Friday, March 5, 2010

Drifting Off

Photograph by Charlie Leck. ©Charles H. Leck Associates

Reminding myself why I write here!
by Charlie Leck

I follow a blog written by an old geezer in Cleveland, Ohio. Like I, he blogs for the fun of it. Also, like I, he is amazed at the number of readers who choose to follow him and who keep coming back for more. Since I started following his blog, he’s changed his title and heading about every week or so. I think he’s searching! Damnedest thing about it is that I had spent a few hours working on a cool looking header design for him back when he called his blog “From Tony’s Keyboard -- A Little ado About a Few Things!” I was going to surprise him my sending it along to him. After a couple of other tries, now his heading says “From Museful’s Keyboard – Musings and High Primal Thoughts.” If you happen to look in on him anytime in the next few days, it may be called something else. Tony’s wife, Marge, does some of the writing on occasion – and sometimes I can’t tell, without giving it some thought, which of them has posted the entry. Marge is a soft-core imitation of those other old-timers, Margaret & Helen. The old girls produced one of my favorite of all blogs, but it’s much less frequent now than it used to be. That’s too bad because it was great fun to listen to old Helen rip into someone like George W or Mitch McConnel or our own Michel Bachman.

Small version of the header I'd designed for Tony and his ever changing blog.

It appears that bloggers run out of gas – peter out! I don’t know why it hasn’t happened to me. I’ve posted well over 800 blogs since I started putting them up here two and a half years ago. I posted another 70 or so when I formerly put my entries on our farm’s web site. I guess it’s that I love the feeling of the keyboard under my flying fingers. It takes me all the way back to typing class in high school (’56 and ’57), when the Flannigan sisters (twins) sitting on either side of me would try to play footsie with me while we were performing a timed-typing-drill as a graded class speed test. It’s probably why the black dog, Jasper, can keep bumping me in the side, trying to tell me he needs to go outside, when I’m banging out a thought; and I won’t miss even a beat.

All of this is long prologue to get around to the point of today’s entry. I’m going to make a change. It won’t be to the title of the blog; for that continues to say exactly what I want it to – though one of those snobbish, intellectual and academic types (aka Carolyn Bell) suggests it ought to be Ad Astrae. I hope I can find out that she’s wrong so I can ring her bell once. She gets hopelessly flustered if she isn’t scoring ding-dings in all our bantering.

At the expense of losing a number of my readers who come here only to view (hear) my political rants, I’m going to try to move in another direction – far less politics – far less diatribe – far less of all that because I’ve lost faith that I can do a damned thing about changing the terrible direction of my nation and it’s irresponsible and foolish ways – toward a gentler, calmer me. More about that in a paragraph or two.

I come to this conclusion to stop the “gripe-type” because yesterday I carefully reread an email I’d sent off several days ago to a dear and close friend in Denver and it frightened me. All my agony and despair came to the surface like the bile and froth of a maddened man. I’m not ashamed of it, but I am tired of it. I will remain alarmed about the nation and world that we are leaving my grandchildren and their children, but… what can I do about it?

It’s pretty personal stuff, but here was the basic message I sent off to my Denver friend with the extreme profanity edited away…

What the [heck]? Obama is taking such a beating, I can’t believe it. It’s like me trying to get into a fight in high school with Larry Edwards, Art Burtt and George Fischer [all linemen on our football team) all on the other side. What the [heck]!

They’re out to [drum] him in November. They’re cruel bastards, Fred. Democrats play badminton while the Republicans play hardball.

Should I care anymore? Avignon, I say, Avignon. Even Anne thought it sounded attractive this morning. We’d have a guest house with swizzel sticks and a terry bathrobe (monogrammed, so certain guests wouldn’t swipe it) and maybe the kids and grandkids would come there even more than here.

Does America make the world swoon with envy anymore? Are you kidding?

All this happened in our life time. From the time the boys came home from the war as conquering heroes to now (what 55 years?).

The European nations snigger over our claims to greatness.

