“…they knew… and I’m pissed”

 viet

I have been watching Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” and the more I watched the madder I got at the political establishment that lied its way into my generation’s devastating war.

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THE VIETNAM WAR features testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

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In case you don’t know we lost.

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The series brings the war back to mind and paints a disturbing picture of what I was, fortunately, spared from.

It is disturbing for a number of reasons one of which is President Kennedy telling a close confidant “I can’t pull our “advisors” because it would negatively impact my re-election”.  The TV screen shows 17 killed.

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…and there would be no re-election bid.

He said that 5 years before I was drafted into the Marines in 1968.

I try not to be an “if only” person, but if he had admitted we, the United States, had made a mistake and ended our involvement in Vietnam that 17 would not have turned into 58,000+.

President Johnson said in 1965 “We are not going to win this thing”.  A Marine Captain said “They knew this was a lost cause years before I was called to fight there…I am pissed”.

Like I said, the show brings to mind my experiences involving the war, the draft and friends. 

At this point in my life I strongly felt that this war was justified and …

…I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be drafted into the Army. 

The night before I was called up I had a few beers.  The next day at my physical my blood pressure was sky high and was informed that I would be called back at a later time. 

April 2, 1968.

That later time arrived and I thought if a few beers did that to my blood pressure, what if I drank shots and beers all night and into the early morning do for me. 

I was still drunk at my physical and my blood pressure was normal.

Along with me that day was my best friend in high school and best friend in college. 

There must have been around 500 men in the hall.  Three were drafted into the Marines the rest into the Army.  Hours later I am on a train headed to the Marine Corps Training Depot at Parris Island. 

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My friends were off to Army basic training.  They went to Vietnam, I ended up at Headquarters Marine Corps, Joint Planning Group Arlington Va.

My high school friend’s name is on the Wall and my other friend took a long, long time to tell me what happened to him.

wallI will watch the next few episodes, maybe the whole thing. 

I was lucky, but  what I witnessed and worked with was a group of Marine Officers that included Generals, full/light Colonels, Majors and Captains, all brilliant military people that recognized, with this war came promotions…and that included me. 

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Marines were coming back from Vietnam with ranks under me, Sergeant Carney.  While Colonels, with my help, continued to write classified papers, including estimating the number of Marines that were going to be killed that next week.

Don’t ask me how that was calculated.

My assignment at the Joint Planning Group/Navy Annex/Pentagon soon changed my position on the war and those in charge politically and militarily.  

I have a lot more to tell but for now this is enough.

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just thinking…again

brady

I think I have watched the Super Bowl “come back” replay about 5 times and I would watch it again …

Let’s put an end to the talk about going 16-0…can’t we just be satisfied with another Super Bowl win?

…can the opening game on Thursday come soon enough?

The Red Sox are up 4.5 they just might win the division…and I think John Henry is a real ass hole…

red sox

Don’t ya just love Benintendi and Nunez…

I like the look of the new Celtics … but Wycliffe Grousbeck  is still an asshole….ask me why someday

celtis

Just picked up my 235 year old fiddle and played the only tune I know by heart…sounds good…the fiddle that is

Wrote this for an Irish wedding

a celebration of love

will embrace those near and far

this day is yours

make it come alive with

laughter, music and love

dance like nobody’s watching

this day belongs to you

but

share it

while holding on

tomorrow will soon be here

tom will take you there

and

beyond

for tomorrow belongs to him

for tomorrow belongs to him

your ride together has just begun

I love cartoons…especially editorial cartoons but the comics are great … my favorite is Dilbert and the character Wally that does nothing.  I am a bit concerned I think the pointy-haired boss fired him.

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A friend and I recently had a discussion on the trending of the cartoons in the New Yorker and are concerned that they are going a little upscale…but we still like them.

I just had my first birthday…

Recently penned this, with a Lewis Carroll lead, and sent it to someone looking for direction in life

A path to somewhere

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

If only I could walk long enough.  What is “long enough” I say and does anyone really know where you want to get to.

Is direction important in one’s life?

