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!


A Barking Dog

Oh, would that I were a barking dog,

Free to woof and growl,

I’d bark at kids on the way to school,

And on their way home again.

I’d bark in the day and awaken

So I could bark at a sound in the night.

If you think my bark discordant,

And it bothers you so much,

Just remember, as a dog, I’m immune.

I bark because I have to, my ancestors barked and barked,

And now it’s compulsive, like lightening and thunder.

The UPS driver, and the FedEx guy too, understand my dilemma,

So why don’t you?

I want not to bark, but as it is uncontrollable, so I will simply

Run to your side, as if to say, “I know, I know.”

You’ll be sorry when I’m quiet and gone,

You’ll wish I were there to help you carry on.

Just remember, if you will,

I’m just a dog,

And I love you still.

– 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

Will you walk with me?

My wife is always several steps ahead of me,

When hiking in the Rockies, she left me in the dust.

My dog walks with me now that Animal Crackers demoed a halter that makes her do so.

My great grandson walks just behind me, imitating my slow old man walk.

My pace is slow, my range is short, I have to sit once or twice when walking the dog around the park.

I use a cane when I go for a walk because of a full hip replacement in my right hip, it’s twenty five years old.

I’m seventy five next Friday.

I do better on my bike, a semi recumbent Giant Revive,

But I ride with no one.

I have a Honda 150 SHi, but it’s too small to ride with the Oregon Scooter Club in Portland or Salem.

My neighbor, the house my kids play at, has a small scooter unused in his garage.

I said, “We should go for a ride.”

His eyes brightened and he said, “yes.”

So I walk with my dog.

But I often think there’s someone else walking with me, right beside me, who’s in no hurry and always ready to sit next to me and talk.

I love Him for this.

He gets up with me in the morning, and we greet the day, and we talk about those who need help today and those who don’t, the list is long.

He’s with me the last thing at night, and we put the day to rest, and we talk about the things that happened today, the good and the bad.

He does not judge me or my actions or my thoughts or me.

He is my closest friend.

I decided to take life one day at a time when I turned seventy.

He helps with this.

Each day I purge my mind, my heart, my body, and my spirit of their respective baggage/histories/hurts.

And be open to the day He has in store for me, and the events, places and people it has for me.

I’m happy because He walks with me, 

And because I walk with Him.

– Small town boy

Just sitting around

Temperatures are high, over 100° in the Willammette Valley, 

88° here at the coast, warm for the coast.

We’re all lazing around the beach house.

My granddaughter is on the second floor deck, and her mother is down at the beach. 

John and I have been hiding inside, we’re both redheads. Playing nine ball on the pool table.

Betsy and the kids are in the living room with iPads. She is texting about s’mores made in a small cupcake pan, grandson playing his building game and granddaughter playing a spelling game with a friend from next door. She’s on John’s iPad because she left grandmas in the sun till it complained, so she’s off that one for a while.

I’ve escaped to the back (shaded and breezy) deck with iced tea, my iPhone (to write this blog) and my book, No god but God, which I’m enjoying very much. I’m reading it to honor Khizer Khan, a man of honor.

I’m mostly clothed, wishing otherwise, and hoping someone didn’t forget we’re making ice cream this afternoon.

I will leave this idyllic location early tomorrow morning to take grandson to soccer in Corvallis. He loves it and is quit good even though he’s only been in summer soccer for a few weeks.

I can hear but not see the ocean, sounds relaxing. No strong winds today.

Morning glories and blackberries have taken over the sand filter (septic system) this deck is built over.

House needs repaintimg on this (south) side. There’s a bat box up there by the third floor deck that’s too hot right now..

Germany just win the gold in women’s soccer defeating Sweden. (I had to go inside to upload the pictures).

Back to the deck. My dog was looking for me.

Love to you all.

Enjoy your vacation if you are where school hasn’t started up again (to prepare for testing).

Find somewhere to sit, quietly, alone, and do nothing.

– Small town boy

My poop bag is my moop bag

When I walk Tawny, my red Golden Retreiver,

I carry poop bags in a blue bone container on the leash, orange colored.

When she poops, I pick it up.

She likes that I do this for her; it is preferable to pooping in the back yard and getting yelled at.

I like it too because it stretches my back.

I went to The Portland Regional Burn last year on Memorial Day, called SOAK, held in Tyghe Valley neat The Dalles, Or.

There I was given a MOOP bag.

MOOP stands for Material Out Of Place. I learned to pick up even the smallest MOOP.
We argued about dead bugs, removing only those which were out of place.

One on Burning Man Principles is “Leave no trace!”

