Saturday, January 13, 2018

Healthy advice to warring countries - Nuke Apples; Bespangled behemoth; Preserve Frame park; Imagine - guitar harp


You take a good Wolf River apple
preferably  that juicy variety
obtained on a Saturday ride a half hour
south of Waukesha out East Avenue

to Ela Orchard, Rochester
a 3rd generation family connected
to my son in law
(small plug)

If you reach in the bag
and pull out a Wolf River big one
with a heart on the peel
so much the better for influence

Core out the center leaving a cavity
in which to pack in brown sugar, raisins;
 a bit of ground clove, and a snippet of rum
are optional, 

Place apple in a microwave oven
for, say 5 minutes.  Experiment with a bit more

Allow a minute after the nuclear blast to meld the flavors
An Ela Wolf River apple will literally explode
in the old covered Corning-ware casserole
we use ~



Bespangled Behemoth

I have on my screensaver and will  feature in the  Raccoon  an underwater picture I took in the 70s and much later decided to amplify my recollection with computer-drawn-in snapped fishing lures - of a Northern Pike in Lake Lundgren near Pembine WI.  See attached versification.  I changed the lake name.
This lurking in the depth of the lake giant dragging its accumulation of what amounted to a breastplate of lures that caught filtered yet bright sunrays ~
flashes of residual still-there color on the lures caught my face-plated eyes before the fish did actually ~
gave me just a passing glimpse of a great battle to live.  To survive the death-dealing trinketry attached to strong, but not strong enough, lure linage.  The fish bit through these invasions of his peace every time.
One supposes the stubborn finned one met an eventual end by the overcoming weight of his e'r lurid armor.

But what a fight !

A clearer image


Two classmates
of the Waukesha High School
- class of 1954 -

enjoy the peace and tranquility of Frame Park
which is under threat, contrary to the bequest
of  the late philanthropist, 
Waukesha's Andrew Frame
that the park be set aside for a wide and open green space
next to the Fox River that flows through Waukesha.

Developers have their eyes on the White Rock corridor,
counting on the changing times in the community
allowing passage of a professional lease for a baseball stadium
going in the west end of Frame's reserve.

We WHS 1954ans may have by virtue of age 
some blindness, like the cat with just one eye that sees,
'BLINDY' the beloved 
Ela Orchard former barn cat -
now a welcome in-house older resident. 

But we are clear-eyed, and
with a gathered group of 
"Friends of Frame Park"




'trinket', Odd Fellows, Waukesha

Saturday, January 6, 2018

A diamond in the right setting; Somewhat moth-eaten, Craigie; Gravity (from Delaware Bentz); Another baton is passed

The Formal Garden in Waukesha's Frame Park

It is a diamond in a donor-intended green grass setting

where citizens can find expansive escape, and beautiful prospects

unknown, no matter how lovely their littler yards may be

Let them stretch wide their legs here, as meant

and do the seventh inning stretching in a true ballpark fashion

Sardine-like; elsewhere

[SRN Opinion 1-5-18]


The Sons of The American Legion

I wore this now moth-eaten hat, so did cousin Craigie,
after WW II was over
when my Dad and Craig's step-dad Uncle Lee who served
as the Commander of the DJ Martin Legion Post
in Waukesha were loyal ex-fighting-man members
of the that full-fledged band.

I was proud of my heritage.

You can still see these fortified country servants
gathered at streetside or marching if able
in local parades.

Uncle Lee struggles to stand to give the colors the smartest salute
at Arcadian and Hartwell Avenues

Dad in his doorway, Fairfax VA


Cousin like a brother

Craigie 1942

His name was David C. Craigmile
Son of my Aunt Frances and a man called Chick
Chick Craigmile, I didn’t know much about him
But I think like my maternal grandfather
Herman Elies, a miller by trade,
Chick and Herman were rogues

So my boyhood friend and brother in arms,
Craigie and I
Were related to rogues, we had roguery
In our blood, and we were often naughty together
One time Aunt Frances, local beauty, was spotted in town by
Uncle Lee, long after Chick and Herman blew the home scene
And Uncle Lee tracked Frances to the Methodist Church
Where she sang in the choir, good Welsh chorister
That she was

And Uncle Lee became a Methodist in his method to meet her
Starting off a romance with Frances and the church
That lasted Uncle Lee – not a rogue, ever –
A lifetime
Faith and faithfulness came to us spawn of rogues
But we were boys, sons of rogues
And I don’t think it took fully

Uncle Lee became Craigie’s father
And tried to instill Christian values
But it was too late;
By that time we were picking pockets,
Stealing cookies and fresh-baked pies
And later, planning bank jobs

