May 2014

8 articles in May 2014

Eevery four years we are inundated with political advertisements telling us why those guys are bad and these other guys are the greatest since apple sauce in a jar. It doesn’t matter what viewpoint you have because the debate over who is right or wrong has been going on since our nation began more than two centuries ago and nobody knows anymore.

It seems easy to tell who is a Republican and who is a Democratic by listening to them. You can also tell the difference by the way they dress and their mannerisms. For example, Richard Nixon was a Republican and wore shorts and wing-tip shoes when he went for a stroll on the beach, whereas Bill Clinton is a Democrat and couldn’t keep his pants on in the Oval Office.

Sitting in my old dilapidated beach chair one morning at York Beach last week I found myself wondering idly if it was possible to tell Republicans from Democrats when they were wearing almost no clothes and were supposed to be on vacation. Take away the Republican’s business suit and the Democrat’s blue collar and is there any real difference between them?

The first family I observed was a group of four with the father leading the way and the rest of the family following Indian file behind. This clear demarcation of power had me convinced this family was Republican. Actually I suspected the father was Republican with the wife and mother of his children bowing to the political consciousness of her husband. How could I not think this since she was following him down the beach while pulling a wagon filled with beach stuff and making sure their kids didn’t run away?

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Tthe classroom was stuffy. Beads of perspiration clung to faces and dripped down collared necks. Outside no breeze brought relief, and the grass was turning brown and brittle in the hot dry atmosphere. The heat sapped energy levels; frayed tempers.

The sun hung heavy in the sky, watching and waiting, relentless in its vigil over the town and countryside.
“Before we wrap up today’s lesson, I would like you all to turn to the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.”
Simon Radley, scanning his 12th grade class with a predatory eye, had to admit, they were a disappointment, well all except Michelle. There she was, sitting in the middle today, a rose surrounded by thorns. The boys always gathered round the honey pot!
“Michelle would you read Juliet’s part and I’ll be Romeo. Just to give the boys an idea of how it should be read.”

At this the boys groaned and began fidgeting in their seats. It was the last class of the day. Outside the afternoon sun was beckoning and they longed to escape the confines of desks and sweaty bodies; to exchange the discipline of learning for the freedom of leisure. Simon too wanted the afternoon over, finished. Just for a moment he let his concentration slip and looking out of the window and remembered an evening … yes, last summer and a figure with long flowing, straw-coloured hair.

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Tthe summer season ushers in many familiar traditions. The beaches fill with sun-lovers, the parks fill with Frisbees and the air overflows with the smell of steaks and hamburgers sizzling on barbecue the length and breadth of our fair town.

I have always loved to cook outside during the warmer months of the year. The only problem is that every time I pick up a spatula and head for the great outdoors I seem to come up with an inventive new way of killing myself. As long time readers of my tales will know, I am one of those men who has never shown any ability whatsoever to learn from experience. I just think that makes me typical.

My first experience with cooking outdoors was when I lived in an apartment, I was newly married and I wanted to show my impressionable young wife that I was a pretty handy kind of a guy, with a suave and cosmopolitan air. So, I purchased a small Hibachi-style grill, some charcoal briquettes, and some lighter fluid. The fire I started actually required the fire department to put out and it took us a year to pay for the damage to the balcony. My wife pleaded with me never to attempt to cook outside again!

In a couple of years we decided we wanted to start a family and so we bought a house and moved out of the apartment. About a year later I found myself a proud father, a proud homeowner, and the proud owner of my first real barbecue grill. It was big and black and had a large round dome on top of it so it kind of looked like a nuclear reactor. My wife was frightened I might burn down our new home but I told her I was much more knowledgeable and mature. She shook her head and took our infant daughter to the far side of the house and waited.

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Iiwas walking through my yard in an attempt to pick up most of the excrement I found hidden in my lawn doing its best to kill the grass I’ve worked hard to grow over the past decade I noticed the size of the poop was getting smaller.

