Don’t Blink or You’ll Miss It.

It’s been a long day at work. I’m frustrated by office politics, stubborn employees, and arrogant bosses. It’s unseasonably warm for October, and the air-conditioning unit at my house is on the fritz, so I open the windows to get a little breeze. There’s a tiny oscillating fan in the hallway that I turn on to move the air around just a bit. I lay there in bed, tossing and turning, trying to force myself to sleep.
Suddenly off in the far distance, I can hear a train whistle blow. It starts our faintly, like a low moan in the wind, and ever so gradually changes pitch to higher and louder frequencies until I know it is at it’s closest point to the house. A freight train is coming down the track. A feeling of security seems to wash over me, like a warm ocean wave over a little child’s sand castle, and as I drift off to sleep . . . I remember, and I dream. I dream of the past:


Sixty one years is a long time. My Mother had a photo of my Grandfather and Grandmother which was taken when they were 61 years old. I look at it, and they look old to me. Then, I look in the mirror, and sometimes I see my Grandfather looking back out at me, just the same as he was in that picture that was taken back in 1950. The year I was born.

I was born in a little tiny brick hospital in a little teeny mill town, named Trion, Georgia. There was only one Dr. there, but I still came out ok, I reckon. I have all my fingers and toes, and I can still walk and talk to this day. I guess that Dr. Hyden did ok, even though he wasn’t surrounded by a crowd of spectators and Daddies and Grandma’s with video cameras, and everyone else in the delivery room like they have nowadays, with everyone patting each other on the back and congratulating the new Mother and the baby and the Daddy. Sheesh… It’s like a circus now. It was sort of a quiet and peaceful event back in 1950. A certain privacy prevailed then.

My Mom had been working at that little ol’ mill for a couple of years. She and my Dad were married in November of 1949 and he was still in the Navy, so I got taken away from the city of my birth to the back woods mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia in the lower foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain range. Grandpa lived on the very last house on Snake Nation Road, which was an unpaved dirt byway that was only wide enough for one car in some places, and had two creeks to cross through before finally winding to an end in front of his old two story wooden ramshackle house. Luckily you didn’t meet too many cars coming in the other direction, as there were only about 8 houses on the 10 mile stretch that led to the “Home place” as it was called. During the rainy springs though, the creeks would rise quickly as flash floods over spilled the banks and turned them into mini raging rivers. I can recall many times of crossing when the car seemed about to be washed away in the current. Luckily the old cars of the 50’s and early 60’s had some weight to them, and we were always able to persevere and get across.

I lived the first two years of my life in that squeaky old wooden house. The only heat was a single fireplace in the middle of the downstairs living room, and Grandma’s wooden cook stove back off in the rear kitchen. There was no indoor plumbing. (I didn’t have to worry much about that at the time though) and the walk to the outhouse was about a 25 yard trek up a slight hill back behind the house just into the edge of the nearest wooded area. There were actually Sears and Roebuck catalogs there for many years. When I got a little older, I thought it was neat to have reading material in the bathroom.

My Grandmother doted on me. I believe that she was afraid I would starve. They started feeding me Irish potatoes, baked in the coals of the fireplace when I was six months old, and by the time I was a year old I looked as though someone had stuck an air hose in my mouth and over inflated me. I am sure I enjoyed these repasts, but I cannot recall them much, to my chagrin and disappointment. I guess I could have been considered a “super baby” but, I would have hated to have been my Mother or Grandmother and had to have emptied out all those cloth diapers over that two year period.

My Dad came home from the war in 1952. He had enlisted in 1944 at the tail end of World War II, and had stayed through Korea. Many was the time in later years I heard him lament that he wished he had stayed in for another 12 years. It was my Mom’s fault though. I think I was becoming a handful at 2 years old, and she wanted and needed his help. I am not sure which was the best course that Dad could have taken, but I am stuck with the one that he took, as he came home to go back to work in the little old mill in Trion, Georgia and start a home life for him my Mom and me. He sometimes revels in telling the story about how much I cried for my Mother on the day that he arrived back from the Navy and picked me up and started to carry me out of Grandpa’s house. I started hollering like a banshee for my Mom, because this strange man had come in and picked me up and was kidnapping me.

I guess that the smells and sights and sounds of my Grandparent’s house became ingrained in my memory in those two years, because I never felt more comfortable anywhere than when I was there at that old house, curled up in a chair reading or sitting out in the front porch swing during a Summer thundershower with a blanket over my head to keep dry from the blowing rain, listening to it hit the old tin roof so hard that it sounded like someone was throwing rocks on the roof. It was a soothing and refreshing retreat, and I cried the April day in 1973, when Tornado’s tore through that area and blew the old house off of its foundations and into the annals of history. They burned it down, and replaced it with a trailer for the old folks, and though some of the smells and sounds lingered, it was never the same refuge after that, never the same degree of security and peace, serenity and comfort. I have never found another place that has provided that same degree of safety.

We took up residence in Trion, in an old Mill town “duplex” This was the type of residence which “the company” built for the mill workers back in the 1930’s or before which consisted of identical twin dwellings for two families nestled under one roof. There was a wall down the center of each of these, but the walls were paper thin, and it was always possible to hear what was going on with your in house “neighbors” As the 50’s came along, many of the duplexes were converted into single resident homes, as “the company” divested themselves of them and got out of the rental business. It was into one of these converted duplexes that we moved early in 1951. I can remember that place, and the things that went on, actually…..I remember it all very well . . . and I dream of time’s past.
All those late Autumn nights in Dixie, when the air was still as sticky and hot as warm pancake syrup. The wind would drift slowly through the window above my bed, causing the curtains to flutter like the giant butterfly’s wings they resembled, flapping out and back hypnotically. They were a yellow cotton print with dark and light orange stripes, which my Mother had bought the week before at the Redford’s five & dime store for $1.98. It seemed as if a giant monarch butterfly had landed above my head and was spinning her cocoon, in preparation for the long winter ahead. I knew a Monarch from a Checkerspot, since two of my friends, the Wade twins, were collecting specimens of different butterflies. They would hang around the grass fields with their tiny thin nets and their identification manual, discussing the different types of insects they were attempting to capture. They were eager to show off their specimens after each day’s hunt, so therefore I unwillingly became an insect expert.
Momma had been delighted to have brand new curtains to put up in my bedroom. I can still see the smile on her face as she hung them. At $1.25 an hour, it was seldom that my Dad could ever afford to get her something new. He had made a point to do it this time, and it had made her happy enough to hum.
Outside, I could hear the “clickity-clack, clickity-clack,” sound of the midnight freight train, which religiously passed by only a block away from our house, every night at exactly its scheduled time, taking bales of cotton into the loading docks at Riegel Mills in exchange for finished cloth which they hauled out to the world. Nobody could have been more precise than those Southern Railway engineers. You could set your watch by them. I know this to be a fact, because I looked at my watch by the moonlight that shined in through my window on the nights that the mournful moaning of the train whistle would wake me. When you mixed that tone with the sound of the whippoorwills singing, it was just like something out of a Hank Williams song:

“Do you hear that lonesome whippoorwill? He sounds too blue to fly?”
“That midnight train is winding low, and I’m so lonesome I could cry.”