Or more specifically, having a direction. Where are you going? Until you can answer that question, you can’t say that any one route is better than another. Any road will get you to where you want to go.

Not having a direction, not having a goal, not knowing where you are going, it’s all the same. You go nowhere. You can never get “there,” can never arrive anywhere, because you don’t really have a destination. Without direction, without a destination, without a goal, how do you pick a direction, choose a road, or plot a course to get “there”?

I know it’s practically impossible to know everything before hand. But if you wait until you have all the information, life will pass you by in the mean time.   … and as Ferris Bueller said: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Make a decision, make mistakes, make more decisions …then act on it.

I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. But without anything more specific, how can I possibly move forward? What road will take me to a destination that I can’t specify?

As usual, most of life’s difficulties come down to preparation. Too little or too much, or just sitting there with “analysis paralysis” the result is the same. You don’t get what you want, you don’t go where you had hoped to end up.

The first step is to get an idea of what you want to do. Select one of the areas you are lacking in direction. Brainstorm some possible directions. Write them down. Then consider each one and narrow the field down to just a few of the best and most appropriate possibilities.

Once you have a couple of really good candidates, finish your research and select one of the paths. At this point, it probably doesn’t matter which one exactly you choose. You can always write it off as a “learning experience” and try again. Even if the steps are small, you should strive to make progress, learn from the experience and revise your direction.

Where are you going? Answering the question is important. If the answer to the question is anywhere, you’re probably already there.

Yes my first birthday as a grandfather…

mae1IMG_8124 (2)mae me

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..a picture is worth

…a thousand words

IMG_8127 IMG_8130 IMG_8138 IMG_8139IMG_8059 IMG_8063IMG_8017 IMG_8011IMG_7956IMG_7392IMG_3945IMG_5214 IMG_5217IMG_7223IMG_6342 IMG_6487 IMG_6516IMG_5813 (1) IMG_5812IMG_5598IMG_5623 (1)IMG_5140 (1)IMG_5008IMG_3945IMG_3200IMG_3072IMG_2131IMG_1765IMG_1381Hey what’s up doc…and if you like the pictures which one is your favorite?

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Dancing with pigeons

I have been at the “beach” and those that follow my blog know that my accommodations are somewhat primitive.  There is no electricity, running water, internet, TV and using a cell phone is influenced by the wind and weather.  It is a place that after 3 or 4 days you are about to lose it and it is time to return to civilization…where I am now.

It was cloudy and about to rain,  I was digging through a stack of books looking for something to read.  Most of the books are murder mysteries and at this point, if I read one more James Patterson book, I might become a serial killer.  Even worse, a Democrat.  I swear there must be a study out there on the political affiliation of serial killers.  I would put money on  Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler, being a Democrat.

I keep on digging for a book and come across a hardbound book with 244 pages and a title that just suits me.  I look at the author’s credits and find a book that was on the New York Times best seller list and start reading the book in hand.

It is a book of anecdotes, stories of people, places, love, life and pigeons.  The book is by Robert Fulghum and titled Uh- Oh.  Someone must have lent it to me years ago and if they’re reading this now, must be saying…ah, so that’s who has my book.  I apologize for keeping it for so long and please identify yourself before I lend it to someone else…cuz it’s a great read.

I recently became a grandfather, her name is Mae Carney O’Sullivan and one of Fulghum’s stories really hit home.

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Please allow me to share two excerpts with you, the stories are my favorite in the book but do yourself a favor read the book.

A couple of days ago someone was talking about some problems they were confronting and decided that these problems were just inconveniences not real problems and therefore not worth getting stressed out.  I jumped on board and by coincidence, Fulghum wrote about the same as I read his book a day later.

Survivor of Auschwitz…lissen, Fulchum, lissen me, lissen me.  You know   what’s wrong with you…it’s not this job.” “So what’s wrong with me?” “Fulchum, you think you know everything, but you don’t know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem.   “If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire – then you got a problem.  Everything else is inconvenience.  Life is inconvenient.  Life is lumpy. Learn to separate the inconveniences from the real problems.  You will live longer.  And not annoy people like me so much.  Good night.”

the other excerpt

...Grandfather and grandchild go to the zoo.  First time.  And we see the lions, and tigers and elephants and kangaroos and bears and gorillas and all the rest…..she rode in the stroller and I pushed.  The next time we do this, I’m going to ride and she’s is going to push.

