Wednesday, October 18, 2017

THE LAST TOMATO




Beginning somewhere back in the long ago
mists of time, it seemed to be popular to 
name movies, books, songs, and so on, with
a "The Last..."

There was even a popular cowboy song dating
to the thirties or forties called "The Last 
Roundup."

One of the first movies with such a title was
"The Last Picture Show," and the beloved 
cowboy wrangler/ actor Ben Johnson won 
an Academy award for that one.

Others were "The Last of The Mohicans," "The
Last Tango in Paris," and "The Last Emperor."

"The Last" terminology seems to be alive and
well even in recent days, as we've had "The 
Last Man On Earth," "The Last Samurai," "The
Last Western Hero," and: "The Last Boy Scout."

And now, sadly..."THE LAST TOMATO" from me...
----------------
Everything on this earth
     seems to end
Tomato growing season is
     no exception
and this year it came 
     early

Last year we had dozens
      and dozens 
of beautiful shiny red ripe
      juicy tomatoes
and a photo of them 
     for the ages

This year, our twelfth year
     of planting in Earth Boxes,
began on May 25. a happy,
     cool spring day
as we planted ten plants
     in five boxes, with
one being a "cherry..."

It was especially hot during
     both June and July
and a "funny thing happened
     to our tomatoes on the way
to the kitchen table..."

They somehow caught a virus 
     and were brown and wilted
by mid-September...

Thus we got plenty of tiny cherry
      tomatoes 
but really a total of only about
      fifteen "big" ones...
the Early Girls, the Better Boys,
      and the Beefsteaks
all failed...
      They weren't early, better, 
or beefy...they withered
     on the vine...

My wife said yesterday, "I've been
      watching this last one ripen
and saving it for you.
      Do you want to slice it
to go with your bacon and eggs
      and then we'll be done?"

"Why not," I replied.
----------------


Last year!!

































\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

BY MIL
17 OCTOBER 2017
-------------













Wednesday, October 11, 2017

THE ANGELS ON THE BERRY COMMITTEE



....a thousand eons ago.... maybe.....



The Angels on the Berry Committee
      up in Heaven, helping the Creator
plan a nice "CREATION" for Man
had been meeting..."it seemed like
      forever," and they figured they had 
already thought up and 
      designed a few thousand,
or more berries...counting varieties in
     families....

When one day, an older thoughtful,
      "old-timey" angel named 
Petronius, who usually was laconic
     in debating berries
stood up and said:

"I have a proposal for a totally NEW
      BERRY...and it'll be called
a 'CHERRY.' It'll be dark red, bigger
    than a grape, and sweet.
It'll need a TREE to be grown from a 
    little tiny seed!"

"O great committee, keep in mind
       if we don't do this, there'll
be no:
              Cherry jelly
              Cherry Danishes
              Cherry tarts
              Mom's fried pies
              Cherry-nut ice cream
and      Cherries-sitting- atop- whipped-
                   cream on a thousand desserts."

Petronius further recommended a special
     cake to be called an "Angel Food Cake"
topped by a cherry icing.

He then produced a tiny seed and and said:
      "Like most of the other growing things,
this CHERRY TREE will grow from a tiny seed,
       and will eventually bear fruit."

So another miracle was added to the coming 
      Creation---
 along with ten million others...

Just a little-bitty seed...
*************
MIL
27 JULY 17

Friday, September 29, 2017

THE FORTIES: "IT WAS A DIFFERENT TIME"


THE FORTIES: “IT WAS A DIFFERENT TIME…”
--------------------------------------------------


“So many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these streets.” …..Gibran


A good photo of old Main Street taken in 1945. The historic Red Bricks
are plainly visible as a “Red-and-White Bus” is shown turning right or
east onto E. Grand. A bus ride in those days cost a kid a nickel.

Several things are obvious to any old citizen of Clovis…perusing the
picture: the water tower is plainly visible, the face-in parking was still
in vogue, and it is a morning pic---the awnings are down, protecting
the merchandise in the show windows.

An interesting thing is that there are relatively few cars actually driving
on Main itself.

On studying this scene, and seeing Clovis National Bank, Jack Holt the
Clothier,Fox Drug, (and I think I see Duckworth Drug), my thoughts raced
back in time to the way things were once, when maybe one could say:
“Things were simpler and certainly cheaper.”

-------You could buy a Snickers candy bar for five cents at Tom Phelps’
Red-and-White Store out on West Grand. They coast 75 cents now.

------You could go to a Saturday afternoon double feature at the Lyceum,
with a “Perils of Nyoka" serial and a “Looney Tunes” for a dime. Popcorn
was a dime and they didn’t sell sodas.

