She came into my life mid stream.  She was just leaving her origin.  For me, she categorizes an 8.  That was before our first date.  After, she was off the chart.

I was struck by her simple beauty, yes, but it was while we had arranged the disciplining of Blue, our ‘going to be millionaire racehorse,’ when I was first ‘pressed’ upon her in the barn.  After, as I participated in negotiating around all the horses and people while watching her work, mucking out stalls, feeding horses, tending all duties necessary for those who wanted to board and ride, without necessities;  as Amy cared for all with amazing grace entrained.   Tirelessly and coordinated with a discipline that I don’t ever remember mastering.  She was seamless in her efforts and controlled in her actions.   A purpose for everything and fetted in her own way.  Oh, and she had this beautiful full bodied dog, Tyler, blondish white, who did whatever he was told and when he was left to his own instinct, followed her.  They were inseparable.  A beautiful girl-woman, understanding and completing her work tasks while always ready to give a horse a nose rub, a pat, an encouraging word.  She owned none.  Mattered not, to her or the horses. They all knew her.  But I was 17 years her senior and that bridge seemed long.

Not long enough.  Fact is that I chainsawed it down and burned it.  For after I gained the courage to ask her out, we were engage five days later (she probably has the days down better than I, but it was short!)  That she said yes, well, you could not have found a happier guy (I think most potential grooms say or think this, but what?  I did feel that way.)

The Butters were on their way North to fish and I asked them to stop by the Farm… T. McGill Farm.  They came around midmorning and Amy met them in the kitchen.  I was off somewhere else.  Billy asked her if she was my niece, as I had not said anything about being engaged.  That would be a natural question, especially if it was indicative of my past, many short circuited wrecks.  In her polite and verbally direct manner Amy stated that she was my fiancee. I came in shortly after and I could see that Billy and Debby, his wife, were still processing the response, happily but questionably.  I assured then that what Amy had said true and that indeed, the man from ‘Baker Street’ was going to be married.

Feb.20 is my bride’s birthday.  She not only has been a tireless worker and calming, loving companion, but she has held me together through many down times, literally and figuratively. A mother who has two daughters who absolutely adore her and a circus of animals, both past and present, who all gravitated to her simple charm, love and affection underlined by extreme devotion.

So we simply acknowledge that God has ordained another year in the life of our wife, mother, friend. Thankful we are. God bless you, Babe. I am thankful for your love and devotion…Happy birthday!

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I met Joe, oh, maybe five years ago.  I was driving in from Minnesota to meet some chums from my Penn days.  Driving with layovers in places I could rest for a while.  I wanted to see some more of the Country, especially West Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.  Lee and Traveler, his faithful horse, their final resting place.

I rolled into Philly and checked in at the Marriott Hotel, downtown.  I threw my one bag on the bed and proceeded to head to the place that I knew best, The Class of 1923 hockey rink.  It would be a tricky place to drive to if you did not know how. I certainly did.  Spent years there chasing or stopping pucks on that ice sheet, my class being the first one to spend all four there.

I pulled into a place that said no parking.  I parked and proceeded to enter the down stair entrance.  The cold smell that greeted me was the same smell I remembered 42 years previous.  I like sameness in life when it is a producer of good remembrances.  Here there were many.  They certainly lathered over those that were less commemorative. I went to the Plexiglas and looked out. Ice arenas have a certain home quality to me.  They represent a game I loved and provided a sanctuary for many years.  ‘1923’ creamed to the top of a long list.

Joe came about and we fell into a chat.  He was the arena manager.  As we talked I could not help but be drawn to his Jersey nature.  This and the curb appeal the rink demonstrated.  The ‘old lady’ was looking fine, something I was not expecting.  Fact was she was looking better than fine.  And Joe was the reason.

I found out he had been directly involved at the old Spectrum in Philadelphia, where the Flyers displayed two Stanley Cup banners from the ceiling; Cups they had won while I was on campus at the University of Pennsylvania.  He had come over a number of years later to Penn.  Thankfully.  He produced programs that continued the traditions of ice hockey at Penn while reaching out to Drexel University and several area clubs and high schools.  He found a rhythm for ‘Her’ that had been lost when in a political game of kickball Div.1 hockey had been booted off campus. The ‘lady’ was turning a profit.  This while the University kept a not so secrete desire to be rid of her and growing more grass.  But Joe and many others would not let that happen.  So with the drive that comes with dreams and hope, Joe demonstrated that ice hockey and skating still belonged on campus. And in West Philly.

You know how it is when someone sparks you.  Joe entreated me to the atmosphere I remebered back when Penn was rocking the house and the Band was playing “The Red and the Blue:”


Come all ye loyal classmates now
In hall and campus through,
Lift up your hearts and voices
For the Royal Red and Blue.

Fair Harvard has her crimson
Old Yale her colors too,
But for dear Pennsylvania
We wear the Red and Blue

Of course it was the chorus that we players chanted in hoarse voices while on those winning surges, when we felt we could beat anyone, especially B.U., which we did:

Hurrah, hurrah Pennsylvania!
Hurrah for the Red and the Blue!
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah,
Hurrah for the Red and Blue!

Joe was not there then, but he could have been….  He epitomized everything good about Penn hockey and more.  He knew how skating and hockey would be lessons, experiences, and memories for any Penn connection.  By its Rink, Penn could reach out to the greater community; colleges, universities, high schools, clubs, kids that just want to skate, etc.,  meeting an active desire to be part of the Philadelphia experience.  Joe went to work and made it thrive beyond what was considered.  He did it the Philly way; tough, tender, sharing and caring. He took over the helm, steered clear of the icebergs and took many on wonderful journeys.

I was back two years ago and had to have some time with Joe.  He brought me up to his office and we shared stories and he caught me up on what was going on and some of his vision.  I attended willfully his voice.  He sparked me again to where and what the ‘1923’ was and would be.  Then he surprised me.  He went to a closet and pulled out a jacket, one of those parkas that are water proof and have an inside liner which allows you to wear one or both.  On the heart side was the logo for Penn.  I was…thankful.  We shook hands and he once again told me where I could park my car for the weekend, a place that only he could park, and I headed down to see which mates had arrived.  I remember thinking of the Highball song that we used to sing at the Football games for some reason.  It seems to fit now in a fashion of deep respect.


Joe died at his desk, two days ago, at the rink, after moving porpane tanks, chucking garbage bags into the outside container and various other ‘jobs’ that he always was doing.  After climbing the steps, he placed the folders down that he had brought with him.  They were never opened.  He was found a time later. As he would have opened the folders almost immediately to task the never ending scheduling of ice time, job hours and job needs, it is speculated he died almost instantaneously.  I am living with that.

To Joe, you were special:

“Drink a Highball at nightfall
Be good fellows while you may
For tomorrow may bring sorrow
So tonight, lets all be Gay!
Tell the story of Glory
Of Pennsylvania
Drink a highball And be jolly
Here’s a toast to dear old Penn!”

