We snickered and elbowed each other.
Mother’s unseen scowls branded the back of our heads. (“Everyone will think I’ve raised heathens.” We did our best with that.)
Contagious wiggling on the split log benches wasn’t due to mosquitoes this time. The campfire popped and snapped.
The scene was set.
A solemn announcement,”If you have dogs, please keep them silent. Any dog howling during the ceremony, will be immediately killed.”
Smugly, we watched the neatly dressed hotel stayers hustle Fluffy back to the car.
It wasn’t like the perfumed pooches woke up one morning and said, “Hey, I’m a-hankerin’ to rough it. Let’s go out into the wilderness and pretend to be frontier setters.”
Each night in the National Parks there were Ranger Talks with a HUGE campfire in a natural amphitheatre.
A night of history of the park, archeology, or geology. Or the park’s natural environment and animals – with objects passed around! Thrilling local stories and legends. Sometimes a sing-a-long. Maybe a performance of some sort.
Then the program rotation started over. (And it was time for us to move on to another park.)
Upon arrival, we raced for the program listings folder at the Ranger Station’s Visitors’ Center.
Yes! There it was!
It was educational.
It was something to brag about back home. Fodder for the “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” essay.
A real ceremonial dance by real Indians!
Couldn’t get any better
Better than seeing Lassie or Trigger or getting that stuffed Smokey Bear with the hat that was always whined for but never ended up going home in the car.
Honest to goodness Indians with headdresses. Moccasins. Drums. But no war paint. (Whew!)
The drums and chants would roll and thunder off the mountains.
Bigger than any movie theater sound system.
Some of the dancers would leave after performing, but a few would stay.
Kids would scramble forward excitedly blurting out questions to the men as tall as the shadows.
Awkwardly at the back, I was silent.
Now if it had been Lassie or Trigger or Rin-Tin-Tin, it would have been different.
But these were people.
Not some trained performance animal.
Not foolish tourist attraction.
The silent old man seated to the side with the drum startled me.
“You may touch it.”
Cautiously I inched forward.
Wiped off my fingers on my shorts (like that would do any good). And with great care, reached out.
He softly explained the deer hide and adornments tethered.
Eagle feathers. Real ones. Ceremonial.
He smiled softly.
Didn’t know whether to curtsey or not. Not having been around many aristocratic elders.
Whispered something. “Thank you. It’s very beautiful.” Or something.
He looked up and nodded – at my dad behind me.
My dad as tall as the shadows.
Then a return to ordinary: flashlights, fading chatter, and the night’s dark echoes.
Walked the dirt path back to camp in imaginary moccasins of the softest rabbit skin.
Under that blanket of stars that warms across time.
No poodles died that night.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Related posts and Summer Vignettes
- “Flight of the gypsies” Intro. Summer beckons. (Stay on your side of the car…)
- “On the Mesa. Lines drawn.” Down Santa Fe way. Groceries and common denominators
Also of interest:
- James Garner (From The Rockford Files/Maverick, a western in the 50′s) Died recently at 86. Man of style and wit. Oh, he was Cherokee heritage. NYTimes
But not sure if these are actually what was meant.
You can’t run far enough.
Stalking by any definition.
Some tune stuck in your head wasn’t enough, now there’s the irritation of talking objects.
Do you remember those freakish car alarms that admonished if you got too close?
“You are too close. Step away from the car.”
And it would continue to scream even as the baseball bat or tire tool bashed in its’ little hood or door.
People didn’t like getting yelled at by a car.
Owners might as well have painted a bull’s-eye on the car with a sign saying “Smash me!”
(And that was before people became rageaholics and prone to violence as they are today.)
Most owners figured it out pretty quickly and disabled the stupid thing.
So what are they thinking with these two new little voices?
Attempting to drive people completely over the edge, then haul away targeted individuals to the loony bin?
That’s one way to win an argument.
Knowing what’s best for you, the USDA is cheering a new way to encourage healthy eating!
Get ready for cheerful $30,000 talking grocery carts that will compliment you when you select food on they deem healthy.
That should really help bring food prices down.
Especially if the stores have to follow the other suggestions of the 80 page USDA report that hopes to “Change the choice architecture of the food retail environment.”
- Store employees will act as “ambassadors” and explain incentives and different reward programs for choosing certain foods. (One suggestion offers free movie tickets if healthy food purchases are made!)
- Store visual displays, signs, ceiling banners, shelf talkers, and freezer door clings could point the way to healthy food choices.
- Grocery stores could create “healthy aisles and place targeted foods in more visible retail space”.
