Saturday, May 25, 2013

Odd Fellow Walt Lohman marches in Waukesha Memorial Day parade; Giraffes diving; Funny Times; Selected shorts subject; Jack and Dee converse, etc.; More silver spoon; KD and the fossil

Walt Lohman marched: at the Waukesha Memorial Day parade, in the Knights
Templar color guard a few years ago.  Walt, personal friend and former lodge
brother (Knights of Pythias Juneau Lodge 21), is a fraternal order multi-member,
belonging to the Masonic Lodge 37 of Waukesha, Knights Templar, and is most 
savorally known to the Raccoon as a bonefide ODD FELLOW. 
                             He's the be-feathered man on the right.  

Brotherhood men like these are endangered species in today's society......

Walt joins the SRN ed. at Dave's in downtown Waukesha.  Home of the famed
Denver Omelet.

Formation of Jose's Denver Omelet, pre-consumption:
Eggs, green peppers, ham, American cheese
with American Fries; an American breakfast for this
ex-American soldier. 

GO FOR IT!!!  Dave's Restaurant, The Five Points, Waukesha


Giraffes diving
(A French video)

(Submitted to the Raccoon by Jim Billings, WHS Class of 1954)

   ATTN: Former Ald., Emanuel Vitale, champion diver back in 1950s WHS days.

 selected shorts subject

(Waukesha WI 5-20-13  DOWN WITH IT CAN'T QUIT IT DEP'T:
One of our oldest pair of tattered and frayed corduroy shorts received a paint job
on the seat, reading 'Selected Shorts Subject'.  We will get some more respectable wear 
from them, we reckon.  Reference:


The recently late Jack Mathie and Dee Dix
converse at Duffy Bruning's 90th birthday
celebration, last year.  Topic:  Jack's bout with heart trouble
from which he'd recovered.  Playing golf again.

5-22-13 Entry:  Jack's funeral.  A beautiful rite officiated by
Rev. Brittany Barber at the 1st Congregational UCC Church.  I snapped
the above photo from the many photos mounted on several easels. I like
the way the LC cell cam lens takes ethereal-looking pictures sometimes.

Jack had taken to coming back to the Congo this last year.  He had a period
of rest from the church to which his late wife was so devoted, but we've had a
great year with him.  It was always a delight to see him walking in the door.
He had served the church in so many positions in the past, including Moderator.
This year he once again did a time-honored stint as ticket-taker at the annual
Pancake Supper. See below.

Jack, more than anybody, recently encouraged a current new attender, Phyllis.
She showed up as a stranger one Sunday not long ago and chose a 
random pew next to Jack.  He befriended her immediately, making her feel
welcome, and she's since been coming back.  She was at the funeral last evening.  

This befriending of strangers was characteristic of Jack.

Jack takes tickets at the recent pancake supper with longtime compatriate, Sid Estenik. 


5-22-13 A Gingko tree sprouts new leaves in front of the Odd Fellows,
308 South Street.  South Street is blessed with several trees of this species.

A Gingko also grows across the street at the Masonic Temple.
Last week a silver spoon
was featured, from Cedar Falls, IA
our birthplace.  

Being at Jack's funeral last night brought
to mind the lyrics from the old Dixieland tune,
St James Infirmary. 

Now, when I die, bury me in my straight-leg britches, 
Put on a box-back coat and a stetson hat, 
~Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain, 
So you can let all the boys know I died standing pat.~ 

More lyrics:

I was thinking:  When I go they can put my silver spoon in my mouth
so my friends will know I died standing pat.  ("He may not have been born with
one in his mouth, but he went out with one......")



5-24-13:  KD studies fossil on Odd Fellows back ledge

Decides to see if it's really a dead fossil;

While Dee brushes teeth below, KD reaches tentatively out, moves it. Hmmmm?

After fossil falls deadly to the floor, it is picked up and placed on bookshelf.
KD ponders if it's OK to knock it to the floor from beneath the head of 
another prehistoric life form, a Great Northern Diver (loon).

Life at the Odd Fellows.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fr. G. Sarducci; Cedar Falls cont'd; Cat Manicure; Truck driver poem; Things to see and do downtown; Five Minute University

Now PLAY this:

No, not that arrow, this:


Cedar Falls, Iowa - In this sleepy town a fine family
waxed full in a four square house similar to the one we
used to have at 517 Arcadian, Waukesha WI. As a boy
visiting my grandparents there - after having been born
there - I had many indelible foreign adventures.

In the attic there were lots of toys carefully stored
in trunks, including an Indian suit and a bow and
arrow set, plus a cowboy suit with lariat and six-gun.

It was an exotic territory for a Wisconsinite.  Somewhere
not far from 2009 Clay Street somebody kept peacocks
on their lush property.  The cry of the peacock is unfor-
gettable, especially at night huddled as I was in a dark bed-

Grandpa Dix would buy chickens live and dispatch them
at a tree stump with his hatchet.  One time a beheaded chicken
ran dying and followed my scurrying self up the back porch 
stairs.  I was permanently scarred by this headless chicken spouting

Grandpa hid his laughing face from Grandma as she came to
my rescue, saw Grandpa giggling and issued her admonition
that was so familiar to me:  : "WHY, RAY!"