Here is a sincere toast to Joe Crowthers, a friend to Penn, Penn hockey and to anyone who met him.

In sympathy and God’s grace and love

the Wac

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Secured Love

Received a text from friend.  “Want to get together at Cassidy’s ( Hinckley MN) 5:00 p.m. on 2/12/17 ?”  I saw the group listing.   My amigos, my life long Pards, who God put in my way and I have been tripping over, thankfully, ever since.  I knew there would be no other invitees, not for this.  It had been 25 years since we four met at that restaurant to celebrate Valentines Day with our wives, me newly married.  Sixty-six minus twenty five =Forty-One…prime time years.  Now, we were on the final roller coaster curve, slanting into the off ramp with diminishing speed.  Hell yes we would be there.


It would be a book.  Nothing different than you’all I am reckoning.  But what an amazing one.  We are talking third grade to grey hair…slicing through life’s seasons and still being truly friends.  It was a great night.  Buttsy and Debby, Smitty and Lynn, Sam and Sue. Amy and me!   The atmosphere was a warm water rinse of lathered hands after a day of hard work.  Simplistic in measure…a hoodie against a cold breeze.  No pretense as the need of facade had never taken hold.  It would never have a chance…not now.


I was taken aback when Sam had us open gifts for each couple.  There, on a background of a lake, his lake, was a poem, written “on the road.”  He had premised that he had lost it years ago and I do remember looking for it in some area of my notes and  writings, but it never appeared.  I thought it gone.  That is Sam…playfully tolerant.  They all are characters (not our wives!) and each brought an element to make the whole.  Not really to understand but to complicity be thankful.  Billy’s immediacy of chuckled one liners, Smitty the author of Smitticisms: “don’t ask me, your the wordsmith, I’m just a Smith.”   Solid in depth and all having one another’s back, even when years lapsed between handshakes.


“He came up to me at work, when we were together for those two years, and said he would see me later.  ‘Yeah, o.k., see you tomorrow.’  And he said no, he was taking off.”  (Smitty, Sam and Butts were married.  I was the last.)  “I said, where?  And Wac said somewhere S.E.  I knew that could be anywhere.  And then he was gone.  Didn’t see him for a year and a half.  But I did get this poem.”


I am not sure where it was written, nor why.  But It was.  And here he produced it in a beautifully framed background picture, which in and by itself, invoked memories.  And it ‘hit’ home.  We were there, in the boat, any of the four of us, pursuing once more the crappies and sunfish that we so enjoyed fishing for.

Lost in thought, they drifted, lazily, uncaring.

Years, man’s depth finder echoed back sixty plus

as waves lapped sides, skull umbrellas pulled low.

Over hidden mysteries floated two, silent, unvarying.


Bobbers, anchored to the cane, high above unknown.

Been awhile, drifted the varying currents,

but back they were, youthful no more.

Test of eight gauged past, future, the prey, still unborn.


Wiser, not much, but learned could not but be

as pencils drew closer, excitement long since contained.

No other stirring on lake, alone to themselves.

Nature had hurt not, they had come to pay the final fee.


Descending hooks below, they readied technique of the skilled,

relaxed when called for, ridged when a must.

Slack taken up, hands tight on their rods

jerked high, pulled in, placed in basket almost filled.

Always, D     1978


What is truly amazing is a love shared.  But more to each core are the amazing women who have stayed true to four nomads who never wavered from each other and covered them from life’s worst with a blanket of love given freely and openly.  We four could not have been more blessed.  And that stands the test of mortal time.

Cheers to all

and love with sunshine

The Wac





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Finding Common Ground

Have not hear rhetoric so heated for a long time.  Fabric being ripped and the soul of a country being tested.  If you saw the movie Deliverance, you know the ending.

There was sunshine…in an uncommon place, when least expected.

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The Gift

unnamed-1December 2015 was crazy.  Literally.  Besides MY birthday on the 19th…we had the various functions of attention and attendance for the upcoming wedding of Ellie, my youngest, to take place on Jan. 10th 2016  (Uncle Billy’s birthday, who would do the honors of unification before God and State.) Thankfully, wedding preparations fall to the feminine side of families, for the most part, so I just had to show up where as Dad I was supposed to.

Christmas Eve to the Cities, Christmas day, Day after, Sadie’s birthday on the 27th, Ellie’s on the 28th and the run up to the magical 10th.  The girls were very content to celebrate their ‘days’ with a favorite meal and dessert with some cards and presents thrown in. Thankfully.

By the wedding day, which sketched a new ‘high’ in my experience notebook, I was ready to plunge down the ‘Sugar coated mountain’ and isolate.  Human contact kept to a minimum, or if extreme in statement, sit in a chair by myself and and practice numbness for a week.  Delightful, wonderful, celebratory, and exhausting.

2016 December carried many of the same excepting the hubris of the wedding.  After 2015, though missing the greatest day of my life thus far, it was a supremely ordinary; ordinary to our family excepting we now had two who live 900 miles away.  They would return on the 22nd.  I could celebrate twice, no worries!!

The girls each asked for a different birthday setting; Sadie desired to have friends from different parts of her life come over for food and games.  Excepting a tug a war between two attendees during the ‘musical chair’ card game named Spoons when two contestants, unknown to the other, decided not to let go of the last spoon, it was fun.  (Reminds me of Grma Honey, patch over one eye, at 89, fighting Ellie for the last one few years ago.  They knew each other!)   Least I am told that took place.  I was gone.  Went to bed at 7:00. Sleeping and pain pills ingested, headphones wrapped on the conning tower.  Sadie enjoyed.

Ellie had let her mother know that she wanted to go skating on her birthday.  When she was young, Amy would go and shovel the pond down below our yellow house on the hill.  (We originally named it Whispering Birch – yeah, lots of birch.  But when you have 3-5 dogs on hand at any one time and a testosterone amped rooster…whispering seems a feeble explanatory adjective.)  My friend Bobby sent me an aerial photograph that he took while working at the Pentagon (holy crap, what other pictures does he have…not my favorite place to…????) and he called it the Ponderosa.  I liked that and have been using it since, but don’t tell the girls, they all think the original is still in vogue – it is, just not to me.  So Amy for four straight nights kept the pond cleared so the family all could go skating on the 28th.  A labor of love.

Amy had shoveled the rink year after year for skating and play.  At least until the snow god got tired of her messing with it and dumped a foot or so.  Usually after dark with the pond moon lit, the bigger dogs out running around, smelling and playing.  I would watch from a window.  It had a sense of mysticism to me.