For all of my “Oh, Sarah, look at the whatever.”  Sarah was most impressed with the pigeons that hung around.  What she liked about the pigeons was that she could almost touch them but not quite.  No matter how carefully, cautiously, quietly, she approached, the pigeons always managed to move just one small step further out of reach.  The space between her and the pigeons moved in concert with her.  She could come so near and yet never completely close the distance.  “What would you do with one if your caught it, Sarah?”  She didn’t know. Processing was not in the plan, actually. Reaching for the pigeons was all that was important to her. Not catching, but pursuing, mattered.

Riding home, Sarah fell asleep in her car seat beside me.  I sat in the car and looked for a long time at her face.  Who is this child?  I wondered.  I want to know her.  Now that I am older and wiser and have the time and patience I did not have as a father, I will approach her as she approaches the pigeons – carefully, cautiously, quietly, with perseverance.  And wonder, as she does, how one can be so close and so forever far at the same time.  She is not “mine” and never will be.  Two people think of her as “their” daughter.  But Sarah only belongs to herself.  There will always be a moving space between us – an untraversable distance to be treated with respect.  Sarah doesn’t know what she would do if she actually caught a pigeon.  And I don’t know what I’d do if I ever caught Sarah.  To love something and to possess it are not the same thing.

Talking to her father the next day, I inquired of Sarah’s report on our excursion.  “She’s been talking a lot about pigeons…are you sure you guys went to the zoo?”

I hope that Mae and I will dance with the pigeons some day.

pigeons girl

This blog is the longest since I started doing one.  If you are still reading … thank you…and I will end it with…

…last week, someone asked me if my stories were authentic, especially the one about Whitey Bulger, it is true and for the most part so are the rest (except Herman the pig in “the bone setter”).  Fulghum’s answer to the same question continues to be “yes and no I’m not sure sometimes myself.”

for more on Robert Fulgham click on the following:

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-adk-adk_sbnt&hsimp=yhs-adk_sbnt&hspart=adk&p=robert+fulghum#id=48&vid=41aeddc3cde059b8edd149449be85963&action=view

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…just another day at the beach

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For us…not so for them on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

beach3It has been several years since I visited the Normandy beaches and the “cemetery”.  Here, there is a certain spiritual feeling that captures your mind and soul.  It is real and it surrounds you.

The men and women that came here on June 6, 1944 did so because of an unconditional love for our country, and don’t you ever ever forget, for me and for you.

Today the beaches of Normandy are some of the most beautiful in the world but you are soon reminded of what happened here. 

normandy beach

More than 2,000 Americans died on the shores of Normandy on June 6th, 1944. On a cliff high above it rests the Normandy American Cemetery, one of the world’s best-known military cemeteries. Buried on these hallowed grounds are the remains of nearly 9,400 servicemen and women who died on and around Omaha and Utah beaches, and in the struggle that followed to break out from the beachhead.   Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. is one of three Medal of Honor recipients buried here. There are 38 sets of brothers buried next to one another.  I must repeat…38 sets of brothers…let that sink in for awhile. At the center of the cemetery sits a small chapel. A ceiling mosaic depicts America blessing her sons as they depart to fight for freedom. In the open arc of the memorial facing the graves area is a 22-foot bronze statue, “The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves.” The names of the missing are carved into garden walls behind the memorial.

normandy cem

There are many stories that are told by the guides and supported by pictures and videos of that day but the one that stands out for me was about the Army Rangers climbing Pointe du Hoc.

point du hoc

Our guide asks a gathering of about 40 people, “how long do you think it took some of those Rangers to make it to the top of the cliff?”

Answers ranged from hours to a day.