-------You could get a hot dog at Coney Island for 20 cents or a ham salad
san at Woolworth's for the same price.

------Soda popes of all flavors, including NEHI grapes, BARQ’S big oranges,
Root Beers, Squirts, twelve ounce Pepsis, and  cokes in little weird green
bottles could be bought for a nickel.

------Five and Ten Cent Stores such as Woolworth’s or Sprouse-Reitz were
found in nearly every town.

------Donuts were five cents at just about any bakery. A yellow Dixon-
Ticonderoga pencil with eraser for school kids was five cents at Clovis
Printing Co.

-----At Barry Hardware where the boys checked them every Saturday,
you could get a good Case pocket knife, with yellow scales for $4.95.

------Haircuts at Jim’s, Jenk’s, or Cotton’s were fifty cents until after
WWII.

------There was a Green Stamp Store at Sixth and Main, run by Mrs.
Pike.

-----OK Rubber Welders on West Grand fixed flats for a time at FIFTY
cents and sold recaps for $5.95.

------Magic Steam Laundry, also on West Grand, turned out a fine
starched, white dress shirt —- folded and banded for fifteen cents.

------Harley Sadler Shows came to town once a year and set up its
big tent on the vacant lot behind the Country Store. At other
times a traveling skating rink rented the same vacant lot.

-----THE OUTLAW, with Jane Russell, came to the Sunshine Theater in
1948 and was billed as an “adults only” movie. The high school boys
tried to figure out some way to get in.

------GONE WITH THE WIND finally opened at the State Theater in
1946 and we heard our first cuss word in a movie…ever. This was 
to pale into insignificance as one recent nomination for “best
picture” had 143 f-words and other profanities.

-------Ah, there WERE minimum wages, not ordered by the government
but set by the employers, being it is a free country. My pay at Jack
Holt’s (a fine gentleman and employer) was 75 cents an hour. (My former
yard man recently charged me $90 for an hour and a half of routine work.)

------In those times people didn’t “eat out” much. Until the Boys’
Debating Club banquet held at El Monterrey in the spring of 1948,
I had never eaten any store-boughten Mexican food. We had
enchiladas that night. We bought our chili con carne from Duran
at Bristow’s Food Market on W. 7th. It came in big orange frozen
greasy blocks.

…….During  WWII, a movie came to the Lyceum…one which I’ve
never forgotten. It was THE SULLIVANS. Another came during 
that time with much interest to us kids:  THIRTY SECONDS OVER
TOKYO, with Spencer Tracy. (I met the Doolittle Raiders in person
At KAFB spring of 1986…when their reunion was held in ALBQ.)

-----Did you know that Eddie Arnold gave a “concert” at the old
Clovis Wildcat Stadium in the spring of 1948. I got a job selling cokes
and hot dogs out there.

-----During WWII times, when the paper boy delivered the Clovis News
Journal to Art’s house on Thornton, we boys would spread it
on the grass and read the latest on Joe Palooka and Jerry Leemy
behind the lines in France, fighting the Nazis.

------Along about 1945 toward the end of the war, a captured Japanese
Zero fighter was placed on a vacant space on the corner, just across
From the State Theater. It cost twenty five cents to climb a ladder
and peek in at the controls. I was amazed at how small and tight the
little cockpit was…and how big overall the plane seemed.

-----The New Year’s of 49-50 was kind of a scary one…the forties with
all the war effort and bad news, nonetheless was a time of growing up
for us…from second grade to high school…and there we were facing 
a new-half-of-the-century.  Mardis, Sieren, and I were hanging out
in front of the State Theater and Maxine Brake (Levi’s sister) and June
Matthews came walking up and we decided we’d just take in the New
Year midnight movie.

It was TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE, with Jane Powell. In it the teen-age
Debbie Reynolds sang with Carleton Carpenter “Aba Daba 
Honeymoon.”

When we left the movie, we were in 1950 and we wondered what the
next half century would bring.  Little did we realize that we would all
eventually leave our beloved hometown, with its Red Bricks of Main
Street… the only world we knew---and tho’ it would always be OUR HOME…
it would be only in memory.

MIL

23 SEPTEMBER 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"THE WONDER OF A BABY SKUNK"



PHOTO BY MIL, 5-31-'68

There was once a white-haired retired
Baptist preacher living on maybe thirty acres
a few miles southwest of Los Lunas, New 
Mexico.

He and his wife were kind of "old-timey" as 
the saying went....they were senior folks and 
I coulda been their son, age-wise. He wore
faded-out overalls most of the time, and his 
wife, a lovable little lady, was partial to calico
dresses and wore an old-fashioned bonnet,
especially when hoeing their gardens in the
hot NM sun.