At the Avon movies we sided with the bad guys
And went to the Salvation Army retail shop
For black hats
Craigie taught me to spit between my teeth and cuss
And get almost as much distance and vehemence as he got
And at night on sleep-overs we took flashlights
Under the blankets and read our favorite stories,
 Including Seven Keys to Baldpate
Which we then alternated telling by rote in the dark;

It was World War II and at the Avon
We watched the RKO newsreels
And saw how the Nazis and the Japs were treating
Our American forces in the French woods
And at Bataan;
For a while I honored Craigie with an heroic
Battlefield name:  Corregidor

Craigie was interested in drums so
Uncle Lee got him a set of used Slingerlands
And lessons
And through Craig I learned about Gene Krupa
And took to revering a paradiddling pothead;
We didn’t care if he had a bad habit or two
Because he could wail on the skins;
 Craigie helped me practice tolerance;

Later Craigie served a hitch in the Navy
The branch Uncle Lee had been in
And did well until while on board a ship
He dove into the pool and cracked his head bad
And they gave him a medical discharge

He returned to the states and wasn’t quite
The same
But he married a nice girl, worked hard and had two kids;
One day when I was in the Army in 1958
They pulled me out of formation at Fort Holabird
To tell me Craigie had died;
He blacked-out, it was thought,
And plowed into the rear of a truck
On the way to work;

Thus ended the life of my brother
The end of a beautiful friendship
The beginning of a life without him
But his picture and his spirit are nearby,
The boy who fought for me when bullies threatened
Who traded a thousand tales with me
Who when we walked together
Threw his arm around my shoulders
Because we were buddies

Now he has Uncle Lee to put his arm around
Along with his mother
That’s the way we think in this family
And that’s the way it is

[David Dix 1-9-2003]

At Frame Park formal gardens 1948
Craigie, me and cocker spaniel Trooper


by John Frederick Nims
sent to the Raccoon by Delaware Bentz

... there—in fields of space—is where she shines,
Ring-mistress of the circus of the stars,
Their prancing carousels, their ferris wheels
Lit brilliant in celebration. Thanks to her
All’s gala in the galaxy.

Down here she
Walks us just right, not like the jokey moon
Burlesquing our human stride to kangaroo hops;
Not like vast planets, whose unbearable mass
Would crush us in a bear hug to their surface
And into the surface, flattened. No: deals fairly.
Makes happy each with each: the willow bend
Just so, the acrobat land true, the keystone
Nestle in place for bridge and for cathedral.
Let us pick up—or mostly—what we need:
Rake, bucket, stone to build with, logs for warmth,
The fallen fruit, the fallen child

. . . ourselves.

SRN adds this


And another baton is passed

John Helt holds soon-to-stride Lyda
as new year arrives...


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Have a sweet memoried New Year


When I was young

a very long time ago

to see my grandparents in Cedar Falls

I would sometimes go

and it was great

and it was jolly

but gramps axed chickens

he did; was no folly

He wore shaded visors and sleeve protectors

over his neck-tied shirtery

he once shot a bank rat

when as a teller felt murdery

Bonnie and Floyd robb-ed naught

Ames Iowa's little loanery

a bank with a screen door

and Ray wasn't squattery

"Watch out for that Ray

and his Dixian bravery!" said

awed street-dusted citizens

who checked at that door their worst knavery

and Ray's good wife Myrtle

served me oatmeal for breakfast

with a Shirley Temple pitcher

of 1930s cobalt blue


It did no good to try

getting past of me

I wanted just that

no other dawn fare would do for me

And so years went by

me visiting e'r so happily

smiling Shirley focused all

for me in her in blue lapis lazuli

By and by Grandma died

but she left S. Temple, to me

and Ray left his margin-written flag

guarded, for me

I did lose the pitcher

I did lose the flag

But I just Yule-time ordered 

a faded Shirley Temple pitcher

It's here; 

and, for me




Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Eve dinner tonight; Annual cookie baking; Trombonic introductions; New Helt in town; Does it rime?

Dee came home with a load of holiday groceries
and placed a solidly-frozen prize at my feet.

Our approaching Xmas Eve dinner
- King Crab -
is to be one of my favorite delicacies,
my partner/34 years wife joyfully said.



Dee and Cathy again embark on their cheery baking
this time at the Odd Fellows hall.

Cathy mouthes a Xmas Carol between bites.

Was is a bird?

No, it WAS a reindeer.

