My Forty Year Dream — 2002

December 15th, 2014

In the first chapter of this saga I mentioned my failed marriage to Alvernia. That was the first of two failed marriages that I participated in. The second was to Judith and it lasted considerably longer the the first.

Judith and I married in 1973 and in the mid-seventies we moved from Illinois to Arizona. We never lived as close to the Grand Canyon as I had in the sixties and my time was spent looking for gainful employment. When such employment was found, my time was spent maintaining it, which left little time for me to even think of hiking down into the Grand Canyon.

As was true in the sixties, the employment I could find in Arizona was not as good as I could hope for back in the mid-west. Judith and I soon returned to Illinois without ever attempting the great hike. After a decade and a half, marriage number two faded and I found myself unattached again.

The good news here is that this made me available to try again and to test the “third time’s the charm” theory. Read the rest of this entry »

A Better Man

September 30th, 2014

Today is September 30, 2014. It is an important day for me because it was on September 30, 24 years ago, that Margaret had nothing better to do so she married me. It was a lovely wedding. How could it not be with Margaret as my bride?

Twenty four years is a long time but sometimes it seems like it has only been 24 minutes — 24 minutes under water. Just kidding, of course. It truly has been 24 wonderful years.

Wonderful, but not perfect. Read the rest of this entry »

My Forty Year Dream —1967

August 18th, 2014

The state of Arizona held an appeal to me from the first time I passed through it in 1961. That had happened as I hitchhiked from Chicago to Los Angeles. Even so, while over the next five years I had lived in several places including a Los Angeles suburb, Dallas, and Chicago (again); as well as in some smaller towns and cities, I had not lived in Arizona. In 1966 it was time to give life in Arizona a chance.

My life had included a marriage to a woman named Alvernia that lasted for 20 months before my bride decided that her life was not going as she wished and she moved west to Los Angeles — without me.

But it was the draw of Arizona that nagged at me and I decided to move to Flagstaff in May of 1966. This move from Chicago took place on the rails. This was about half a decade before Amtrak became the country’s passenger rail service so I believe it was the Super Chief of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe that provided my ride. Read the rest of this entry »

The Opposite of Left

August 4th, 2014

What is the opposite of left?  It is right, right? But the opposite of right is wrong, right?

So if the opposite of right is wrong and the opposite of wrong is right, and the opposite of right is left, then left and wrong must be synonyms. Right? Before you question how your favorite breakfast roll got into this mess, remember, that is a different spelling.
So are left and wrong synonyms? They are, according to many neo-conservatives, but this is not meant to be political, so the non-political answer is no — I think? Read the rest of this entry »

I Don’t Do Pretty

July 21st, 2014

I’m a reasonably intelligent man. My IQ is greater than my weight — in kilograms.

I can often figure out things that need to be figured out. Sometimes when working on a project, I’ll make a mistake. That’s okay since making errors is a human characteristic. So, if I do make a mistake, I simply regroup and find the error, then figure out the correct action and do it. Soon my project is back on track.

Of course I have my limits.  I don’t know much about any of the sciences except the very obvious things such as gravity. Push something off the table and it will go down to the floor. Read the rest of this entry »

The Nail and I

June 16th, 2014

It was more than one nail. In fact, there were a number of them and they always came in pairs. But I was able to attack them one at a time.

But I’m getting ahead of my story. Not really, this is just my way of introducing a flashback. Now flashing back about 5 years.

A maple tree (or maybe it was an oak) in our front yard had wandering roots that specifically liked to find cracks in the sewer lines from our house to the city sewer lines. This caused a lot of problems as the roots blocked the sewer lines which backed up the sewer stuff to the house. That’s going the wrong way so something had to be done. Read the rest of this entry »

My Missing Muse – The Sequel

June 2nd, 2014

Oh where, oh where has my little muse gone, with apologies to Septimus Winner.

Oh where, oh where has my little muse gone.
Oh where, oh where can it be.
It used to provide ideas for writing
And give inspiration to me.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Corn Crib

April 21st, 2014

My wife and I just purchased a corn crib.

