Why can’t Christmas Gorilla go to the Beach?

The little gorilla loved Christmas at the beach, but he wasn’t allowed to go down to the sandy beach.

The little gorilla had on his red and white Santa hat, and

The little gorilla had on his bright red boxer shorts, but

There was a winter storm out there.

Rain and 13 mph winds out of the SSW.

The Christmas Gorilla didn’t want to get his special Christmas costume wet and sandy.

So, he sits on my desk with that look in his eye that Tawny (my golden retreiver) gets when she wants to go outside, eyebrows and all.


See what I mean? How can I ignore that silent plea?


This is Tawny waiting for me to take her down to the beach.

And that’s where the problem lies, with Tawny’s obsession.

Rocks. Rocks the size that would fit into your hand.

Tawny has a game she plays with these stones.

She finds a good one on the gravel road in front of the beach hoouse and carries it happily in her mouth the 50 yds or so to the sandy beach.

Whereupon she runs out on the playa, stops, and tosses the stone into the air.

And then digs, spraying sand out behind her like snow from a snow blower.

My grandchildren love this and encourage her.

She needs little encouragement.

She makes a crater, and then another one a little further down the beach, until a trail of craters is left behind us, marking our path home.

Finally, she carries her stone back to the beach house and hides it in the beach grass withher other stones and an occasional tennis ball.

She also does this in our backyard in Corvallis, until

We put in garden boxes.

So, how is that the little gorilla’s problem? Well let me tell you:

1 – Tawny gets sand all over the Christmas Gorilla

2 – The Christmas Gorilla wants to dig too

3 – Water (rain and ocean) are not good for a, pardon if I say it, a little stuffed Christmas Gorilla

4 – There are birds on the beach,  crows and gulls, that would like to snatch the little guy

5 – I’m afraid tawny, in her frenzy, will bury the little gorilla.

See, my arguments are well reasoned.

Oh, well. Let’s go.

– Small town boy

PS – to my Australian friend, since I graduate from both OSU and UofO (masters @ Beavers and doctorate @ ducks) my daughter says I’m a duckbill platypus!

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In the Dark of the Morning

In the dark of the morning,

In the cool of the night,

My life begins anew each day.

My heart searches you out

To be reassured that you will

Be with me today.

You are not a morning person, I know,,

And I believe in early to bed and early to rise

Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

So your day ends after mine,

And my day begins without you.

Be that as it may, I enjoy the dark morning,

Hoping the sky is clear and the moon is out

And Orion is walking the skies.

I am alone now, but soon

You will wake and ask for coffee

And a NutriSystems little bag of granola,

And my day will begin again,

With you in it.

A touch, a smile, a joke, a text,

Or an update on world events,

And we are synched again,

My heart beats with you,

And I feel you with me

As I go to Fitness Over Fifty

For my morning exercise,

Leaving you to see the grandchildren off to school.

I’m not with you tonight,

But this dark morning, in the cool of the night,

My heart finds you,

Sleeping,

And dreaming of when

We’re together again.

– Small town boy

Live in the moment

I subscribe to Lauren Ostrowski Fenton

Who does deep meditation and

Life counseling on YouTube.

She, and others, tell me to live in the moment, not the past, not the future.

As part of the work I’ve been doing with myself and meditation over the past few years, this makes sense to me.

But,

I noticed this morning, as I drove back from the grocery,

My moment is moving,

Through time and space!

When I try to focus on a moment, to enjoy with all the senses the delight therein,

It is gone, and replaced by another.

So I start again, quieting my mind,

Relaxing (not too much as I am driving),

I smell the smells of the moment,

I hear all the sounds of the moment,

I taste, I feel, I see !

And then poof,

It’s gone

And I find myself in a new moment.

This one’s a little different from the one that just went past.

I’m beginning to get a little giddy.

I find delight in greeting each new moment.

I await without expectation what the new moment will offer.

Just this moment I’m filled with love for you.

Just this moment I’m filled with love for me too!

Oh God! What a moment I’m having!

-Small town boy

Somebody else

I’m not writing this.

Somebody else is.

I’m not thinking, I’m just writing, typing for her.

Monica.

My spirit guide, one of them.

I told her I would let her write.