Fred, keep this between thee and me… but I love Obama… there is not a person in America who wanted him to succeed more than I, but the [louts] (Rove, Chaney Loudbaugh and Beck) knew how to handle him – tea party him to [political] death.

[Geez] I’m depressed and angry over the way politics work in this country I loved so much.

I would not be sad to die in Avignon.

Is this the America I will die in?

[Boy], they’ve slaughtered Obama like a lamb! Like a [little] lamb!
I’ve concluded pretty firmly that politics has lost compassion and lofty purpose. I’m talking about both parties. My cries have been like those of the unheard prophets of ancient scripture who knew the children would not listen. My gusto is gone. So is my will.

"Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed" [Isaiah 10:1]
I’ll try to become a delegate one last time to a state political convention. Maybe, somehow, we can stem the tide a bit here in Minnesota and slow the Republican tsunami that is coming. Who knows? If I do make it as a delegate, I’ll have a drink as the convention closes and officially retire from the struggle.

But here on my blog I’m going to try to turn to the gentle essay. There are too many beautiful things in life to write about. They are things my grandchildren need to hear (read) about. They need to see the softer side of me – how I like the way a bird aloft can play with and ride upon a wild wind with such grace that it makes my nerves tingle – how the sound of snow sliding down off the roof in springtime is part of the constantly renewing promise of hope – and how the staggering beauty of the perfect sentence in type is a phenomenon that should not be missed.

I’m going to write about how, in July, our hayfields just to the west, flow, rising and falling like a gentle sea. I’m going to tell my grandkids about how a kind and lovely woman approaching 70 can be yet as beautiful and appealing as she was at 30. And, I’ll write about the dramatic, swirling, dizzying dance of a Sioux Brave in the center of a modern, urban parking lot. And, I'll write of a drive through Haiti and Port au Prince a number of years ago and how the images of poverty, decay, neglect and hopelessness never go away.

And, as I have often done here, I'll write about good food, good places to dine and good ways to cook. I'll write about books I've read, cinemas I've seen and places I've visited. I'll write a little about baseball (mainly about the Twins) and some about golf, too. Very occasionally you may also get a blog about photography and the wonder of modern photographs. Dizzying and Brewster's Inn (included here) are two examples of my own photography.

What happened was, you see, that I lost track of why I even began writing this blog. It wasn’t to save America from the tyranny of conceited, debauched and selfish politicians. I said I wanted to write here so there might be “a record by which my grandchildren and their grandchildren may know their old and odd grandpa.”

And I also said that “if others get some enjoyment from these along the way, or find them informative and interesting, so much the better.”

I won’t post as often in the future – perhaps only three times each week. I want to be more careful in this essay approach, trying my hand at the art of the sentence rather than just interminably banging out paragraphs.

To those of you who will abandon me, thank you for having been so constantly loyal. To those who stay to sip this new wine, I hope you will actually enjoy it.

Now, let’s lift our glasses and clink them together in a toast to my grandchildren. Good night!

Good night!

P.S. I’m privately publishing 50 copies of my blogs, up through this one, in three volumes and in hard-cover. Four copies of the three volume sets will be set aside for my grandchildren and another six sets for close family members. That leaves 40 sets available for others. I expect they will cost between $10 and $20 per volume (the cost of publishing with no profit whatsoever). If you want to reserve copies, you can either leave a comment with details about how to contact you or send me an email (the address of which can be found by checking my profile at the head of each blog).

Brewster's Inn,
Cazenovia, NY

Photograph by Charlie Leck
©Charles H. Leck Associates


  1. Marge and I are humbled by your " holler" - thank you. As for the change you are making I fully understand where you are coming from. I feel much the same way. We are looking fprward to many more great posts. By the way , that picture taken in Cazenovia, N.Y. brought back some memories. We are native New Yorkers and lived in Manlius, N.Y. before moving to Ohio. Before I forget that header you designed was great.

    Tony Rugare

  2. Darn it all, I fell in love with your header design for my blog so I renamed the blog. I'm sure that's not a surprise.