Those were the kind of nights we had back then. I still dream about them, and the Hank William’s lines become more and more meaningful with every passing year.

Riegel Textile Corporation was where my Dad worked from dusk to dark fixing the looms that would grind out the government contract cloth that Southern Railway hauled away every morning. The first five minutes of every evening when he came home from work would be spent at the bathroom sink scrubbing the grease out from under his split and sometimes blackened fingernails. Even before everyone got a hug or a pat on the head, his hands had to be clean. He observed this ritual with the same reverence as a priest preparing to serve a sacrament, or a physician getting ready to operate. He didn’t want to contaminate anything at his home with the physical remnants of his day’s problems.
If it had been summer, Dad and I might have had time to go outside and throw around the worn out, game used baseball, which Coach Johns had given to me after the High School baseball team had thoroughly beaten it to death. This ball was so whop- sided that it would practically roll by itself on a flat surface, if you laid it down. Nevertheless, it was MY ball . . . My very own baseball. I guarded it with all the affection that my immense, slobbering, Heinz 57 dog, Whitey did the soup bones that Mom would occasionally give him. The only difference was that Whitey would bury his bones out in the yard, causing Daddy to get more than slightly irritated with him, while I would hide the horsehide in the bottom of my sock drawer so that my little brother Mikey couldn’t get hold of it. After all, Coach Johns had given it to me; dredging it up out of the bottom of his green duffel bag along with a cracked #32 bat that “Digger” Smith had whammed up against the side of the dugout when he struck out for the third straight time against the Summerville High Indians. That ball and bat were two of the few treasures I possessed.
Coach Johns had seen me out in the yard picking up rocks and swatting them with a piece of a pine limb I had salvaged from the deep woods behind our house. I guess he had either taken pity on me, or gotten scared I was going to foul one of those rocks off through his bedroom window, as I had gradually become more and more expert at crashing those imaginary homers out into the woods.
“And there goes another one out of the park for Mickey Mantle,” I could hear ‘Ol Dizzy Dean, the T.V. announcer for the Yankees say, as I arched number fifty deep out into the pines.
Number forty-nine had come perilously close to Coach John’s house, which was in my imaginary left field, but I didn’t think he’d been watching me, as I managed to employ hard body english to keep it from putting a hole in his siding.
When he had hollered, “Hey Bowers, come over here,” after Mick had swatted number fifty, I figured my ass was grass, and he was the lawn mower.
“I got something for you, kid.” He had intoned in his nasal voice.
Mind you, he couldn’t help talking that way. When God had been giving out noses, Coach Johns had thought he said: “Roses,” and had asked God for a big, red one. Therefore, combined with the fact that the Coach didn’t open his mouth very wide when he talked, the effect was one similar to talking through one of those cardboard tubes that came out of the middle of a roll of toilet paper. It also didn’t help matters that the Coach had been known to get into the sauce immediately upon arriving home in the afternoon. However, he was apparently more tolerant of little kids who slammed rocks around in their back yard, than he was of the High School morons who swung at balls out of the strike zone, of whom it had been rumored he screamed at with his mouth wide open.
“Take this ball and bat, Mr. Mantle.” He had droned. “And for God’s sake, go up in the graveyard, and knock it around before you break out a window.”
I knew nobody would ever tell Mickey Mantle to be careful not to knock out a window, but I wanted the bat and ball so badly that I kept that opinion to myself.
“Wow, thanks a lot Coach,” I sputtered as I grabbed the goodies and took off for the graveyard.
I spent the rest of the afternoon near the rear of that huge cemetery, where nobody was yet buried, hammering that horsehide mercilessly into submission. I had just broken Roger Maris’s home run record he had set that summer, when my Mother leaned out the back door and in her best shrill voice, shouted my name:
“Larryyyy . . . come home for supper,” she yelled
The reverie of that late October Saturday was spoiled. How embarrassing for the newly crowned, eleven year old home run champ, to be publicly humiliated by having his mother call him in for supper right in the middle of a World Series game.
“Coming Mom,” I answered, to keep her from having to repeat the harangue.
At least she wasn’t like Tom and Tim Dennis’s Mom, who could whistle louder than any human being, and who also had to know where they were almost every minute of their waking life. If that woman didn’t hold the world record for breaking glass with her whistle then there wasn’t a cow in Texas. She would put both of her pinkie fingers in the corners of her mouth, pull her lips back into a grotesque grin, stick her tongue up in the roof of her mouth, and let it fly! She could be heard from Tom and Tim’s house all the way over to the Elementary school playground, which was almost a mile away. She was also as tough as the Warden at Alcatraz, and did not put up with any bull from anybody, especially her own two boys. If they weren’t home five minutes after she whistled the first time for them, they could expect stern disciplinary measures when they hit the front door. If she had to whistle twice, it was an automatic whipping. Many were the days I had looked through our front picture window, and
seen Tom getting his rear end tanned, even though he was a foot taller, and had fifty pounds on his Momma. When you were out playing somewhere within range, and heard that shrill whistle, even if Tim and Tom weren’t with you, you could be sure that somewhere in town there were two guys that were getting their rear in gear. Tim being the more athletic of the two could make it home from anywhere in town within the five minute limit. Heck, he later became a star running back on our High School team, and never did think to thank his Momma even once, that I can recall. She ended up dying while Tim and Tom were still kids.
Even though Tim was extremely fast, being able to get home from ANYWHERE in town within five minutes indicates the true nature of our community. In a word, it was small.
As my Dad once told someone from out of town when giving them directions to Trion:
“Stay on highway 27 North as you go through Summerville, and after you go about five more miles, start to slow down and be real careful, cause if you blink you’ll miss it.”
As I had previously expressed, the one and only means of making a living in the tiny town of Trion, Georgia, was by working at what was originally known as The Trion Company. It was, and had been the only business in the town, since it’s founding in 1840, by three gentlemen interested in forming a weaving mill somewhere outside of the coastal area near Savannah. It was the first cotton mill in North Georgia. They considered many different locations in Georgia, but were finally swayed by the fact that there was cheap land available right next to the Chattooga river, which would be their main lifeline for the power and water needed to run their mill. The town of Trion grew up around the mill, and both were named in honor of those three men, the name being derived from the fact that there was a “trio” of them who founded the mill, and subsequently the town. I say grew up, if you can call a town of scarcely more than fifteen hundred people, “growing” into anything. The mill itself now had almost that many people working in it, but many of them made the commute from small communities in the surrounding North Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama area, the Tri-State area, so to speak. This area does have a little history.
The Cherokee Indians had once had a village on the river near the present cite of the town of Trion, which they called Island Town, and a clever and inventive chief named Broom was one of their leaders. There are still a lot of farms and fields in the area where you can pick up artifacts, such as arrowheads, and pounding and grinding stones for corn.
Sequoia, whom the white man called George Guess, and who was the inventor of the Cherokee alphabet, was born just a few miles away in a little community known as Alpine. The Cherokees, led by old Chief Broom, had for the most part been very tolerant of the white men who moved through their land. However, even Chief Broom’s influence had not been able to keep them from being removed from their land by order of President Andrew Jackson in 1832. After their removal, and the infamous Trail of Tears, the bulk of the little town was erected on the site of their former village. I sometimes wonder if the ghosts of these ancient people who inhabited this area for so long don’t cause some of the mischief that goes on around the town. Seems like sometimes when I am laying in bed, I can hear their voices speaking in an unknown but pleasant language, floating in on the breeze, asking why, why, why . . . !
Most everyone in town still lives in houses built by the Trion Company in the late 1800’s to accommodate the mill workers. These diminutive frame houses were practically thrown up overnight, out of whatever materials were on hand at the time, without the use of carpenter squares or levels. Everything was built by the “eyeball” method, where the foreman would eyeball whatever was next in line to be nailed, and if it looked square to him, he would yell, “Looks good, nail it!” The reason my Mother can never get a picture to hang straight on her wall in the old mill house where they now live, is probably because the day they were building the house, the foreman had a bad hangover from the night before, or one of the carpenters had the hiccups while he was nailing.
All of the houses started out as two room “duplexes” with one family living in each side, with one large community room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Heat was provided by one fireplace in the big room which burned wood, or more likely coal, which was plentiful due to being one of the sources of fuel for the boilers at the mill.
Back in the old days the Trion Company practically owned the town, and the people, lock, stock and barrel. They issued their own money in the form of coins or coupons redeemable for merchandise at the Company owned department store which was called: “The Big Friendly Trion Department Store.” Employees could get more of this “script” than they could cash, and The Company encouraged them to take it instead of cash. After all, The Big Friendly had everything a person needed from A to Z. The store would also provide “easy credit” for those who were running a little short, eventually practically enslaving some people for life in a cycle of debt to the company. Remember Tennessee Ernie Ford’s song, “Sixteen Tons?”