- USDA will recommend standards for how shelves should be stocked.
- And of course stores must change healthy promotions every so often so shoppers do not “become bored” or ignore all the signs and stuff.
- (Maybe the USDA will just open their own grocery stores. It’ll be optional to shop there. At first…if you like your grocery store….)
Now doesn’t this all sound like FUN!
The USDA seems to think those exhausted workers running in after work to pick up some groceries quickly will be amused and encouraged by game show techniques and scavenger hunts.
So let’s see, considering the fate of those annoying car alarms….
You want the baseball bat or shall I attend to the cart?
I know, why risk shoulder injury when a shove into traffic is just as satisfying?
(Do you think the resourceful
thieves will roll them to the pawn shops or straight to recycle-for-money places?)
Yes, we hear you….and they will,too – with Toyota’s help.
A new feature is making some noise in the 2015 Toyota Sienna minivans.
(Could also health related. Imagine that.)
Understanding parents are so stressed and tired, Toyota has added some reinforcements.
With seatbelt mandates, the kids in the back know drivers can’t reach around and grab them like Homer Simpson does. Won’t risk a possible wreck.
Vocal cords can just strain so much. There’s a limit to how loud and how often parents can shout “Don’t make me come back there!”
Toyota’s answer is Driver Easy Speak.
There’s a built in microphone for the driver that delivers amplified threats and warnings to the little charmers through speakers in the back seats.
The company says no need to strain or raise your voice, but you know drivers will anyway. Habit.
Wonder a bit about that.
Any chance of busting ear drums with amplified shrieks? I’m sure they thought of that. Mom would feel horrid if a moment of frustration caused hearing loss…the kid would use that guilt trip FOREVER.
Any chance we’ll be seeing videos of some drunk high school/college kid in the back befuddled by voices coming out of nowhere? Bets?
Then there’s the horror show potential….Can hear the scripts being cut and pasted as we speak.
The best part is that it’s a one way system: the kids can’t scream back.
Not through the speaker system anyway.
But kids are creative…and have new issue lung power.
It’s a noisy world these days.
Noise pollution seems to be a growing concern.
Silence is golden. Especially with grocery carts and cars.
Don’t want to interrupt the music of choice.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Someone at the EPA needs to listen to those little voices of caution and commonsense in their heads.
(Always knew they were playing games in Washington, DC.)
A friend. Window rolled down. Big sky.
Sometimes it’s enough.
Down roads past places like Buffalo Creek and Dennison Springs. Over by Keechi. Past Mt. Alba, Tennessee Colony, Grapeland, and Long Lake, to Palestine.
Things greener this year due to rain. Water noted in the Trinity River.
We ran without time.
July 4th and Supermoon – tributes, perhaps.
Well chosen. Well bestowed.
We lost two recently. One 88 yrs. One 102.
The 88, a Marine by the time I was born, was a cousin. Well, not really, But he was.
He’s been “taken in” as was said then when people made sure their own family obligations were met, then reached out to help neighbors.
Back when there were conversations for adults and those appropriate for children, we were told our aunt, an elementary principal, discovered this boy and his siblings “in a poor situation” – “dirty, sleeping on the floor . With a mother unable to care for them.” He was takin’ in by my aunt and uncle.
Being childless, my aunt was sensitive that others would say she was “stealing another woman’s baby”, so she insisted the boy keep his given name – and that he remain close to his brother. As a small child, I always thought his given last name was simply his middle name – like people called out “Betty Sue” or “Lizbeth Anne”. Seem logical.
After my aunt died, my uncle told the boy that he’d always considered him his son, and would he mind if he officially adopted him and made it legal. My cousin – who was getting up in years himself – broke down in tears and said he’d always thought they never formally adopted him because he wasn’t good enough or something.
Goes to show it’s hard to know how things go. Anyway, we had a big party. But he was and always had been my cousin.
At his service, his mama was mentioned as hie “mother”, but my aunt and uncle were called his parents. That should have pleased everyone.
The 102 year old – we thought he’d break the family record.
(102 is nothing out of the ordinary …but we made them stop driving when reaction times slowed…about 95)
A fractured hip may have slowed him down, but he remained clear-headed until a stroke. Even then the fog cleared quickly.
Out of the hospital, managing therapy well, and back playing Bingo, he made an announcement recently to his daughters.
He was “ready to go. “
Now that may not mean much to you, but when I was small and (great) Aunt Georgia saw her last childhood friend pass on, she decided one day she had done enough and told my dad she was “ready to go”. And by goodness, within 48 hours she laid her head down to sleep and that was it. Never underestimate.