I'd stop by and visit them when in the area
and we'd do a little target practice on his back 
acre, or sit in the shade of a cottonwood
for a spell and he'd reminisce about his old 
preachin' days...

Sometimes he ask me to sing "Amazing Grace,"
or "Shall We Gather At The River?"

Here is the fascinating thing: he had the 
most interesting little "farm." He must've had
a small tractor, though I never saw it.  There
were fruit trees and maybe a few acres of 
alfafa---memory says he had several gardens,
a grass pasture with a few cows grazing, and
pheasants galore running free.

He liked to keep stuff, like cars and mechanical
things and had a junk heap over a little knoll,
kind of out of sight. ("You never know when you
might want an old part and save yourself a trip to
the hardware store.")

The thing that perhaps was the most interesting
about his whole place, besides their cozy little
farm cottage, was the menagerie.

You see, not only did he like to grow plants, but
 he raised animals. I don't know where he got 'em all, 
maybe bought some of them, but he had a lot of
critters growing and I mean---not just chickens
and pigs and cows...but rabbits in cages...and tame
geese and quail running around loose.

Since I led the music for a while in the little 
church down there, I dropped by from time
to time and took my youngest son Bri. He 
liked to head out with me in my old green
1960 Chevrolet pickup....when I had a day off.

One spring day when my boy was about 
four-and-a-half years old, he and I stopped 
by "The Preacher's Place" as I called it,  to say
hello.

My little son was fascinated by the myriad
of interesting stuff around that place....
especially the skunks . I don't know if the 
adult skunks had had corrective surgery or
what---I mostly steered clear of their 
domicile.

But Preacher had some skunk babies, whose 
plumbing was yet to develop and he said
to my boy: "How would you like to hold a 
baby skunk in your hand?"

Kids are not picky and they relate to other small
creatures, and my boy said: "WOW...SURE!"

The photo tells the rest.
++++++++++++++
MILS PLACE
by Mil
27 SEPTEMBER 201

(B.E. found this old photo in the garage
yesterday, while rummaging. I had just
taken up photography that spring of '68 
and processed the 8X10 in my darkroom.)












Tuesday, September 12, 2017

SOME LIKE AUTUMN BEST...I DO





 SOME LIKE AUTUMN BEST…I DO
*******************


Some like

The angle of the sun in September
      as it heads south toward Capricorn
They like the cooling of the hot days
     from the fever of the summer
The cooler nights, which sometimes
     Call for a light quilt
Ah…and relief from the boring
     Dog Days of August

I do

Many like the maturing and harvesting
     of the fruit
Apples turning red on loaded-down trees
The veggies  all in their final ripening, and
the  great big orange pumpkins,
      so colorful and practically crying out:
“It’s fall time! It’s fall! 
     Cold times are coming!”

And some like it when 
      The “silence of autumn” comes---
a mysterious time when everything seems
       almost muted …the sounds lose
their stridency
      and even the sun seems to cut it’s output
 as if resting from a busy summer

It’s then that an unperceived and almost
     unnoticed  silence 
and a kind of gentleness pervades the 
     cooler air

I like it.



The birds seem to have lost some of 
      their summer laziness
and are eating more, getting ready for
     Old Man Winter!

Even the big white billowing thunderheads
     left over from summer…seem to 
kind of float around with little purpose,
     Trying to decide whether  to rain a little…or 
not---and 

Wispy frazzled pieces of baby clouds trail along
     miles behind, trying to pull themselves together
and catch up with the group

I like it all

Some like it when in the lingering light
    And coolness of the autumn evenings
The sidewalks are filled with dog walkers
     And exercising people …who have
Joined life again…

The green chillies from the fall harvest
     are roasting all over town 
at food stores and in front of farm trucks—
     (making one  hungry for a chile relleno)
and the marvelous smells are filling the air!

The State Fair has begun and somehow
    on certain evenings you can hear
music from the carnival “midway”---
    almost ghost-like
when the breezes are right....

The first big norther will soon blow into
     town….whipping thru the trees and
scurrying the leaves (as yet barely turning)
      across lawns and  along curbs---

Time to stock up on soup bones and 
      check soup recipes, stack firewood by
the back door, and get out a quilt for the 
     old Lazy Boy!

Or head up to my cozy attic, build a fire
    In the little  wood stove, find my Faulkner,
stretch out on my GI half-bed, and open a 
    can of Beanie Weenies!

Oh yes, fall is here again!

Some think it is the most wonderful time
     of the year.

I do.


BY MIL
12 SEPTEMBER 2017


"THERE'S FOREVER A 'CLANG-CLANG' IN MY SOUL"



"THERE'S FOREVER A 'CLANG-CLANG' IN MY SOUL”
(It is said that once there were a
hundred windmill companies in the US....
but now...less than six...
                        ***************************
O you really haven't lived
or fully known the depth and
joy of being an American
until
you have drunk---on a hot
summer day

cold clear water from deep
underground, purified by
pristine rocks and sand
and brought up to you
by a windmill...

