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!


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

Trees fell down

There are trees down in the forest.

Some fell, but mostly as a result of storm damage.

A natural end to life in a vertical posture.

Now I lay me down to sleep…


Prematurely, not due to any weakness in my limbs,

I am fallen to die,

And then, after a time,

Resurrection, just as Christ died on a tree and was resurrected after being placed in a cave on the ground,

I, laying here on the forest floor,

Will become a nurse log for others to grow from.

The cycle continues.

I m fallen, but others will rise 

With my help.


My life comes the life of others,

Standing in the sun.


– small town boy

Winter is filled with geese and frogs

I know, it’s not winter yet, but it feels like it today.

The wind is blowing, scattered showers, and dark skies.

Leaves are falling, some leaves have already fallen, gynkos are in the midst of leaf drop.

As I walk my red golden retriever, Tawny, around the park in an effort to stop sitting around, we hear frogs and geese.

Frogs are loud though they are small and my dog is confused, especially in the backyard. to bark or not to bark?

I think they take turns. Frogs then geese and then frogs again.

Geese fly over the house in their gaggling style, each encouraging the other; each calling out their position in the Vee, as they fly from Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in the west to Findlay Wildlife Refuge in the south and Basket Slough Wildlife Refuge in the north. Grass, new, fresh, and succulent is everywhere. Scaregooses do little to prevent their settling into a field and gobbling grass.

There are twenty little birds in the dying birch in my backyard, waiting for me to go back inside so they can feed at the bird feeder uninterrupted. Their songs are sweet and cheerful, finches and juncos mostly.

Little tree frogs croak to attract females and discourage males, yes?

But do they sing to each other, geese and frogs?

Is there something the frog wants to say to the geese flying overhead?

What would a goose tell the frog on the ground, safe in my backyard?

“Winter is coming!”

The frog tells the geese to get out of the sky and find a safe warm place to be for the winter. The goose says, “You need to get out more often.”

The goose tells the frog that there is lots to eat in the field next door, but frogs are not interested in grass, fresh or no.

Many other conversations go on in my backyard and in the park across the street, but I don’t have access to them.

But I hear the message that winter is coming, and go inside and wonder 

If there will be snow this winter?

My dog says, “What is snow?”

– Small town boy


“There’s no rest for the wicked,

And the righteous don’t need any.” Said a cook at the  Rawah Dude Ranch where I was working for the summer in 1963; she was from Omaha, Nebraska.

Respite in my world means giving someone a break in their lives when adversity strikes.

We adopted three grandchildren in 1992 in Portland, and our friends provided respite.

Kara babysat so we could go out.

Jerome and Mary babysat so we could go out. 

Trudy babysat so that we could take a break from our chosen children.

thank you. I love you still.

Now we have three great grandchildren living with us here in Corvallis.

The mother of two of them is in Portland trying to put her life together.

The new mother of the 1 month old, and the father,

Are upstairs in the bedroom with our new greatgrandson, Ja’niyus..

We are happy for them.

Although we promised not to take on ‘greats’ after adopting ‘grands,’ the children were irresistible.

And someone needed to intercede on behalf of their schooling, and they are  doing so well, learning Spanish, anatomy, reading, math, and becoming socialized with the other students. They in in school at this moment while I write and my wife makes soup.

Now, there is little respite.

Oh wait, yes, we do have respite. Respite by a new neighbor!

When Gretchen moved into our neighborhood in Willamette Landing subdivision, from Colorado Springs,

With her two children who were the same age as ours,

She was a blessing from God, no shit.

She is someone for my wife to talk to, she takes our kids and  we take hers. She drops by for coffee or to talk about gardening.  We love Gretchen.

My wife went to the doctor complaining about lack of energy, lack of sleep, and lack of time.

The doctor proscribed more Zoloft, a one hour nap each day, and three days at the beach.

We have a good doctor.

When we adopted the three grandchildren, it was tough.

I said if what your doing isn’t difficult, you are not doing it right.

I still say so.

We thought we were  old then. We are older now.

It is in God’s hands.

I’m neither wicked nor righteous, so

I think I’ll go lie down.

thanks for listening, I love you.

– Small town boy


November Rose

The rose of November is the prettiest, the sweetest rose,

The one I love the most.

I have lived with her a while now,

From when she was a bud, through her summer years,

Among the other roses who have by this time given up in fear of the oncoming winter.

And yet, my rose younger gets,

And holds the baby roses on her knee and fills them with love,

And grows younger by association.

I would not cut this November rose and put her in a vase to show her beauty,

Because her beauty is evident daily in her garden of green and brown.

From where does she come this miracle of nature?

From North Dakota where the winters are cold and harsh;

No wonder she thrives on this moderate climate of the Willamette valley.

Though truth be told, she’d rather be at the beach.

Her birthday is November 25, my November Rose.

– Small town boy

There’s Something in the Park

There’s something in the park today, something green.

It’s bigger than a bread box (google it) and it is not vegetable or mineral.