All the girls would skate a time or two in the beginning, but soon Sadie would kick off her skates and go hunting further in the swamp for natural items of interest or build herself a wigwam of cattails.  Amy never could find skates that did not torture and bailed quickly. And me?   My skating was over years earlier.  But I would hike down when imploringly asked to play the ‘bad Grinch’ and try to catch Ells as she skated around a little island in the middle of the pond.  She in skates and I boots.  I hung in there usually up to an hour, longer than Mom and Sadie, but after that the pond was Ellie’s.  She would stay, skating and twirling, exploring the thrill of the glide, the ease of movement and, I hope, the wind in her hair…oh, forgot, she wore a hat.  This all began when the girls were in grade school and carried on thru high school.   It had been a number of years. She wanted to go again, with the family and Cheol Oh.

The pond had a light dusting on it with the sun playing peek a boo most of the day.  I left a message when leaving to call me when the skate was to commence.  I wanted to drive home and watch.  I had a good vantage point above the pond on an access road.  I was texted that 3:00 would be the time.  I left a little later than I wanted, but got to the spot at 3:20.  No one there.  I waited, obviously, and was about to text to ask the whereabouts of the ‘troops,’ when down the hill from the garage, bodies were moving.   Dogs first:  Evelyn Jane the Cane Corso Mastiff, Jayce Douglas the brown and white Border Collie, Tommy Lee a super sized Pekinese, Bentley Arthur the hound dog who came into the fold this autumn and then of course Pickles Dilly, Ellie’s lovable brat who is Tommy’s mom.   Bentley was singing his heart out while the others zigzagged their way to the pond.  I watched and smiled.

Oh, but you should have seen.  Cheol Oh insisted he had to wear a helmet, so Sadie supplied this 225 lb brother in law her riding helmet, which when worn looks like a mushroom that hiccuped.  Sadie did not want to fall, so she was carrying one of my old hockey sticks.  Amy was carrying two large fold up chairs along with her torture implements.  The dogs hit the ice.  Bentley went into an immediate slide and hollered his head off.  Jayce in super motion circled the perimeter.  The Pekes poked around the marsh grass.  They were loving it.

The chairs were set in place and Amy began lacing skates, Ellie first.  Cheol Oh needed help in getting his tight enough so he was next.  Then Sadie.  A mom all the way!  After they all got off skating and it was truly fun, watching up in the confines of Amanti, my 16 year old car. Ellie began a little ragged, but started to have some of the old smoothness return after a few minutes. Cheol Oh looked like me trying to walk down a hall with my ‘stilts.’  His head a black cropping.  Sadie, well, all I heard was “I don’t want to fall!”  And meaning it.  Amy had to be worn out getting this pack all on the ice at the same time and of course the dogs tried jumping on each and the skaters, making balancing that much harder.  The woman that she is, Amy joined for a lap or two, then took a seat to watch the spectacle.  All acknowledged me up above watching from the car.  I waved back.  The sun was opting clear in the background, shining on the scene.  Rockwell??

Sadie did not fall, but I think she sat down pretty quick.  That left the ice to Ellie and Cheol Oh.  Now these two are competitive.  Play them.  So of course, after a while the RACE had to take place.  Twice around the island.  ‘Robot man’ vs ‘Electric glide.’  Ellie had him in speed and style.  Cheol Oh had her in elbows and girth.  Both had the drive.

They took off and I thought for sure Ellie would take care of him from the start.  But it remained close (Ellie would NEVER let him win to be nice, trust me.  Like her mom -giggle!!)  A little of the rustiness showed on the corners and of course the ‘girth’ seemed to always move in her direction.  Oh such fun watching.  I was laughing out loud.  Then in the final turn and E.G. seemingly gliding to the finish ahead of the Robot it happened.  Cheol Oh, being athletic, flung himself into the air, a complete layout, landing on the ice in a headfirst slide, though not sure he slid real far.  The action caught me so appreciative and unaware, I truly do not know who won!  No matter, the laughter was echoing from below (anyone ever hear Sadie let loose?!)  The dogs all wanted to give him a licking at the same time to show their affection.  Ellie was either doubled up in laughter or pretty tired.  I think laughter.

It was time to go.  But I waited just a minute more to look upon the scene.  My family, the whole lot (well, no, horses and chickens excepted) were down in a bowl like setting, the sun beginning to set, the air dry and clean, the day closing, laughter ringing….

I began to head back to town.  I was gifted to the extreme.








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The Bid


The glint of sun “rouged’ the dappled sky, patting color to the grey clouds.  But the early makeover could not take away from the fecklessness in her depth.  She was feeling the nip of depression; teething on her internals.  Anxiety suffocation.  The auction would begin around 9:00 a.m.  She had never been to one.  Today she had no choice.  It was March.  A year now since she arrived.  The farm lacked feed for Jim, Grpa’s horse.  The green in the piggy bank leveled at sparse.


It had not been a tough winter, outside of ordinary, but it had frayed and strained nerves with its long grey days attended by dreary fatigue that seemed to envelop everything. March added rain, sleet and damp snow, covering what little snow remained.   Hay was at a premium.  A scarcity vexed by a wet summer allowed only two cuttings instead of three; the first crop ruined and the second one left with inadequate drying time prior to baling. Animal pasture was limited too as puddles dappled grass.  The result produced price shock and winter fodder ‘dried up.’  This March auction was critical.

Jim was old.  He had been pressed upon Sarah when Grpa had died and willed her the farm. She had ridden him when she was little and had childhood affection.  Jim, however, was and always would be Grpa’s.  The two of the them together dignified the simplistic love of man and animal.  Gpa had entered Jim in the County Fair a time or two with no false presumptions.   He ‘placed’ once, but that was the only top shelf trophy.  Did not matter. Least ways to Jim.  Twenty-nine years together.  Grpa lost his teeth first.

When she morphed to adulthood her artistic and scholastic endeavors took her ‘off the farm’ and settled her down on the East Coast where she pursued an Art History Major, graduating from New York University.  She went with Grpa’a blessings and some financial help.  Sarah stayed East after cap and gown year and though her income was sparse relative to the environs, she was content.  She nanny-ed and taught at a private school. She was entranced with the lights of the City, the multiplicity of life.  Her roots were cast aside.  Until she was “summoned” home.  It was Spring.

She had come home to care for him.  It was he who had raised her after the accident. Sarah had healed.  Her parents died.  Grpa still worked the farm some, a ghost of himself.  Sarah helped where she could.  She struggled, with the chore life and caring for Grpa. It was not “her,”  nothing of his life ran through her veins. She liked the innate beauty, her youth recalled, but chores sucked the beauty away.  She much preferred her pastures and cows on canvass, not close up and personal.  Though there was no specified time frame left, it was expected his life would evacuate in a year or less.  She had taken leave from her teaching assignment a couple of months early and the family where she took care of the little one wished her well and picked out another nanny.  When she arrived, the appearance of Grpa startled her.   But he kept up, just much slower.  They worked the cows into mid summer, then both realized it was time for the animals to depart.  She was thankful that he was lucid so to help her with arrangements to dispatch them.  Except Jim. In a quiet moment, speaking in whispers while on his bed, set in the living room, he had asked Sarah but one thing.  To care for Jim until he too passed.  That was his only wish. Everything else was Sarah’s to make final decisions on.  Sarah loved ‘Pa.  It was natural to say yes, but deep down she hoped the old fellow would catch the same train Grpa was going to take.  At the same time Sarah could hope.  A sadness sank deep.  A weary push/pull on her heart.  More than a few nights Sarah cried softly toward his end.