“Saint Peter don’t you call me, Cause I can’t go . . .”
“I owe my soul to the Company Store . . .”

Apparently, this was more reality than fiction in some small Southern mill towns.
The Trion Company also owned beef and dairy cattle. At one time the dairy in Trion had the World Champion milk cow, named Green Meadows Melba, who could produce hundreds of gallons of milk a week! She was famous all over the world! Every dairy farmer in the country wanted one of her calves. We even have a street in our town now that’s named “Melba” drive, and I bet not one of the people living there know their street is named after a cow. Once when Melba had been put on a train to go to New York City for a contest, the OWNER of the mill had gotten on the train car and rode with her all the way to New York. The man loved that cow!
Because of cows like Melba you could be assured of waking up every morning to the sound of clanking milk bottles, and look out on your porch to find extremely fresh milk, which had just that morning been inside a cow’s udder. (Have you ever wondered what the first man to ever milk a cow must have been thinking? He had to be doing it on a dare! )
Additionally, the Trion Company had farms and orchards in the area that produced fresh fruits and vegetables, and other foods such as pork and poultry, for employees to buy. I can still picture in my mind the old apple trees up on Orchard hill, and how beautiful the pink blooms were every spring. I also remember many a night spent on the john with what we now refer to as “Montezuma’s revenge,” from having stolen and eaten too many of the green apples that grew so plentifully on these marvelous trees. Surely this was nature’s punishment for young apprentice thieves, designed to encourage them to follow a life of honesty.
There was even a funeral home in the Big Friendly to take care of the faithful employee who passed away while in service to, or after retirement from, the Trion Company. They would lay you out in the parlor, right next to the department where the cloth piece goods were sold. I am quite certain that many a housewife, unfamiliar with the layout, and looking for a yard of cotton broadcloth, or some sewing thread, would wander into the funeral parlor instead, and end up paying respects to some family that she did not even know. Seeing a corpse in a department store was a shock to some, but it was a way of life back in the old days in Trion.
Right across the street from the Big Friendly department store, the Trion Company had thoughtfully provided a spot for the Post Office, and right next to that government institution, was the Trion Barber shop. There was also a bank adjacent to these buildings. Therefore, a person could do any and all of the following things in Trion, Georgia back in the old days:
First, you could be born at the Community Hospital, which was owned and operated by the Company, which also recruited the Doctors and Nurses. In addition, the Company provided housing for the Doctors and Nurses who did not have, or could not afford their own. Several older houses in our town are still knows as the “Nurses Inn.” All your health care was guaranteed within a block of the mill.
Secondly, you could go to the Trion School; which was built by the Company, which also recruited the teachers, paid for the books, and even provided the power and heat for the schools. In the old days some students would graduate from the Trion Schools, but in the hard times of the Depression, children more likely would only go until they were considered old enough to be employed in the mill, at which point they started their working career. My Dad remembers going to work there in 1940, when he was twelve years old. You could spend your whole life working at the Company. Your career was guaranteed, within a couple of blocks from your house. The Company even had a bell to begin with, and later a very loud whistle, which sounded at twenty minutes until shift change time, and then again at exactly shift change time, in order to help get the employees to work on time. Try to get in a few extra winks, or take an afternoon nap, when a whistle loud enough to wake the dead goes off a block away from your house!
Next you might move into a Company house, get married to your High School sweetheart, and start a family. You could get all your furniture from the Big Friendly, as well as your clothes, and your food. You could mail your letters and get your mail at the Post Office right across from the mill. You could get you hair cut by one of the expert barbers, or your shoes shined, by “Pete” the shoeshine boy at the Barber shop right across from the mill. You could do your banking right next door to the Barber shop. Your personal needs were taken care of.
If you wanted entertainment, there was a theater directly across from High School, which the Company had helped the town to build. You could go there and be entertained by everyone from Tom Mix to Old Yeller. There was a YMCA attached to the theater which housed a gym, an inside heated swimming pool, and a snack bar and grill! (really it did, even back in the thirties!) Your recreation was guaranteed.
There were numerous churches of all denominations in the town, including the First Baptist Church of Trion, which Mrs. Allgood had built in memory of her husband, who was the son of one of the original trio of men who had founded the Company. He was murdered back in the late 19th century by his brother-in-law who was a Doctor in the nearby town of Rome, Georgia. There was a scandal, and a spectacular trial, but that’s another book. All of the churches were within a stone’s throw of the mill. Your salvation was assured.
In theory then, a person could be born, go to school, work, worship, play, live and die, all without ever stepping foot outside the little town of Trion, Georgia. I’m reasonably certain that some people did. Your life was mapped out for you . . . That’s the kind of town in which we lived.
Employees or their family members who didn’t behave as the company thought they should, would be given one warning, and if the problem continued they would be terminated, and could not be hired back. They were “blackballed,” a phrase which was derived from the middle ages where kings who had too many knights in their service would put a number of white balls, along with one black ball in a helmet and have their charges all draw out one of the balls. The unlucky chap who got the black ball had to leave and never come back, under pain of death.