So my remaining uncle decided.
And true to family tradition, he laid it all down and went on in his sleep.
The last of a great generation.
Which is making my eldest cousin a bit nervous.
He’s now the patriarch of the family.
Unsettling to him as he was always more the dashing playboy type with the convertible than the source of wisdom and direction.
We’ve told him we’re expecting a good 20+ years out of him yet.
And we’re expecting parties of more the entertaining kind rather that the ones we’ve gathered for recently.
So we’ve run down this road before.
For some reason it’s always looks both old and new.
Farms change hands, cows are different colors, but the pastures, the land, and the sky are constant.
Good lives well lived. Good roads there to travel.
A friend, an open window, and the clouds rolling by.
Sometimes it’s enough and all you need.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
Summer we were gypsies
Dirty knees. Dusty feet. Didn’t care.
Unchecked by clicking clocks or ringing bells.
Conspicuous outcasts in laundromats
Did people move away? Never noticed.
We, a traveling troop apart from the world.
Ordinary left behind. Walked away. Every summer.
On a mission: to live life and see what there was to see.
Wet washrags over faces the only hope for cool in car.
(Up before dawn to run across hot Painted Desert roads)
Screams and pleas of “Two-headed snakes!” That didn’t work, but the jackalope did…
Well, we needed gas anyway.
(Clean bathrooms! Stop there!)
Simplest things cherished
Level dry tent site at each National Park
Ground soft enough the tent stakes could be pounded in – yet hold in sudden storm.
A community water faucet close by.
Banging the bathroom before going in. “Any bears in there?” – and there weren’t. This time.
Local grocery store cashiers didn’t bother with pleasantries. Obviously not big spenders.
Always the same: bread, tuna cans, apples, carrot sticks, one small milk.
Those little boxes of cereal. (Pop along dotted lines on side, pour milk, and gulp. Sugar! No dishes! No way it could be sweeter.)
Park Rangers, though, did smile.
They knew us pretty well pretty fast.
Nature talks on hikes.(Quick to wiggled like cutting horses with a herd to get to the front of the tourist pack.)
Nightly campfire programs. (Seated on giant split logs worn smooth by tourists’ bottoms.)
Nightly. A show. (Keep that flashlight down on the path. Rude. Snakes.)
And very small, we’d stand.
Amid rushing wind applause at the spectacle.
Among excited whispering trees.
In awe of the elegant sweep of stars across the dark dark sky.
Then we’d return to earth. Pad our paws softly back to tent to contemplate.
(And desperately hope the mother skunk and her brood would once again stroll in the front and out the back of the floorless tent without pausing to consider the possibilities.)
Now the clock is ticking. Sights going unseen.
Wrapped by walls.
Here is existence. Only a shallow one.
The doors and windows shut tightly, but too late.
The bear and my heart are already over the mountain. To see what we can see.
Summer gypsy soul,
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Read more? “On the Mesa. Lines Drawn”
It’s on the wind. Rio is still calling!
Sailors, some board, but never bored, are pulling up anchors, stowing duffles, and plotting a run towards Brazil’s Guanabara Bay in August to prepare for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
There’s a great deal of excitement – not just about the competition and races – but about the flotilla on the courses.
Not just talking trash.
It’s the cow carcasses, refrigerators, and tires.
Those unidentified weird and lumpy floating objects.
Not to mention the invisible swirlings.
Almost 70% of Rio’s sewage – untreated – pours into the water.
Enough Industrial waste enough to make anyone squirm and itch.
The IOC has confirmed that the Olympic body will not independently test waters to determine health risks for athletes.
Rio is supposed to be doing that.
Nor will the IOC offer any interviews with the IOC Medical Director, Dr Richard Budgett, about potential health risks like Hepatitis A, dysentery, cholera, and more.
Alistair Fox, of the International Sailing Federation, has seen the fecal content reports.
It’s not safe.
If you’re sailing, you’re wet.
The video is of Adela, not an Olympic competitor, but you can see what it’s like even under good sailing conditions. The Adela is a 180 feet/55 meter classic schooner – a predecessor of the J-class America’s Cup racing boats.
Sailors have reasons to worry.
Even on the big boats.
Especially the wind surfers, and small boats skippers that are often in the water, frequently drenched, and splashed in the face.
Not to mention running into a sofa can spoil a day of sailing. (Brazilian reporter/local sailors talk about the conditions. Video)
Starting August 2nd, sailors will be unfurling sails to practice on the five planned race courses: three in the bay and two in the Atlantic Ocean.