Knowing most of the dogs of my neighborhood were the size of small Volkswagens I was happy to discover my neighbors were taking care of their dogs. But, I then wondered where the tiny poops were coming from. Looking around my neighborhood I noticed a small brown furry animal climbing up one of my trees in order to kill a family of baby birds I had been enjoying over the past few weeks.

I then watched as another black and white furry thing was scurrying into my garden in order to leave a present that was sure to kill the baby beans I had just planted. My eyes were then drawn to the corner of my neighbor’s yard where a striped furry thing was scratching its way through the lawn so its poop could get to the root of the lawn as quick as possible.

Ya, ever wonder why dog owners have to leash their animals in order to walk them through the neighborhoods to do what they have to do. They also have to carry little plastic bags in order to bring back to their home a product they took their dogs away from in order to have their dogs not place their belongings in their own yard. I wonder if these same people simply throw their dog’s waste product in their own back yards.

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Iit was remarkably quiet on the beach the other day. The quiet time on the beach was quite logical because most of the tourists hadn’t woken up yet so the ocean’s shore clearly demonstrated the beautiful place I call home.

I was not alone on this particular morning. All around me were men and women enjoying the same serenity I was in the process of taking in. Having benches along the beach at York, Maine makes it especially special this time of year. All types of people take the time to sit and enjoy why we all came here to either live or visit.

I sat down next to an elderly gentleman whose white ashen skin probably hasn’t seen the sun in a long time. He looked frail and after I sat down next to him he almost appeared anxious. After a few moments it was obvious I did make him feel uncomfortable because he leaned toward his side of the bench as far away from me as possible.

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Wwhat do you want? That is all I could ask the white furry face with the large black eyes as he was staring at me in my usual horizontal position on my couch after a rather difficult day at work.

At first I tried to look past him and follow the many disasters CNN was reporting on TV. But, he kept on staring pushing his head between me and something that was destined to make me feel worse. I actually think he was doing this on purpose but how would he know for after-all he is just a cat.

Now smiling even though the reporter on TV was just about saying the world was coming to an end I remembered the many times in my past when this animal attempted to comfort me at a time when I so desperately needed to be comforted. I remember once my sciatic nerve decided to rebel. The pain was remarkable and I had a tough time standing, sitting, lying down, or doing anything else a homo-sapien is supposed to do. Attempting to levitate myself off the couch my feline friend quietly jumped up on the end of the couch.

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‘But why do you want to go there?’ Selina queried. ‘The articles I’ve read make me think it’s a hell of a place, worth visiting for material?’

‘You bothered?’ Thornton asked, looking at her innocently but expecting a tirade.

‘No! Of course, it’s your career, you must do what you think you should; I won’t interfere,’ she said, smiling with a flicker. ‘I wouldn’t anyway,’ she mumbled, so that he had to cock his ear toward her.

‘Should be back in one week, giving me five days there.’ He said, picking up his bags and hobbling over, a quick peck on the cheek returned. She held up a farewell hand but stood silent. Thornton wasn’t expecting an easy journey and the lead-in hadn’t been given much support. His friend, a broadsheet newspaper editor had expressed interest, half-laughing interest but had said he’d ‘have a look’ when the deed was finished.

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Iin my part of the USA time has a tendency to go slow from the end of March through the middle part of May. I assume it has something to do with the lack of sun or the wet weather.

Even though this Winter has produced an un-Godly amount of snow the days seem to last forever and even though the calendar changes the promises of Spring are simply promises. In order to keep one’s sanity it is necessary to create some distractions. Some people take up some sort distraction to pass their time away. Other people hibernate in their homes watching television or read a library of books to pass their time.

I haven’t seen a good television show lately and as for reading a good book; I need some warm coastal air blowing on my face and the ocean in front of me to enjoy someone else’s words. So, what does a person like me do to pass his time? I watch football. Most of my neighborhood comes over to watch the game in my basement because it has become the place to do this. We scream at the umpires on television and tell each other how he or she would have called a specific play. But, because the season is so long it is difficult to keep any enthusiasm high over 160 plus games.

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