Pointe du Hoc, a prominent headland situated between Utah and Omaha, was assigned to two hundred men of 2nd Ranger Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Rudder. Their task was to scale the  (100ft) cliffs with grappling hooks, ropes, and ladders to destroy the coastal gun battery located at the top. The cliffs were defended by the German 352nd Infantry Division and French collaborators firing from above. 

The men at the point became isolated and some were captured. By dawn on D+1, Rudder had only 90 men able to fight.

Following their actions at Pointe du Hoc on 6-8 June 1944, Rudder’s Rangers suffered a seventy percent casualty rate.  Less than seventy-five of the original 225 who came ashore on 6 June were fit for duty.  Of those who served in the 2d Ranger Battalion on D-Day, seventy-seven were killed and 152 wounded.  Another thirty-eight were listed as missing.   In the 5th Battalion, casualties numbered twenty-three killed, eighty-nine wounded, and two missing.  Among the casualties was Lieutenant Colonel Rudder, who was wounded twice and later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for his actions at Pointe du Hoc.  

Our guide answered “It took some of the Rangers 15 minutes … from landing on the beach to climbing to the top.”  He continued “Think about that … they knew that if they didn’t make it to the top they were going to be killed.”

God please care for those heroes under angel wings, and God bless America.

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Granola bars and BMWs

WQM

I drive a used BMW or should I say pre-owned.  This is my third one and it is a standard shift.  My last one was having transmission problems and I brought it in to where I bought it.  They sell and fix BMW, Mercedes, and Volvos.  They also do Saabs but they are dying out.  I also had three of those.

The week after I bought the standard shift, I threw my shoulder out and had to have rotator cuff surgery.  So I haven’t driven it much.

Returning from Ireland and going through all my mail I came across a recall notice from BMW.  I was impressed that BMW even acknowledged my car.  I called my mechanic and he said I would have to take it to an authorized BMW dealer.  I did and arrived at the appointed time.

SHOWROON2bmw showroon

Like I said I buy used cars and I was not expecting to be greeted by people dressed like they were about to attend a formal affair at the Ritz. I checked in with service and was escorted to an area that had all kinds of boutique coffees, cold cereals, drinks I never heard of and fruit that I didn’t recognize.  Next to this area was the BMW bicycles, I looked at one and it was priced at $1250.00, the full line of BMW clothing, watches, luggage, toy cars, bigger toy cars, kayaks, and highly priced call girls in the men’s room.

The people waiting in “this” area, well I think they were all from Hingham and they looked constipated.  I was dressed like I just shoveled shit in a cow barn and they kind of shied away from me.

I have to ask those of you that buy new cars … are the dealerships all like this now?

After about an hour, oh by the way, the recall was for the airbags, I asked would it be much longer and he replied they are now vacuuming and washing the car and it should be ready shortly.

Soon after, my man tells me it is set to go and gave me a full print out of problems and potential problems that I should address.  I paid nothing.  The car has never looked so good, unfortunately the potatoes that were starting to grow in the back seat were cleaned away.  They didn’t disturbed the stacks of clothes I keep in the back but the look they gave me was one that says “I think this guy is homeless and he lives in his car”.

BMW

Maybe they saw me put four granola bars, an apple and two bananas in my coat pocket as I was leaving.

…and you ask what my favorite car was…

JAG

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Irish weather reporting (adults)

And you wonder why my vocabulary turns  to fucking shit when I return to the states.

The two words most used here are brilliant and fucking.  Used together and it describes the highest level of excellence…fucking brilliant (or when I want to clean it up a bit FB)

The video that follows is fucking hilarious.  The broadcast was recent.

 

 

 

A honest to goodness letter to an Irish Magazine follows.  I have included this letter into a few stories but after this video I had to include it again.

Here comes the summer

I am writing to complain abou the weather. No wonder we Irish are all half fucking mad.  The fucking weather keeps on fucking changing all the fucking time.

As I write, it”s slightly fucking drizzly and very fucking overcast.  Only ten fucking minutes ago it was fuckung sunny!  I suppose in another ten fucking minutes it’ll be  fucking torrential fucking monsoon type fucking rain.

Followed shortly thereafter by fucking Hurricane Biddy (or fucking something) and a fucking asteroid shower!!  For fuck’s sake, fuck this truly fucking Gawdawful bastardin shit!!