The course that will host the medal race which determines who gets the Gold, will be held in Guanabara Bay near Flamingo Bay.
There fans can be close enough to watch the races.
A bit of a concern are the signs on the beach warning the water is unsafe for swimming.
Hopefully, Brazil is serious about cleaning things up.
China did an outstanding job cleaning up before their Olympic sailing events. Even hiring every little tiny boat in existence there to make sure sailors only had to dodge sea creatures and each other.
Everyone wants to keep Rio’s images of soft winds, graceful beach beauties, and melodies murmuring about icons like Copacabana and Ipanema beaches true and memorable.
Wonder if this next sailor is considered heading his boat to a warmer climate now?
A 36 foot sailboat got stuck in the ice about 40 miles NE of Barrow, Alaska.
Even in summer, cruising these waters is a little tricky
The trip from Vancouver to Eastern coast of Canada via the Northwest Passage didn’t exactly go as planned.
Freezing water and ice will slowly crush a boat hull.
Distress call sent.
Weather conditions and visibility were too bad for a helicopter rescue.
So the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a polar ice breaker, diverted from its’ NSF supported research mission in the Arctic, sloshed in, freed the boat, and towed it to open water.
Once the sailboat was determined to be seaworthy, and all required emergency equipment was on board, the sailor turned towards Barrow to wait for safer traveling conditions.
- Some great pictures: sailboat in the frozen ice and the Coast Guard rescue here.
- Cool Coast Guard rescue VIDEO here.
One last cool adventure. The ultimate cruiser.
(You are planning to win the lottery, right?)
This one almost sails itself – at amazing speed for a sailboat: 20 knots.
(Think luxury Winnebago transforming into a Porsche when desired)
Come aboard for a VIDEO sail in the Bahamas.
Ah, cool clear water. Now that’s what the world expects of sailing.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
Read more? (Click the “sailing” tag in the sidebar for other posts or try the following articles)
- “Brazil’s Olympic sailing venue called an ‘open sewer’” (May 19, 2014. USA Today)
- Rio’s reporter speaks/NYTIMES. “Note to Olympic Sailors: Don’t Fall in Rio’s Waters” Listen to the locals talk /VIDEO.)
- “Sailing venue with floating corpses, dead dogs, and toxic wastes ‘Won’t be cleaned in time’ warns Rio bosses.” July 15, 2014. UK Independent)
- “Rio’s sailing test event to be held in polluted Guanabara Bay” Who are among the 30 sailors in 10 classes of boats racing Aug 2-6? (July. UK Independent)
- Competitors meeting for August rehearsal practice sails. Official Rio2016 Olympics.(Cool pictures and info about sailors)
Exhausted? That whirl of soccer stirred up everyone for so long.
Kicks so high and now it’s all done.
Energy stalled. What’s next?
Tired. That would work. Yep, tires ready to run along no matter what’s the score.
After 100 years, about time for a change.
‘Round 2005, Michelin twirled reinventing wheels and rolled out the Tweel Airless Tire.
The name a combination of tire and wheel. It looks like a big bicycle wheel.
(Read how it all works here.)
Historically, Michelin is known for tire innovations.
Still, the Tweel is a long-term project despite winning a 2013 Silver Edison Award.
Currently only available is the X-Tweel SSL that is used for big rough skid steer loaders in landscape, construction, refuse/recycling and agriculture industries.
No more flat tires for them.
But for cars? Still tweaking the Tweel.
While used for a while on the Audi A4, people complained of excessive noise and vibration at high speeds.
Others have concerns about heat build up while driving and with hard braking.
The resistance factor when driving is close to that of regular tires, so fuel mileage may be almost the same.
In any case, nice to see inventive thought spinning along.
No flat tires. That nail hole problem? Gone.
No more messing with air valves. (Can the air compressor leave now?)
Look! No jack or spare. End of “Is this can of Fix a Flat still good?” Less rattle. More room in the trunk.
No tire holder blocking the view out the back.
Cops may have to rethink spike strips…maybe toss sticks into the spokes?
Solid for idea for military. One Humvee bullet proof and bomb-proof honeycomb design can speed off at 50 mph. Could be a lifesaver. (According to Resilient Technologies and Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison)
Could be a very cool future.
Something to get your week started rolling along
More cool on the road ahead (but not at the beach. Water temp is about 88 degrees here)
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Dunderhead dodgeball? (Ironically, so many wrinkles there. A weak end.)
Is it any wonder with the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes movie opening that there are copy cats?
Guess you can kick animals around just so long before they retaliate and take matters into their own hooves, jaws, or antlers.
