Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap day, no SRN work today

You know
that it would be untrue
you know that I would be
a liar
If I were to say to you
we couldn't get much higher
Come on baby
light my fire
come on baby
light, light, light
light my fire
light my fire 
light my fire
light my fire
light my fire
light my fire
wo, babe
come on, babe, you know
I need you so
you know I love you so.......

(J. Feliciano)


Yes, we had adventures on our natal day
Feb. 28th
and we were going to write about it
- the day after -
but we forgot this year
it's Leap Year
and those of us Pisceans
fortunate enough to be born
on the 28th
always must take the day off
every four years
on Leap Day

although some were
expecting to read reports
and see lots of pictures
of the neat stuff
that happened

You'll have to wait until 
March First

(A young man who
plays the guitar
and has a sleeve on 
his arm
and is making a birdhouse
out of a small guitar
for his wife
missed the above song
when Jose came out with it
in the 60's
but we conjecture he
knows the song well
More  tomorrow)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rev. Deb's last Sunday

People began arriving early on Rev. Deb Howland's last Sunday, 2/26/12, with the First Congregational Church UCC, 100 E. Broadway, Waukesha WI.

As the interim pastor, Rev. Deb successfully completed the course of 2 and a half years as the spiritual leader of the oldest Congregational church in Wisconsin.

Member Mike Camp composes a photo of the children's time, when Rev. Deb handed out  many hats to the children, to teach the lesson of the different roles we all play.  And then, Rev. Deb took off her 'Rev.' hat and donned her new one for us at this church, that of FRIEND.

Malena Koplin read the scripture lesson still wearing the sailor cap she chose from the assortment ahead of the reading.

Keeping the faith
in the peanut gallery

Moderator Barb Kirschner during the farewell service gave presents to our beloved friend.


Many fond good-byes said.

Deb left a clear office and a clean slate for our incoming minister.

Member Sid Estenik, ahead of the service, brought an old sheet music of IN A MIST, Bix Beiderbeck, to show the SRN editor.  This random act of Sid's, whose  piano hand is shown upper left, fit the theme of the morning.

There was mist.

Little window in the church office of a young girl who passed before her time, many years ago.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

of one piece

Raccoon editor poses with snow globe at home during WW II, a toy given to make him smile for the photographer in his studio.
He never expected to reach his approaching age of  76, so reminiscent of a number of trombones.  Many people, dear friends and relatives all, have come and gone in his lengthening lifetime.  That's why today's WRITERS ALMANAC poem rang so true today:

My Dead Friends

I have begun,
when I'm weary and can't decide an answer to a bewildering question

to ask my dead friends for their opinion
and the answer is often immediate and clear.

Should I take the job? Move to the city? Should I try to conceive a child
in my middle age?

They stand in unison shaking their heads and smiling—whatever leads
to joy, they always answer,

to more life and less worry. I look into the vase where Billy's ashes were —
it's green in there, a green vase,

and I ask Billy if I should return the difficult phone call, and he says, yes.
Billy's already gone through the frightening door,

whatever he says I'll do.

"My Dead Friends" by Marie Howe, from What the Living Do. © W.W. Norton & Company, 1998. Reprinted with permission.


Good night, Mrs. Kalabash.........


leading us to reflect, this way:

The other day, friend,  retired Major USA Gaynelle O'Neil from Oregon, sent this choral video clip,  via the link below.  Mlitary wives have formed a choral group.  One of the singers wore a bracelet that said "WHEREVER YOU ARE...."


They also serve who wait at home..........

Thanks for your service, Nelder.


Soldier/Dad, later Consumer Affairs (Truth in Lending, etc.) aide to President Johnson
under Esther Peterson, Betty Furness
shakes LBJ's hand in a ceremony in the White House
where Dad worked.

This was long after his little boy smiled with the snow globe
for a photographer

but it is all of one piece.

Arlington National Cemetery
Wash. D.C.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Live Oaks, New Orleans

They square off along Napoleon avenue,
opposing armies of dark women, leaning out
so far their branches meet at the top, like hands
grabbing fistfuls of tangled hair;
and some of them are old, with the thick,
scarred trunks of Storyville madams, and
roots so strong their suck heaves
up the sidewalk like so many broken
saltines. And some are young, with the
straightbacked bodies of girls who dream
of horses and the brown arms of the neighbor boys,
but underground the red roots grow together,
fuse in a living circuitry spun deep and
stronger than the whims of emperors, as if
they've known all along that earth's the right
place for love, as though, planted in battle lines,
they incline toward the circle, and hold it open,
vaulted and welcoming.
"Live Oaks, New Orleans" by Jennifer Maier, from Dark Alphabet. © Southern Illinois University Press, 2006

This poem reminded the SRN of the heaved brick sidewalk on Wheeling Island
Photo taken after a walk over the Wheeling Suspension Bridge in 1997.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hadfield elementary; Coney Island washboard roundelay

the future

Leland Dix, son of David and Dee Dix
attended an elementary school
in Waukesha WI
that was considered a ghetto school
in a poorer neighborhood
and he liked it.