The event culminated with a carry-out fish dinner from Tallinger's on Sunset
brought in by Ed, Cathy's husband.  Scrumptuous!



This photo from a much earlier cookie baking
at DeGroot's


trombonic introductions
with plunger

and a reference to Frank Sinatra

Mnozl Brass




Born 12-18-17

to Aaron and Sarah Helt
the second grandchild of John and Cindy Helt
Bayview WI

Lyda Frances

The name is chosen from Lyda's mother's family.

It has nothing we know of to do with this
old favorite 'Lyda Rose' from the Broadway musical THE MUSIC MAN
but we will be thinking of it anyway.


Dad, Grandpa and Lyda

" get the sun back in the sky"

Wentworth Ave Bayview Xmas house this year
(with SRN trailer hitch liberties taken)


Does it rime?

In many ways 2017 was a year that never was
for the Waukesha Sewer Raccoon News.

We lift a year-end glass to approaching 2018
and wish everyone including ourselves

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A gaudy butterfly laid me, on a milkweed leaf she laid me; Unusual Christmas bird in the neighborhood; Tough sledding; OK

A GaudButterfly Laid Me

On a milkweed leaf she laid me
with no great hope of my success,
for I was just one of a hundred eggs
she deposited,
flitting, pausing, flitting, pausing,
my mother's abdomen arching
each time and putting us down;
we pinheads were merely something
that made her feel good
or the result of an act that did;
or not even that;
I don't know and will never know.

I ate my full engorgement of clean furrows
in the white-juiced leaves until I grew
to a fat temptation for predators
that eat the likes of me,
but the numbers had it
that I was one of the few who survived,
never got picked off in the hard
mandibles of life.

my disappointment was different;
I spun my waxy cocoon
according to pattern
and then, alas, instead of the transformation,
the metanoia,
I had my beauty taken from me
and my capsule gradually
turned black,
and as I lay dying inside,
rotting into a fetid inkiness,

a monarch's striving nature
nonetheless living still,
my little strength merged to
poke a pinhole in the bottom
of my enbindment, and by dint
of waning force I dripped this
message onto the leaf below,
and that is how you come
to read a distillation of all
I was ever to become,

 a quotation, nothing more, but by a higher power than I:
What we have to be
Is what we are - Thomas Merton

                                  [David Dix 7/06]

Dee and I were there, Gethsemene, KY Trappistary


Unusual Christmas bird
perched outside of Studebaker Garage
W. Main St. Waukesha in Dec. 2014


Earthly Present-Meager Christmas, 1943
but dressed up for the picture for Lt. Col. LV Dix


*Due to busy project scheduling
and a PC problem in addition
the Raccoon is abbreviated today.

We will be back next week
with a fuller menu.

Thoughts, inspirations flow...
Stew Tolbert, ATTN:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Mexican manger juxtaposed on andiron welding, with candlewax; ~ Merry Christmas ~ ; Seed; Seed man; + Good seed catalog; Starry starry night; What a crock

We have chosen our Christmas card
for this year.  The postal service reaps benefits again.

The subject has a small inexpensive (scrap?) wooden likely peasant-made
Mexican manger scene standing atop a heavy cut-steel andiron 
modified by the welder into  a candle holder.  
Real melted wax is included in the image.

The fireplace cast iron remnant weighs a ton.
But the simple manger scene is as a matchbox comparatively.
Light as a feather.

To us, a proper heavy and weightless theme for this Yule.


A greeting card from another year:
Raccoon Christmas card from friends Tom and Malena Koplin 2009


In a related shape
an old faded gourd
painted blue as a tree ornament
got accidentally cast off at curbside
with the drying discard.

It was found by a squirrel
and dug into in a curious spiral
 - round redounds -
until the marauder found its treasure -
edible tasty seeds.


Hank White Owl Waschow
friend since the 1950s at high School
was a Native American aficionado.

b. 1936 d. 2010 
my age

We stayed in touch over the years.
We had many adventures at WHS
including the short-lived  Gruvna Club.
Readers, see former 1954 classmate Carol Lombardi re that

When Dee and I planned to marry, 11-11-83
White Owl Hank provided the elements
of worship, which were readily adapted
by our cleric friend Rev. John Helt UCC.

Helt, recently retired as a pastor has remained
our close friend also for years.

Seedman Hank


More on seeds

Dee got this very worth $19. seed catalog in the mail this week.

