Solicitation No B.S.

ATM’s have become many people’s bank.

They are in countries all over the world and you can get cash in countries where no one speaks English and all the writing looks like hieroglyphics. The ATM’s accept debit and credit cards, let you make deposits, check balances and transfer money across accounts.They are open twenty four seven and have small service fees. There is a phone number to call if something goes haywire but we all hope we don’t ever have to call because talking to techs in India is dicey.

This simple, hand penned sign, by the ATM, is a plea for help. It was left leaning against a wall behind a trash barrel, so one guesses the writer got money and took his Sis for a nice meal at the local Jack in the Box.

This sign says your money will be spent on food rather than drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or other vices.

Whether we should trust what we read, because it asks us too, is a great leap of faith.

The only thing that seems questionable are the letters, ” No B.S. ”

I wouldn’t have put that statement in there, if it was my sign.

When someone tells me ” No, B.S..” I suspect there will be plenty of it coming.



Get away from my register UNM South Golf Course snack bar

Bazookas are old technology but World War 2 vets will tell you a thing or two about their effectiveness in the war they fought in.

This plastic army man, with his bazooka pointed at me,his helmet securely fastened, his feet planted and secured by a heavy application of scotch tape, looks at me with a stern no nonsense attitude.

Mounted atop the snack bar register, he is protecting the money, and, throws me back to grade school days when we kids actually played with these Army men, taped firecrackers to them and stood back as they were blown up with the striking of a match.

These days, Army men still wear uniforms and helmets, but they have put their bazookas in museums. Army men, these days, are likely to be killing people with their computers, sitting in a room thousands of miles from the battlefield. 

This cash register is protected, and, at night, when employees have gone home, this army man goes to the refrigerator and helps himself to a beer.

Fighting makes one thirsty and there doesn’t seem any end to war.


Home Depot Scare Halloween 2019

The season of spooks and goblins, pumpkins and puritans is approaching.

Our local Home Depot has dedicated aisles and displays to Halloween and looking for utility wire and masonry nails to secure a few plants to a block wall, so they will grow up straight and be out of the path to the back of my house, I am greeted by grisly figures and demons from the spirit world..

There are ghosts peering down at shoppers from higher shelves, opening their arms and long thin fingers to grab us as we walk underneath. There are green skeletons and little girl apparitions in white dresses that I wouldn’t want knocking at my door any time of day or night night. All of the props in this holiday section are properly scary but not scary enough to make little kids cry. Most parents, these days, take their kids to school or church functions where it is safer than walking them house to house in neighborhoods where they don’t even know their neighbors.. It is hard to figure how a Christian country, like ours used to be, could perpetuate Halloween on any scale.

Even more grisly than these blown up spectacles is what comes on the 24/7 news scream. 

The development of new and more destructive weapons, nuclear, biological, chemical, is still on going. Wars and revolutions play out around the world as men and women elected and non-elected politicians make and enforce their rules that everyone else has to slavishly obey. Television promotes drugs, lawyers, doctors, the need for insurance, the need to buy services you didn’t know you needed, the obsession to look and feel perfect. Homeless legions beg on the streets.Wall street rolls in money created by a government and financial system that rewards them for their efforts and keeps working men and women competing with shadowy workers from other countries who are here, with or without paperwork, keeping business profits high and shareholders happy.

There is much to be scared of in this Devil’s playground.

Somehow, I don’t see much reason to celebrate Old Scratch.

Elevating him and his minions to holiday status to sell merchandise seems a bit short sighted, but altogether human.

Jesus has his work cut out for him on this planet.

I’m lucky today. Home Depot has my utility wire and masonry nails.

When stores stop having what we depend on, then you are really going to see evil spirits come out to play.


Artifacts things to be claimed

My garage is the most recent resting place for artifacts from 803, the house us kids grew up in.

Smaller things have been boxed up to be gone over when brother’s are able to come to Albuquerque to go through photos, letters, correspondence, old coins, mementos from our parent’s trips, political pins, old books and magazines, items of clothing that don’t fit any of us.

These larger artifacts are all that keeps me from using my garage and photos have been emailed to the guys  to take any of these larger items before they are donated to charitable organizations that handle stuff people don’t want or have a place to put.

Seeing these items out of their original places in 803 is disconcerting. 

What is more difficult than disposing of stuff is dealing with memories

How we hold thousands and thousands of memories between our ears and still function is a miracle. 

Memories remain more important than stuff.