In the old days of the mill, if your son didn’t behave in school, you got one warning, and then . . . blackballed. If your wife was spreading gossip, one warning . . . ! If you weren’t working hard enough to get the required amount of work out, one warning and then . . . you were history.
Gradually over the years, things changed. Unions started to develop in the North. These unions tried to come into the small Southern towns such as Trion, but they were met with violent and sometimes bloody opposition. The companies did not want them, and so it seems, neither did most of the people. Although the companies owned and ran almost everything in small towns such as Trion, they did so the largest percentage of the time on a benevolent basis. People had a high degree of loyalty to companies such as the Trion Company. However, the influence exerted by the formation of unions in the North, coupled with another earth shaking event, finally broke the strong grip which large companies held in small Southern textile communities. That earth shaking event was World War II.
I am certainly not going to attempt to analyze all the influences of World War II on little towns in the South. I think it is sufficient to say that it changed our way of life, as well as almost everyone else’s on this big blue marble on which we live.
Men went off to fight in the war. (So did many women, and I don’t want to neglect to mention that fact.) Women had to go work in the factories, due to the shortage of men. Moms’ suddenly found out that they could produce goods needed in our war effort, instead of remaining homemakers. They also found out they could bring home a paycheck just like Dad used to do. Remember Rosie the riveter? Things would never be the same!
The United State’s sleeping giant, awakened by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, geared up to such an extent to manufacture everything our military effort required, that it finished pulling the whole country out of the Great Depression. The Andrews sisters sang about the, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.” Bob Hope went overseas to entertain the troops and became an institution. My Dad went into the Navy, bought his first car, and married my Mom in 1949.
Modern technology had its birth in the womb of World War II. Think of the list of things that we have now that we didn’t have at the beginning of the war. Television, computers, commercial jets, wireless telephones, the list is endless. There were also the obvious quantum leaps forward (or backward, depending on your outlook) in modern warfare. Where would we be without the Atomic bomb? Things definitely would never be the same!
Back at the little old Town of Trion things were changing. The Trion Company was bought by a man named Benjamin D. Riegel in the early 1900’s, and became known as Riegel Textile Corporation. The company script disappeared, and the company gradually started to sell off its houses to individuals. The dairy dried up, and the farms were abandoned, although the Company retained the land, and eventually planted pine trees on it, hoping to make some money in the future on pulpwood. Little did they know that they were creating one of the most favorite playgrounds ever concocted for neighborhood kids. Countless hours were spent playing “freedom,” a form of team hide and seek, in the pine woods behind my house. Many boring Sunday afternoons were spent climbing to the top of these wonderful pines and riding them to the ground like some kind of naturally grown bungee cord.
Even the old “Friendly” Trion Department store’s time finally came, and it was torn down on a cloudy, drizzly day in 1959, to make way for an expansion of the mill designed to house more looms. I was nine years old the day the wrecking ball descended on the store, and I remember vividly the tears in the eyes of the patriarchal, gray- headed people who stood near the Southern railway tracks and watched while the work crew did the deed. This institution which symbolized a way of life and security for them was soon just a tired pile of dusty rubble, analogous to those who were mourning it. Historians may look back on these people’s way of life, and think about it as oppressive and dictatorial. Most of the people I saw on the railroad tracks that day, however, had an entirely different name for that benevolent monarchy they saw slipping away from them, symbolized by the Big Friendly. They called them the “good old days.”
Although many of the attitudes of the people remained the same in Trion as they had in years past, things were at least physically changing.

A Little Learning…..

“To err is human, to forgive is divine” so says poet Alexander Pope.  Now this line was from a great big old huge poetical work of his that was LONG!  There was another good quote from this work too:  “Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread” Here’s one more:  “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”

Those three sayings have got to be in the top 100 of things people have said since 1701 (which is when Pope wrote them) they’ve pretty much become standards.

I’ve always thought that a little learning is a dangerous thing.  Nowadays if you get on Facebook or any other type of “social” media very often, you will see what I mean.  As Forrest Gump said:  “That’s about all I’ve got to say about that”

I know that I have “erred” pretty often in my life, and I have been forgiven.  So somewhere out there are a lot of divine people running around.  I’ve probably done a lot less forgiving than I should have.  I’m trying to catch up, so give me time.

Finally, in this group of somewhat disparate quotes (all of these came from one LONG poem remember) is the one about fools rushing in where angels fear to tread.  I’m not sure about where exactly it is that an Angel would fear to tread.  Angels have been described as being pretty courageous.  Fools on the other hand are…well…foolish.  Maybe it means that people should plan ahead and not take risks, lest they get themselves into a “pickle”

Wait a minute…that’s another one.  Dang.