In conclusion WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGH!!!!!

 

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 I am a comin fucking home soon and the snow better be gone and this April shower shit on hold and fucking hurricane Biddy is years away.

…and you ask….how was your stay in Ireland?  It was fucking brilliant.  The weather broadcast …. I believe it was on the 1st of April.

Gotta cut back on the “F” word Mae Carney O’Sullivan will soon be dancing in the rain.

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Posted in America, Hurricanes, Ireland, the beach, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sausages and eggs

mad hatter

 Could be trouble ahead…the EU has gotten involved in the added ingredients in tea.   Is there another Boston tea party brewing?

 

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Ya gotta remember I’m as mad as the “Hatter” and I’m in Ireland.

Brexit is big news over here…but I’m not going heavy into politics on you, I’ll  keep it simple.

Before the election last year, I read an article about a British butcher who had enough of the European Union officials in Brussels telling him how to stuff his sausages. I might add, I bet there were a lot of other British men  thinking  about someone else in the EU telling them where and when to stuff their sausages.  Well just as I predicted, Brexit passed

My brother in law owns land that he leases out to local farmers.  He is required by the government to plant or instruct whoever leases the land what should be planted on a year to year basis.  He is audited by officials of the Irish government/EU quite often.  He has one coming up next week and it requires him to submit information on the last time a fox took a shit on his land.  Maybe it was a deer not too sure on this.

…anyhow he is one to frequent pubs where no one can find him and he tells me about one of his visits to a pub that the owner has a small grocery shop attached to it.

You could find funeral homes, turf accountants and all kinds of non related pub stuff attached to pubs over here. Like one of my favorites, soon to be visited during the Cheltenham races…Redmond’s pub and bookie shop.  Ya might say a dangerous combination.

horse

chicken

To continue, He told Tom about a government/EU audit he recently had.  He showed up unannounced and the pub owner asked what this might  be about and the f**ker said “eggs”.  He takes him into the shop and shows him the six eggs that he had in stock.  For the next 2/1/2 hours he documents when, where and how many times Helen (his hen) was f**ked and what she is fed and how many shits she takes a day.

OK the parts about the fox, deer and Helen I made up but 2 1/2 hours documenting the history of six fucking eggs!

TRUE!

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Brow Cottage is at the bottom of one of Tom’s fields and as the years go by, winning the lot in a game of poker gains credibility.  Soon the land will be fertilized and the smell will be overwhelming,  just like the government getting involved into your business or even worse your personal life.

The British butcher had enough, the unemployed coal miners in West Virginia had enough and all the Mad Hatters of the world have had enough.

…and still people wonder how Brexit and Trump happened.

God save the Queen and God Bless America…and if I may introduce you to Mae Carney O’Sullivan … my one and only grandchild.

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Brady’s back in Bowl

 

brady

 

Well aren’t you lucky.

While all Patriots fans (save me) were  WATCHING the Steelers get pounded into the hard frozen field at Gillette, I was trying to listen to an audio stream that quit before the end of the half.

 

….BECAUSE Brow Cottage is in the Black Hole of Clonegal, no broadband, few TV selections, with an unlimited number of BBC channels that show The Big Bang Theory non stop.

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So guess what, I have found a new sport to WATCH, I don’t need American football, the Pats or Tom Brady anymore, I now have … the sport of Bowls.  Ya we’re talkin Bowls not just a Bowl like in Super…

Just read this and I know you will feel the same.

indoor bowl

 

The aim of the game is simple. Get your bowls as close as possible to a small white ball called the ‘jack’.

It might sound easy, but the fact that the bowls do not travel in a straight line seriously adds to the tactical challenge.

Bowls can be played indoors or outdoors, and the rules are the same, with top stars from both formats coming together to play lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games.

Are you still with me on this?

Scoring systems vary from competition to competition. Games can be decided when:

  • a player in a singles game reaches a specified target number of shots (usually 21 or 25).

