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Wwe have the same enemies this year. They are in the same part of the world and are conspiring to do the same things. We tried to blow them up again this year and, of course, failed. I remember, not so long ago when the saying was, “when you blow up a rice paddy all you have left is a rice paddy”. I guess the same goes for a desert.

We have a new president this year. He started off in trouble because he can’t figure out where his ego ends and his mind begins. There are now new people trying to get rid of him. They just have a better excuse this year.

We have the same economy this year. We lead the world in spending to the point many economists state that the world’s economy was saved because of the American need to have more. Of course this also means many of the people of the World are still struggling to survive. Some say that trying to change this reality is like throwing a gate to the wind.

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Wwhen we are born we have to figure out important things like how to breathe, eat and go to the bathroom. As we get older we try to figure out our strengths and weaknesses and how we might deploy our strengths to achieve some sort of success in life.

Then, just when we think we might finally have figured out the art of growing up, we find out that feeling good about ourselves has a lot to do with how healthy we are. We usually get that message along with the first chest pains.

This scared the hell out of me. My doctor said he didn’t know what was wrong with me? Even worse was his comment about me being in my late years. Didn’t he realize people lived well past 80 now and I was only 65? Okay, mathematics is not my strongest suit but I still didn’t like the comment.

I was then ushered into an examination room. There a very pleasant and efficient woman asked me to take off my shirt so she could attach a dozen or so electrodes to my body. The female technician took one look at me and said she would have to shave my chest so the electrodes would stick. Continue Reading →

“I have no clue what I did with my glasses.”

“For the past decade or so, I’ve always put my glasses on the end table by my chair in the living room. It is a habit I have and I do it without thinking. However, one morning I reached for my glasses and they weren’t there.”

I started to remember many things that disappeared. A few years ago I lost my wallet. That night I specifically remembered putting it in the night table by my bed. The next morning it was gone. That particular loss was very frustrating because I had to contact all of the credit card companies and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Just this morning I noticed the little jar I have on my desk for paper clips was empty. I know I put a couple of extra boxes of clips in my closet. When I reached for them they weren’t there. I asked my wife if she took them and she told me in a particular tone that she had little use for my paper clips.

In the past I’ve lost many things. I have lost keys, paperwork, books, a camera, a cell phone, garden tools. I once even lost a pair of shoes. My wife thinks my losing of things is simply a continuation of my quest to lose my mind. Continue Reading →

“Here comes the sun (doo doo doo doo)”

My candidate lost. OK, as our next President stated, if he loses it was a colossal waste of time. I agree with him on this account because my wife and I have spent the last 18 months working and for and hoping for the first woman to lead our nation. It didn’t happen. Now did the world come to an end?

“Here comes the sun, and I say.”

We stayed up the entire night watching one of our dreams and the dreams of many simply go away.

“It’s all right.”

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Autumn is part of an integral cycle. This is the time we have to pull up the plants we cherished, fed, and protected during the last five months of the year. During the summer months we were proud of how strong our plants looked. We waited patiently for their fruit to ripen so we could fill our family’s tables with delicious vegetables and sweet-scented flowers. Like everything in everyone’s life all things change and nothing stays the same. In other words, everything is mortal.

Walking into my garden, I am saddened to see my tomato plants turn black with brownish green tomatoes left on dying stems. When the tomatoes were in full bloom you couldn’t see the cage through the thick foliage of green leaves and ripened tomatoes. In fact, throughout the entire summer I had to add miles of twine in order to keep my once giant tomato plants from falling to the ground. This of course made the task of cleaning up this part of my garden more difficult, because I had to separate the plants from the cages and then from the twine.

After I pulled the main part of the tomato plant away from the cages I accidentally knocked my glasses from my head and proceeded to step on them in the muck of mud and crushed tomatoes. Looking down at them and seeing they no longer looked like glasses I decided to leave them in the garden over the winter. Who knows maybe I’ll grow an eye-glass plant. Continue Reading →

They say that all things are relative but the time-span and areas they are related to can cause problems. In my case too many of the ‘old days’ could not be described as ‘Good’.

World War 2 against Germany was declared a few months before my fifth birthday and the area of the south coast of England, where I lived, soon became affected. I can remember my infants/primary school lessons being interupted by air-raid sirens and having to go outside to the former playground which had been filled with a number of corrugated-steel shelters.