Perhaps that Planet of the Apes movie trailer gave them the motivation to get organized: “Taking it back!”
In retrospect, ticks with their Lyme Disease arsenal were the first assault? (Might note: the deer may have been in cahoots with the ticks from the very beginning?)
Difficult dilemma facing so many currently. Futures hang in the balance. Choose wisely!
Is 88 million dollars over four years enough to make basketball player Bosh commit to play for the Houston Rockets? (Depends if he’s been here to witness the sweltering heat – but the AC works great! Besides he’s used to the Heat.)
Will Rocket’s basketball player Chandler Parsons stay in Houston or jump to Dallas for $46 million over three years? (Who can blame him. He’s considered one of the most underpaid player in the NBA with his current deal. Never accept less than you are worth. Whatever the market will bear.)
Oh, the posturing and pouting. Andre Johnson is one of the best NFL receivers ever. $14.6 million for 2014 (base salary plus pro-rated signing bonus) Oh, and $1 million Workout Bonus if he participates in the off-season program – which he didn’t do. Missing the mandatory mini training camp, he was fined $70,000. (He offered to come but only if they paid him the Workout Bonus. But the team refused, so he was MIA) Discouraged, he wants to be traded. Ironically, by today’s standards, he is underpaid. But who would turn down $588,234 a week for about 17 weeks?
Certainly not Chelsea. She’s bound to be wearing out her shoes with all the speaking engagements. $75,000.00 hardly buys for anything anymore.
Good thing she can talk.
(Who knew words could be worth so much?)
Perhaps the well-heeled and well played individuals will show their sensitive side.
They are bound to have a spare room or two. So many need a roof over their heads – and don’t mind sharing a bathroom or even a bed.
Homeland Security, HHS, even local CPS are looking for foster homes. All it takes is a call! They’re waiting by the phones now.
Think of all the positive PR that would result. Can’t buy that kind of publicity!
Thinking along those “can’t buy that” lines,
totally baffled with the hypocrisy irony and mixed messages by the Federal Government and President.
No time – or need – for photo ops at the border to see the problems first hand, but lots of pictures of a smiling President with pool tables and young girls during his trip to Austin (To raise money for his political party – not for the needy.)
(…Although he could have passed the hat among attendees and used his bully pulpit to encourage giving to the poor “children/mostly pre-teens and teenagers” coming over the border. Who wouldn’t want to help the children? He could have asked.)
Surely the shelters would have gladly screen for contagious diseases, scabies, and lice before letting kids near a visiting compassionate President.
Besides if they were a risk, the agencies wouldn’t be putting them on public transportation and moving them among the public.
So why the President passed up a chance to kiss and hug babies is confusing.
Could have been a real vote getter. Political coin!
Just buying time, until a solution appears, I guess. No other reason.
Not sure if they’ve seen the light or are light-headed right now.
There was such outrage that Hobby Lobby’s owners firmly hold to their religious beliefs. Close on Sunday and about that birth control for employees.(Won’t bore you, you’ve heard it all.)
So many yelling: “It’s in the public arena. Religion has no place!”
Yet when faced with a public crisis the same ones are yelling: “Live your faith! What would Jesus do? Take in the weak and sick. Take the Little children into your homes!”
Talk about being two-faced as needed. Maybe it’s the “Forget and Forgive” thing.
So elementary school-ish: “You’re not my friend – go away. I hate you. I wish you were dead.”
Then later when need arises, “Oh, sweetie, can I borrow that? Can I see your math homework? Only want to see if we got the same answers…Can you hold my purse while I dance – thanks. And oh, the cat needs feeding, mind?”
Maybe it’s like nasty medicine: “Hold your nose and swallow. It’s for your own good.”
Even little kids being dosed won’t believe that.
Life’s full of little ironies.
Smoothing out the week’s wrinkles.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
- Washington Times: “Jesus was a Refuge.” Director of federal agency/HHS Director of Office of Refugee Resettlement. (So religion can be a marketing tool under certain conditions?)
- “Administration’s Border Crisis Plan B: Use the Catholic Church”
- NBC “Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino in cooperation with ICE”
- Guatemala’s First Lady “..not fleeing violence – coming to reunite with families already here” (No irony here at all)
- “Violent MS-13 Gang Members leave graffiti on Processing Center walls.” Using Processing Center as Recruitment Hub.“
- “Homeland estimates now: More than 90,000 before Sept 30, 2014″
- Veterans may scowl at the irony here: Border Children Funding bill debate. (How specifically will the money be spent and will it work? Where is the National Guard?)