"Delacroix" from a Great Song

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin’ for a while on a fishin’ boat
Right outside of Delacroix
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind, and I just grew
Tangled up in blue

Bob Dylan, 1974, from Tangled Up in Blue

If you figure you know all about life in America, I encourage you to watch this new documentary. I think you’re gonna learn a lot. I know I did! About nutria, the Cajun culture, heard them talk, dance & make the environment better with their guns. Let me know, if I’m right.

I never use the Google Assistant that came with my Android phone. Today it linked to a phishing email that I’ve gotten dozens of times. It claims to be from my radio club prez, who asks me to wire big $$$ right away. I’ve reported it to Google many times as spam & phishing!

After no snow since 15 Nov, we finally got 6” last night, drifts to 12” and still snowing. It’s comfy warm at 31 & the snow is very wet, perfect for snowballs/men/forts. What’s wrong with kids these days? I don’t see any out playing. They could even get good IG pics.

My 1st & 2nd grade teachers wrote in my report cards to my parents that I really liked books, liked to read them aloud & always spoke the words in a way that showed that I understood them. I was surprised to read this, as it was my brother & father who were the book worms!

Books No.1

Okay, I guess that was actually a reply to Manton. So here’s another fresh message written and posted using speech to text on my Android phone. I hope you’re all impressed now!!! 😃🐯🎉

My High School Graduation

Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

In the public domain

My Story

I used the last lines of this poem in my high school graduation speech as Class Salutatorian. All three speakers that day were required to use Robert Frost poems in their speeches, as Frost had died a few months before, after a career in which he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature 31 times.

Ganzel Bennett, the guidance counselor who supervised the speeches, got me to change my speech to have the last lines refer to the fact that some of us in the class were going off to college and that was gonna make a big difference in our lives for the better. Years later I found my speech in a box and was horrified to read that I was basically putting down our classmates who were not able to go to college, or chose not to go. Because I was young and had not developed a backbone, I had not told Bennett to shove it, that they were my clasmates too and my friends and I certainly wasn’t gonna put them down or speak at that turning point in our lives about what might be the best choice for any of us.

Fifty plus years later I flew back home to our high school reunion, the main reason being that I wanted to apologize to my classmates. Before the Saturday banquet, I told the MC I wanted to give a short speech. Wellllll they had planned a pretty extensive program. so he wasn’t sure there’d be time for that. . . . I decided I would be giving my speech regardless of that. When the time came, he yielded the floor to me and I told the story about my speech. Probably no one had any recollection of my speech at all and no one was carrying a grudge or hard feelings about my having insulted them.

But when I got to the part about my missing backbone and the fact that I considered them all my friends, and still do, it was verrrrry well received. I got a big round of applause and some cheers. At the end, the MC took me aside and told me he was really glad I had spoken. I felt MUCH better about what I had considered was very rude on that graduation day.

Bennett is long gone and forgotten at the school. And so was I, except by some of my classmates. Today the Frost poem went into the public domain, so I was able to print it here in full. Of course it was my favorite poet, not Frost, who was actually awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature recently. I’m sure Bennett would have been horrified if I had made any mention of that poet, but I didn’t even know Bob Dylan existed in May 1963.

What Was Even More Memorable

I think what many more people remembered from that graduation was that our Concert Band performed the 1812 Overture as a prelude to the graduation ceremony. I had campaigned and won the position of President of the Concert Band my senior year and I had convinced Kruzan to let us perform the 1812 Overture as the prelude to our big day. I was far more excited about that than I was about walking up on the stage to read Bennett’s speech. Larry Doolin pounded out the cannon fire on his big bass drum. It was glorious.

And to this day, I sometimes find my tongue in my cheek and remind my wife that I am The President of the Concert Band!

Robert Frost:

An End & A Start, 2018-2019
The last 24 hours has seen a lovely explosion of blogging here. With the holidays, people seem to have more time to write about their lives, both about this year & their hopes & plans for the next. Here are my thoughts. Image: snow in a forest.

Maria Callas and Patti Smith

On 8 Nov 1998 I met Patti Smith & bought her new lyrics book, Patti Smith Complete. I was just getting to know her. She already felt like a close friend, a sister to me. When I got home I opened the book and was surprised to find her writing about Maria Callas in her introduction.

I was especially moved by Maria Callas. Her emotional intensity. How she seemed to draw from every fiber to create a whisper. Her arias soared from the turntable. . .

The image of an elegant Callas sitting at her piano at home was on the next page in the book. Oddly, this told me that I had a lot to learn about Patti Smith! Callas was born in 1923, more than twenty years before Patti or myself and she had been gone for more than two decades when I got the book. Of course, I knew who Callas was, but I had no recollection of having ever seen her perform. But I made a mental note to be open to exploring her work when the right time came.

It came today, when I saw a video of her singing Tosca. It was obvious why Callas had been a big influence in Patti’s early life. She performed exactly the way Patti had described her.

My thanks to the one who provided me with that link.

I Have a Dream

That one day you’ll no longer have to explain why there are no Likes on Micro.blog

Because they’ll already know why that’s better!

One Person Can Change a Lot

I think one thing we might reflect upon around this time is what a huge difference one person can make in this world. Jesus was living in the Middle East over 2,000 years ago and look at what a huge impact he still has in this world every day! Lincoln is another. He was on the political stage for a very short time, but look at what he accomplished.

It concerns me to see so much pessimism, especially among young people since the 2016 election. Self reliance, hard work & optimism have always seemed central to the American Way in my mind. The country has been through very rough times before, and yet the overall trajectory has been upward, for a better world, in large part due to the individual actions of many great people. I am optimistic that this can & will continue into the future.

After all, we now have the advantage that, more than ever before, men & women of all kinds of backgrounds, races, cultures, religions and more have a real opportunity to contribute to our path forward. Surely this will lead to good things. That’s how I see it anyway.

My friends, I hope you will all enjoy a wonderful holiday season and will be ready to do more great things in 2019 and years to come.

On the impact of Likes and images on the web, there is this. It goes back to when Google pulled the plug on its RSS Reader, which led to tough times for some blogs. It turns out @manton wasn’t the first to focus upon encouraging conversation in rebuilding from the ashes.

Warriors Named Sportsperson of the Year
“…impossible to overlook the influence that the Warriors, as a collective group, have had on their sport and the broader culture over the last half-decade. . . the likes of which we might not see again for decades, if at all.” 🏀

I got the new iOS update of the official app. Zoom-in to all images is now working and auto-fill of user names is working, both GREAT 👍 features. Thanks much!! @manton

Went out to dinner with friends last night. I had the special: a Sloppy Joe with fries, the first I’ve had in many years. I used to eat them regularly for lunch in junior & senior HS. The one last night (with mustard) was so sloppy, I had to eat it with a spoon. Yum! 😋