Grpa passed that September, when the beginnings of color splashed on the varied foliage. Where the solitude of that summer had freshened her soul during the trying time, the colors specking that Fall in increasing arrangements, variety and realness, rubbed raw.  It also confided memories.  She had forgotten the Season of Color’s  aptitude what with her world being the assorted spray paint decoration on rail cars and buildings.  But income scarcity compounded with her anxiousness to have the settlement concluded prior to the intervention of snow and cold allowed her concern to accelerate.  The rhythm of her life drummed harder toward the muses of the East.  It was time.

When he passed she thought she would ‘close up shop’ soon after the burial, but the estate sale was delayed, the paperwork stalled.  All of the animals were dead or gone, except Jim.  Finding a home at this time of year and the given hay shortage were becoming a burden she did not expect.  When she approached the locals, they wished her well, but no one offered stall space.  His age produced no usage.  A large ‘lawn ornament.’  Some suggested she should put him down.  He was total expense.  But she could not make such a move.  Not with the freshness of death lingering.  Her promise.  She was stonewalled in her pursuit and shackled to the promise.  Such then prevailed a destitution which would not be concluded until Jim was gone.  Would he really care…now?

Her going home to care had strained a relationship; then shredded it.  She was hurt, but the break was not unexpected.  She found strength in the old farm and the ‘songs’ each day provided, chores excepted.  While caring, she tried some part time fillers until it became apparent that she was not able to do both.  Her Grpa needed her more on the constant.  Since the passing, the quietness of the country ‘refrain’ had started to produce a tautness of uncustomary inability which she applied being busy to help buffer.  She abhorred loss of control and the pieces of her life now were interacting to produce doubt. The Farm had become an anchor.  Money was shorn tight and would not be freshened until the sale.  Sarah became hesitant and doubtful.  The kaleidoscope of the City’s clamors were missed.  She knew that she needed to do something, but the immediate grappled with her.  Besides the liquidation of the Farm, she felt the pang of caring for Jim, with nothing really available…or happening on either end of the rope.

Sarah went out by the lean-to and found Jim behind it, out of the wind.  She slogged over to him and rubbed his nose.  He pushed on her hand.  The brown milky eyes stayed constant to her face.  Bending, she touched his nose with hers.  A sigh slipped through her lips.  Turning, she let her hand slide softly off his nozzle and headed to the old truck, head tucked in a hooded sweatshirt layered under a canvas coat.  Oil stains for decorations. Grpa’s.

Jones was at Hidleberger’s  early.   He took a styrofoam cup and poured dark black coffee into it.  It had been a while.  He looked around but did not recognize anyone. He was not noticed.  Even Lucy behind the counter did not recognize him nor acknowledge, though to her credit she was busy getting the bidding numbers organized to the auctioneer’s clipboard.  Jones was a wiry, small and leathered man, cloaked in pants and coat long in the sleeves.  Not typical farm attire excepting the hat.  An insulated ball style cap.  A green stained John Deere with ear flaps untied and the tips limply curled down.  Jones exited quietly.  Age was a benefactor now.

As he stepped away, his hand crossed over his chest to retrieve a cigarette from the left breast pocket.   Cupping his hands, He lit it, allowing the smoke to exit his nose and side of mouth.  Ready now to confront the dampness of the morning with nicotine and caffeine coursing arterially.  He wore no gloves over veined calloused hands.  With the cigarette in the left hand and coffee in the right, he proceeded to examine the hay for sale, slowly making his way down past the various stacks of square and round bales, sectioned in lots for separate bidding.

Sarah hooked up the 10 foot trailer to her Grandfather’s twenty year old pick up.  The lights had quit years previous.  The drive to the auction was about fifteen minutes.  She reached in her purse and took out a pack of nicotine gum, extracting one as she pulled slowly out of the drive onto the county road.  A cigarette would have been grand.


They slowly arrived in pickups and older cars.  Hooded sweatshirts were common along with canvas outerwear and blue jeans, usually over cotton long johns.  They were mostly men, with a lady or two among them, mostly wives.  Lucy was behind the desk in the office preparing the necessary auction bid sheets and numbers.  She was a fixture to all.

The selections were not good.  Fair or Utility at best.  Older hay drug out of back lofts and sheds long stored.   No Premium or Good to be found.  The hay either old or moisture molded.  They examined each stack quickly, conclusively, but with little haste.  The bidders would winnow out the ones they desired and focus on these, while maintaining surveillance on what was happening with the whole.  The need to adjust quickly might occur.  Individually and in twos or threes the bidders made their decisions. The auction should not demanded extreme pricing, but given the scarcity and the need, the outcome would depend on the set minimums, if any, and the pursuant bidding pressure.

Sarah drove in, turning into the left corner of the lot.  As she exited the truck, she pulled on a white stocking cap under the hood and neck wrapped a red scarf to block the stiffening wind.  She ducked under the strap of her purse and began walking toward the mingling crowd.  Quiet banter could be heard from small interacting groups amongst the bales. She was noticed with slight nods.

Sarah saw the sign for the office and made her way to the three steps leading to the door.   She was just about to enter when three men came out.  Backing down, she let them pass, then moved quickly to get in before others came.  The smell of burnt coffee and ‘farm odor’ greeted her.  She glanced at the clock.  8:45.  Fifteen minutes.  She had cut the time close.  She approached the desk.  Lucy greeted her with a quick hello and took down her name on a line with a number, handing her a white cardboard square with the same number on it, her bid number.

As Sarah slid out the door, by-passing a group at the bottom of the steps drinking coffee, she moved quickly to the end where the hay would be auctioned last.  Not as many people so she could see better.  It was where the smaller square bales were. As she inspected, walking faster than she wanted, she heard the horn signalling the start and moved slowly up the line to where the auctioneer began to sound out in rhythmic cadence the bid pricing. She could not truly follow what he was saying except a price shouted out here and there. The men around would slightly raise a hand if they were in engaged, until all were bid out except one.  The auction per hay group did not last long. The pace unnerved her. Sara wondered if she had enough money for anything!  She took what she brought out of her purse and slipped it in her mitten.  Tension increased as the men moved quietly down the aisle, each seemingly knowing exactly what they were doing and what they wanted. No real notice of her.  It was all business.

