Botany 101 and the fake I.D.

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His scratchy sweater his mom had given him smelled sour like wool, all the more from the cigarette smoke where he and his friends gathered at the dormitory and talked about women, about ultimate reality, about where to get beer.  The air was ripe with possibilities, yet forces were in place to deny them any of the desirables.  The girls were locked up.  Dormitory rules.  Stern blue-haired dean of women.  Drinking age was 21.

No shortage of women — women their age, more than willing to socialize with them, even slip out the back door to love them up.  Carl licked his lips.  He loved how they smelled.  College was nothing but good.  Frustrating, but good, because hope was always alive.  Hell, he knew how to get a fake ID card.

Of course he had a mid-term exam in Botany 101 Monday.  He and a couple other guys would have to pull an all-nighter Sunday if they were to do well.  Hmmm.  Let’s see:  Kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.  He ticked them off.  Plants, vascular plants, and so on right down to gymnosperms, pines, ponderosa.  He had gotten this from a different all-nighter in the dry winter air with its throat-scratching freezing temperatures.  A friend and he had sat up in the basement laundry of South Hall.

Missoula was a party town for college kids.  Had a reputation.  Come to think of it, Carl wasn’t sure about the order and family of the P. Pine.  He’d have to look that up before the exam Monday.  His shoes were not adequate for the cold weather.  Feet would freeze before he and his friends could make it downtown across the bridge to Eddy’s Club.  They’d shoot pool, maybe run into some older women who had been emancipated from the tyranny of dorm life.  Maybe he could get some pussy.  He was still a virgin.

In just one week everything would change.  The Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor and the United States would declare war and just about every healthy young man would be drafted into the army or navy.

Meanwhile, Carl ticked off the kinds of fungi:  basidiospore . . . . In seven days he would have taken the mid-terms, but neither he nor any of the other guys would care about any of that any more.

Gunther is no southpaw.

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He is ambidextrous.

June 2, 2016 @ 1619

Despite his status as castrato, Gunther likes to kick up a hind leg to mark territory, or maybe it’s not that big a deal if he just needs to pee?  He doesn’t kick a foot every time, though.  He defies my attempts to generalize his behavior.

And he prefers lifting his left rear, but his right rear sometimes gets the nod.

That would make him ambidextrous.  He isn’t a southpaw.

Sometimes he just sort of stretches out and lets it go.  Too often, perhaps because of some sort of malformation of his penis, he pees on his right front paw.  Doesn’t seem to faze him, though.  I mean, he doesn’t shake his wet paw to dry it.

Penny has had to ask me not to bend down so low when I watch him.

Anyhow, in the sleepy morning he once kicked his left back up so high he tipped onto his head.

This was near a chain link fence where a day or two ago he kicked up his left rear, then after he started to tip forward, teetered backward and his foot went through a hole in the chain link.  What a panic!

That’s how I like to start my day, giggling.

Mother hates me.

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“You did what?” Mother looked like she was going to cry.  Mother always looks like she’s going to cry when she sees me.  She hates me.

“I bought watermelons,” I answered.  What does she want me to do?  Lie to her?

I explained like this.  This is how the thing always goes.  She asks me for the truth, I tell her, then she looks like she’s going to cry.

So it is memorial day, isn’t it?  I always look for something new because I consider myself an innovator.  That’s right.  I set the trend, I don’t follow it.

So me and my friend Penny were driving on the highway, looking to buy some flowers.  I saw a great display across a huge parking lot at a grocery.  Turns out they were not flowers, but watermelons.  So I bought five of them and placed one on each grave:  Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt Ruth Carol, Aunt Corinne, and Aunt Carol Catherine.

Anyway, I always liked the name “Kathleen” better than “Catherine.”

“What’s the deal, man?”

Photo on 6-2-16 at 6.45 AM

After yesterday’s many activities—  Hey.  I spent a couple hours cleaning the workshop in the back of NOVA theater.

Our workshop.  We inherited it from Nathan Blanding, according to my boss, NOVA Director Dodie Rife.  Wow.  It was filthy and disorganized.  Dodie and I walked through and we discussed the organization scheme preferred by Dan Nickerson.  She wants me to note on each tool with a marker, “NOVA.”

Some racks hold platforms and flats for scenery.

The place is mostly packed with used boards and sticks of various lengths, plus a host of nuts and bolts:  carriage bolts, machine bolts and nuts, eye bolts.  Then a couple dozen kinds of wood screws with phillips heads and star heads.  I haven’t figured out the electric drill situation yet, but I’ll go in today.  I’ll talk to the shop foreman, Dan Nickerson, who will design the sets.