We can share our memories but we can’t give them away, trade them for a newer model, or sell them at the flea market.

If it wasn’t for forgetting, our heads would explode.





Deer in Embudo Canyon Albuquerque Foothills

As soon as we say we haven’t seen deer, we spot a small group in one of the small canyons that break away from this larger canyon we are trekking through.

This family unit is looking at us as they nip leaves off branches, ears cocked, knowing we were here long before we spotted them. They are large animals with delicate faces, soft lips, long tongues, long thin legs that don’t seem they could support their big bodies, large eyes and ears.

I pause and get photos,and ,in this natural setting, the animals are majestic ,even from this distance.

It is bow hunting season in Albuquerque and shameful that some of these animals will go down just because they have a set of horns.

When American prairies were covered by huge buffalo herds, the Plains Indians would say prayers before riding into the sea of buffalo and bringing a few down for their basic needs. I say a little prayer for these deer this morning as the sun comes over the Sandia’s and the humming of I-40 freeway traffic grows louder through Tijeras Canyon

I wish these guys and girls good luck and pray hunters forgo hunting season for NFL football and golf with the boys.

We, the ultimate predators in this world, number far too many.

Nature, I have no doubts, will find a way to deal with our numbers when the time is ripe for thinning the human herds.

The Earth is in a delicate balance and shuffling one block affects all the blocks next to it, and all the blocks next too those.

Hiking through nature this morning, I am happy to see these deer, and think the world would be much less without them.



Lost History- Video Ernie Pyle Library-Albuquerque

At an annual celebration of the famed World War 2 correspondent, Ernie Pyle, at his home in Albuquerque, N.M., a docent discusses the permanent closing of Pyle’s childhood home in his original birthplace in Indiana. As the docent continues his presentation, he reminds an aging audience of the steady inexorable disappearance of our history, the importance of keeping history alive, the necessity of knowing our past from whence we came.

Ernie Pyle was a celebrated World War 2 correspondent, but, today, there are many Americans who don’t know much about World War 2 except what they see in the movies. They don’t know Ernie Pyle, or Julius Caesar, or Frederick Douglas. They believe the American Civil War was only about the abolishment of slavery and the United States Constitution is outdated and irrelevant, written by stuffy white men who owned slaves and wore white wigs..

Where does history go when it is behind us?

Does God put His memos, research papers,videos and photos of our world in his personal library? Does he go back and review his plans and progress for the Universe and make changes in the roll out of his vision ? Does knowing history mean we can stop or modify what is happening to us while we are in the middle of its happening?

On this pleasant afternoon, we are taken on a guided tour of Ernie Pyle’s life and times, in a place he fixed bacon and eggs for breakfast and read his newspaper thrown on the front porch by a neighborhood boy on a bicycle. 

Ernie Pyle wrote about a world war,a big one, and it’s consequences for the everyday common men and women who always fight wars.

His house feels like a home and I walk away suspecting that Ernie would offer me a cold drink of lemonade on a hot summer day and have some good jokes to soften the wounds of our war as we both set at a little table on the front porch with empty mesas as far as we could see.

He came from humble roots but was placed in the middle of one of the worst wars in human history.

His writings and his home survive him, and remembering is something we can do for him still.

Ernie volunteered for the war but some would say reporting on it from the front lines was his destiny.

The beauty of his writing is that it seems like it was written for everybody but him.


Golf Course ducks UNM South golf course water hole

The UNM south golf course is a championship course that is way too much championship for this golfer.

It has ankle deep grass in the rough, tricky greens, deep traps, rolling fairways and a few doglegs that would make a dog blush. You wouldn’t want to walk this course unless you were a mountain goat and a masochistic one at that. The greens on all the holes have multiple breaks and the greens keeper always puts the pins where you would expect with someone who fights with the wife a lot.

On the back nine there is a short par four dog leg to the left that wraps around a little pond with a huge cottonwood between the edge of the left fairway and the lake, directly in the way of a straight tee shot to the green. Long hitters can try to fly the cottonwood and drive the green while the rest of us mortals lay up to the right and have a wedge shot into a small tight green guarded by a big trap. 

The pond is shaded and a gaggle of ducks live there in the warmer months of the year before they migrate south for the winter. When we golfers drive down the fairway, the ducks waddle out to meet us and sample treats we bring from home and have stored in our golf bags belted to our gasoline powered golf carts that have tv screens that give distances to the pin, let you order food, and play music. 