She knew good hay.  Her Grandfather always had ‘put up’ good.  These were of no such measure.  She knew she should pick out a couple stacks to perhaps try some bidding, but only one looked to be anywhere close to what she could spend, especially after she saw the cost of the early action.  She pulled out her bills and slipped them inside her left mitten.  $80.  These bales, sordid as they seemed, were going for a market price of 6-10 dollars per bale.  The rolls higher. She saw that she really had only one block that might give her a chance.  She went ahead of the bidding, to it, and waited.

Jones had seen Sarah earlier, shortly after she had exited the office.  A girl was different yes, but her youth attended him more.  He smiled. He kept her in sight as he worked the edges of the moving group.  When the auction got to Sarah, perhaps half the bidders were left.  The stack was not the last, but there were not many more.  Jones stood a person away from Sarah, listening.  He scanned the group and ‘took in’ the mix that was left.  Perhaps a couple might be interested in bidding, but Jones had made up his mind.

He looked at Sarah and quickly surmised the need, the anxiousness, the ‘wishing I was somewhere else but desperate look.’  The lot seemed too small for most.  He weaved away from Sarah and in a low bass echoed, “let the youngun have it, let the girl have it.”  He angled through the men and though they heard him remained properly expressionless. “Let it go, let her have it.”  He worked the whole, then stood near her. And waited.  Her attention was totally focused on the ‘Cantor.’  Jones was invisible.

The auctioneer opened up and began the staccato chant, a price at which he had sold the previous batch.  $6.50/bale.  No takers.  He looked about, at the bales, and then dropped to the basement level.

Sarah jolted to attention when she heard $3.00.   The starting number had chinked her heart.  Now she swallowed, took a quick shallow breath and raised her hand.  An emphatically “$3.00” blew past her, then a quickly resounding, “now who will make it $3.50?” the voice was all steel, not tinny.  She was startled.  Sarah raised her hand again. “We got $3.50 who’ll make it $4.oo?”  Sarah felt a hand on her elbow and a low voice spoke gently into her ear.  “You’re bidding against yrself.”  Crimson flamed across her face.  She looked at her feet then to her elbow.  No one there and no face looked at her to acknowledge.  The megaphone voice kept calling…  “$3.50… $4.00?  $3.50…$4.00….” Was it echoing?  Not a man seemed interested.  They stood stolid but uninspired.  The auctioneer could see that some reckoning had happened. He truncated the bidding. “Sold!”

As the group milled to the next, a man came up and gave Sarah a slip of paper on which her bid of $3.50/bale was written.   She had bid and won 20 bales of hay, twice!  And she was the only bidder.  Stunned stiffness slowly ebbed, replaced with thankful relief.  She took the slip and her money inside the office, not wanting to face any rebid!  The business end was concluded quickly.  Exiting, she headed out to get the bales loaded on the trailer and truck.  The auction was concluding as she placed the last of them in the trailer.  It was just past dinner time.  Work to be done for all as they left Heidleberger’s lot.  Milking for most.  Sarah drove slowly.  She rubbed her forehead and felt an ache in her shoulders. Tension still gripped.  But she had done what she needed to.

Realizing a voice saved her from making a complete fool of herself, she smiled when she thought of the men who had not bid.  The ride home had her in puzzling thought, trying to attach one of many faces to a voice.  She just had no idea.  She had been so preoccupied. She wanted to think it was Grpa.  She smiled with that thought.

Jones had started back shortly after Sarah had rung her bid.  He walked down the right side of the road in a slow easy shuffle.   He wasn’t quite sure where he was going.  But it did not matter.  The freshness felt good to him.  The smells,sights and Heidlebergers had give a harmony to his frustrated mind.

A truck pulled close.  He heard his name ‘Jonesy’ spoken out.  The man reached across and opened the passenger side door.  Jones took the proffered ride.  He was not sure where he was being taken.  They drove past farms and fields.  Jones looked at all, seeing with depth but with little understanding.

The truck rolled up to the red brick building and the driver got out.  Jones started to slide out his door as the man came up to him and smiled.  Then he gently walked Jones inside the building where many people in wheelchairs, walkers and crutches milled about.  The man went to the desk and informed a blue clad lady about his ‘friend.’  The lady placed her hands on her hips and gave out a large laugh/sigh.  “Oh Jonsey, where were you off too?? You know you cannot leave the building like that.  You’ll get lost!  Then what would we say to your granddaughter if that were to happen, huh?!”

Jonesy was not sure where he had been, but he felt good.  He looked at the lady and smiled. “I was with her this afternoon.”

That evening, Sarah stroked Jim as he ate.   A small tear formed in her eye.  She would be back in the City soon.


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The Imperfect Tree

31 Croft Road


The long, grainey drive stretched narrowly about an eighth of a mile from  County Rd A splitting the homestead.   The barn with attending milk shed sat on the north side, long used stanchions now quiet with the manure wagon abandoned in back.  The chicken coop to the west faced it like an old tired friend with its crusted floor and an entry door hinged by one.  The two story L-shaped house had a garage with a flap down door which pulled out and in.  The tractor was in an open end shed where the drive ran out of hard packed sand.


A soot glazed chimney sat on the outside of the kitchen with an add-on porch stuck in where the L had formed cleavage.  Red brick splayed atop the roof marked the now dormant smoke stack, plastered on the interior to keep the bats at bay as well as…

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The Imperfect Tree




The long, grainey drive stretched narrowly about an eighth of a mile from  County Rd A splitting the homestead.   The barn with attending milk shed sat on the north side, long used stanchions now quiet with the manure wagon abandoned in back.  The chicken coop to the west faced it like an old tired friend with its crusted floor and an entry door hinged by one.  The two story L-shaped house had a garage with a flap down door which pulled out and in.  The tractor was in an open end shed where the drive ran out of hard packed sand.


A soot glazed chimney sat on the outside of the kitchen with an add-on porch stuck in where the L had formed cleavage.  Red brick splayed atop the roof marked the now dormant smoke stack, plastered on the interior to keep the bats at bay as well as other critters that could and did find the confines tempting.   Displayed was the intrusiveness of age.  He had long ago closed off the house for winter by placing straw bales all around the foundation, shutting off the upstairs with 1/2 inch plywood cut to measure and then placed plastic over the entryway of the unused living room to prevent heat from escaping.  He slept on a cot in the kitchen.  The bathroom was usable, but he dared not try if the temperature dropped deep.  He handled the necessities manually then.

Where once black and white cows produced milk and metal milk containers were placed in the milk house until collection, there was but rusted stanchions and broken concrete. There were never more than 50.  He could do 25 at one time.  The chicken coop from which the heralding of the day or the excited cackling of a produced egg had occurred sat quiet. Paint had peeled from its exterior to allow rot.  The chickens had been butchered years earlier.