It is a steel structure about 60 feet long by 18 feet wide and 32 feet high. More like 44 feet high at the peak. Rough calculations tell me it should hold a lot of corn. Well over three million cans. You can never have too much corn, right?

So if we were to put spinach in it, would it be called a spinach crib? Should we fill it with beets would that make it a beet crib. I guess any different vegetable would change he name of this structure.

Maybe we will store both corn and lima beans and call it a succotash crib. Corn is one of my favorite vegetables, so for now we will stick to corn crib. Whatever vegetables we store there, we must remember to not cook them first. Read the rest of this entry »

A View from the Cottage

February 6th, 2014

Beside the Inland Sea by Gretchen N. Paprocki:

A review by David Deedon

It has been more than half a century since I last wrote a book review. Not only that, but Beside the Inland Sea is a book I would never have picked up to read, let alone purchase. So why did I buy and read this book?  And why did I choose to attempt to tell you about it when my writing is generally fiction or humorous (or both)?

Gretchen Paprocki and I never met. She passed away from brain cancer about a year before I joined a writing group. Her husband, Doug Paprocki, was in the group for, I believe, the express purpose of “labor(ing) to suitably convey in finished form Gretchen’s impassioned endeavor and to provide an epilogue to our having sold the cottage.” Those are Doug’s words in the Afterword of Beside the Inland Sea. So, for roughly three years, twice a month, I heard part of the manuscript read by Doug to the group.

Even though I fully expected to enjoy the book, based on what Doug had read to the group, my first thought of purchasing it was to support Doug just as I would hope to be supported by those who know me, if I ever publish any of my writings. Actually reading the book was a bonus. It was truly enjoyable and informative. Having read this fine narrative, I felt an obligation to pass on my impressions to all who would listen or would read this.

The ‘Inland Sea’ of the title is, indeed, a freshwater sea. We know it as Lake Michigan. From the Introduction to the Afterword, and in each of the twenty chapters in between, each of which have one word titles, you will learn how nature changes the landscape at the shoreline as well as back from the shore in the woods. You will also see the results of man’s activities and how it may override, or at least redirect nature’s efforts.

The book starts with the history of the reshaping and resizing the Lake Michigan Dunes at Muskegon County, Michigan. Wind, waves and water levels cause constant change in the dunes and the amount of actual beach below the cottage where the Paprockis spent much time over a quarter century period.

Not only does Gretchen Paprocki give the natural history of the area for that quarter of a century, but she gives some general history for a much longer period. This includes the ownership history of the cottage, nearby cottages and the woods behind Paprocki’s living quarters.

Throughout the book, Paprocki explores a variety of natural happenings at the dunes and in the woods back of the cottage they inhabited. Included is the migration of birds from the area, to the area, and those just passing through the area.

She also covers other wild life forms such as Deer Mouse, Grey Squirrels and White-tailed Deer. And, of course, there is an abundance of variety of rooted life — plants. She writes of events such as which plants come up first each spring and the effect of the lumber harvesting from decades ago. Even the lowly lichen, moss and fungi, along with their place in the ecology, are covered.  Some are pictured and you might be surprised to see how colorful some of the fungi are.

My review may not do justice to the Paprockis’ talents so I must put in some straight forward statements that will help you understand what the rest of the review is trying to present.

First, I said “the Paprockis”, rather than just Mrs. Paprocki, because Doug was the photographer for the book, he finished preparing the book for publication and he wrote the Afterword. All together, his contributions were substantial.

The writing is descriptive beyond, well, beyond description. It is easy to visualize the beach, the woods, the cottage, the plants, the birds and the animals.  One can almost hear the birds as one reads her descriptions of the songs being sung by them.

The book would have stood tall without any pictures, but the 256 pages contain over 100 excellent photographs of the subjects. These beautiful photographs greatly enhanced an already great book.

This is a must read for anyone who would like to live in, or even visit, a Lake Michigan Dunes or a location such as the Paprockis cottage in western Michigan.

Beside the Inland Sea is published by Arbutus Press of Traverse City, Michigan and should be available at any good book store.  It is available at amazon.com.