Don’t Come Here Again

In the early 1970s, I went with a bunch of my friends to check out this house which was rumored to be haunted.  The story as I remember, involved an invalid who fell down an elevator shaft inside of the house and it was said that they would materialize as a ghost.  It was a three-story house set back into the woods off an isolated road.  Some stories said that Emma Swanson was pushed down the shaft by her mother’s lover and that they were never able to clean up the blood that was dripping down the shaft.  I am very skeptical, and I knew that these stories were all elaborations, and that people will see what they want to see, so if they go there expecting to see a ghost and they hear floorboards creaking, that will turn into spirits walking through the house.  Anyway, it sounded like a fun way to kill some time, so I parked my car a couple of blocks away and we all went to see the mysterious house.

It must have been a nice house at one time, but now it was abandoned and run down.  We saw a bunch of beer cans strewn all over the property, so many other kids had been to this house before us.  It was dark that night, which made it even more scary and the perfect night for seeing a ghost.  We heard that Emma was a thin, young woman with long dark hair in a wheelchair wearing a tattered white nightgown and there were stories about kids running out of the house screaming after she appeared to them.  Eddie was goofing around knocking on the walls to make it sound like there was a ghost in the house, but once we realized that it was him, we stopped reacting to his nonsense.  We saw the famous elevator shaft, but no dripping blood or ghost, so since there was absolutely nothing going on in this house, we got bored and left.

We walked back to my car, and then this older man shouted at us to stop.  He waved a gun at us and told us that he had the right to shoot all of us as he was the caretaker of the abandoned house.  I thought he must have been crazy, because who waves a gun at a bunch of innocent teens.  He said he wanted all of us to get into his car as he was going to drive us to the police station for trespassing and vandalism.  We didn’t destroy any property and we didn’t even think that trespassing in an abandoned hose should be a crime.  I tried to talk him into putting the gun down, by saying that we would do anything he asked us to do.  I let him know that we didn’t damage anything and that we were only there for around 20 minutes.  I also told him that if he didn’t want anyone trespassing on this property, that he should put up a sign to alert people of this.  He said that every time he puts up a “No Trespassing” sign, that somebody always rips it down.  I told him that we got his warning and that he would never see us again around that abandoned house.  A couple weeks later he put up a big neon sign that nobody could miss.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #162.

Breakfast Club

Henry’s wife Allison had gone through episodes of anorexia, bulimia, and she also had a binge-eating disorder, where she would not eat anything, or purge what she ate, or consume unusually large amounts of food feeling that she was unable to stop eating.  Allison just got back home from an inpatient eating disorder treatment program.  The doctors, dietitians and nutritionists enforced the principal that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, because it breaks the overnight fasting period, and they told Henry to make sure that Allison always started off her day with food that would provide the essential nutrients required for good health.  In the program Allison was diagnosed as being a borderline, obsessive-compulsive, and avoidant personality characterized by her feelings of extreme social inhibition, inadequacy, and her sensitivity to negative criticism.  Henry needed to step in and become her coping mechanism to help his wife to establish healthy eating habits again.

Henry got up early every day so he could serve Allison a balanced breakfast with whole grains, protein, and fruit or vegetables.  He called his wife to the table and asked her how she was feeling this morning.  Allison replied that she was fine but not very hungry this morning.  Henry said, “You can’t skip breakfast, because it provides you with energy and it will help your concentration.”  He told his wife that he just read about a survey by the National Weight Control Registry, that found people who ate breakfast were more successful with long-term weight loss than those who regularly skipped the first meal of the day and besides breakfast helps your metabolism and can help prevent overeating later.  Henry told Allison, “You don’t want to end up back in that treatment program, so you must eat at least some of your breakfast or you’ll experience body weakness latter on in the day.  If you keep skipping breakfast then you will end up having a heavy lunch, so you gotta eat something right after waking up to boost your brainpower and mental performance throughout the day.”  Allison reached out for a waffle, took a bite, and said it was good before smiling at her husband.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #161.

Deep In Prayer

All around him, he saw pain, the world was falling apart, people were dying from hunger and living in poverty, conflicts were causing despair and natural disasters were everywhere he looked.  He needed to feel a connection with the supreme being to have hope back in his life, so he decided to pray.  There was no sound, and his lips did not move, but he felt a deep connection speaking from his heart to the Heavenly Father.  He was certain that God knew about all the problems that were plaguing his life and he prayed to gain an understanding on why there was so much suffering in the world.  He wanted answers about why he lost his job, why somebody smashed into his new car, why his wife left him, and if all these seemingly insurmountable roadblocks were God’s way of testing him, like what happened in the Book of Job.