To the front facing the blacktop stood tall Scot pines specifically planted when the stakes for the homestead had been driven.  To the Northwest running south were the Boxelders, their quick growth utility and twisted branches forming the wind barrier, prevailing from the Northwest.

Dierk moved slowly to the armless wooden chair beside the wood furnace.   He sat and took one of the black rubber boots and leveraged it over his worn leather one.  Thick fingers grasped and pulled.  Once on, he sat back and reached for the coffee pot warming on the stove.  Off the pine scratched table he grasped the sides of the ceramic cup, a coffee ring marking earlier use.  The fingers could not fit the handle.  Deep black coffee with a hint of heat tipped into the cup.  The rust tasting coffee thick in age felt good.  He replaced the cup on the table.   Resting one arm on his crusted bibs he placed the other ‘outer’ on.   He sat.

The Box Elders had been stripped bare by the winds of November and the land now sat waiting under more than a foot of white.  The necessary winter chores now became less so. The long drive was open enough for the Ford half ton to get in and out with its chains on. The tractor bore the steel mail on its tires as well.  The gravity plow preserved the opening if not fast, assuredly.  The path to the both garage and shed were shoveled only when the snow became intolerable.  The farm was dormant.  He was the only one.

They had married young.  She a neighbor whom he had known his whole life.  ‘Married up’ they said to which he usually nodded affirmatively.  It occasioned the knowing slight smile.  Three children they had to bless over three miscarriages. Where she could take over a room with trilling laughter and mirth, he was stolidly content to just be in her presence.   The children.

He bowed his head slightly and placed his elbows on his legs, hands folded.  The children were heavy on him.

 The youngest but three and could not get her little lungs to overcome the whooping cough.  They had gotten her to town and the doctor but she was frail to begin.  The cough hammered hard.  She died on a chilled March day.

The War had come and his son was off to the Pacific.  A marine.  It was not about pride for him but duty.  How does one even understand an island group named Paulaus? Just that there his son died.  It never said why, the telegram.  Of course the ‘car’ came, but he just politely thanked them and went outside to do his work.  Later he sat in a chair as his wife placed her head on his shoulder and quietly wept.  His eyes were red but then they were always that way.  The outdoors weathered hard on him and his solid body cracked and roughened.  Just the way it was.  That his heart hurt was truth.  He knew.  He stared at the wall and caressed her hair with his calloused red hands.  His remaining daughter was not yet home from college, but would be shortly.  He would hold her up too.

The wedding of his daughter brought a gift of tenderness and salving to protected emotions.  Watching his wife and daughter prepare, when he could, was fond to him. The wedding to a man who seemed good was quietly attended and toasted with neighbors and those of extended family who could come.  The reception was in the yard, with the lushness of summer tuned to the sing along of the animals.  Jim the dog herded anyone that tried to “escape.”  Most had and Dierk commenced to milk.  But not after his wife stood by his side waving the newlyweds goodbye.  He had shook the young man’s hand, looked him in the eye straight and handed his daughter an envelop.  When she opened it as they lost sight of the farm, she found greenbacks in denominations of $1, $5, and $10 bills.  And a note.  ‘Love you, Dad.’

When it came time to get her, three years had gone by.  Three years of his not knowing. That young man drank.  He hit his daughter.  It was an emotion that was so far from his understanding and his tolerance.  He pulled into their drive and had gotten out of the pickup.  No one knew he was coming.  His daughter had answered the door.  She acted happily surprised, but the redness of her eyes, which he knew did not come from the wind, and the black and blue marks on her neck told otherwise.  He calmly took her hand after the hug and told her to pack, she was coming home.  The boy was not home.  She obeyed as if in a trance.  On the drive she sobbed uncontrollably.   He rested his arm around her shoulder as she became his little girl and lay against him.  He never looked in his rear view mirror.

The healing took time, but time is what she needed.  And her mother.  Both balmed her and healing came slowly.  He handled the boy.  When the next one came, he did not do much different, except they went behind the barn to talk.  The conversation went well.  Neither his daughter nor his wife knew.  This man was good.  But now distance would become a chasm.  His occupation required him to move to the West Coast.  The Pastor married them and they were gone.  Neither had wanted anything but.  Both had felt the hollowness of a previous union broken.

As the years passed so too the opportunity for grandchildren.  The visits brief in coming as they were, became less so.   And then the phone rang late one night.  Car…totaled…drunk driver.  Sorry to inform…. He was thankful he had taken the call.  The next days, weeks, months were filled with numbness.  He did what he knew how, worked, and watched silently over his wife.

They had grown up in the Faith.  Christian.  All the tenants and posturing that went with it.  But after his daughter’s death, Evelyn, his wife, began to attend a different “Bible” study, one that was not frivolous and searched the deeper meaning, explored the essence of logic to posture a faith and begin to unwind an essence…essence in the frailty of life and the Holiness of God.  She had told him.  And he listened.  And the bedrock she explained was the authority of God’s Word.   Yes, he knew that?!  But what did he know about it?  He listened to what the Pastor said.  Was he missing something?

She passed in 1960.  Woman’s cancer.  He had told the doctor not ‘to hold back horses’ but the cancer was too spread.  No pain he contended.  They did their best. Evelyn was buried in a plot he bought after they knew she would not be long.  He just never had anticipated.  He never had for any of his.  And of course the service was simple.

He farmed into his late seventies.  Then he quit.  And his tolerance for upkeep slipped off the cliff.  He shuttered in and managed.  Answered the phone.  Took in the mail, mostly from somewhere or someone he knew not.  And his being an only child had stunted that side of the family.  Evelyn’s side tried to incorporate and he did go to a Thanksgiving once or twice, but never Christmas.

No, Christmas was his and Evelyns.  Where it had been totally engrossing for her prior to the children leaving, she had changed when the last child was gone.  Now it had become deep.  Deep.  The Holy music dragged the hollows of her heart and lifted her to a level of immersion in love unlike she had believed possible.   She began to strip down the contents of the World’s placement and simplified.  It was when she asked him what he thought of having a ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas tree and why, he took more notice.  Of course he agreed.  And the two of them would head to the State land and find a ‘shivering’ pine tree needing love.  They put a few decorations on but let it mostly ‘be.’  She would fill the house with the melodic Yuletide songs specific to the Christ.

When they placed the first one is when she explained that her belief in the Gospel is delivered to her heart in a truth that is simple but filling.  It came from the authority of the Bible and that to understand one must let go and learn.  That he would understand she prayed.  He tried.

Hard to shake those old beliefs.  He followed that if he kept his character to church standards he would be doing the right.

He stood up and reached for his jean overcoat, pulling it on over his long johns (constant on him) wool shirt and bibs.  Pulling down the John Deere Hat with flaps, he opened the door while placing yellow cotton gloves over thick hands.  On the porch he went to the far corner and took hold of his crosscut saw and walked out the door.  It was a slow walk.