Another Cedar Falls experience that contributed to the way
I am was the Iowa chigger bites I garnered at every visit.
We covered that already in UNVARNISHED TRUTH:


Saturday, 5-11-13

KD was taken to the Humane Society Animal Welfare clinic
for a trimming of her claws.  So far in our relationship it has
been impossible to clip her sharp toenails, but HAWS, the place
where we got her, mesmerizes her somehow and she maintains
a docile posture when their technician does the deed.

Sure, she might be a bit feisty when first taken out of her cardboard
carrier, and Dee does think of her exposed nose at first, but the kind
though no-nonsense experts have nearly immediate sway with her.

Snip-snip, all done in 30 seconds,  NEXT?


Iowa City to Boulder

I take most of the drive by night.
It's cool and in the dark my lapsed
inspection can't be seen.
I sing and make myself promises.

By dawn on the high plains
I'm driving tired and cagey.
Red-winged blackbirds
on the mileposts, like candle flames,
flare their wings for balance
in the blasts of truck wakes.

The dust of not sleeping
drifts in my mouth, and five or six
miles slur by uncounted.
I say I hate long-distance

drives but I love them.
The flat light stains the foothills
pale and I speed up the canyon
to sleep until the little lull
the insects take at dusk before
they say their names all night in the loud field.


"Iowa City to Boulder" by William Matthews, 
from Search Party. © Houghton Mifflin, 2004


Interesting things we've seen
at the Waukesha Farmers Market

* Duck waits outside the PIX theater, now the Waukesha Civic Theater,
      for the opening of the doors for the Dixie Swim Club production.  He
      and his mate astounded the crowd of produce buyers in the main aisle
      of the Saturday market by not fearing the throngs of people who stepped
      aside or halted entirely for the pair of determined, theater-bound ducks.

Regular market-goer and her little tag-along dog.  So well-
   behaved, the dog stays safely on the scooter platform no matter
   what.  Kerry Mackay at his Steaming Cup stand is good for
   a cup-lid of whipped cream, and the dog seems to anticipate that.

* Spring rhubarb.

                     To make rhubarb sauce:

                     3 cups chopped rhubarb
                     3/4 cup sugar
                     1/4 cup water
                     Dissolve sugar in boiling water
                     add rhubarb, cover with lid and
                     simmer till gets mushy, 
                            about 15 minutes
                     Chill, eat, as-is or over ice cream, etc.


Touring the downtown 5-15-13

Interesting juxtaposition between the roofline at the
Putney (Odd Fellows) building and the canopy over he
1950s or 60s remuddle of the National Bank.  Both struc-
tures owned by the Berg Combine currently.  The bent
of the current owners is preservation.  In the clean-lines
50's-modern, many downtown storefronts took on the pre-
shopping malls look.  That's what happened to the National
Bank, and now this camera angle affords a good study
of the comparison of downtown styles.

Note:  The Odd Fellows symbol of the all-seeing eye 
and the chain links of friendship was incorporated into the
 roof-line.  On the Main Street side is the Masonic symbol.  
                        >>>>Just look up.  They're there!

Inside the corner of the bank bldg is the old city of Wauke-
sha seal in a recently restored terrazzo floor.  The present
tenant has a screen blocking the front door and that door
is not open to the public.  That is lamentable because the
floor is lovely.

The floor restoration underway.  Now it is completed.

Dee, seated outside, withdraws a straw from a malt.

Dee revels at the Bryant sector of the Riverwalk.  Beyond her gaze might come 
the convention center/city hall/ county office bldg/ and/or - you name it.......

Five Minute University

This is another Guido Sarducci clip.  Viewing optional.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Vous souvenir votre mere; Day off; At the same time; Pam's gone; Wie kann ich, wenn ich fy keine Flugel haben? ; Magnolia tree

You remember your mother!


Note to My Father After All These Years

Today I spend money. Doodad this, doodad that
in a town in the sun on the border. I sit

outdoors with my doodad dog
at the coffee shop. Time passes.

A man casts a shadow across my latte,
asks if he can borrow my lighter for a minute.

I have none but he talks to me anyway,
generous with conversation,

his tattooed hands giving my dog some
good attention. I can't see his eyes,

only the dark of his sunglasses. His unlit cigarette
bobs in his lips as he talks. This,

or something, reminds me of you. He says
the people here are nice. He loves it here,

says it's way better than the big city; it' s all
money anyways; every time he left the house

it was forty bucks. He sees someone
across the street, waves his arm,
shouts: Jack, I'm free!
He rises. He's gone.

"Note to My Father After All These Years" by Marge Saiser, from Losing the Ring in the River. © University of New Mexico Press, 2013

I ride with Dad's brother, Uncle Meredith
 at an early mini-car track; note different expressions.



