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]

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pick ups I have known; a Grandson married ; Means Rest a MD house to grow in ; Ecumenics in home marketing; Open-cat-carry

This is the first pick-up truck I've known.
It was constructed by my now deceased father and uncles
in the playroom attic at 2009 Clay St., Cedar Falls Iowa.

I own it today.  It travels with me.

It is made of a Gilbert Erector set kit out of wheels, nuts, bolts,
gears and punched sheet steel pieces.

Its chipped colored metal and some accumulated dust
portray for me the shadows of gleeful four brothers, all to serve
later in WW II, playing together in the semi-dark gables
of that plain Four Square Prairie School Iowa dwelling.

Here, later Dixes gather at the old homestead, long sold, decorated
by the present owners for Xmas.  The central flag in the front yard
that we raised and lowered daily during the war as family patriots is still there.


The second pick-up was a Ford 150.  I took Erin camping
at Peninsula State Park in it in 1987.


Chris Dix, grandson, married to Katie Gardalapee


Means Rest, Pleasant Valley MD
is a house to grow up in

 Gramaw and Poppy Means of Means Rest

For easiest reading enlarge the three dot icon upper right corner to 250% or so


UCC Minister David Hansen
engages /sale promoter St. Joseph
statue to effectuate house sale.

With assistance of Wis. Realtor David Dix
the custom works, a sale is made.


Pistol packin' Mama

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Out of the slanting western skies, mid-day Thanksgiving comes to a Rochester WI orchard; Boxes and boxes of cookies; First formal

Over the back hill, solar panels push

electronic turkey and

fixings ovens

out of sight, save  small silvery reflections
through the woods.

It was an old fashioned Thanksgiving family gathering this year
at the Willard Ela Orchard farmhouse.

The sun drove it all, per usual.

The gaiety, merriment, flowing happinesses of laughter and simmering
steaming sauces and rightly crisping turkey skin was all plugged into the sun.

Before the dinner began to appear
Ben ceremoniously gave the 'grand hailing sign'
at the  temporarily empty table.

Blindy, elevated barn cat who paid his dues and long
has been granted beloved housecat status hung out at the table
corner by the Franklin wood stove soaking in the good smells.

Hannah and her mother Jane Willard share a similar laugh.

Erin's husband Ben feeds the chickens their dinner early.

Bob Willard makes people feel welcome.

Bob carves sun-baked festive bird.

David, elderly guest, samples house product Ela Cider (unpasteurized,
keep refrigerated) sitting next to a sun-bathed years-old family
Rosemary plant, in purple blossom for the holiday.

Rosemary blooms; chickens feeding without; sun 'bubbles' camera lens.

Ben breaks  a Rosemary leaf and smells the fragrance.

Dee, Erin's mother, samples glorious fare.

At table left to right:
Erin, Ben, Hannah's friend Raman, Hannah,
cork replacer Jane's arm.

The story of the day at the table:
('above and beyond' dep't)

Erin telling the call she got Tuesday
after library archives closing from an attorney
asking Erin the Archivist if she could help
settle a real estate property sale matter.

The subject was an allegely stolen two ton granite
rock given to Lawrence College in the 1800s
but missing for the last 17 years.

Buried beneath a farm, the selling and buying
parties wanted to assure clear title was given at sale.

With the fluxuating cat population at the Willards including 
numerous barn cats - and Blindy -
the Willards need to hurriedly fix scratched screens
with cat-bothering adhesive tape.

Jane recalls the sight of one-eyed Blindy out in the back fields with other regular-sighted cats,
her one eye catching the headlights of an approaching auto
as though finding her way using a miner's lamp.

Jane knows thereby that Blindy is still there.


A regular Christmas box of treats

The Priscilla Ladies Circle of the First Congregational Church UCC
unleashes a whirlwind of Xmas baking each Yule.

Here,  a cookie box is first indented, then demolished quickly.

Buy them at the church, 100 E Broadway, Waukesha WI. 262-542-8008
while they last.


By Sharon Olds 
Listen Online
She rises up above the strapless, her dewy
flesh like a soul half out of a body.
It makes me remember her one week old,
soft, elegant, startled, alone.
She stands still, as if, if she moved,
her body might pour up out of the bodice,
she keeps her steady gaze raised
when she walks, she looks exactly forward,
led by some radar of the strapless, or with
a cup runneth over held perfectly level, her
almost sea-sick beauty shimmering
a little. She looks brave, shoulders
made of some extra-visible element,
or as if some of her cells, tonight,
were faceted like a fly's eye, and her
skin was seeing us see it. She looks
hatched this moment, and yet weary—she would lie
in her crib, so slight, looking worn out from her journey,
and gaze at the world and at us in dubious willingness.
“First Formal” by Sharon Olds from The Wellspring. © Knopf, 1996

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Wis's Xmas idea for yr 2013; Raccoon rescue; Through many trials and snares; Zepata's creekets, revisited, Agnus Dei, Paul Winter Chorus, Kings College