My conclusion here is, that after reading only about one third of Pope’s “Essay on Criticism” for a college English lit class I once took, I am now glad that the internet age has ushered in the ability to google the things I only once dreamed of being able to learn.

I’ve learned a lot over the past 10 years or so.  Actually probably a lot more than I learned in college.  I’ve read, and read, and read, and researched…and sometimes I still cannot tell satire from reality.  As a matter of fact, it is getting a hell of a lot harder to do so.

I guess a little learning IS a dangerous thing after

The voice in my head

There is that voice which is there all time in my head.  He has been there ever since I can remember.  He was the one who told me back in the fall of 1953 when I was almost 4 years old to ride my tricycle down the front steps on my house.  A busted forehead and several stitches later the voice told me we would never, ever do that again.

He sings constantly to me, in any style.  I can have a country song by Johnny Cash followed by Imagine Dragons singing “Demons” At times he scares me with my person demons, but at other times he soothes me with sweet poetry.  He will be with me until my last breath.

I have read a lot about this… “Inner voice” our internal narrator, our personal monologue which I think….at least from conversations which I have had with others… I think we all have going on constantly in our head.  I know all about my guy.  I know what to expect from him most of the time.  He comes up with some weird things, some good things, and some thoughts which are verbalized which I would never consciously say to another human being.  He says some very rude and vulgar things.  He also comes up with some tender and moving soliloquies.  I hear him just as if he were another person speaking to me.  It is never like an invisible or hidden voice, but always speaking directly to me just as another person would.  I don’t know how other people hear their inner selves, I really do not know if everyone even has an internal voice.

I’ve heard some people say that our internal voice comes from the way our parents and those around us speak to us as babies and early toddlers.  I’m not so sure I accept that theory.  I just cannot hear my parents or any other relatives I knew as a baby or child in my monologue.  I also can’t accept that people like John Wayne Gacy , or Jeffrey Dahmer had normal inner voices which came from their early associations.  I would have really, truly have hated to be inside their head, listening to what was being said.  I think their voice must have been riddled with hallucinations, or nightmares.

On the opposite end of the spectrum I would have loved to have heard some of what Leonardo da Vinci, or Albert Einstein had to say to themselves…maybe.  I can imagine their inner voices having a sort of discourse, bouncing ideas off of their own walls in order to make discoveries of new things.  One cannot imagine what might be going on in the mind of the genius.

Jiminy Cricket would have called our inner voice our “consequence” In Zen, they would think of it as “Nen nen ju shin ki” which means something like “Thought following thought.”  I personally think of it as my heart.

Whenever my inner voice speaks to me of any deep emotions it always comes from the heart.  I have never had a headache from something bad happening, but always have the feeling come welling up from the center of my chest.  My tears start in my heart.

When my voice tells me to be happy, I have never had my head spin.  My joy starts in my heart, and radiates out into the rest of my body.

My inner voice comes from my heart and tells me the things no one else would or could tell me.  I’d sure hate to lose him because he’s my oldest and closest companion.


A Trip Back in Time to 1963

Think about how much all the things we had Bach in 1963 would be worth if we had them now. I wish my Mom hadn’t thrown my comic book and baseball card collection away!

Writing for Sanity's Sake

You can’t beat the rain for therapy sometimes.  It’s been one of the most humid late spring days I can ever remember down here in Southland.  Mr. “Heat Mister” really took over this year.  But…today it rained.  Not a Thunderstorm or one of those violent lashes off of some Hurricane going up the cost.  No sir, not this one.  This is one of those that just gently moved in, and started coming down almost unnoticed.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Most people don’t want to see rain anytime, but this time of the year I will take these “Season Changers” that come out of the North and move through and clean out the air, so that tomorrow when we walk outside it will be like breathing pure Oxygen.  The temperature is going to be in the 70’s and there will be a small little tailing breeze coming from the Northwest, just…

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A Coin of Love….

I’m recalibrating and reconstituting my blog site to fit my area of expertise. I hope my future blogs and posts will be of interest to people with a passion for days gone by….

Writing for Sanity's Sake

Back on November 9th in 1874, a baby was born.  The only other thing which I know about her was that her Grandfather loved her.  I know this because of a Canadian 25 cent piece which I bought a long time back from a buyer friend of mine who goes up to New England occasionally and brings things back to sell.  I bought the coin from him.

Back in the old days, coins were used a lot of times to transform into keepsakes.  They were used for birthdays, anniversaries, sweethearts, and other occasion’s people wished to commemorate.  They were made from silver, and things being what they were back then, they were objects of value.

This particular coin must have been cherished by its original owner because it is in almost perfect condition.  It still has the original little yellow ribbon which must have been on it the day it…

View original post 228 more words

A Trip Back in Time to 1963

You can’t beat the rain for therapy sometimes.  It’s been one of the most humid late spring days I can ever remember down here in Southland.  Mr. “Heat Mister” really took over this year.  But…today it rained.  Not a Thunderstorm or one of those violent lashes off of some Hurricane going up the cost.  No sir, not this one.  This is one of those that just gently moved in, and started coming down almost unnoticed.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Most people don’t want to see rain anytime, but this time of the year I will take these “Season Changers” that come out of the North and move through and clean out the air, so that tomorrow when we walk outside it will be like breathing pure Oxygen.  The temperature is going to be in the 70’s and there will be a small little tailing breeze coming from the Northwest, just kind of pushing the trees around and whispering in my ear “Summer’s gone…Summer’s gone..”  This is the kind of rain that I remember so well when I was growing up.  I would most likely be at my Grandparent’s old house and I would go out on their front porch just as soon as the rain started, and get an old blanket and climb in the old swing.  I would cover up my head and just listen to the rain hitting the tin roof, just oh so gingerly.  I would loll in that swing for most of the day, just drifting in and out of consciousness, letting my body adjust and my mind recover.  I looked for a front porch swing today, but there wasn’t one around.  I didn’t have time to wrap up in a blanket, but I can look out the window and see it, and walk outside and let it roll off my face.

I thing my body will still adjust, but I don’t know about my mind recovering.  There is so much that goes on in it all the time.  Worrying about jobs, and money woes, and family health crises.  I would give just about anything to go back and spend the day in that old swing with the blanket pulled up over my head.   I am almost positive it would rejuvenate my soul.

