In Memoriam, Of Me

I was sitting out front at the small table, waiting for Godot to come by and liven up a summer afternoon, when a very large yellowjacket settled on my mustache. I had not been bothering it as far as I knew, although it is true that near to me was an insect trap containing scores of similar black and yellow corpses. Perhaps some of them were friends or relatives of this particular beast, who knows?

I might have asked several questions of my visitor but I didn’t want to move my lip and perhaps enrage it. Our local yellowjackets are easily disturbed little buzzers, and sometimes will sting you just because you’re there.

But in perhaps less than ten seconds my life – past, present, and future, flashed before my eyes. I thought of how much it would hurt to be stung in that sensitive location, and how grotesque I was going to look with an upper lip the size of a dinner plate. I thought of the little children who would be frightened by my appearance, and of the resultant traumas to their miniature psyches.

I thought of how it is so much worse to be bitten by a poisonous serpent on the face, because it is such a short trip to the brain in those cases, and I wondered if something similar would be operative with regard to wasp venom. That the poison would go right to my gray matter and either scramble it or worse.

I thought of the mourners lined up for blocks to pay their respects and walking past a closed casket (my remains being too horrible to look at ). I could hear the stirring eulogies and see the copious tears flowing behind the long black veils. It was all an impressive sight, and too, too, spiritually uplifting. Without meaning to do it, my lips began to move as I silently mouthed the words to Knocking On Heaven’s Door.

And then the wasp flew off.


I was getting a pretty good send-off there. Almost hated to see it end.

Knocking On Heaven’s Door, by Bob Dylan



When I introduce vignettes taken from my childhood or adolescence, it is only that at this long remove that I find some of them touching. The person I describe was intensely concerned about appearance, status, and trying to avoid at all costs the dreaded not looking cool. Why I find them touching is that the moments of cool in my life turned out to be few and sadly brief. But that young man didn’t know it, along with a raft of other stuff it would have been helpful to have a clue about. I give the kid credit for doing what he could with what he had to work with.

You’d do the same for your inner adolescent, n’est-ce pas?

Not all of my memories are crystal clear, but one of them is of a perfect summer night in 1956. Our community was putting on an open-air dance, with a street barricaded off, some hot dog and beverage booths along the curbs, and recorded music playing loud and proud. It was maybe around eight o’clock, hot and humid, and I was walking down the street in jeans and a red-and-white striped plissé shirt … no, wait, I was swaggering down the street in that same shirt with no particular place to go or be but “Don’t Be Cruel” was blasting from a rudimentary but lusty music system and there was no way in the world that I could have felt more copacetic.

As I am recalling the evening, I am cleaning it up just slightly in honor of our protagonist. The sweat that made that shirt stick to the torso, the ugly mass of Double-Bubble that had to be scraped from the bottom of his shoe, the cowlick that even Wildroot Cream Oil couldn’t tame. I am altering it because I want the kid to have an even better night, this time around.

Don’t Be Cruel, by Elvis Presley



Sign found on restroom door yesterday in a local restaurant. Realizing that I could neither play the flute nor fly I decided not to enter, but just be uncomfortable.


Some cool birds seen on our walk this past Thursday included a black-throated hummingbird and a bobolink. Looking for pics I stumbled across a four-minute documentary film devoted to the calls of the bobolink. Say what you will about the state of the world, somewhere there is a person who took the time to put this together. Created something lovely just for you and I to enjoy and learn from. Too often I allow myself to be sidetracked by the ugly and in doing so I miss the beautiful.


We are angry, even though we clearly saw it coming. That a 2/3 majority of the Supreme Court regards a woman as little more than an incubator for society to use as it wishes. That she has no say about what happens within her own body. That the right to privacy we’ve been told we had for fifty years … well … fageddaboudit.

What cruelty these six are knowingly meting out, especially for women who are unable to leave the backward states where pregnancy terminations will soon be all but illegal in every way. Let’s remember their names and write them in the Book of Ignominy: Roberts, Gorsuch, Alito, Kavanaugh, Barrett, Thomas.

A court majority that will strip away these protections so easily from one group could turn its attentions to you or I in a heartbeat. It is a rogue court and not to be trusted with our freedoms. And to whom do we appeal when we have a court that is now discarding precedents at will?

Shame on the lot of them. The NYTimes editorial on June 25 says so much better than I can the harm that has been done.

Here is a graphic map of the states and their present approaches to abortion access. You can see that Colorado is an “island,” and it is expected that there will be many pregnant women who choose to make the trip to our state in the days to come. We are sorry for those who must make this journey because their state of residence has stripped them of their reproductive freedom of choice, but Colorado’s doors are open and all are welcome.


The header photograph is not one of mine, but it is so striking that I borrowed it for today. What has happened this week in the courts is that a storm has been kicked off, and at this point we don’t know where the harms will strike or when.


The worst government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.

H.L. Mencken

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.

H.L. Mencken


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