Rear cover page

Page 3 inside front

Page 2 inside the front 


Starry starry night


What a crock

Diminishing Returns
From the Spring
Waukesha Mineral Water
Sixty years ago 
- 70 YEARS NOW -

I was sent to the Silurian Spring vestige
Weekly, to get water bubbling up from the ground
Through a plain pipe;
No finialed, turreted monuments around then,
No platformed exotic encirclements
 No delicate parasols, in the after-days;
But for the history keepers to thankfully tell us,
- See below footnote -
Gone is the heraldry of Waukesha
As the vaunted Saratoga of the West,
The intricate and ornate vaultings,
 Carves and turnings
The Victorian porticos
 Resort and spa hostelries
Drawing Chicagoans, New Yorkers,
By railroad
To the little Waukesha Wisconsin’s
Painted depot boards
All splintered and demolished by hasty people
In a hurry for advancing modernity
Where celebrity and gossamer
 Once lavishly held forth;
Lofty and mystical spring names
Like Almanaris, Arcadian, Bethesda,
Clysmic, Fountain Crescent,
 Horeb, Hygeia, Mineral Rock,
Orchard, Roxo, Silurian, Solarian,
 White Rock

diminished into antiquity
like the detritus of
a briefly upswept vortex,
soiled newspapers and flyers
scattered, blown by a departed train
The hefty claims for the curative properties
Of Waukesha spring water were de-claimed;
No longer did wealthy foreigners
Disembark at the town train depots for
Halcyon days of taking the cures
In charming, unlike anywhere else
 Waukesha surroundings;
It was indeed something different to come here
Even sometimes sitting in big tubs
Having also poison-sucking Waukesha mud
(Yes, even our mud)
 packed to their chins by freshly-clad nurse attendants
  while sipping the mystical, magical
And ever-tendered
Waukesha Water
Bearing labels of be-gauzied winged nymphs;
Those were days of caveat-emptor in
Reckless, truth-stretching advertising;
Claims were made without legal constraint
Allowing the water entrepreneurs,
The stockholders
To boast, to fable, to inscribe
On enthralling and storied bottle labels
Downright cures for diabetes, Bright’s disease,
Gravel, dyspepsia, rheumatism, jaundice,
Indigestion, costiveness, dysentery,
Chills, and nervous and sick headaches.
Those cures were just at nearby  
Inscrutably-boweled Silurian Spring;
Elsewhere in Waukesha you could get
other systemic-trickling, enigmatic spring waters
offering remedial panaceas for gout, dropsy,
water sure to be diaphoretic, anti-emetic,
even thirst allaying (!)
and a lessening of nausea and gastric distress,
Not to mention a cure for all liver and kidney diseases.
I would come home those 60 years ago
Pulling a coaster wagon of filled variously improvised
Water holders
From the constantly running pipe
of the Silurian Spring,
A  plain pipe then in an inglorious recessed, concreted
 Uncelebrated stair well
of about 6 feet deep in the Silurian park
To the immediate east of the Soo Line
railroad depot
The pipe now cemented over
I would tug my Zep wagon up the slow incline of Silurian park
– now called “Waukesha Springs” but in name only –
across Hartwell,one block down Beechwood
and one block to our corner at Arcadian
and Colton street
There my job was to take the storage
 Containers down into our cool basement
And  refill our table-worthy
National Brotherhood of Potters brand
 Ice-box water jug, with the All-seeing Eye
Trademark on the bottom, the sprays of Oriental Poppies
Painted in the glazed tan background on the two broad sides
It was and it still is a lovely crock,
A yawning hollow to hold and hallow
A curved yet overall rectangular shape that
Allowed for cozy nesting among
Other ice-cooled perishables.
We’d put it right up against the melting ice
To insure a shockingly cold drink
Now the ice box morphed into an electric refrigerator, and   
It may contain cans of superfluous diet soda
and fruit juices
But, stay, for the plainest, most rewarding
Truly thirst-quenching drink
I’ll have some deep gulps of still crystalline
Waukesha tap water
Now direct from of the sink  faucet
But still held in
The chilly crock;
The squeaky cork-lined lid
Still making the heavy clay clunk
Of ceramic meeting ceramic when seated
As it always did
Waukesha water is warned to be
at the opposite extreme of greatness
And unflourished writings from the water utility warn
Warn of toxic radium levels now
-         by now we must nearly glow in the dark  –
and the earth below and the vastness above
Are tainted, soiled with pollutants;
But  old Waukeshans
Are game old fish
With shredded fins, and
We swim in the pond we were given;
These are post-Saratoga days
And we had it good;
What of those to come?
They won’t have,
They will never have
The Brotherhood of Potters
Crock that held
The stuff of conjurers
Next to a fifty pound
Block of ice
[David Dix 3-19-07]