Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mid-May Madness

So, I've lost count of how many days until I turn 60, but it's creeping up on me and after all, does it matter? I'll still be the same doofus I am now, but by then, God willing, I shall have this manuscript done. I'll have found out tomorrow that the illustrations I mailed at the US Post Office on Saturday morning made it to New York. Somewhere there is a publisher at which I still have a contract for a bona fide picture book, its publication long delayed. And what happened on this day in history? I'm not sure, but I'm willing to wager that loads of people were born or they fell in love or they died too soon. Or long after they prayed to go. All of the above. And outside, in the dark, purple irises are in bloom.

Monday, May 9, 2011


The spirea are blooming as they doubtless were 127 years ago when Mittie Truman gave birth to baby Harry down in Lamar, MO. Mimi and I hiked up to his Presidential Library yesterday morning, a big fat thrill for a little black & white dog, getting to run, run, run all around the great green lawn. For me, it was more of a Rocky Balboa deal, trudging, huffing, puffing up the slope to the however many steps there are to the front porch to peer in through the big windows to see the tremendous Thos. Hart Benton mural that gleams from the wall within. What a glorious painting it is! Then back home again, all sweaty & breathless, Mimi panting & both of us eager for a cold drink of water. Out walking again this morning & determined I am to keep it up and get a good deal thinner than I am today, please God. Never have I been so .... well, I'm not going to type that particular F-word. I didn't expect to be so becalmed, unable to move through lack of wind in my sails, i.e. umph, at this stage of life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


SO, yes, today would have been Elaine Harness's 83rd birthday if she hadn't gotten her ticket punched back in the autumn of 1992 and glad for her I am, bless her heart, that she was able to pass away when she did. In the many years after this picture was taken, she had six more children, gained SO much weight, and got terribly, terribly sad. Life wasn't all she hoped it would be when she went to some California photo studio with little me. Some 13 years later she would tell me 'don't be like me.' Okay Mom, I pretty much ran with that little piece of advice.
How pleased and proud she always was, by the way, that she shared a birthday with the great and marvelous actor, Gary Cooper, who, had he not passed away way too soon in the spring of 1961, would be celebrating his 100th BIRTHDAY this very day. As for me, today makes 59 days before I turn 60, 59 more days in which I intend to make it my business to better observe poor Mom's sad, soft, thick, trapped, checked-out example as life has a way of catching up with a person if you're not careful, when you're not paying attention.

Monday, May 2, 2011

65, I think

So, wide open popped my eyes when I switched on the BBC about 1 A.M. and heard the news that the old renegade had been surprised by intruders, shot in the head, & dropped in the ocean. So long Osama, it's been bad to know you.
Off I need to be going in the next little while, off driving across Missouri for to talk to three groups of sleep-deprived middle schoolers about books & such. Will they want to know that yesterday [today] marked 119 years since flying ace of aces, Manfred von Richthofen, THE Red Baron was born? We'll see, but I doubt it. Still, aerial battles. 80 victories, intense young pilots - pretty goddam thrilling. Will they care that today [tomorrow] is a birthday shared by Bing Crosby [who?] and Golda Meir [ditto]? But it'll be Pete Seeger's birthday. And Sugar Ray Robinson's. Oh well. I'll tell 'em about books, about history, its role in our lives, our role in history. After all, look how one person, caught up in a wide sequence of events, can bend it, as today's [yesterday's] death dude so demonstrated. Glad you're gone, O.b.L., you rascal you.