He had taken some time to think through her speakings to him.  He did not want to just say yes when she asked if he understood.   He was a ponderer at times.  And this took time.  But that last week in the hospital, when they could still converse, he asked how she knew a difference.  The small smile spoke, “because I gave up on myself and gave to God.  And it touches me deep.  Dierk, I learned that you have to forgive all, for all are battling something.  And I cannot do it on my own.  I had to let God do it, but He would not unless I let go.  And I did.  He filled me deep.  He taught me in His Word. I love you so much.  All I have!  I pray peace, Dierk, on you, for you, in you.  I will be blessed any day now.  Please remember, don’t do it yourself.  Let go.  And let His word be your authority.”

He stood outside the door.  Did she say surrender?  The years had passed much like the earlier ones, he holding his character together by will, wit and faith.  The fundamental understanding of God was real…He had felt Him, felt Him, maybe with little understanding, but believed.  But now, these years later, he wanted to pursue more…to the truth.  He was nearing the end here.

“Evelyn, I’m a little hard headed.  But I love you and what you love…and I want to see you again.  Don’t think that is why God wants me to love Him first, I know.  You’re right, we stand before him all by ourselves.  I know He exists, I know He is love, and I know that He is waiting for me to let go.  I believe this because you told me.  And I want to learn more.”

“I’m going to let go.  Today.   And get our tree.  But one that is different.  Imperfect.  Like me.”

And he did.  He ‘quit.’  And let go.

He did not go far, into the Box Elders and found a sapling.  Cutting it he told  himself it was the perfect tree, an ‘imperfect’ tree for the world…as he was imperfect…for Perfection to be placed upon it for him in his place.

Dierk placed the tree on his shoulder and felt…a small glow.  He began walking home.

They found him a week later.  A deep cold spell had come.  The Pastor felt that someone should check on Dierk.  He was found slumped in a living room chair.  In the corner was the Box-elder Tree, tied to opposite window handles to keep from falling.  There was one blue bulb on the tree and three pink and one blue bulb resting at the foot, in a row.  A star was pinned to the highest spot.

A bible was open on his lap.

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The Bench

31 Croft Road

turf-valley-resort-golf-hole-pond 13 tee box13th hole Hialeah, Turf Valley MD.

The golf cart slowed to a stop.  From the passenger side a man in a flowered print shirt pulled his legs from the floor and placed them gingerly on the hot blacktop.  His companion repeated the measure only with athletic smoothness which time had only slightly dented.   It was the 13th hole on the Hialeah 18 at Turf Valley, the annual home of the T-Fest golf and convocation which touched off under, usually, sweltering conditions.  This year was much the same.

Six foursomes had been established consisting of veterans who made consistent attempts to be on hand with newcomers that were coming on the scene, primarily from T- Welsh’s family – shirts and skirts.  The contingent gathered from the mid to upper East Coast and were mostly now dialing in on serious thought to the next course of life, dessert.  The options were as…

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The Bench

turf-valley-resort-golf-hole-pond 13 tee box13th hole Hialeah, Turf Valley MD.

The golf cart slowed to a stop.  From the passenger side a man in a flowered print shirt pulled his legs from the floor and placed them gingerly on the hot blacktop.  His companion repeated the measure only with athletic smoothness which time had only slightly dented.   It was the 13th hole on the Hialeah 18 at Turf Valley, the annual home of the T-Fest golf and convocation which touched off under, usually, sweltering conditions.  This year was much the same.

Six foursomes had been established consisting of veterans who made consistent attempts to be on hand with newcomers that were coming on the scene, primarily from T- Welsh’s family – shirts and skirts.  The contingent gathered from the mid to upper East Coast and were mostly now dialing in on serious thought to the next course of life, dessert.  The options were as open as the various dessert bars found in Baltimore; Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop, Red Mango, Patisserie Poupon…McDonald’s.  Life was winding down.

John Galbally had been gone now Forty-Two years.

The foursome with the ‘flowered shirt’ was second to last in the queue that had teed off at approximately 1:05 pm under a bright blue nether spackled with white.  Humidity cloaked all.  The course itself was emerald green with leafy adornments graciously and hideously tracking the narrow fairways.  It was a best ball tournament, begun over 20 years earlier and had propelled itself into the lore of Phi Kappa Sigma/Penn.  For it was from that three- story Cuboid, laughingly plunked down in the middle of the University of Pennsylvania, thumb to nose, fingers waggling, that these golfers here arrayed had begun their speed boat ride into adulthood. Not before that wonderful interlude of adolescent time in ‘never never land’ had played its hand, though poked hard by Stat 1, Stat 2, Econ 101, and Sociology – The Family. The Captain Hooks’ of  reality.  The years were lacquered with Division 1 sports and inter fraternity endeavors.  Yet it was not a jock fraternity. It was an unique kaleidoscope of shared companionship developed between the years of 1968 and 1976 enjoined with exuberance, laughter, confrontation, joy….and a little beer.

You sure?

Yeah, a little worn.  You go and come back when you reach the 18th.

Alright man.  I’ll be back.

And with that exchange the foursome became three.  Their Captain, D. Tritton,  could see the exhaustion which had crept in.  He gave a thumbs up and looked into his bag.  Jumper smiled and waved, his a little more jerky and those hooded eyes held up by a that unique smile.

THE SWEDE had slid East from Ohio to take his talents into the hallowed Palestra, but found that the walls of Phi Kappa held more sway..  He was like many of his class, multi talented,  but taller.  A lot taller. Smart, quick witted, girted in wryness.  He waved a goodbye salute, after hitting his iron to the fringe of the green, and was gone, taking his group, now minus one, down around the beautiful pond that menaced the green.

He sat in stillness.  The tournament had been under way for over two hours.  He took sight of the Cart Girl who was stopping near his teammates, now by the green.  She alighted her cart and sped toward the statue likeness on the bench..

I have a beer for you!

Great!  Thank you.  Here. Ah…kind of you…them!


He was halfway through his second cigar and another beer was welcomed, even though the brisking wind from the Northwest had begun hammering the humidity.  He thought he heard thunder.  He looked up, high into the now changing skies, then down toward the disappearing cart.  As she drove away, his mind drifted to that night when, in the “Gambler,” he, Q, Schmatz, Gotz and Chuckles had ripped off Pat’s steakhouse.  Danny, a former high school track star was the ‘bag man.’  Had grabbed the “bag,” brimming with cheese steaks unpaid and taken off for Chuckle’s car, a broken down Rambler that had no reverse.  The “Gambler”.  You punched buttons to shift.  The R button was missing. As Danny loped toward them an apron smocked figure wielding a huge knife or hatchet came speeding after, making up ground!    It was dark, they were stoned, and nothing seemed to matter.  Chuckles was laughing while Gotz was yelling for Schmatz to hurry up!  The back door was flung open and Danny slipped in.  The acceleration of the Gambler was not NASCAR material and the ax wielder closed.  But the interlopers began to make steam and, with all now joining in laughter, they headed away, grabbing cheese steaks from the bag while watching the enraged figure disappear ever, so, slowly.