She wants you to know that it will be alright.

(Do you know what she’s referring too?)

She knows it will all work out in the end.

(Got that?)

In the mean time don’t fret,

Look inward. What do you see? Turmoil?

Calm your turmoil and the external turmoil will dissipate.

Sit for a moment without electricals.

Be self sustaining for a moment.

If you want something, ask for it.

Do good deeds.

She wants you to know she knows that it isn’t easy. It’s hard. And you think soft is weak.

She says it’s the other way around.

It is easy, and soft is hard.

Give up those thoughts that have gotten you and everyone to this point,

And listen without words.

What do you hear?

My heart is filling up as I do this for her.

Mine is not the only spirit guide, you have one too.

Where did I meet her and learn what her name is and what she looks like?

On YouTube!

Try it.

– small town boy and Monica

If I said that I love you…

If I said that I love you
I would be wrong,
Wrong headed,
Wrong thinking.
Because it would imply that I have strong feelings for you,
Feelings I would have called love.
My feelings that became strong when you are around or,
When I thought of you.
Let me suggest that love is not a feeling that I have, but
Something, some force, that has me, always.
So when I say that I love you,
What I mean is that my love acknowledges you as one it desires,
And jumps to my attention so that I must tell you.
And when your love acknowledges me and my love,
We, both of us, are IN love, together.
And so, when we are admonished to love one another,
I think it means for each of us to recognize the love that exists in the other,
And act on it.
We don't acknowledge gravity by falling.
It exists whether we do so or not.
Love is like that.
Love exists whether we feel it or not.
So?
So respect it, acknowledge it, and act on it.
Love is for us all, you, me, that person over there and the person next to you.
You can start by giving them a gift:
Listen.
And then give them another:
Speak your truth.
And feed them and hug them and offer safety and comfort.
I'm not kidding.
Love demands this of you.
You are the only you in the whole of creation.
You are the only one who can do what you do.
The only one who sees what you see.
When you love, you share this uniqueness with another, an other.
And they share with you.
So, I'm not saying I love you anymore.
I'm saying that I share my love with you.
Yes?
– Small town boy

My love receiver

I would be lying

I would be lying if I said I didn’t care.

If I said it didn’t hurt.

I would be lying if I pretended not to notice you there.

Lying to myself, because it is readily apparent to you

That I love you.

I don’t know how you know and how it’s hidden from me some days.

Each day begins with you; you’re on my mind and in my heart, so

I guess I know too that you love me.

Why would I be lying if I spoke roughly to you?

How would I be lying if I said some unkind word?

When would I be lying if I didn’t tell you each day how much you mean to me.

Let me not wait till you’ve gone to state my truth to you each waking hour.

Let me not lie to myself that I am without you.

Let me say how much you do each day for our family, our marriage, our home.

Let me not lie.

There is no time for it.

– Small town boy

If you were me

I'm stymied, I guess.
I haven't written for a while,
After criticism and censorship.
The problem I have is this:
Each word, each thought has been dug up,
Dug up from the internal (and eternal) junk pile that is my recollection.
These thoughts are mine, I own them, and yet…
I permit the criticism of others dear to me to destroy my writing; my decision.
And so I approach each new thought with their censorship in mind; don't dig too deep.
Ok, so maybe I didn't think through enough the offending thoughts.
Maybe they were right, but still I must admit a stricture on my thinking.
And so now I begin again to write.
Unable to keep these thoughts buried, I must present them to you.
You have a right to your opinion.
I have a right to mine.
But should I publish for all the world to see?
Do I needs/must take into account the effect on others,
Or do I only have obligation to my Self to write what I feel?
Who reads this stuff anyway?

– Small town boy

Donna’s birthday party

I wept, several times.

I wept when I saw Sarah and Harvey, Gladys’s grown up children.

The last regret she told me just before she passed in 1984 was that she wouldn’t be here as Sarah and Harvey grew up.

But Sarah, now a nurse in intensive care with children of her own, looked so much like her mother, and I felt Gladys had come to the party for her younger sister’s 80th birthday.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her, and I wept.

I wept when I saw my grand niece Haylee who was recovering from an auto collision (she showed me the X-ray) of a broken pelvis (pinned back together) and an almost severed spine which would have left her a paraplegic.