It was everywhere in my childhood: in restaurants,

on buses or planes. The teacher's lounge looked like

London under fog. My grandmother never stopped

smoking, and walking in her house was like diving
in a dark pond. Adults were dimly lit: they carried
matches in their pockets as if they might need fire
was meant

to be smoked in a garden thick with summer flowers.
I'm speaking of moods: an old country store where
my grandfather met friends and everyone spoke

behind a veil of smoke. (My Uncle Bill preferred
fragrant cigars; I can still smell his postal jacket ...)
He had time to tell stories because he took breaks

and there was something to do with his hands.
My mother's bridge club gathered around tables
with ashtrays and secrets which are best revealed

beside fire. Even the fireplaces are gone: inefficient
and messy. We are healthier now and safer! We have
exercise and tests for breast or colon cancer. We have

helmets and car seats and smokeless coffee shops
where coffee has grown frothy and complex. The old
movies are so full of smoke that actors are hard to see

and they are often wrapped in smoking jackets, bent
over a piano or kiss. I miss the places smoke created.
I like the way people sat down for rest or pleasure

and spoke to other people, not phones, and the tiny fire
which is crimson and primitive and warm. How long
ago when humans found this spark of warmth and made

their first circle? What about smoke as words? Or the
pipes of peace? In grade school we learned how it rises
and how it can kill. We were taught to shove towels

under our closed doors: to stop, drop, and roll. We had
a plan to meet our family in the yard, the house behind
us alive with all we cannot put out...

"Smoke" by Faith Shearin, from The Empty House

A tree in spring bloom outside the Odd Fellows
where smokers gather beneath,
excluded from Dave's Grill
or the Alanon Club next door.

(Chorus) Such beauty and ugliness
downtown residents get to see
all at the same time.

Imagine being one of those overhanging blossoms
doing its absent beautiful thing
while the noxious soot and smoke wafts upward


And imagine being those carefully-placed
white-laden branches
when high-decibel motorcycles blast by at eventide:

testing testosterone-y cajones
leather-crotches vs ephemeral tissues

Singing the song of the downtown

(Chorus, ibid)




Two of our favorite people allow a photo
on the occasion of waitress Pam's last day
at Dave's, after 18 years of true service.

Learning of Pam's departure when we walked into 
this restaurant across the street our heart became warped.
Jose, owner of Dave's and the aforementioned magician 
at the short-order griddle, was taking it grim and quiet.
Pam recently moved out near Okauchee Lake and sought
and found waitressing part-time and nearer her home.

Dee and I are going to miss her hugely.

We wish her well!  She will be kept informed 
of things via the Raccoon.

My mother, Ruth Elies of Sun Prairie WI
had a Kodak Brownie box camera

wie kann ich, wenn ich
fy keine Fl├╝gel haben?

An inscription on a drum here now at the Odd Fellows
~ How can I fly, when I have no wings? ~

The story: Mom told me she was riding in the old family
 jitney in the days before seat belts,
and the driver was quickly rolling along a dirt country road.  
Ruthie (Mom) was standing up and leaning out
catching the breeze as we have often seen our pets do.

Ruth's mother admonished her in German,
Ruth be careful you don't fly out!

She answered, in German:
~ How can I fly, when I have no wings? ~

Flash forward now decades, and see me 
painting the traditional German family 
sayings on the rim of an elk-hide drum,
after doing a zeppelin etc.

Some of us believe that the music of a 
once live animal-hide continues to sing forever.

This drum was loaned recently to Rev. John Helt of Colgate WI
to be played by him in a sermon.  We are told it worked.


A Tree Grows on Barstow

Right now, if you drive up 
Barstow Street hill, 
and a couple blocks from the crest near 
the Moor Baths 
golf course, you will see a humongous

This used to be the Martin house.  The Raccoon editor 
a member of the Waukesha High School class of 1954 
with Sally Martin.

That tree has grown and grown 
and g-r-o-w-n, so that now 
it dwarfs the small house 
with its dormered attic.  
The attic was made into a dormitory
for Sally and her many siblings.  
They all slept in the 
slanty room which seemed vast,
 and sometimes, Sally says, 
it was a bit chilly up there.

Yesterday (Thursday) I picked up 
Joe Beringer to have  one of our 
Steaming Cup coffee sorties.  
We were driving  down Delafield St.
and Joe advised me to detour 
a couple blocks to go past the Martin Magnolia tree.  
Joe used to live near there and came 
to cherish that pink-flowered tree.

In Mrs. Martin's later years, Joe as  a 1st 
Presbyterian Elder used to bring her 
the Sacraments, and especially loved 
doing so at the time of year 
- spring - when that tree was in bloom.

We were smitten by the beauty yesterday,
 but we only had our lower crustacean 
cell camera with us, so we used that.

The scene deserved a better quality photo, 
so today (Friday) we drove over 
and took the attached pictures with the Nikon.  
Trouble is, it rained heavily 
during the night, and the petals, 
many of them, lay on the ground.

Not to worry, though.  The tree still 
looked beautiful.

And that is so right, in that my friend, the same age 
as me, is also still looking beautiful.

It was not a sunny day, unfortunately.
But on the bright side, Sally Martin 
has brilliant children and grand-children.

Everything, compartmentalized,  

IS how you look at it.