I remember as a younger person staring at the stars for hours. I learned to find the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, Orion, The Pleiades, Gemini and many more. To really see stars, you have to go outside the city. The mountains of New Mexico are a good star watching spot. Best night of star watching I ever had was on the way to Lincoln, NM. We pulled off the road and laid on the fenders and just looked. Ghost Ranch in NM is another good spot. The Milky Way is so close and so bright you can almost feel it.
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Last night I ate a Mozartkugel, a Austrian/German confection I’d never heard of before. Someone brought it to book club for the discussion of “The Afterlife of Stars.” It set me to thinking about favorite candy that I’ve loved. Chocolate has always been the favorite, changing over the years from gooey sweetness like Mounds bars to the darkest of dark chocolates I love now. Now I happily down the 85% cocoa bars that I would have found bitter as a younger person.
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It’s a plaid Pendleton wool shirt that used to belong to my dad. If I wear it long enough to get it warmed up, I can smell my dad’s sweat. I don’t do that very often, just when I really miss him and know his smell will make me feel closer to him. I have other things of his – his pocket knife, a carved duck – but they don’t carry a scent like that shirt. It takes me back to . . .
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The mambo is popular in my exercise class, but the dance I learned early and used all my life for every kind of music imaginable is the two step. Not the country-western two step they do in Texas dance halls. The two step that is two steps one way and one step back. It works for swing, rock, even techno dancing. You know that old saw about how the world would be a happy place if every child was given a ukulele at birth? Well, I add that every child should be taught to do the two step as soon as they are steady on their feet.
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Do you remember how to do things the old fashioned way? What if you were in a place like Puerto Rico and had no electricity? Ignore all the rest of their problems like water and impassable roads and no medicine. Just imagine doing without electricity.
I could make a fire and cook over it. I have a fireplace in my house so it could help keep me warm. I have a few candles, not many, to keep the dark away.
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In my long lifetime I’ve been through many life changing events. An early one I recall was missing the school bus at age 6. I remember running after it yelling, but it went on without me. I don’t think I’ve been late to anything since then.
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Out the door, on the bike, and gone. Go anywhere in 5 minutes and be back home before my mom knew I wasn’t there. But it didn’t matter where I was, because the town was so small the whole place was my own personal backyard. Now when I leave my doorstep and close the door on my family I walk into a crowded world where . . .
Write something. You. Yes, you.
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When I was a kid there was a DJ on the La Junta, Colorado radio station everyone listened to. He would greet us many days by announcing that it was a bright, sunny day. That was the phrase he always used. I thought it was kind of funny that he used the same phrase so often, but looking back on that old memory I finally appreciate his cheerfulness and encouragement. Let’s have a good day today. After all, it’s a bright, sunny day.
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Where I grew up most of the freight trains came carrying sugar beets. Open topped cars filled to almost overflowing with big white beets. When the sugar factory on the north side of town was operating, the stink filled the whole town. But like the cattle feed lots that joined in the stink, nobody complained about ‘the smell of money.’
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My grandmother didn’t curse. When really frustrated she would spell out S-H-I-T. Maybe she cursed when I wasn’t around. But her son, my father, couldn’t get through a sentence without some sort of curse word. He used to brag that he talked like a drunken sailor. He never said a goddam thing that didn’t need a strong curse. And me, what position do I take on cursing?
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