I should insert a picture (my favorite) of Mrs. Brady…

  • a team (pair, triple or four) has the higher score after a specified number of ends.Games to a specified number of ends may also be drawn. The draw may stand, or the opponents may be required to play an extra end to decide the winner. These provisions are always published beforehand in the event’s Conditions of Play.

Doesn’t this excite you to no end and just wait till I explain Cricket to you.

criket match

In the Laws of the Sport of Bowls] the winner in a singles game is the first player to score 21 shots. In all other disciplines (pairs, triples, fours) the winner is the team who has scored the most shots after 21/25 ends of play. Often local tournaments will play shorter games (often 10 or 12 ends). Some competitions use a “set” scoring system, with the first to seven points awarded a set in a best-or-three or best-of-five set match. As well as singles competition, there can be two (pairs), three (triples) and four-player (fours) teams. In these, teams bowl alternately, with each

Is this great or what!

player within a team bowling all their bowls, then handing over to the next player. The team captain or “skip” always plays last and is instrumental in directing his team’s shots and tactics. The current method of scoring in the professional tour (World Bowls Tour) is sets. Each set consists of nine ends and the player with the most shots at the end of a set wins the set. If the score is tied the set is halved. If a player wins two sets, or gets a win and a tie, that player wins the game. If each player wins a set, or both sets end tied, there is a 3-end tiebreaker to determine a winner.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Please, Please, Please BBC televise the Super Bowl or I will …

were-all-mad-here

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Personal Museums

I am honored to have a man that is a great… person, husband, father, grand father, teacher, coach (Hall of Fame), story teller and a “fb” friend as the guest writer of my 200th blog posting.

I sincerely thank him for being a “risk taker” and my friend.

markfam

 Personal Museums – Mark Southworth

Collections provoke curiosity and people enjoy examining and letting their imagination create the story. We stroll through exhibits and so many questions intrude our minds. People display their own treasures to the fascination of friends. Over the years, here are some of my favorites:

Hilda’s paper weights

Lance’s display of ticket stubs

Duff’s stamps, coins and sports memorabilia ( including an autographed Yaz shirt)

George Thiberge’s Lupo’s bartending vest covered with political campaign buttons

Len’s 45’s

Evelyn’s dolls

DC and JA and their hats

Charlie and his magnificent oyster plates

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Some come without great expense, and some cost a lot in money or time and effort. Regardless, they are priceless and bring many hours of happiness and pride and may even offer a glimpse into one’s persona.

markjane

My personal museum is on display in “ the cave”. Roaming beaches for hours searching  for tiny fragments glittering in the sand. When I discover one, I reach down and pick it up marveling at it’s uniqueness, and wonder about the circumstances that brought this frosted piece of glass to this shore. Had it been washing up on the shore for twenty years or maybe fifty tears. From a fine bottle of wine carelessly discarded during a sunset sail, of a beer bottle accidentally dropped overboard during a fishing excursion. When I have finished cleaning all the sand off it, I place it in my pocket. When home, I spread my day’s haul out and admire the contrasting colors and shapes.

 sea-glasssea-glass2

My personal museum provides endless opportunities to dream a story. I enjoy this and hope that those strolling through will also.

 

Please allow me to add some comments.  Mark has many friends and a great family.  I once asked him how he keeps so many friends…he answered “I really have to work at it”.  Any of his friends reading this will agree and I can only hope they prompt him to write more … as for me …it would be the tuxedo and Bunny bread, opening day at Schaffer Stadium (before Gillette), “ya better pull  your friend out of the water, he’s drowning”, Tasmania or bust,” I sleep with the boss”, salads and wine…it goes on and on and I truly recognize and admire him for “livin life large”.

Once again, Mark, thanks for being you….and for inviting ALL your friends to “stroll” through your museum. I am out of country now, so friends of Mark (FOM) please keep me posted when you all will be making the stroll…Irish Whiskey for me and for all the others… Mark…you know by now…see ya at the cave…straight up for me and please no more than seven, OK, maybe eight and a few cool ones to wash them down.  I’m trying to cut back a bit.

markme

Happy New Year to you all…with best wishes and good health.  

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