Remember Peter Paul and Mary singing this song.  It was one of the songs of a generation.  My generation.  It was a generation dedicated mostly to love.  Flowers in your hair, flowers everywhere.  Lot of marijuana floating around.  I never cottoned much to that stuff though.  Drank a little much sometimes but…heck everyone has their times, don’t they?

I quit all the bad habits (I hope…except eating too much maybe)  I quit smoking over 25 years ago, quit chewing tobacco, quit drinking beer, hmm…all that other stuff that’s supposedly bad for you.  I tried to become a “good” citizen, a good person.  I have a problem though, and it has to do with what’s going on in our society today.

I did a blog about all the bad things that are going on in the world.  I took a long look at it, and read it over….then I DELETED it!!

Now I want to write about something else, and let the TV blare the bad news out!  I am sorry….I’m tired of it.

What I would really like is to take a trip.  Maybe one of these days I will get brave and buy me a motorcycle!!  I doubt it though.  I like time traveling…it doesn’t cost anything and I can do it while I am sitting here at the computer.  Today I think I am going to go back to…….1963!!  Yea, that’s it!

First off, Elvis was still alive and well and making songs and movies.  In 1963 he made that classic “It Happened At a World’s Fair” (Based at the Seattle World’s Fair, which incidentally was going on that year, and was a good spot for a ready made movie set…go Elvis!!)  Yea, Elvis was big that year, but there was a group from England that came over and blasted us away with TWO number ones, “She Loves YOU” and “I Want to Hold YOUR Hand”  were blaring away on all the jukeboxes, especially the one over at Chamlee’s Skating Rink where the skates were slick, and the girls were….well…I was 13, so I WAS interested! (Elvis did “Devil in Disguise” so that WAS a good one for him)

And talk about MOVIES  my Lord…there was “The Pink Panther”  and “Charade” with lovely Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant (hey they have revived Audrey Hepburn and those skinny black pants they are using for a TV commercial now!) Alfred Hitchcock gave us “The Birds” (was that the only movie that Tippy Hedren ever did…but she DID give us a good daughter didn’t she?)  There was “Cleopatra” (c’mon Liz?) and Yul Brynner did some weird “Sun” movie or something.

TV Shows…now there was some really “BAD” shows back then wasn’t there?  Leave it to Beaver?  The Fugitive? Andy Griffith, Patty Duke, The Beverly Hillbillies?  Ahh yes, now Jed Clampett has always been a really bad influence on my life, and of course I have patterned my criminal career after Andy and Barney…sheesh…what happened to THOSE kinds of shows.

Richard Scarry started writing kid’s books around 1963, and John LeCarre was big into spy novels.

1963 was big in some other ways too.  Martin Luther King led 100,000 plus people in a rally in Washington D.C. that year, and gave a little speech you may have heard about…something about having a Dream…..yes I DO have a dream about all the little black and white kids Martin….I still do.

I was, as I have said 13 years old that year.  What a great age.  It was baseball, and comic books for me.  Spiderman, and Superman and all the heroes they are making movies about nowadays.  I could sit around on a Summer day…and yes we had those LONG Summers back then…those that seemed like they would go on forever…I could sit around and read half the day, and go play a ballgame, and get back in time to watch the Twilight Zone!!  Mike Myers wasn’t making any Movies back in 1963, cause that’s the year he was BORN…Ha…you little squirt….!!!

In November of 1963, the year was coming to a close.  I was already looking forward to Christmas!!  I think that was the year I got a telescope!  (always looking to the heavens you know!)  On November 22, 1963 I went out of school for lunch and went over by the river.  There was some rocks over there on the river bank, and we guys always tried to jump from one to another.  I didn’t make it, and I jabbed a sharp edge of rock into my shinbone and made a hole in it.  I still have that little scar, and a “bump” there.  I had to go home from school.  Later on that afternoon Walter Kronkite came on the TV and said that President Kennedy had been shot…and shortly thereafter, they said he had died.

I was a big fan of JFK’s.  We didn’t know anything about his escapades with Marilyn, or any of his other sins back then.  We just knew he was a young vital President, and we admired him greatly.  I think when he died that day in 1963, that may have been the beginning of the loss of innocence for a lot of us.  1964 soon came along, and things just didn’t seem the same anymore.  The war started getting worse, people started coming up against each other politically and philosophically, and I don’t think they have come back together since.

Yes, it was a good year…and a bad year.  But I lived it, and I loved it.


Highly Doubtful Causes

Without a doubt, much of what we think we know is false.  Even being as “smart” as we humans think we are we don’t even know everything about our own body.  When we move out from there, into the world around us, and eventually into the Universe that surrounds us, our knowledge becomes exponentially less and less.

There are SO many theories on how the Universe started, where it’s headed and how it’s going to end.  Some of them are theological in nature, and some are scientific.  None of them are right, probably not even near right.

I shudder when I think about how little I know.  I have to take most things I do every day on faith.  I have faith when I plug in the coffee machine that it is going to make me a cup of coffee.  If it didn’t, I don’t have the knowledge to tear it apart and remake it so that it would.  If I put my key in the car, and turn the switch and it doesn’t start, most of the time I wouldn’t know what to do.  When I had my heart attacks, I couldn’t fix my arteries.  Of course there are people who DO know how to fix these things, and it’s a good thing too.  Otherwise, most of use would be in a heap of trouble.

But, even those people who are “technologically” smart, don’t have all the answers.  Every few years or so, a new theory comes out about how the Universe began.  Of course, all religions would acknowledge that it was ‘created’ if you will, by God.  A thinking consciousness started the ball rolling and made use what we are today.   Makes sense to us as humans, because WE are conscious thinking creatures.  That’s what separates us from the rest of the creatures….at least so we “think” (I am not so sure sometimes, when my little dog plays me for a sucker that she is not “thinking” about what she is doing) I guess there is all different levels of thinking, and I am SURE that we are not in ANY way close to the “thinking” if that is what it is, of a consciousness so powerful it could create the Universe.

Now secularists have a harder time trying to explain how something like the Universe started on it’s on.  I read somewhere a few weeks back that they think all the matter that it took to get the Universe started, could be compressed down into a ball the size of a basketball, but that it would weigh some astronomically heavy weight.  Some basketball!  When this thing decided to explode and start the Universe, it continually spread from a central point and made us what we are today.  The scientists can look at light coming in from outside our Galaxy that took billions of years to get here.  That’s cool.  When we look up in the sky at night, and see the stars, we are not really seeing what is happening at the moment we are looking, but what happened years and sometimes hundreds or thousands of years ago and is just now reaching us.  For all we know, some of those stars could be, and probably are, gone.  Mind boggling ain’t it?