Initially, Job did not blame God for his troubles, but he did feel it was unjust that he had to endure so much.  A man can only take so much suffering, and blaming God is a part of life, so we all do it when hard times come.  He tried to hold back his anger as he realized that God does not enable man to understand everything perfectly or completely that He must deal with daily.  Comfort and peace would not come from comprehending everything about God, but he could obtain this by being obedient and believing that God has his best interests in mind.  He wished that he could be more like Abraham who did not hesitate to obey God when he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, but those were different times when God spoke with humans.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #160, where the Image credit comes from Pavel Danilyuk@ Pexels.

She Comes in Colors

Ahh, the pure joy of childhood!  She just learned how to paint, or should I say how to make a mess, however one man’s mess is another man’s masterpiece.  She still has so many other things that she wants to learn and so many goals that she would like to reach.  There is a whole lot of food that she would like to taste and many people that she wants to meet and there are plenty of parties that she wants to attend where she can dance the night away.  She still has places that she wants to visit and she wonders how big this world actually is, as this little girl is full of life and hope and you can tell that by her smile as she looks up at the sky.  There is a firecracker inside of her waiting to explode on this unsuspecting world.  She is not aware of Cyndi Lauper yet, but all she wants to do is have fun and she will use her charm and cuteness to get everything that she wants out of life.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #159, where the Image credit comes from Senjuti Kundu @ Unsplash.

I Am Going To San Francisco

I won’t be wearing a flower in my hair, because the Summer of Love is over, and Jerry Garcia has been dead for a long time now.  Nearly 100,000 people came to San Francisco in 1967 to become part of a movement that not only explored expressions of self-determination but also rejected convention and forged new ideas about human rights, lifestyle, music, art and fashion.  The Summer of Love certainly transformed San Francisco into a counterculture magnet which nurtured an environment that fostered acceptance and creativity.  I know that I am going to meet some gentle people there, and that love will still be in the air, but I am going there because I just inherited a winery.  San Francisco is not particularly known for growing grapes, but it is located extremely close to the world-famous Napa Valley and the neighboring Sonoma County which each make a really nice Pinot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.  This vineyard does present a challenge because the municipal water contains chlorine and fluoride, so I will have to rely on distillation to remove these contaminates.  The constant fog and cold summers are not friends of the grape either, so if grapes don’t work, I could always start growing pistachios.

The moment I walked through the green doors on this brick wall, I fell in love with this place.  I saw all of those luscious grapes peeking through the vines, and the magnificent Santa Cruz Mountains in the background.  My uncle who just passed away was a member of the Merry Pranksters and he lived at Mickey Hart’s barn in Novato before he bought this property that just became mine.  I have always loved visiting him here in San Francisco and he took me to the best concerts.  My uncle introduced me to John Phillips from the Mamas and the Papas at the Monterey International Pop Festival.  John Phillips was in The Journeymen with his friend Scott McKenzie, and since he was busy promoting this concert, he gave this song about wearing flowers in your hair if you are going to San Francisco to his old friend.  John knew that this song encapsulated the feelings and aspirations of young people in America, and that they would travel far and wide to attend a music festival which promised to deliver that, so this song shows the love of a whole generation.  I am thinking that if the grapes and pistachios don’t work out for me, I might just start growing flowers here.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #158, where the Image credit comes from Mick Haupt.

Everyone Needs a Little Mischief

I heard Harry Potter say, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good”, and that has since become the motto that I live by.  The opportunity for doing mischief is around me every day, and only once every year will I do some good things.  My moma told me never to look into the Sun, but that is where the fun is.  Mischief, hijinks, shenanigans, whatever you call it, nothing is as important to your mental health as having fun and it is not just girls that want to have it.  When I was young, I was a wild and crazy guy always driving around looking for fun, but eventually my parents took the T-bird away, because I was having too much fun.  People need balance in their lives, so if your life consists only of fun things, it can become boring and seem meaningless, so as hard as this is to believe, it is possible to have too much fun.  When she said, “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me”, I dropped my girl like a hot potato, and I went off with this hot looking blonde.  I always wondered why people say blondes have more fun.  My research revealed that the Platinum Effect can do a lot to boost a girl’s ego and while Brunettes are always perceived to be smarter, and redheads are seen as being feisty, blonds actually do feel more glamorous and sexier, which allows them to have more fun.  I am not sure if gentlemen prefer blondes, but blonde hair is a signal of youth, and many men like to have a younger woman.  The only thing that I am looking for in a woman is one that can make a cup of coffee with the image of a pumpkin in the foam that is on top of it.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #13, where the Image credit comes from Valeriia @ Pexels.

Glorious Day

I waded out from the beach to stand on this rock and greet the day.  I live on the west coast, so the Sun is always at my back in the morning when I come out here.  I know that there is a place in the sun where there’s hope for everyone.  I come out here to sing The Song of Deborah, which is a victory hymn about the defeat of Canaanite adversaries by some of the tribes of Israel.  “So may all your enemies perish, Lord!  But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.”  I guess Deborah was like a cheerleader who urged others to fight for God.  Deborah had an army of 10,000 Israelites to battle the Canaanites, and the story says the stars strayed from their courses and the river washed the Canaanite army away in a massive flood.  The battle was a total victory, all of the enemies fell by the sword, and no one was left alive, making it a glorious day.

