Tuesday, March 29, 2011

So, okay, well, if nothing else, it's a far out way of putting off getting down to work, checking out who was born [future 10th President John Tyler, 1790] and who croaked [King Gustav III of Sweden, at what must have been a thrilling masked ball, all smelling of perfume, powders, pomade, and candle wax, on a spring night in 1792.... man oh man, picture those fleeting glances and embroidered party clothes..], on this day in history. Better to revisit Luciano Pavarotti's glorious death scene than think about my tax appointment an hour from now. And here in the next little while I've got to get serious about doing a painting of what Hiram Young's yoke and wagon 'manufactory' might have looked like in the 1840s, here in Independence, the Queen City of the Trails. Do you know about him? Oh baby - look him up! A great and resourceful overcomer he was.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

and then again...

A somber sort of thrill it was, driving 'cross the Missouri, the Mississippi and the Wabash and the Kaskaskia Rivers. And the Ohio, stealing glimpses of that wide expanse of pale pewter while maintaining my lane, thinking of all of those long-gone river travelers. Dan'l Boone. Lewis & Clark. I remember painting a picture of the Lincolns crossing over to Indiana in 1816. Can't help thinking of a flotilla of dugouts, canoes, flatboats, rafts, keelboats, and steamboats. Oars and paddle wheels, cutting, rippling, churning. All those trapped in bondage, busting to cross the Ohio to get to the free land on the other side.

1st I will & then I won't/I'll do & then I don't

So. Elizabeth Taylor and Geraldine Ferraro have passed through the veil between us and the violet Blue Beyond. And total trembling nervous wreck I was, driving home from away off yonder, after a few days of talking to young Kentuckians. Or specifically the part where the snow thickened round about the wide Mississippi, where I was doing my best to thread my way from I-64 to westbound I-70, along with many a vehicle piloted by drivers as dim as their cars. You'd think that their headlights were coin-operated! Sheesh! So grateful am I to be home again, home again. We're talking real guardian angle stuff.

Friday, March 4, 2011


So, you precious few who take the time to see what I write here, have probably noticed that I've been writing nothing here whatsoever. Nor will I, not anymore than once a week anyway, unless I forget or change my mind. But this is too big a day, too much has happened here lately to neglect writing today. It's the old Inauguration Day, not to be changed to our customary I. Day until 1933, so it was that FDR was sworn in for his 2nd term on 20 Jan 1937. So. A fine day for inaugurating, beginning a new deal.
A huge day it was, March 4, 1797, when one leader stepped aside for another - peacefully, by the consent of the people. Remarkable, no foolin'. Afterwards, ex-President George Washington headed home from Philadelphia to Mount Vernon by way of the half-built President's House. He gazed upon those stone walls on March 14, to see how the work was progressing. It'd be almost about three & a half years before John & Abigail Adams, President No. 2 & his Lady, could move into the place and even then, it wasn't entirely finished. Now the mansion is pretty much completed and decorated and wired to a fare-thee-well. The republic, now, it still needs lots of work. Probably will never made right, especially as 'We, the people' are unable to consent on anything other than the fact that things aren't going so very goddam well, not at all.
Fourteen Presidents later, 136 years after Adams of Massachusetts took his Oath of Office, Abraham Lincoln of Illinois took his, 150 years ago this very day. And here's how he ended his first Inaugural Address:
In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend it."
"I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
Wanna read the whole thing? Do! You won't be sorry. Would that those better angels would illuminate the minds & hearts of our current crop of well-tailored windbags, ever-media=&-moolah-conscious BSificators.

"And," as President Adams said on his Inauguration Day, "may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence."
And, as I say now, by the way, Rest in Peace Corporal Frank Buckles, gone well & truly Over There.