Like I was going to say, this morning, after yesterday’s activities, I could hardly get my eyes to work together.  Nonetheless, I rolled out of bed to take Gunther on his morning quest.  His quest to find the perfect pooping place, that is.

The perfect place.

Well, G. refused to go and I saw that the black labrador from next door, Suzie, was standing in front of our house wagging.  G. loves Suzie, you know.  I had to let them romp around together a bit.  Little G. looks like he’s trying to mount S., even though G. is a castrato, about a quarter her size.  Man, having no nuts doesn’t seem to slow G. around all that much.

Anyhow, ultimately we made it to a yucca on the other side of the block, where he pooped.  I said, “what’s the deal, man?”

Vern Wilber Meakins 1890-1919.

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Reading about my children’s great uncle Vern Wilber Meakins who died shortly after army discharge from WW I of influenza in 1919.  Vern’s mother, Cora Jane Meakins, sued the government for a term life insurance settlement, and won when the case was heard by an appellate court.

I don’t have any legal training, but lots of details emerged from the hearing.

— Vern W. was born in 1890, died in 1919, age 29.

— He worked as a teamster and farm hand.

— Drafted into the army in March 1918, discharged in February 1919.

— Married with three children.

— Even in 1919 doctors knew that influenza was primarily a respiratory illness caused by a virus.  At that time influenza cost many lives.  No vaccine was available then.

— The virus caused an encephalitis that killed Vern W.

— The transcript of the appeal is on line if one googles “Cora Jane Meakins vs United States of America.”

Page from journal.

 

Photo on 5-24-16 at 4.53 PM #8Marshall McLuhan said that “everyone has the best seat in the house.” We should stay where we are.  What does that mean to you?

This I got from a freshman journalism class. Personal journalism. Minimalist, terse, telegraphic, tight writing. Keep a journal.
That said, I’ve been reading some family history written by a cousin, Helen Margaret Bonde. One might think that my mother wrote this. Not so. Two women had identical names. Helen has done remarkable research.
In the old family, people lived to be 11. Or 43. Or 3. Or … you get the picture. I don’t know if they suffered melancholy like I do. I’m getting used to it. Now I will address it. I suspect the young people died of respiratory diseases, the older people suffered from cancers.
According to Chinese wisdom, melancholy is an attribute of an inferior man. The superior man is joyful. I am not joyful. We need superior people to be leaders, to take us forward, where we need to go in life; in the world.
Modern medical practitioners, like my internist and psychiatrist, employ a variety of antidepressants and antipsychotics and mood stabilizers for people like me. Sometimes, they even prescribe stimulants, but less often. At this moment, I am on three medicines: two antidepressants that work by differing, but complementary modes, and one antipsychotic that seems to help depression. One side effect is early morning wakening. That’s why I got up this morning at about four. Last winter I usually slept until 9 or 10 a.m. if I had no morning duties or appointments. I didn’t have a dog then.
During the dark hours of last winter my depression was so bad I sat around and wept when I wasn’t in bed sleeping. Of course I thought constantly about death, welcoming the thought of relief from suffering. I wrote about this period in my journal, even publicizing it. This upset my relatives. They feared for my survival, despite my reassurances. How good it is now!
Those days are past, it is June, the birds sing in the morning, and I feel I have energy to pursue writing, my passion. I will not be a great writer because I write only for myself and for the amusement of a few loyal readers.
It’s odd, really. I still feel incredibly sober and sad. Broken hearted really, but I can experience happiness and optimism for the first time in a long, long time. I still think my puppy Gunther plays a large part in helping me feel alive again.
I do a variety of activities and I don’t want to overdo any to the detriment of the others. These days my favorite things are writing, reading, church, singing, working one day a week in a busy pharmacy, taking care of my dog, taking a nap, digging the garden, fussing with pictures.
Writing encompasses a variety of activities, depending upon the subject. Of course histories require research. The best writing comes from experiences about town. Fortunately, we live close to downtown Billings, Montana, and walking takes me to the theater, the YMCA, the restaurants and bars, all in a short period.
Drinking: I like to drink and I would smoke marijuana if it were legal. Trouble is, I’ve experienced low mood after drinking, so an evening without usually heralds a good morning. My drink of choice is wine, therefore I may be called an alcoholic wino. “Wino” is short for Oenophile. This is a fancy name for a drunk. I like drinking, but being a drunk sucks.
I don’t mind staying home. On the other hand, I have some continuing pharmacy education in about half an hour.
What else’s in store today? A friend asked me to repair a door. I need to replace a credit card with a worn stripe. The theater workshop needs cleaning and organizing. I can go there any time I want because I have a key and a code to turn off the alarm.
The best thing is that nobody knows what’s in store. I hope to wake Gunther about 7:30 when I return from the continuing education class. Take him for a walk around the block.