And I wept, not for her injuries as terrible as they were, but for her bravery, resilience, and youthful beauty.

She has grown a lot since she came with Donna to the Oregon coast for a visit and made a glass heart in Lincoln City. Her fight with this traumatic injury was lessened somewhat (she told me) because she was a dancer.

I agreed and later told her father, my nephew Bruce, Donna’s eldest, that I thought it was not only her physicality, but her attitude that served her recovery.

I wept a second time hugging this fragile but enduring, tenacious eighteen year old. Her strength gave me strength (I’m weeping again as I write).

I wept when my brothers, Ron and Don, showed up,with Ron’s wife Pat. I thought he was angry with me for changing my last name from Meskimen to McAnelly because of father issues.

He told me he had contacted each of his sons, Eric and Paul, asking them if he had ever done anything so bad as to piss them off and change their last names?

And then he invited me to Loveland for a sleep over Thursday. I have not been to his house since he had moved there from his retirement house in Estes Park a few years ago.

Well, you know what I did, a little bit.

I spent a lot of time with Susan, Bruce’s wife and Haylee’s step mom, with whom I have not conversed for years but with whom I share an interest in geneology. She said she was using it to find a lost relative.

Susan is a caregiver for Stephen who was with her. I had a long talk with Stephen, who would take awkward notes to help him remember details of what was said.

When I was telling Stephen and Susan about my efforts (unsuccessful so far) to be a better listener, Stephen gave me some advice: you are giving that person a ‘gift’ when you listen completely to them. I told him he had just reversed my attitude 180° with that one word, “gift.”

This party was like the gathering of friends and family at a funeral, but without the death.

I also laughed while I was at the party. I laughed with my brother Donald about our spaghetti dinner in Louisville a few years ago. I laughed at the birthday cake with the number 21 in candles on the top. I laughed when everyone put their name tags on Paul.

It was a great party for my beloved sister who was turning 80.

Later I read her the story I had written for her called “Donna and me.” (But when I tried to print it out for her, I sent it to the wrong printer and the lady at the desk one floors down gave it to us when we went down for dinner.)

Before I close I should also mention the popularity of my kilt, especially among the older women. Several talked to me at length about their own Scottish heritage, tartans, and then asked if I play bagpipes. No one asked what clothing I had on beneath my kilt, not even my brother.

I smiled.

-Small town boy

Donna and me

My sister Donna will be 80 in two days.

I will be 76 this summer.

But our relationship goes back to Fremont, NE in 1944, my first memory, of a hot sidewalk, bare feet and my sister.

I remember her kindness in 1948, or so, when she threw me a surprise birthday party, keeping me upstairs till all the guests arrived, in Coleridge NE.

She was always a step ahead of me. In Fort Collins, CO, in the fifties, she played drums; I played trombone. 

“Was I Donna’s brother?” People would ask.

Yes I was.

She led the way in good grades, comportment, and beauty. I was a far second.

Admiring her from afar, celebrating her goodness, beauty and kindnesses (especially toward me).

We did get into a little trouble together when she let me drive our old ’36 Buick Victoria, (at age 15) and I drove through a stop sign on to a highway and we got hit. She quickly switched seats with me before the state police arrived.  No one was hurt. No one knew this story till now.

She went off to St Luke’s in Denver for nursing school and left me to fen for myself.

When she wed Jack, I was devastated. My sister with another man. Married.

I got over it.

When I got divorced in 1971, she was concerned. When She got divorced a few years later, we understood each other.

Later after her second husband died from suicide, we were told a family secret: our father had not died from heart failure in 1950 as we had been told, but had committed suicide.

Donna was living in “the Springs” (Colorado Springs) on Tesla. Every time I made it to Colorado from where I was living in Oregon, “the Springs” had increased its radius by another mile.

As it grew, Donna grew, moving her nursing career into a business, and become a – Republican!

As a liberal Democrat myself I cringed at her bumper stickers when I was visiting. Reagan? Bush? (I haven’t seen her car this year to know if there’s a Trump b.s. on it).

Always cordial and welcoming, she welcomes me again.

I love you Donna, my sister.

Happy Birthday!

– Small town boy