Now he is a Teach for America 5th grade
teacher in Houston TX
as previously proclaimed
and he encourages his students
to do crazy things
and beautiful things,
wonderful things......
and he likes it.

We dedicate
this next song to percussionist,
Mr. D.

because the SRN is 
solely owned.

Play it, Mr. D:

Sweet Leilani; Hair

No.  It is Norblei's daily Door County WI picture of dawn yesterday over Lake Michigan.
Get on his free mailing list for such receipts and much more.

declared extraneous matter
by the YIBAWEan Society
- founded 1987 -
and search the SRN under 'Yibawe'

is nevertheless occasionally 
tended to at the Odd Fellows.
Shown here, Dee has now reached
a hair length that allows a new wind
that will keep her hair out of her eyes
as she whirls dervish-like
on her various rounds.

Dee did not ask us to print
these photos in the raccoon.
She wanted a picture taken for
her family.

That's what she wanted
but since they read the news
they will receive these in
this avenue as well as via
the Email she will attach them to.

The SRN is solely owned.


On my front

Dee Saturday took the clippers
to my fringe
thus sprucing
the loose barken strands
ahead of RDD's Sunday segue.

There will be glad-handing
and embraces galore.
Now that is past tense.
There were handshakes
and hugs galore,

something this Englishman
but to little avail

Returned to True North
 there is still some brown
among the gray.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Some things in common; loose but still in proper sequence

This first thing is written today, 2/17/12
I wanted to run the picture received last night after I wrote this post
from 206 in CA.
True to his word, he did send the image of a found object
I put together for them in the 70s.

It is a piece of jetsom from Lake Michigan
picked up on the beach at the Schlitz Audubon nature reserve.

To me, this figure that the owners call Ralph
and have had in their home all these intervening years
demanded to be rescued from the surf and decorated


Bus Driver

Standing at the back door, waiting
while the bus's engine hums
against the dark cold, its exhaust
a flume chilling into ice, melting
the snow beneath it, Driver, hands
in pockets, draws on his cigarette,
exhales, and feels the mean language
of age move in his bones.

Behind him, in the losers' locker room,
he knows his boys are dressing slowly,
staring into mirrors, setting their
wet hair straight, frowning at the way
they have to look, trying to think of
anything but the silent ride home.

The snow, packed hard now in midwinter,
squeaks under foot, and the air freezes
in the lungs, burns like a tongue
stuck to a frozen lamppost. Driver
glances at the bus, WILSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
in black letters along its side, then up into
the sky, clouds crossing the full moon's
light like angels trying to comfort
anyone against a loss. The players

come out, pass him, step up into
the bus, find their seats. Coach
gets on last, sits in front. Driver
takes a last draw, feels the smoke
mix in his lungs, exhales, drops

the butt, a quiet hiss into the ice,
gets on and pulls the warm bus out,
across the empty lot, down a block,
left onto the highway home.

"Bus Driver" by Jack Ridl, from Losing Season. © Cavan Kerry Press Ltd., 2009.


(Dotted line delineates a separate thought)


- THE - Old Man
stands peering up
at an Old Odd Fellows hall

Is he thinking about,
ruing (No!)
his approaching 76th birthday?

Or might he be thinking about
 the poem just read on
Garrison Keillor's
The Writers Almanac

about a  loss?
Did the phrase get to him
 about young men
in the locker room
dejectedly combing hair
and frowning at the way
'they have to look'?

He, the sometime loser,
 whose hair fringe, uncombable,
 needs a trim? Some say.


Both conjectures apply.

It IS indeed unbelievable
that he has attained this age

and, yes, he's thinkingabout the
blessed fortuity
to be granted these additional days,
and too that his sparse hairs are 
still growing;

but in truth
the old man is doing yoga
in his office,
the lofty perch elevated
above the hustling clamor of 
Main Street,
three far floors down.

He just resumed the regimen
of yoga after reading a review
in the Sunday NY Times book section.

He used to be serious about yoga;
surely there is now no reason
 to delay it further.
He will rightly work his way back into it

The faded yoga mat 
made in a Milwaukee 
futon shop,
 purple and blue,
is now 40 years old
and still soft.

The instruction book
used to refresh memories
is held together with  
duct tape over the crumbled spine.

The pages inside are
loose but still in proper


Yesterday the man 
had a phone call from 206
in Albany CA. 
He, 202, drove Yellow cabs with 206
in the same lifetime   
the yoga was originally practiced.

206, aka Beanbag or Leguminous,
is currently writing a work about 
Sir Austen Henry Layard.
We talked about that.


I told him my story of once
picking up a hitch-hiker
who was going in the same direction
we were:    Phoenix.

I then was traveling with an interim wife
on a six month march through the western states
and up into Canada
and down the west coast.

The fellow we gave the ride to
badly mispronounced, laughably so, the word
 Phoenix.  (202 still laughs hysterically)

206 has on order a pair of WI Russell Ringmaster
boots, inspired, he said, by my long ago
telling of my own trips to Berlin WI
to incrementally oversee the construction
of my own Ringmasters, step by step.