Well, I just don’t believe that either group has ALL the right answers.  I personally believe the Universe was created, and didn’t just happen, but I don’t even PRETEND to understand the type of intellect it would take to do it.

I know that we have had books and bibles, and documents from the beginning of the time that man learned how to write, with all the theories about how things happened.  All of those came from the minds of man, and have been shaped by the mind of man down through the centuries.  None of them are accurate.  I don’t think that we know accurate.

Now, don’t go all funny on me, and think I am being sacrilegious.  I’m not.  I don’t go around telling people what to believe, OR that what they believe isn’t right.  I don’t have the right to do that, and neither does anyone else.  There are, however, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. who would disagree with me.  All of those religions consider that they have been given the innate approval, by the being that created the Universe to tell everyone that there way of thinking is the only one that is correct.  I happen to disagree with them.  There may be some correctness in all of them.  Being a Christian, I personally believe in that philosophy and some may think it is a conflict of teaching that I would state I don’t believe in telling OTHER people what to believe, but I don’t.  Everyone has to decide for themselves, and I think on that particular point that the being that created us, God if you will, has been totally succinct.  You choose for yourself whether to be good or bad, light or dark.  This choice is yours no matter what your religion or philosophy.

I think we will all find out one day, of course.  I think that God would be totally unfair to just leaving us hanging about the answer to things.  Of course, I could be wrong about that too.  We may go to Heaven, or we may lay unconscious of the passing of time until we come back around in the endless cycle of the Universes coming and going.  We MAY know nothing, and that’s that.  I highly doubt this to be the case, but….who am I to say?

The Infernal Mechanisms of Life

I used to work the graveyard shift. You know. The middle of the night. 3:30 in the morning, and not a soul in sight, like it says in the Garth Brook’s song “The Thunder rolls.” Except…there were lots of souls in sight there. Lot’s of other Zombie like creatures crawling around over and under steaming and puffing machines, like human maggots, gnawing on food they can’t digest.

I tell you, that strange little work place sometimes seemed like a depiction of Hell itself.

I was once standing at the top of a stairway that leads to another part of the building, and looked out over all these infernal machines, these machines of man. There were puffs of steam and water vapor coming from a thousand different places. Places that they are, and are not supposed to be coming from. All of this fills the air with an eerie sense of unreality, and of dread. All of the people look small, insignificant and miserable from this viewpoint, sort of like damned souls sentenced to do this hard work in this hot and desolate place forever, and forever. The top of the steps was about 160 degrees, since it’s near the ceiling where all of the hot air rises. I felt faint, like I was in a Stephen King nightmarescape and couldn’t get out. It was like that horrible dream we all have where you know you are awake and you want to move, but you can’t. You try to make a sound to wake yourself up from the terrible state, but you scream and it only comes out as a whimper.


More and more I am coming to believe that we are living our Hells here on Earth. I am often not sure of what comes hereafter. I wish I could say I was 100% sure. God, I wish it. How many people can say that? Those of you that can congratulations. I envy your faith. I just can’t say that yet. Does that mean I am not saved? I believe in Jesus and in God, and in John 3:16. It’s just so hard in this current state to say I totally know what’s going to happen today or tomorrow, if I find myself no longer here.

I often wonder about some of the things the faithful believe. People who have had near death experiences tell about going to meet friends and family as they move “towards the light” I wonder though, is there any sense of time after we die? If, when we die we to immortality, there would be no time, right? So therefore, our loved ones who are waiting there “beyond the light” for us in the great beyond would feel like they no more had even got there and had time to turn around when BOOM, there stands everyone else they ever loved following right along behind them. It blows my mind. No sense of time in the hereafter so BANG, there everyone is!

In the meantime, back here on Earth, we go on living the laws of Physics to the utmost, which means time passes normally for us. Gosh, it really makes me wonder about things when I think about stuff like that. My head starts to swim and clog up like a sewer. I can’t comprehend it at all.

I wish I could have a vision which would make all these things clear. After all, the Bible says young men will dream dreams, and old men will see visions about the things which are going to happen. I haven’t had my vision yet though. I am still waiting on it. I was waiting on it there last night at 3:30 a.m. COME ON VISION!….well…that didn’t work well.

Maybe tonight or tomorrow night or perhaps the night after, during the dead of the night when I am struggling to sleep it will come. Maybe one day it will come to me while the sun is shining sweetly, and I am walking outside breathing the clear cool air. Maybe it will be then that it will all come to me in a flash, and I will totally understand the nature of the Universe.

I am NOT holding my breath though.

A Coin of Love….

Back on November 9th in 1874, a baby was born.  The only other thing which I know about her was that her Grandfather loved her.  I know this because of a Canadian 25 cent piece which I bought a long time back from a buyer friend of mine who goes up to New England occasionally and brings things back to sell.  I bought the coin from him.

Back in the old days, coins were used a lot of times to transform into keepsakes.  They were used for birthdays, anniversaries, sweethearts, and other occasion’s people wished to commemorate.  They were made from silver, and things being what they were back then, they were objects of value.

This particular coin must have been cherished by its original owner because it is in almost perfect condition.  It still has the original little yellow ribbon which must have been on it the day it was given to “Madgie” which is the name on the back of the coin.  But it’s the little not which came with the coin which is sort of heartbreaking.

It says:  “My Grandpa, it would be great-great Grandpa to Margaret, gave this to me at my birth November 9th 1874”

It breaks my heart that this keepsake was separated from it’s “family” either on purpose or accidentally.  I know if I had a coin from my Grandmother which her Grandfather had given her I would certainly cherish it.  But…sometimes things do happen.

I know today, when I looked at my darling curly haired blonde granddaughter with her darling blue eyes, I wish I had found a silver coin for her back on January 8th 2015 and had it engraved for her. Perhaps I still will….

This coin and the card “provenance” which is with it is a very rare piece.  I’m selling it and I hope to get $75 dollars from it.  If anyone is interested just let me know.  If you know of someone who is named Margaret and who is nicknamed “Madge” or “Madgie” let them know.  I hope I can find a good home for this beautiful coin which was given out of love to a baby a long time ago.  It deserves a new home and not a trip to the scrap pile!

Memories….in the corners of your mind….

I wonder, what is the first memory that any reader can remember?  It’s funny how our mind works isn’t it.