When autumn leaves turn to Xmas cards


If a tree happens to fall


Trials of spider webs
imaginary beast further tethered by insects

and held-onto ears
girl grabs ears riding bear sculpture along the Fox
during a farmers market


Zepata's Creekets

Gender Studies
by Michael Blumenthal

Listen Online

A cricket chirps in the grass.
Another cricket, all ears,
joins him. Now there are two.
Up above, birds shriek
like drunken gods, the air
is atizzy with the melodrama
of what is about to be.
The two crickets
eye each other
out of the corner
of their cricket eyes.
Each desires something
the other has, each
abhors its own desire.
After a brief silence,
there will be little
cricket mating, a little
cricket love. Soon,
the air will be abuzz
with the sounds
of heavy cricket breathing,
legs rubbing together,
the sound of war in the air
in crickatese,
a subject for specialists.

"Gender Studies" by Michael C. Blumenthal.



In 1998 the pre-SRN writer ran a series
called 'Zepata's Adventures'
Synthesizing the famed name
of Mexican Robin Hood-style outlaw


Today's Writers Almanac poem
about crickets (above)
reminded us of our prior work
on the subject:

Zepata and the creekets

Instalment 6

The expected storm arrives
Just before dawn
Zepata and Irena
Pull the tarp down upon them
It was either that or have it blown away
So high were the winds

The red-bandana clad creekets
had long ago retired to
their stow-away saddle bag
and if their legs had been
fine instruments
which in a way they were
the creekets would have put
them away
in velvet-lined music cases;
as it was, to the little mariachi band,
they just blew them off
like smoke from fired

This weather pattern was a frik
Zepata say to Irena
He nevair see one like
Cyclonic winds seem to blow
Around and around the mountain

A stream-rinsed red union suit
Hanging on a makeshift line blew off
Only to return fifteen minutes later
From the opposite direction
It had traveled around the mountain

Daylight slowly comes
But the rain and crying wind does not let up
El Dayo appears at their active
Bundle of tarp and he sounds
His battle call
Zepata and Irena look out from inside
Their waterproof canvas
Cocoon of rest and love

Raising himself again and again
On his powerful hind legs
Dayo gives a primeval battle cry
At the sky, daring it to strike
Him with lightning
His bulging eyes blazing

Zeus himself might refrain
From hurling a bolt at such a
For fear El Dayo would perhaps
catch it
In his frothing gaping mouth
And hurl it back

Zepata calls out to the drenched
Issy Boy issy
Go get Mare
We liff in half an hour

Soon Dayo and Mare
stand waiting
And the terrible storm
Zepata checks the dynamite
Eet is try he proclaims
And with Irena breaks camp

Vowing never to forget that storm
And the jump-started Mexican saviour
Ponders its portent

Now mud is their greatest danger
It is too risky to ride
So Zepata and Irena walk
Beside their mounts
All morning they descend
In this way

In the early afternoon
They discover that the storm
Did not happen at the lower
It had been a mountaintop
Electric cyclone only
Like nobody ever saw before

Zepata thinks it must
Have been a sight to see
From down below
And indeed the compadres
Had looked up from their campsite
And thought of Zepata and Irena
And offered prayers
for their safekeeping

The waters that had rushed
Down the mountain
Were torrential
And the air had taken on
A charged crispness
Following the high winds
That had swirled through
The compadres' tentative

Zepata who was a simple Indian
with cause and effect
thought patterns at root
Divined the storm had been
Stirred by the pro-creative
Exhibited by humans and horses
In the night

After all, he mused
If a little Zepata or Irena
Was being conceived
Or a foal to match or even
Exceed Dayo and Mare's
Powerful exhuberances
Should it not storm?

These were all natural things
To the mind of Zepata
For himself he knew
That the inflammations
Stirred by Irena
and her surfeit of oil
Produced energy that not even
He, ZEPATA, could fully combust
Try as he might

He thought as he watched
Her riding ahead of him:
Here was an exciting fuel
That could never be burned

Irena possessed a life force
That commenced as female
Gateway of life physiology
That which every woman has
But in Irena's instance
A bellows of only guessed-at origin
Had blown her womanly propensities
Into a conflagration whose
Raging flames licked
The highest clouds and
Changed weather patterns

The Indians knew
The northern lights were caused
By a woman such as this

In the north, it was said,
there was such a woman
And in other parts
Of the world
Rainmakers, storm-causers
Interacting with mighty men
Their powers are released
This is what Zepata believed

How could he not believe it
As he watched Irena's
Buttocks ahead of him
Nudging and shunting
The hand-tooled saddle
He had rubbed to smoothness
And presented to his Real Woman

It must be time for siesta
He mused
Irena felt his eyes upon her
And she smiled without turning


Agnus Dei
Paul Winter chorus
King's College


Background Info on Paul Winter