....a collection of pipes,
"sucker rods," and a big
fan that catches the wind...
and turns...and pumps...

On ten million farms/ranches across
America, over centuries,
such wonderful water, from coast
to coast made a
"thoroughfare for freedom"
possible....

This pure water is still there
under the ground, only deeper
now...and mostly raised by
unpoetic electric pumps--

Windmills have gone the way
of mules and plows, quiltin'
parties, people who pick cotton,
and hog killin' at Christmas...

The water still sates the thirst
of the body
but maybe not the soul, as when
a farm boy fills his straw hat
to the brim...and dumps it
over his head on a 95 degree
plow-day...water right outta the ground...

...with the wind a'blowin'
and the windmill a'pumpin'
to beat sixty...
and the "CLANG-CLANG"
in the pipes....always
beating along in rhythm...
with his heart.
***************
MIL
13 AUGUST 17
Writer's note---The old leaning windmill,
halfway between Clovis and Roswell at
Elkins, New Mexico, (a half mile behind
the store,) was photographed by me
with my 3.5 Rollei, with a red filter,
and a crawl under tight-barbed-
wire. on a spring day in 1969.

The picture won a First Place in an
Albuquerque Tribune contest, 1969,
an award at the State Fair, and
others...

My wife and I passed by Elkins in 1992
and slowed down, searching for "my
old windmill," but alas...it was gone.
The skyline was empty. Sadly so... 
PHOTO, MIL, 1969:
                        "Leaning Windmill and Painted Sky"


LikeShow more reactions
Comment


LikeShow more reactions
Comment

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

THE ECLIPSE OF THE CANTALOUPES


SONG: "O give me a can-ta-loupe...
           with some bla-a-ack-eyed peas,
          and some co-o-o-orn bread..." 
TUNE: "Home On The Range"



Time was--once't---when you could go 
into a cantaloupe store and buy ten of
those marvelous nutritious melons and 
nine of them would be just grand.

Nowadays you can reverse that number---
nine would be too green, too ripe, not
sweet, or some weird taste has crept into 
their current DNA, or whatever.

Or do cantaloupes even have...DNA? (It
would take a year to get a report back, 
even on your favorite soap opera.)

It has got so bad that a friend of mine, off
down in the glorious state of Florida, told
me awhile back in the summer: "Wal, I like
my cantaloupes, you know, a half, unseeded
and scraped out and all, and then packed 
with vanilla ice cream...but it seems like we
have to take most of 'em back , anymore, for 
a refund or replacement."

This year we have eaten about ten/twelve
and have purchased these at several different
stores, and twice BE has brought home two-
at-a-time (when they struck her as "looking
just right.") They weren't.

THE PLAN is that she brings in the grub in
sacks and I get my cutting board out and my
beloved crooked six-inch serrated knife
and bone the big roasting chicken and cut
up other stuff for salads...that sort of thing.

And she usually cuts the cantaloupe over 
at the sink and takes care of the juice and 
seeds...and then I do my thing. Chop, chop.

It's got to where, when her knife hits the 
melon, she's already saying "Oh no, another
green one."

I eat'em anyway. Have you ever checked 
the vitamins in a "lope?" They are heart-
friendly. About as good as sweet potatoes,
romaine lettuce, and tomatoes for health.

Regarding melons, used to, back in the good
old USA, when I was a kid, we'd roll in our 
old '41 Chevy into Pop's driveway down in
Dawson County ("In the land of cotton...Look
away, look away...") and he'd in summer have
six or eight big fat watermelons lying just
across the fence from the clanging windmill---
in the cool shade of a big elm, right under the
kitchen window...on the green, green grass
of home...

After all the hugs, and hellos, and "My you've
grown a foot!" (to the kids), all the uncles and
Dad would have their turns at thumping the 
melons. Checking them out... a ritual...

As befitting farm folk of the time, some were
rather dramatic and pseudo-expert looking
in their thumping...and folks would hang
on their opinions..

The kids took their turns at thumping and
usually showed no originality, merely echoing
their favorite adult's  evaluation: "RIPE!"

Now BE and I are pretty well read, and I guess
"up to date" somewhat on stuff and have both
tried to learn all the tricks about selecting
cantaloupes....

But I reckon we've missed the secret.

We can't pick 'em. There it is: "Make the most 
of it!"

Unless, there are no good ones anymore.....and 
they are all...

Eclipsed.....   somehow
-----------
Yes, I know, the song above...needs work.
------------
MIL
26 AUGUST 17