Friday, August 31, 2012

Readings and Greetings: THE DOG STARS by Peter Heller

I'm gonna miss them.  Hig.  Bangley. Jasper, Hig's dog.  Miss them because I know them.  Erie, Colorado not far from Centennial on an airport where they have survived, killed others, buried  one, and eked out a life.  With only a small plane (1956 Cessna 182) named "Beast", guns, lots of guns, Glock's! and ammunition, grenades, and Bangley's strategies for fighting off thieves, they have lived nine years.  One ready to kill first rather than ask;  the other waiting ready to negotiate. They watched as the disease spread and the world died.  Pandemic.  Apocalyptic. 

Hig talks to himself:  No more geese.  A few.  Last October I heard the old bleating after duck and saw them, five against the cold bloodwashed blue over the ridge.  Five all fall, I think, next April none.

When Bangley killed in cold blood the first intruders, I gasped. Then I knew.  I had entered their world.  My world had been their's once.  Husbands, wives, families, jobs, cars, cell phones, luxuries, grocery stores, communications with the world.  I ached when Hig ached, I dug when they gardened, I ducked when they shot and  killed, I flew over the Colorado landscapes with an eye searching always for what?  I crossed the Continental Divide and met new characters, but then the pages ran out.  The story ended.  I left them, but for how long?  Will I meet them again?  In the pages of a new book or in person, in our not so distant future?

Not since "On the Beach" have I felt compelled to believe that what I just read could be real, in my lifetime.

Dear Readers, what are your thoughts, your reactions to this story?  For more information on this book go to Peter Heller's website .


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Biloxi Recalled


Sun 'n Sand Hotel Court on Hwy 90 c. 1959.
As I sit here today my mind drifts back to the many vacations I've enjoyed on the gulf coast.  My husband and I spent a week in Biloxi, Mississippi last spring refreshing our spirits and searching the landscape for our own childhood landmarks.  Sadly, most of those landmarks were blown away, if not by hurricane Camille then by Katrina.  And now my TV is blaring the news that hurricane Isaac is bearing down on my beloved gulf coast.

The Broadwater Beach Hotel c.1967
It was the trees and the broken cement piers that led us to our few remaining landmarks on that trip. It took me two days to finally get my bearings on where my childhood memories had once stood.  We began our Christmas golf vacations to Biloxi in the late 1950's and stayed at grand hotel called the Edgewater Beach.   We then returned for many more trips to a new luxury hotel called the Broadwater Beach.  There I discovered elegance in dining when the maitre d' unfolded the pink linen napkin and placed it in my lap.  For a moment I felt like Grace Kelley.

The Broadwater pier looking back at the hotel. c.1967

The sun was never brighter than in my childhood memories, even though I can tell stories about playing 36 holes on cool rainy days in December, but when I remember Biloxi, this is what I recall.

The Broadwater Beach pier looking back at misty memories. c. 2012.

The artist captures the essence of the gulf life in this broken tree.

My childhood Biloxi is gone, but the memories and stories will live forever to be shared with my friends and readers from time to time.  It will withstand Isaac and many more to come.  The people, the land populated with trees and critters will survive and new memories will be made.

Good luck Biloxi, my heart is with you.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Golf Gypsy and the Lost All (oops the lost Ball)

I love to play golf with my pink Precept balls, that look like the ones Paula Creamer uses, even though I know they are not the same.  I like them for several reasons:  1) I like the color pink; 2) I like the way they feel when I hit them (they are made for those of us with a slower club head speed); and 3) I know which ball is mine when I look out at the balls in the fairway!  I take a lot of teasing about my "ladies pink ball," but most agree it does go straight down the middle, and sometimes it even goes a long ways.  Besides that it looks really special when I pick it up out of a pale white hole on the green.

Notice it even says "IQ 180."
It shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone that I occasionally lose balls on the golf course, especially at Prairie Dunes.  When we first joined Prairie Dunes twelve years ago I actually went to Target and bought several dozen cheap balls to play.  That way I had no attachment to the ball, so that when it flew into the intimidating gunch (tall grass) I just let it go, dropped another ball and hit again.  Over and over I played the fairways, roughs, and gunch until I felt like I could keep the ball in play, more often then not.  Then a few years ago I discovered the pink balls.

I really didn't become attached to that "lost pink ball", I just became a little irritated that I couldn't find it when I knew exactly where in the gunch that it should be, just to the left of 15 green.  Even my playing partner, Kathy, agreed that "pinkie" shouldn't be lost.  Why couldn't we find her.  I had played a provisional and in just a few minutes I called off the search party, hit my provisional, took my penalty and life went on.  I never would have thought about "pinkie" again if Kathy hadn't told me that she and Jim were playing golf a few days later and she looked for "pinkie."  I laughed, but the next time I played I found myself glancing in the gunch on 15 for "pinkie".

Then one day Kathy, her husband Jim, along with Jack and I played a round of golf at Prairie Dunes.  When we came to hole 15 Kathy stepped over to the side after she putted and looked for "pinkie."  Jim and I both noticed and I laughed again, but sadly agreed that "pinkie" was gone.  Jim, in an attempt to console me or cajole me, said, "I bet someone who doesn't appreciate "pinkie" has found her and stuck her in a tub of lost balls, never to play again."

"Probably so," I agreed.  Then I laughed and suggested that I write up a "Lost and Found" notice and place it in the men's locker room and in the newsletter offering a good white ball in return for "pinkie."  I told this story to my friend, Linda who likes her pink Callaway ball and who confessed that she had bought a couple a dozen of them just  last week in Wichita.  She listened and then just smiled and said, "Remember Letty, you are not the only one who likes pink balls."  Mystery solved, or not?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Snake Face

Stonewall is on the left and leads to our nature paths.
The funniest picture I never took happened the moment I threw out some old tuna salad.  Now, you ask, why would throwing out tuna salad be a funny picture.  The answer is easy.  We lived in the country, and I often "juiced" our breakfast meal.  So I had left over pulp that I took outside for the critters that lived around our country home East of Norman, Oklahoma.  I had selected an area covered with low bushes and grasses very near the corner of our stonewall.  On a regular basis I would take the pulp, peelings, or other tasty morsels outside past the stone wall and toss them to critters that could hide under the bushes and eat them.

One day I found a young deer sitting there, as if it were waiting on a treat.  I sat quietly at the wall and just watched in silence.  It was a quiet moment that I reflect on often to still my heart, but then that is not the funny picture.  One energetic morning I decided to clean out the refrigerator, and that's when I found the stale tuna salad bowl in the back of the shelf.  It only smelled slightly of aging fish, so why would I waste it, knowing that some raccoon or opossum would delight in the aroma and taste.

With the refrigerator cleaned, I stepped out passed our stonewall to the bushes and tossed the aromatic bowl of tuna.  Usually, the food hit the leaves of the bushes and settle down to the ground.  On that day, at that moment it hit a snake squarely in the face as the snake lay resting on the bush.  The snake reared his head first, in shock I'm sure.  I yelped in surprise and jumped back hitting the stonewall that stopped  my retreat.  The two of us then starred at each other in wonder until I absolutely broke into laughter. I must have been the only person in the world to have ever laughed at a snake face covered in smelly tuna.  The snake sent his fangs out, as if licking the tuna, then shook its head much like a dog shaking off water.  Silently he slithered away humiliated, leaving me laughing out loud as I sat on the wall alone with nature at my side.

I miss those moments of country life, but I have the memories, and they restore my soul.