Once inside them, we settled on the hard wooden benches, lit a candle and tried to read our lesson books until the all-clear alarm sounded. Too often this process happened more than once a day and became unsettling to some. Looking back, I realise that, even with the covering of turf on the shelter, a falling bomb would still have blown us to pieces.

In fact, this was soon realised by my father who had served in the Royal Horse Artillery in WW1. After being woken one night by the Air-raid alarm, we slept the rest of the night in the shelter installed in our back garden. Next morning he decided that, if we were bombed, it would be better to die in our warm home than spend too many of our nights in the freezing cold, useless ‘shelter’. It wasn’t wasted though, as it soon became a place to grow mushrooms and keep our home-grown vegetables and fruit. Continue Reading →

The other day at school I was advised by my administration that I should keep my political views to myself. Since the present political cycle is the oddest and most interesting of my life this request will be very difficult to obey. But, also since I am getting older and retirement is less than a year away I thought it best to listen to myself and be damned to all who want to control my thoughts.
As I watched my colleagues, remove all of their students work in order to eliminate competition that has become the antithesis of modern education, and throw out racially-mixed wall decorations and political posters,  that they had used for the past decade in order to produce a relaxed atmosphere conducive to learning, because everything had to become socially manilla, my mind’s eye took an inevitable turn. 
I imagined a school that was made up entirely of stainless steel. The halls were shiny, sterile, and cold while the floors and ceilings had few demarcations to determine where the walls began and the floors and ceiling ended. The rooms had doors made of steel while the windows in the doors had to be clear because no paper was allowed in our new stainless steel world. 

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Ii just got back from seeing a wonder of my Maker. It is the beautiful Forest Park in my neighborhood. I ride along on my electric cart, gazing at the wonders that surround me. The trees reach so high they seem to be reaching for the Hand of God.

All about me, as I ride down a planned path, are wonderful shrubs, hiding the cottontails from view.
Look! There is a red squirrel, he must be gathering his nuts and food for winter. There is a rose garden in the park. Oh! What a fragrance it produces.

People are playing their games on the well-kept grass and lovers are on the benches, kissing. What a joy it is to go for a summer’s evening ride in my park. The winters are cold here in the northwest. It rains a lot but I can wait for spring and summer to arrive.

I look out my window, and, when it looks all right, I will ride in my park once more. It may be my last ride. You never know what God has in store for you!

I would like to say goodbye to the trees and shrubbery, and the green grass. Also the birds on the wing, the cottontails, and the squirrels that cross my path before I leave this beautiful park. Thank you, the men and women that made it possible.

But mostly, thank you God!

The End.
My Park by Don Fraser

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A few years ago my father, who has now passed, called me talking about a ring his found somewhere in Somersworth. At the time I was concentrating on a class of labs and I must admit I wasn’t paying much attention to the conversation.  He was concerned about how he could get the ring back to the rightful owner.

My first thought was why would anyone care? My father described the ring as being an old gold class ring dating back to 1934. He told me it was very small and thus had to be a woman’s ring. There was no stone in the middle like the rings of today. It was all gold. I don’t know what carat weight it was but there was no tarnish or wear to give a hint to its age.

This one was simply moulded to show off the name of the school, that was Somersworth High School and the date of graduation. My father went on to explain how the ring was in impeccable shape as though it was rarely worn or had been lost for a very long time. Within minutes both my interest and imagination started to spark.

The pile of laboratory reports I had in front of me became unimportant because any opportunity to massage my imagination had to be taken seriously. My father continued by stating the ring also had something else special about it. Inside the band were the initials “CB”. Because the ring was over 70 years old the concept of having the initials still appear on the inside of the band was quite remarkable. Continue Reading →

Mmy driving partner and I drove a truck with a bed in back of the cab. We hauled lumber from Oregon, to the Plains States, and then we would load grain, like wheat and corn, to haul back to the coast. It is of one of these trips that this story is about.

We loaded the truck in Portland, Oregon, with lumber and we had to put a tarp over it, so the dry lumber would not get wet from the snow or the rain, as it was winter. When we got to Nebraska we tried to unload the lumber, but the tarp has frozen to the lumber so we had to borrow a blowtorch to defrost it. After we got the tarp and the lumber off, we went a few miles to load some bulk corn.

The truck was equipped with folding sides and all we had to do was lift them up and put some stakes that were provided, in holes in the bed of the truck. We did what was needed, and I drove the truck under a hopper that poured the corn in the bed of the truck and trailer. After the truck was loaded, we headed for Oregon.

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