Growing up with ” Donald Duck” makes ducks seem approachable though we know these guys have a dangerous bill that gets aggressive if the duck feels threatened. If the ” Donalds ” get really bothered they usually turn back to their lake and paddle out to the middle where they can weather any people storms.

Today, we give them treats and they stay close to us. We all hit our approaches to the green but no one makes a birdie. Walking off the green, we can hear the ducks quacking like television sports announcers on crack.

Whether they are ” cute” or a ” Nuisance” lies in the eyes of the beholder but they make a tough day on the course a little less disheartening.

Even championship courses need diversions, even ones that waddle and quack.



Bumblebee Lunchtime Backyard dining

If I were a true horticulturist, I would know what the bush in my back yard with the pretty white flowers is called. I would know its scientific and common names. I would know if the plant has medicinal uses, how much water it needs, the proper way to trim it, the best times of the year to transplant. In the city,us city folks don’t always keep up on the nature around us. In jungle villages, even little children know every plant and animal within their touch, how they can help and hurt.

I do like the fact that this getting bigger bush gives me shade, hides a neighbor’s back yard from view,doesn’t take a lot of maintenance and care, has nice flowers and attracts birds and bees.

This bee doesn’t pay me any mind as he digs into nature’s lunchbox and I don’t feel like I should swat him or interrupt his lunch.

He lands gently on this flower and takes his pick of which stem to pollinate. In a natural unwritten reciprocal agreement,the bee helps the plant reproduce and he gets a good meal in return.

I might be a city boy but I admire nature when it hits me in the head and buzzes me awake.

When flowers and bees are out and about, it means it is warm and sunny and winter is a long long way off.

Even guys can have appreciation for flowers and a nice bouquet given to your best woman often gets the 

conversation moving towards the birds and bees.


Ernie Pyle Library Celebration of a life

Ernie Pyle was a simple Indiana kid who liked to write and travel and found both as a World War 2 correspondent for Scripps-Howard newspapers.

He purchased a house in Albuquerque in the 1940’s and lived in it with his wife and dog Cheetah, till he was killed in the war he reported on.  In his memory, his house has been turned into a National Landmark, and, once a year, there is a celebration of his life and achievements.  

The house is a simple wood framed, pitched roof bungalow with shade trees around it. When Ernie moved into it, Albuquerque was a sleepy little town and he would have been on the edge of town with an unobstructed view of spectacular NM sunsets. Now the neighborhood is aging and close to the University of New Mexico where he would have taught journalism if he had survived the war that wouldn’t let him escape.

The celebration of his life is low key like he was, and, on a table in the library, where he used to read books by the fireplace, are personal letters to him from Presidents of the United States, military medals, and commendations for his war reporting. His prose is a simple yet strong as the home he built for himself.

This Pulitzer prize winning journalist was killed by a sniper’s bullet in the Pacific and he  died as many of the soldiers he lovingly and respectfully wrote about that showed folks back home what their loved ones were enduring.

It is good to have a day to remember, if only once a year, those who have given so much.

Forgetting is all too easy but the wars just keep on coming.







Fort Union Santa Fe Trail

Near Watrous, New Mexico, I have always sped past an I-25 highway sign that reads simply, ” Fort Union . ”

This trip, I exit, and follow the Old Santa Fe Trail that brought people west in the eighteen hundreds looking for opportunity.

After the Civil War, poor folks, who didn’t have prospects, came out west to start over. People with money, wearing suits, followed them, looking to build fortunes in a wide open territory of the United States before it was carved up into states by wealthy and powerful men who wanted to make more of what they wanted most from life.

The Santa Fe Trail became one of major routes taking settlers west and along its length the government built military forts to secure the land, protect settlers, provide law enforcement, settle disputes, and fight Indians who weren’t pleased with these invaders.

Fort Union, in it’s heyday, had 1600 soldiers, the only hospital for hundreds of miles, a jail, church, wagon repair shop, arsenal, and was a distribution center for food for military forts throughout the southwest.

The national monument opens every day of the week, 8 to 5, has a museum, and a staff wearing uniforms give tours every few hours.

The wind blows this morning and during the winter this place is brutally cold, isolated, and basic.

The most interesting fact I discover is that the fort had women working and living inside it as laundresses who drew regular military pay and had their own quarters.

Knowing how tough it was for men to be here, it must have been even tougher for women, and having women here, must have given the Commanding Officer grey hair.

Not knowing whether a man is going to protect a woman, or assault them,and how love and lust affect human behavior and execution of orders, is a Commanding Officer’s worst nightmare.




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