animal. It had happened many years ago, when he first came to this high mountain meadow and began reconstruction of this old log cabin. With lots of work to do before winter settled in up here in the mountains, and it arrives early, the old man spent most of his daylight hours repairing the cabin and putting up his winter supplies.

He had just sat down to rest from felling a large tree when he heard the sound of snapping dried brush. Startled, he turned to face a large wolf, close enough to see the reflection in its eyes. Fear kept the old man sitting, watching. They stared at each other for several minutes before the wolf turned and slowly disappeared back into the thick forest from where he came. Unnerved, but with a sense of wonderment, the old man sat pondering what the hell that was all about. Something much more different had just happened than anything he had ever encountered before in his long life and he sat in awe.

Realizing he was wasting daylight, he returned to the task of limbing out the felled tree that would, in time, become part of his new home. The work was hard, but the work helped with the constant heaviness in his heart. He truly missed his wife. Their marriage was long and filled with all the positive things that a good marriage is supposed have. He missed the light-hearted conversations, the warmth of her body against his on cold winter nights, and all the little things that made her his wife. She was the kindest, most compassionate woman he had ever met, and her absence was an ever-present abstraction in life. One that brought a warm smile to his face and painful tears to his heart.

As he rested upon the stump, feeling the warm late summer breeze upon his face, his thoughts transported him back to a time many years ago. A time when his world was right. Good times, with many laughs and much closeness.  In time, he learned to accept the fact that she was gone and he treasured the quality of life they shared those last years and all those precious memories he held.

Loneliness adds beauty to life.  It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night  air smell better…Henry Rollins

Photos at Ryeder

Eats at Tanka

How to organize your photographs without going crazy…

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Sunsets, mountains, solitude, a comfortable old rocking chair and a unique companionship.


The old man sat quietly on the steps of his small hand-built log cabin overlooking the vastness of a high mountain meadow. His realization that his days were numbered rested quietly on his mind as he contemplated the many years he had lived a good life. He counted his good friends, good family and the many fine memories he owned and genuinely knew he had prospered where many others had not. High in these remote mountains he had lived since he found himself alone. He now relished the seclusion away from busy and overwhelming noise of civilization. The peace and quietness had helped sooth the loss in his life and rendered a spirituality that created a connection with the natural world. Here he was home at last.

 

As he sat quietly thinking of those times he had relished his good fortunes, he heard the subtle approach of padded feet come slowly around the cabin and stop close to where he was sitting. The old man slowly raised his head and knew that his only companion sat quietly in front of him. Their eyes met, relaying a trust and understanding of what friendship truly was. The old wolf, eyes showing a trusted reliance existed between them, sat intently watching the old man.

“My friend,” the old man said slowly, “Our time is coming to an end. We both have lived a long life, and we both can leave knowing we did our best.”  The old wolf rose to his feet and came closer to the old man. His eyes showed an understanding of what the old man had said and moved to nuzzle the man’s hands. A knowing smile appeared on the old man’s weathered face and he knew that this unequaled bond was one of genuine friendship, born from solitude.

A distant rumble of thunder that echoed down the valley, reverberating off the granite ledges and rolling into the vast nothingness brought him back to life. The rainstorm was far from him, but here, the sun still shone on his rough face. He stood up stoically and picking up his tools, he placed them in the bed of his antiquated Jeep. Another day completed, the old man returned to his log cabin, prepared and ate a small dinner, then retired to his sleeping bag, content in the fact he had accomplished much of the work he had planned for today. Sleep came very quickly. 

Morning had come to the high country. Mist spread across the low lands and the sun peeked through this fog, turning the chilled air a subtle orange. The air  crisp, clean, and invigorating.  Stirring the coals of last night’s fire, the dropped a few pieces of dried firewood into the old woodstove and prepared his breakfast. Good, strong hot coffee with fried potatoes and a slab of fresh deer meat. The aroma of the coffee had shaken his memory of when, as a child, he had gone with his dad as he cut pulp wood for a little extra income to help feed the family. The coffee his dad made over the fire was strong and pungent. 

“So long ago.” he thought, “Where did time go.”


This is an excerpt from “The Old Wolf”.

Written by me, and lost for a while.

Maybe……someday I will finish it.

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”

Photographs and Creativity from the High Plains.

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Into the frigid whiteness, bent low against the biting Arctic wind, he progressed, step by weary step.  Fighting not only the deep burning cold, but the everlasting blackness of both storm and night, he slowly made his way through familiar habitat, working one encrusted snowshoe past the other.  The pure white snow, blowing sideways in the heavy wind caused him to reconsider his direction, but he quickly shook off the doubt as just a case of temporary uncertainty.  He knew this high country like the back of his hand and knew without seeing that he was headed in the right direction.  Pushing a snow laden fir limb aside, he saw the outline of his log cabin.

ryeder…

 

 

 

 

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