But, that’s my question for today.  What’s your first memory?  That will eventually lead me to my other question.

See, the reason it interests me is that I often wonder if everyone else’s brain functions about the same as mine.  Most of my childhood memories are rather fuzzy around the edges.  Do you know what I mean?

They are sort of like trying to look at something right after you have just woke up, and still have a ton of “sleep” in your eyes.  Or maybe it’s like trying to remember a dream that you had the night before, during which you woke up.  The dream is really clear when you first wake up, but if you EVER want to remember it well you should take the advice of dream specialists and write it down right then.  If not, it’s going to be fuzzy in the morning.  Fuzzy around the edges, just like those earliest memories.

Sometimes I wonder if some of my memories are really dreams.  Or perhaps some of the things I thought I have dreamt, are actually reality. Is that possible?  I think it might be.  As we go through life, and we live through so many different things, it may just be that some of our more vivid dreams get mixed up in our brain with reality.

Well for starters, the very first thing I remember is having to go potty really, really bad.  We lived in a house back in 1953, when I was three years old, which was originally a duplex that had been turned into a regular house.  I remember that it confused me, because both sides of the house seemed to be the same, except the living room furniture was in one side and the bedroom furniture in the other.

I remember thinking that the rooms were the same, and that when I blinked my eyes, or went to sleep (especially if I got carried from one side to the other during that time) that the furniture was rearranging itself!  Strange, no?  But, back to pottying.  I had to go really, really bad, and nobody was around to “direct” me to the correct place, so down went the pants and… can guess the rest.  The part I remember the most, was getting my rear end tanned by my Pop!   I never, ever did that again!

I also remember having a pair of Easter bunnies that same year.  Dad brought them home in a box, and we took them out back to eat grass and they got away from us and ran up under the car.  It took Daddy forever to catch them, and I didn’t know what some of the words he was using meant, but I used one of them later on when I rode my tricycle down the front steps, and had to go get my head sewn shut.  I can’t remember what happened to those rabbits though.  I think Dad probably got tired of them making a mess and got rid of them one night while the furniture was changing itself around.

Another vivid thing during that same year I believe was during the summer we would catch “lightning bugs” (fireflies to a lot of you)  We would put them in a jar and I would take them to a dark place and try to use them like a flashlight!  Usually, we would let them go before going in for the night, but once we forgot and I came out the next morning, and couldn’t figure out why the bugs wouldn’t light up.  I didn’t realize that after being in a closed jar with no hole all night long, they were never going to light up again!  Dad said they were dead.  I didn’t know what that meant back then.

I know that I lived the first two years of my life at my Grandparent’s house.  My Dad didn’t get out of the Navy until 1952, so my Mom and I stayed with them.  I have seen pictures of myself at that age, but try as I might……try so very hard, I cannot recall any memories of any of those times before 1953 when we moved back to Trion, where I still live today.  I wish I could remember those times.  What would really be neat would be to be able to remember anything and everything that ever happened to you.  To just be able to sit down and say, “Now I am going to remember December of 1956 when I was six years old, and what happened at Christmas that year!”  That would be a miracle wouldn’t it?  There are people who can do this actual thing.  They had a group of them on T.V. not long ago and one of them was actress Marilu Henner.  All I could say when they got through was wow!

Scientists say that everything is stored right up there in that little 3 pounds of gray jelly we call our brain.  That wonderful, misunderstood and not fully explored organ that runs us.  I have tried everything from meditation to “commanding” my brain to remember, to closing my eyes and straining and squinting, like the Japanese guy on “Hero’s” used to do when he stopped time.  I still can’t make it happen!  Are all of you folks like that, or is it just me!!!  I would like to know, so I can claim a deficiency if I am the only one.

Memory and the brain.  They really are a strange thing.  I remember one time when my Grandfather was in his last year of life.  He didn’t know anybody, or anything much.  When we went to visit him, he would just sit around and kind of “babble” like a tape recorder  randomly playing back snippets of conversation recorded over years and years of time.  Nothing made much sense.  He always seemed like he was glad to see us, and sad to see us go…but…things were just not perking right.  My Grandma was sitting there one day and talking about one of their relatives, and Grandpa spoke up all of the sudden and said: “Lloyd’s dead” My Grandma answered him back telling him how crazy he was, because she had just talked to her brother Lloyd the day before.  That afternoon when we took Grandma back home, she found out that Lloyd had died right around the time we were all at the Nursing home.  So…the brain’s an awesome thing isn’t it?  I would have bet you a million dollars that Grandpa couldn’t count to five anymore, but somehow, someway he knew his brother in law had died.

Maybe not being able to recall everything that has ever happened to us is a blessing.  We might not be able to be selective and just remember the good things.  We might also have to remember the bad things too.  There are a lot of those things that I would rather keep shoved back into the tiny recesses and crevasses of my mind.  Yes, my mind.  When all is said and done, it is what we are isn’t it?  Even when Grandpa’s was taken mostly away, he was given a gift of sorts to replace what had been taken from him.  I guess our spirit sort of resides there.  Our soul.  It’s about the only part of us they can’t replace, and never will be able to replace.  Shoot, you can have a ticker transplant and go right on being yourself, but a diving accident can turn you into something you would rather not think about!  It makes you wonder about all those people who do have that kind of damage.  Have their souls, what made them who they were, already fled the premises and just left the empty shell behind?

Well, there’s the challenge for those of you who care to take it up.  Can your remember everything?  What was your first memory?  Would you like to be able to have total recall?  When our old brain is gone, like Grandpa’s was, are we still us?  I think so.

Oh by the way.  Does anybody remember a Science Fiction thriller from the 50’s named “Donavan’s Brain?”  It was about this guy whose brain was taken out of him while he was still alive, and put into this thing that looked all the world like a ten gallon fish aquarium!  They had all kind of wires hooked up to it, and had it connected to a computer looking thing.  Ol’ Donovan’s Brain could still “communicate” and eventually took over some folks, if I remember right, making ‘em do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.  It was scary!  I hope to heck humanity never learns to do that.  I hope they never learn to “store” our minds on computers either.  Never able to “download” the electrical impulses from our brains onto some kind of infernal storage unit, to be put into a program so we can still communicate with the living.  I don’t wanna’ be a machine.  When it’s time for me to go, I want to go.   I wonder, what will my last thought be?  Whatever it is, I won’t be able to share it with any of you guys that are left behind, so I guess I better concentrate on sharing what I want to now, while I still can!!