When I went to Burning Man 2015 at Black Rock Desert near Reno, Nevada, I picked up MOOP so as to leave the playa in as pristine condition as we found it.

I mean these folks are serious, they had rakes to find the smallest thing.

Is peeing on the playa MOOP?

When I returned I noticed a particularly littered corner on North Lombard in St John’s in North Portland.

How ugly I said. Someone should pick it up, I said.

And so I did, starting with a plastic bag I found in the litter and then filling it with the rest of the mess.

When I deposited it at the True Value’s trash can, a man said thanks.

So, now when I walk the dog and pick up her poop, I leave the bag open for the rest of the walk around the park and fill it with MOOP before I dump it in the trash.

I know of at least one other old guy who picks up too.

Probably he doesn’t know it’s MOOP.

– small town boy

The Puppy

I was walking down the road, alone,

Lost in my own thoughts 

When I found a puppy, a cur really.

I almost passed it by,

Until I heard it cry,

Cry as though it’s heart 

Was broken .

Crying, wailing, from

Abandonment, from abuse,

From neglect, from hunger and loneliness.

It spoke to me.

Not in words but in need.

My wife says I’m overly empathetic,

Maybe that was it.

At first it didn’t want me to come near,

To touch.

But it came to

Me that it needed a friend, an ally.

I could be that friend,

Someone to provide safety and healing.

It cried for justice and pain meds.

I wasn’t in a position to provide those things.

But I could clean it up,

Feed it,

Pet it,

Talk with it in low voice.

And soon we were laughing together.

It became stronger with food, care and love.

It wanted to go places, to the dog park, to the vet, to WINCO.

It really liked coffee, the frozen drink with too much calories.

I knew it needed a friend, but

I hadn’t realized that I needed one too.

Someone to do things with.

As it got better it wanted to do something for me in return.

It wanted to tell me how to run my life.

How to deal with children that were takers and had not been cut loose though they were in their twenties.

How to dress, especially without dog hairs and food stains.

How to do nice things for my wife.

It was adamant.

I don’t respond well to being told what to do.

I hadn’t expected criticism and direction.

At this moment I am recovering from such an attack.

I call it an attack because that is what it felt like.

When I get out of my “grouchy bear” mode, I will again take it to the park to play.

Being a friend is harder than I thought.

I’m glad Jeff is helping me with this (the Holy Spirit).

It’s so time consuming, and so emotionally draining, and so affects my relationship with others.

But now I have a friend, and it does too.

– Small town boy

The Snake

“Can I borrow a drill?”

My son (25) came over from  his apartment to  borrow a drill.

Mom said, “We don’t have a working drill. You borrowed them and didn’t return the chargers and they can’t be purchased separately. Why do you want a drill?”

“I have to  drill some holes in some plastic.”

“Why do you have to drill holes in plastic?”

“For the snake.”

Jac has changed his mind about having a rat as a pet and now wants a snake.  He will use the 10 gallon aquarium from his older sister in which her son had a two foot corn snake that he used to feed mice for food once a week.

“What snake? You can’t have a snake in that apartment.”

“I have to go to Eugene to get the snake. I need to borrow your car.”

This is  after he has had my Trek mountain bike and my Aprillia moped stolen. Also  he has just lost his second job in three months and didn’t use the car to talk to the supervisor about his absences due to illness.

He says the snake is eight feet long!

Mom tells him he won’t be able to get the snake in  the little plastic storage box he is taking and that the snake can’t live in his apartment.

But he had decided he wanted the snake for a pet.

“Have you asked your sister for the aquarium yet?” “No.”

After she took him home, she called and told him since we co-signed the apartment he can’t have a  snake in it, and that’s final. This is an impulse.

He’s not talking to us right now.

An 8′ snake! In a styrofoam cooler?

Oh Jac.

– Small town boy

I’m Me

I’ve been looking for myself,

With time alone at the Oregon coast,

With prayer and meditation,

With Tarot and IChing,

And then on my way into town for groceries,

On my Silver Wing Honda Scooter,

It came to me.

I was reeling from the description of someone I love,

Of her torment and terror while abducted for over a year,

Wondering how it is that she could then construct the

Beautiful Angel she has beccome,

With a large heart, a mission in life, a caring spirit

Who gave food and shoes to  the homeless,

Who hospiced people in  transition

And hospiced dogs and cats through the last moments of their life,

And wept when they left this world, and then did it again

While standing up to the power structure, brave and


I knew that much of the reason for the latter was that

She survived the  former with out committing a felony

By becoming Jewish; by becoming a nurse; 

By becoming a human being who realizes that the others

Are human too.

She is the sum of the  experiences of her life.

She is who she is.

And I am too.