I don’t know where it came from, the children have been talking about it for weeks,

But it was only today that I saw it, in the morning sun, grazing on the grass.

I forget what it is called (there’s some controversy about its name) but it is big, huge, bigger than a house,

And longer too, and taller, and heavier.

I don’t know where it came from, the children have been  talking to it for weeks,

And they say it’s not going anywhere.

They like to ride on it, but as large as it is and as small as the park is , it doesn’t go far.

Better, they like to slide down  it’s neck and, after walking across its back, continue to slide down its tail.

It came from an egg, I think, but it’s not going anywhere.

It shits really big piles of poop, which I and all the neighbors scoop up and  put in our composite bins (nearly filling them up).

It’s better than elephant poop (Zoo Doo) for gardens and planters and such.

It makes no sound, its small brain is totally consumed with walking and eating and pooping.

It can’t sing, but the children sing to it.

They sing happy songs, fun songs, songs about home and hearth, and it smiles.

Yes, I said it smiles, and then the children smile too,

I even catch myself grinning occasionally, you know.

I asked my grandchildren what it is and they said “It is a Marjorie.”

“A Marjorie?” I ask.

Yes they say, she told us so.

Who am I to disagree?  It keeps them out of the house and from underfoot.

It stops the constant barrage of, “Grandpa, watch this.”

But it doesn’t stop them from going to school.

Actually she encourages school, and reading, and math, and exercise,

Because she has no children of her own, she helps raise ours.

I love Marjorie.

I don’t know where she came from, an  egg I think, but I’m glad she’s here and

I thank the children for introducing me to her.

= Small town boy

Nothing to say

I have nothing to say to you.

I listen quietly for your voice. 

I clear my self tip to toe for what will come. 

Hush mind. Hush my heart. Body be quiet with your complaints. Spirit drop your expectations.

I am here at the end of the day hoping for a message to end the day like the one that I began with you this morning outside picking up the paper in my bathrobe.

Remember? We looked over the roofline hoping to see the rest of the moon, the leftover after its waning in cloudless skies.

The morning was breathless as I saw trees in the park allowing their bright yellow to be seen, as their green evaporated and they fell panting to the ground in colorful abundance.

Such a start to my day, our day.

I happily walked grandkids to the school bus with Tawny, my red golden Retreiver. She was happy.

I felt so good walking today that I continued past the park down Summerfield where all the new houses are complete or started, save one. Over half are sold and most of them occupied in houses not yet a year old. 

No birds, no redwing blackbirds, sang in the wetland next door to the new houses. To early? Too late? Come back after the rains.

The day has been filled with chats with my wife, and touches, and food fresh from the garden that is lowering my glucose levels in the morning.

Planes are heard outside my window tonight after the warm day, because the airport is only a few miles away.

My dog is tired of being thrown off the bed and sleeps by the door. She will join me later in the night and cuddle me off the bed.

I eagerly await  our new meditative time early in the morning. I expect nothing but I’m all eyes for what new thing I might see.

So since I have nothing to say, I’ll just say goodnight.

Thanks for today.

I love you

– Small town boy

Life Quilt, row 4, #1-Politics

Sensitive subject today, no?

Let me say that this tee shirt was a gift from my friends Kara and Jeff,

Probably because we didn’t see eye to eye on the subject.

I am ecstatic that there was a black president, Jeff not so much?

But anyway, I think this implies a different kind of party,

A party where donkeys and elephants have a good time.

A party where donkeys and elephants respect each other and are in turn respectable.

That kind of party.

I don’t know why groups of politicos with a particular conservative or liberal idea

Named themselves a party.

Is a caucus a party?


Why aren’t group of politicos called a bouquet? And each bouquet is named after a flower?

I’m red because I’m a rose. My mother was a rose and i have been a rose all my life.

I’m blue because I’m a violet or iris or some other blue flower.

Flowers don’t argue, block important votes, filibuster.

They just are… beautiful and they smell good.

And they sit together well so as to be admired in a floral arrangement,,

Only needing water.

Maybe we need a pool party?

– Small town boy

Life Quilt row 1, square 3 – Arizona

To get away from Oregon weather Betsy and I planned to visit our friend LuAnn in Mesa, Az in February 2011.

Looks warm and sunny, right?

HA! It was the coldest February in years. Water features (fountains and such) were frozen. 

We had to buy jackets at the Desert Botanical Gardens because we hadn’t brought any, thinking Arizona would be warm, if not hot. http://www.experiencescottsdale.com/listings/desert-botanical-garden/

The B and B in Cottonwood in the north near Jerome was not open because their pipes had frozen.

So we headed south via the Tom Mix highway, all the way to the Mexican border,  Tubac, AZ where I bought this tee shirt:

We enjoyed the warm weather in Tubac, Tucson, and Tombstone in southern Arizona.

When we returned to Oregon we found that they were experiencing unseasonably warm weather.

BTW, suguaro cacti don’t get ‘arms’ till they’re 72. I felt right at home.

– Small town boy