As the Cart Girl pulled away he felt a freshening on his right cheek.  Cracking the beer, his eyes surveyed the 12th green, where the last foursome congregated to plot strategy on a birdie putt.  It was Tom and his brothers,  John and Robert with nephew Rob.  This was their first outing at the tournament.

It was T who had masterminded the tournament, along with Jay years ago when all had tykes.  It was a great time and the T-man had continued to plan and spearhead the annual John Galbally golf fest, herding  the cats each and every year. Sometimes hard to get to with life’s immediacy transcending at inopportune times, but,once there, harder to leave!

John, Chuckles, Galbally, the conquistador herald of goodness, friendship and fun.

Hey!  You taking a vacation??

A breather is all.

You’re on the bench!

Yes, I know.  Jumper pointed it out to me.  One of the reasons I stayed.

You OK?

The best!

allllright….how you getting back?

Q is coming for me when they get to 18.  I’ll see you there.

O.k. brother.  You take care now.

Happy smiles saluted him in passing, after all missed draining the ‘bird’  He watched them loft shots over the pond, one putting on a Welsh body dance, persuading his ball on the short ‘hairs.’.  Another birdie attempt, the last missed opportunity momentarily forgotten. They waved lightly as the  white carts moved off.  He sat alone.


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The bench.  “In Memory of Debbie Welsh.”  T’s wife and the matron of togetherness who solidified the gadflies for so many years. The event started with tykes in tow and now it was pictures of grandchildren, excepting T’s clan who were almost all accountable for.   Deb had hosted the Friday night gatherings along with her wonderful sister Peg, which, in the earlier days, measured up to the ‘front door’ of the Frat, but never inside!   She was the balance who had been with T and the gang since he hustled her away from a Penn State football player and she garnered Phi Kap status.  Indeed, many of the ladies had been with their ‘boys’ since those days. Tom and Deb were part of the club until the sudden wickedness of cancer claimed her.  T’s “brothers” were shell shocked and had come in numbers to her funeral, to say goodbye and support their friend. The bench was a simple but warm way she would always remain a part.

The sky rumbled and flashed.   There was a possibility all golf would cease.  However, it never passed to that stage, simply  dripping lightly, like moist eyes shedding infrequent tears.  The cooling felt nice.

I miss you.  And the others who have followed.  I never took the time to really tell Malcolm what a warm person he was: Sincere.  Wickedly funny in a dryness that stunned.  And Kenny.  He made me laugh with his cadence of New Jersey stories.  The Gotts?  He stripped my heart naked with his sardonic genius..  And Debbie?  How she could hang with this rift raft and maintain the decorum of civility!  The school ‘marm’ to all, excepting T!

He suddenly felt compelled to talk about the brothers and sisters on the course…to tell him just a little something.  His mind floated over the various carts:

Ron is here, looking better than ever.  T calls him our Spiritual Leader, as he is.  All the Big Five are present; Gordo, Mobey, Doc, Jim-Bob and Swede.  I always found it compelling that given the characterization of the group, they never ‘lorded’ it over the “house,” but grafted with all.  We little five never got the traction they had.  Ah, we did, but it was different I guess.   And they held it so strongly along with several others of their class, a togetherness -bond which coronated  the years.  Frank, Ollie, Josh, Newall, others; all were equals, all for one you could say.  It carried on to us, don’t you think?.  And man, were they all so very different. But then, so a like.  That was the embodiment of the next class and then ours.  A standard likeness .

Tony Jackson has been a great friend for Mobey these years.  Worked together.  He can handle his share of beer and hit a shot when needed.  Frank is here.  Always a gentleman and one who cared truly for you.  I mentioned Jay, but also Lisa, who has come before, brought Anne this year.  They got rid of the medical smocks for the weekend and are playing with Pam, Jimmy’s wife of a million years and Tina, Swede’s better half, though half his size.  Jim Bob has always been one of my favorites, if there can be such.  The guy just has the smile that accepts all.  And Doctor DuPont’s laugh continues to crack me up.  Successful all…but that is beside the thought.

Stew and Robby are stringing along too, the “Brew”typically with his family, the hilarious Roe and crew, but Stew shot in stag this year.  The continuous optimist with a warmth that ‘hugs’ all.   Robby is diving coach at Penn and continues to be athletically involved.   Good golfer too.  He and Jack Samanski ‘threw’ me a couple of years ago with their play, only to find out Jack’s whole family grew up playing!  Joe made it back one year but this year Jack brought his younger brother for the first time, Jim.  He had stayed in the Midwest for college.

It was sweet when Dickie was able to come.

Denny Dear, T’s Life Partner now that Gotts left us is out talking his ball around the course.  He loves all sports and has been a kick.  Amy, T’s daughter, has her husband and his brother involved this year as well.

And of course here is T.J.  He of all reminds me of you, excepting I don’t think you would have kept up with him on the golf course.  No matter, he has that infectious smile which propels warmth.  He has led more brothers to be able to place their names on the John Galbally trophy than anyone.  Believe me, Q and I wouldn’t be inscribed without him!

The sky began to break, slits of light skidding through the openings.  He took one last pull on his lager and saw in the distance a white cart ‘speeding’ his way.

That will be Q.  Chuckles, we had a time, didn’t we?   Q, Dirch, T and us?  All three have made good and are still on the ‘fairway’ of life, with Dirch and T having grandchildren.  Q decided, what the heck, his girls were so fun why not have a second batch!  I can’t say what hurdles or holes any or all have fallen or tripped over, but I know we all have.  God put you in our path those many years ago and we stumbled onto an hilariously joy ride that your going tore up.

The cart came to a smooth stop.  Think interstate, New York, rush hour!

Hey you good?


Hop in, we are ready  on the 18th.

You hitting alright?

I just wish they would pick a sport we could kick their asses in!

They don’t have to, you just being here kicks their asses

As they skirted the holes heading to the 18th, the passenger couldn’t help himself. Looking up into the sky, he remarked;

I love you man

Yeah, me too.  Just wish we were closer.

It’s fine.  It’s right now.  I’ts fine.

They drove up to the t-box on 18, a short par three.  They looked down on a small green guarded by trees, sand-traps and now at least 14 carts waiting, watching and ‘drinking in’ the last two foursomes.

He surveyed the gathering from his seat, never once moving out of the cart. He could not make out who was where but he knew who was there, and not.  He felt a twinge in his heart.

Q…I love that sight.  Go hit the damn ball right into them!

The NOW was indeed fulfilling.  Once again he was sitting on the ‘ledge.’



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