Every day we fight to live, we fight to survive, we want to get our way, but before we fight, we must decide which hill is important enough to die on.  Solomon never fought the Egyptians, but in the 1959 highly fictionalized movie Solomon and Sheba starring Yul Brynner and Gina Lollobrigida, Solomon has a love affair with the Queen of Sheba who was an ally of Egypt.  The always wise Solomon devises a plan when he is being pursued by the Egyptians.  He lines up his army on a hill, prompting the enemy to charge.  The Israelites are facing east, using their highly polished shields to reflect the sun light into the Egyptians’ eyes.  The Egyptians are blinded, and the entire army rushes headlong over the edge of a cliff falling to their death.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #156, where the Image credit comes from Mohamed Nohassi @ Unsplash.

Trapped in the Fog

We were wondering around for hours, caught in a trap and no matter what we did, we couldn’t seem to walk out.  I told my wife that I loved her too much, as I wondered why she couldn’t see what she was doing to me.  I told her that we were walking in the right direction to make it through the hazy fog in this forest, but she didn’t believe a word I said.  She thought I was having an affair behind her back with her sister no less, and she told me that we can’t go on together.  I admit that I did look at other women, but I never even thought about cheating on my wife, and I have no clue how to deal with a suspicious mind.  We can’t build our dreams on suspicious minds, so if an old friend of mine stops by to say hello, that should not raise a red flag.  We have been married for more than 35 years and I think that she may be suffering from a delusional disorder involving my infidelity, which is also known as Othello Syndrome.  Her dad cheated on her mom, and this is probably why she has this morbid jealousy.  I never know what is going to set her off as she is constantly preoccupied with the thought that I am being unfaithful.  Her eyes will start tearing up for no reason and here we go again, she is crying real tears.  I am uncertain that our love will survive, even as I help her to dry the tears from her eyes.  I told her that we shouldn’t let a good thing die, as I’ve never lied to her, mmm, yeah, yeah, and that I don’t have a thing for her sister.  When we make our way out of this fog, I am taking her back to see her psychiatrist again.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #155, where the Image credit comes from Shahzin Shajid @ Unsplash.

Missing

Josh woke up late and went downstairs to the kitchen to have his breakfast.  He poured himself a bowl of Cheerios with milk and a sliced-up banana.  He sister Jessica walked into the kitchen and said, “Josh you slept so late you missed all the excitement here this morning.”  Josh exclaimed, “What excitement, what did I miss?”  Jessica said, “Someone took all of grandpa’s tools and he is pretty made about that.”  Josh replied, “Why would anyone want to steal those old things, what else did they take?  Why didn’t the dog bark, is Duke feeling well?”  Jessica told her brother that she didn’t ask any of those questions, so she doesn’t know any of the answers.  Josh asked her if she was apathetic because she doesn’t seem to care enough to ask relevant questions, as he felt that her natural reaction should be curiosity.  Josh finished his breakfast and said that he was going to find grandpa to get to the bottom of this.

Josh whistled and Duke came running to him and Josh gave him a pat on his head and told him that he was a good boy.  Josh headed out to the tool shed where he found his grandpa and he saw that all of his tools were still there.  Josh said, “Good morning, Gramps, Jessica told me that somebody stole all of your tools, but nothing seems to be missing.”  Gramps replied, “Your sister is pretty dumb when it comes to tools, as I complained to her that I was missing an awl, you know that pointed tool that features a sharp, metal blade, with a shaped tip that I used for making small holes in wood.  There are many variations that can fit my particular needs, but in order to do the job right, I need to use the right tool.  I didn’t tell Jessica that all of my tools were missing, I said my awl tool was missing.”  Josh said, “Thanks for straightening that out Gramps and Jessica is pretty much an air head.”

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #154, where the Image credit comes from Google.

Ragged Covid Look

When the pandemic and its associated lockdowns arrived, my hairdresser quit and I soon found myself growing a bit shaggy.  I always felt that proper grooming was important and during this time of uncertainty, I still wanted to look regal, being the king of the jungle and all that.  My hair is porous, and it tends to trap viruses in it, so the likelihood of me spreading it to someone else is very improbable.  I don’t feel sick and my temperature is normal, although I don’t know why they insist on taking that rectally.  Even if I did have the Rona, there is no evidence that I would be able to spread this virus to people.  My normal groomer was terrified of risking her health by coming in to work in the face this pandemic, so I have to suffer with this scroungy look till they can find a replacement and not many people want to get close with a lion.  The last thing that I want is anyone saying that I have a mangy mange.  I also need someone to trim my nails and brush my teeth, well at least I am still getting fed.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #153, where the Image credit comes from Arleen Wiese @ Unsplash.