I am me.

The same me  that played cowboy with Keith and had a crush on  Jerolyn,

The same me that made it through high school with girlfriends and drama.,

The same me that became a father, a devorced man, a husband and a 

father of adopted children

I am no better nor worse than I have been all my life.

I am  the sum of my experiences, some I chose and some that chose me.

And I’m not done yet, at age 74.

As long as I draw breath, the same  me as always will persevere

And find happiness, the same way I did before.

I am exactly where and who I’m supposed to be and I don’t need anyone who denegrates that or tries to  shame me.

I won’t let them, because

I’m me.

Small town boy

The bear who ate my food

The dog?  The dog was a Samoyed named Telluride.

We got him in 1975 after a particularly wonderful trip 4 wheeling in  the Rockie

in our 1967 Nisson Pathfinder, ending in Telluride just as the skiers 

had taken over the town from the miners, according to the new mayor

who was playing bridge in the general store.

The night we got to town was the night of the Chautauqua, sponsored by Colorado Endowment for the Arts,

Where we saw a saw player, middle European puppateers, and a patriotic choir.

We also ate lobster.

We saw signs all over town about the lobster feed, so we went.

We had been eating freezdried backpacking food for a week.

We entered the garden level restaraunt across from the general store.

“Are you here for lobster?” Why yes we were.

“Well they’re driving from Montrose where the lobster was flown into,

So have some corn chowder while you wait.”

All of a sudden the  crowd yelled, “Hoorah!”

The manager came to our tables and announced that we were in luck,

They had orderes pound and a half lobsters,

But had received two pound lobsters!

Shortly thereafter there was a hubbub at the door,

“But we have reservations; we’ve had them for weeks!”

Oops,  we didn’t have reservations. Could we have  taken someone elses?

We gorged on the lobster.  I ate the huge tail of mine,

but my wife ate her tail and the rest of hers and the rest of mine.

We returned to the motel only to find the bathroom full of brown water

due to a landslide in the watershed.

She threw up in the brown water in the toilet;

I took a brown shower.

When we left the state a few days later we stopped in Northglen,

Where there was a pet shop,

With a baby Samoyed. We named him Telluride.

Now back to the bear.

I had decided to  hike up Eagle Creek in the Columbia Gorge to Wahtum Lake,

With my now grown up dog, Telluride, Tell for short.

I had gotten most of my gear from REI, the sleeping bag, the  tent, multiple stuff sacks, and assorted bottles and other containerrs as well as freeze dried food.

THe Kelty pack, boots and raingear came from the Alpine Shop on Broadway and fifteenth.

 I used a bamboo pole as a walking stick.

And I took my dog, or did I already say that?


The trip is 26 miles round trip, though  I wasn’t taking the loop, but going on to Zigzag.

We stayed the first night at seven and a half mile camp and then hiked into Wahtum lake the next day.

Now we get to  the bear.

We put up our tent on the South side of the lake, and took a nap.

Outside the tent, as we  slept inside the tent, the bear was calmy going through my backpack and eating everything.

All of my power bars my wife had made me, all my logan bread (the mainstay of my hiking menu), and anything else that was solid, filled with sugar, and tasty.

I grabbed the dog and staked his leash and then went after the bear.

Telluride pulled his leash free and joined in the  chase.

The bear went up a tree.

The dog danced at the bottom of the tree entangling the stake still attached to the leash.

I came shouting (I have a very large voice) and throwing stomes at the bear.

The bear looked at me. The bear  looked at Telluride.

The bear shinnied back down the tree, on the opposite side of the tree from the dog,

and ran up  hill.

Just then a couple more hikers came by with a dog.

I  said, “Hold your dog, there’s a bear!”

They said, “Oh that bear; he’s just a youngster. Go get him Jake!” and off went their dog chasing the young black bear up this side of the mountain.

So I gathered up the rest of my pack and prepared for  bed.

The guy in the  next campsite slept in my tent with me that night so the dog would protect us both.

In the middle of the night we heard “woofling”, the dog barked and the bear ran off.

I still had a two  day hike to get to the road to Lost Lake where my wife would be waiting.

But I had no food.

So I drank “mud.” 

“Mud” was what I called the concoction I  made for each meal from the various powders I still had:

Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate mix, coffee, tea, Tang, powdered milk, and Ovaltine.

Not bad, huh?  When I needed water I collected it from the rain with a rain tarp.

With Telluride I got back safely to the waiting wife.

When I talked to  the Forest Ranger she said that more bears were coming into the campgrounds because people left food behind.

She also said that I should leash my dog because when the dog runs up the trail and runs into a bear, it turns around and brings the bear to you!