206 is planning a trek to the far east
He was driving cab with me in the 70s
 to get up some money
for a trip then to Nepal.

He went, and made a documentary
for public TV on the high-altitude tribe,
the Himalayan Dolpos.

Now he is doctoring for a bad knee and
has postponed the trip for maybe a year's
healing time but he intends to go.


206 is sending me a picture of a 'fetish'
I made for him 
on the birth of his son.
It remained in the son's room for 20 +
years and now enjoys a place somewhere
else in their home.
'Not to be rid of.'

The old man - I - 
don't remember what that item could be.


A tentative attempt at position 3 below:
(Asana No. 1
What's that? A Crow on the skylight?)

202 and 206 wore this emblem on our chauffeur's caps:

Ostrich Ringmaster boots
from the Russell Moccasin Co.
Berlin, WI
shown today atop a shelf
but see this for ref.:

Yes, another plug for

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Something sound on the ground while we're still around"


The Goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living
Psalm 27: 11-14

"Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.  I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage; and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." (KJV)

Reflection by Kenneth L. Samuel

Sometimes religion can be a means of escape from the urgent realities of now.  Gradualism has not been a friend to those who have for centuries been made to suffer the indignities of racism, sexism and heterosexism.  Only those who are free from the pressure of persecution can afford the luxury of prolonged, incremental change.

The Psalmist possesses a faith that is not just eternal but imminent.  It is a faith that does not just hope for the best; it is a faith that anticipates the realization of hope. What keeps the Psalmist faithful is the anticipation of hopes and dreams that are expected to be realized in this life.  No pie in the sky bye and bye when we die, but something sound on the ground while we're still around–this is the faith of the Psalmist.

"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

Faith to believe in God's ability to make dreams come true in our lifetime is what gives gay people the impetus to marry and women the impetus to seek entry into clubs for men only and a black man the impetus to run for President of the United States.  Waiting on the Lord does not put our dreams on indefinite hold.   Waiting on the Lord places our dreams on an immediate process of unfolding.

"Wait, I say, on the Lord," and let the realization of our heart's desires begin now!


Lord we thank you for a faith that gives us the impetus to manifest your goodness and your greatness NOW, henceforth and forever more.  Amen.

Kenneth L. Samuel
About the Author
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.



On Sunday last, a group of people from the First Congregational Church UCC had a Valentine Luncheon Social
at East Terrace, a next door apartment building for the elderly, disabled and/or low income residents.  Some folks of the church thought they could reach out to the East Terrace residents; their disabilities or income status might not allow them to get out much.  So the UCCers (Congo-ites) brought a party to them.

There was chili and fruit kabobs and a church member MC-ed a 'Remember?'quiz game.  Some of our children brightened the day.
Those who participated reported having a good time on both giving and receiving ends.

Yesterday a woman from East Terrace came on her walker to deliver the attached note to the  church office:

"To all who were doing the chile luncheon on Sunday.
I would like to say thank you
from the bottom of my heart;
I really enjoyed it.

God bless you all.
 Your friend......"


Today there is a monthy birthday party for the East Terrace residents where all those who have birthdays in February get a piece of cake.  Waukesha UCCers are delivering some cakes from their kitchens.  Dee baked a red velvet cake with cherries suggesting a Presidents day theme and the cherry tree motif.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mother Denise
known as The Church Lady in some circles
is represented in this surprise tableau
on Valentine's Day.

Yes, we've caught her Ecclesiastic foundation
with the upside-down Berea College cup
for the Mexican Day of the Dead figurine
to stand upon.

People will know right away that isn't Dee
because she would never dye her hair blue 
but some will suspect that the selection
was well-thought-out anyway.

Dee has been a servant throughout her life
though some of us have not deserved
her ministrations
but I for one have given up gnashing my teeth
over that

and I just thank Providence
for my good fortune
in having this woman I so love

and every day.

Last night Dee prepared a beef roast for our supper
here at the Odd Fellows Hall.
Fresh out of the oven the meat rests over the
potatoes and carrots and celery and onions.
The ensemble simmered in mutual
juices for about 2 and 1/2 hours
till done to perfection.

Absent children will recognize the old hunting plate
that attracted us many years ago at Kruger's Antiques
on Madison St.
It was a promotional plate a merchant had
added his name to, tastefully, in small letters.

Many meals have been launched from
this plate, but I dare say,
none as delicious as Dee's last evening.
My German Grandma called it 'boiled dinner'
but this one was roasted in the oven.

The scent reminded Dee 
of how good daughter Erin used to smell
after emerging from Susanne Carman's
following Erin's piano lessons
on days Susanne was making the same dish 
for her family.

This is the same bowl my grandmother served the boiled dinner in.
horseradish is a requisite.

On another Valentine front,
this mother moose showed up in the driveway yesterday
at out other daughter Laurie Kari's in Alaska.
Laurie was amused by the probable impression
the moose would make on her own teen-age girls
who were out on an errand when the moose strode in.

I wonder if the menu for their supper
was roast from their store of  moose?

When I put the image on our screensaver
it only picked up the lower 2/3s of the beast.

Good luck to all
in your expressions of love
this year!