Monday, October 31, 2005

The Dreaded Night Ride

Nothing quite so exhilarating as flight now is there? Maybe I just believe that because I hear it so often. Time to find out, how did I actually feel about flight.
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The opportunity arose when I was offered a ride of Pegasus over the bay at night. I was one of the last to take my turn. My lower lip had been sore for a awhile from biting on it. I could handle my flying donkey, but only to fly my belongings around, I was much to afraid to take it further than that. It was more like twilight about five in the morning when it was my turn. I shook slightly but was not about to let anyone in on that.

I'd always felt dread and utter horror when about to try something new. Not in my character to let it show, not a chance. I was proud of my stoicism, it was a large part of who I was. I was horrified every time I mounted a horse. Horses were big and capable of pounding me into a fine mush if they chose and I was entirely unsure of how they felt carting humans about. I am not sure I would like to change places with the horses, flying or otherwise.
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Once solidly astride, some of the heart pounding fear dropped off. I was committed to the ride and so would not doubt get through it. I pulled my coat a little tighter around me. I should have worn something more accommodating to sitting on a flying horse. "Nudge her", said the stable boy. I almost bit my lip clear through. Sweat was forming on my forehead. I dug my heels lightly into Pegasus's muscled body, Pegasus flinched a little. Obviously I needed to nudge with more certainty.

Sure enough Pegasus took to the sky in one great and confident swoop. I was far too busy dealing with my fear to remember much of it or take any great enjoyment. That said, once in the air I was very much glad I had not totally chickened out. The view was utterly amazing. The cliff sides were so glorious in the early morning light. I could see clearly the cave entrance where the enchantress could be seen in her early morning meditations.
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The enchantress looked so serene in her elegant robes sitting in timelessness. Unlike mortals like me she knew exactly where the future would take her. I was going through most of my life blind sided by events over which I have no control. Well, enough envy. Envy is an unattractive state and not one I cared to linger in.

Not far away from her stood several of the donkeys, looking sleepily upward. Possibly wondering if it might be fun to come along with us. Maybe not, maybe just noticing that for once I had taken a flight, after weeks of utter reluctance.
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There were other more "human" views, bathers had started at the mineral baths. I thought the better of waving, privacy is something we are all entitled to, and bathing was always private. Suddenly I noticed I had forgotten to be afraid. Just then for one second, I was not afraid, not one little bit. Just as suddenly it all came back. Pegasus swooped and landed. I took sugar lumps from my pocket and brushed the amazing flying horse before going on my way.
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To feel the ground under my feet again, oh, what relief. I suppose I will never feel really comfortable flying. I like the earth beneath my feet. Earth is solid and warm and secure. Flight is for birds and those very rare donkeys and horses that can only be found in magical places such as this. I was so tired and fell happily onto the grass beside my donkey. I slept until nearly noon and awoke feeling wonderfully rested. Before leaving the camp I was presented with a picture of the flight to remember the moment by. It was just sitting there propped up against the tree, I've no idea how it got there. My thanks to all who prompted me to take the flight. I will cherish it, always.

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Night Ride

'Night Ride' by Heather Blakey

Listen close to the whispering leaves
of memories fallen from Life's Tree,
and you will know of the chant of three.

"Foresooth come one, bind two, circle three
To seize hold of quest and courage --
By this count your will is forged to be."

For they are the Steeds of the Goddess,
that plunge across dream filled skies,
in thrine with earth and wind a fire.

You but need supply the human tears
for the fine charity you must share,
for Her chariot to clear the path.

Ever grasp the reins and spare the whip,
for Shea guides with gentle hand
that ye may find answers from within.

Their names are Spirit, Soul and Mind
that must pull in harness one the same,
if thee would beguile the Enchantress.

"Foresooth come one, bind two, circle three
To seize hold of quest and courage --
By this count your will is forged to be."

Triple Wonder by faucon of Sakin'el

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Soul Cake and Fruit Stall - Free offerings

The origin of Trick or Treat began in Old England with doorknocking for cakes, in return for which the doorknocker would issue a prayer for a lost soul of their household on All Hallows Eve.

Here is what the doorknockers used to recite or sing, as they wandered the streets, from a fascinating website containing the traditions:

"A soul cake, a soul cake, have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake!"
Then it became more produce oriented:
"Soul, soul, an apple or two,
If you haven't an apple,
a pear will do,
One for Peter,
two for Paul,
Three for the Man Who made us all."

Quirk of Nature - All Souls Ancestors

Purple-Green Oak - Brought Back from the Ancestors.

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

All Soul's Night Greetings

To mark All Soul's Night I took a ride with Baba, in her black swan, to the Isle of the Dead and met the Queen of the Serpents who guards the entrance to the underworld. I took a small vile of pure Castalian Water, collected at Delphi and we drank to creativity. The Serpent has blessed all travellers on the Soul Food Silk Way.

While Travellers celebrate Halloween and All Soul's Night le Enchanteur wanders deeper into the Serpent Queen's Cave, on the Isle of the Dead, to see her world. She is dazzled by the beauty of the Queen and her Treasury. The Queen has secrets to share.

The Serpent Queen gives le Enchanteur the greatest gift of all. She reunites her with her Spirit Servant who will willingly do her bidding.

Lemurian Artefact - Dream Seeds

This is the cover photo for my just released book
"Limora Gate", with sketches by Heather.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Halloween Tale...

Or, how little children should mind their elders.

The laughter of children echoed through the pastoral valley. Life here in a community too small to have it's own name ran at a pace all it's own. If it was not for the inhabitants growing old and the occasional birth of a baby one would swear life stood absolutely still. You could think that, but you would be wrong.

Days were spent tilling the soil, looking after animals and keeping house. There was but one road going both in and out of the valley. No crimes had ever been committed here, and though a few of its inhabitants had moved out, they were few in number. It was by all accounts a life of pleasant routine.

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Not too many people had ever lived here, judging from the graveyard there were more than 300 souls gone to the afterlife from here. Roughly that’s one citizen for every year of the valley’s 300 year life. No-one remembered who founded the settlement or in what year but the first death was recorded in 1706 a Bryce Sand, no indication if it was a male or female Bryce Sand nor what this person did for a living. A life with as little to make it remarkable as each passing day here.

So it came as a great shock that grey October day that three little boys, two brothers and their friend, went missing. October days were slow and lazy, the harvest was already put away and shared with neighbours. The children were all home schooled together at Miss Miller’s house, all twelve of them, just as they had been since Miss Miller was about twenty and she'd be nearly eighty now. The great love of her life had died in one of the great wars and she was unable to commit herself to any other man. Instead she vowed to educate every child born in this valley to be upright and peaceful so there would be no more wars. She was bent over, heavy with the knowledge of all the wars that had come since making the great promise to herself. Still she should be proud of herself, for in the valley itself life had gone without any fights, without any incident whatever.

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The citizen’s in the valley had counted themselves out of every census in living memory, no wars were funded by this valley and they had no need for federal services, they could look perfectly well after themselves. There was no police, no jail, no court.

They should have been in school that day, that John and Jack and their friend Luke. Somewhere between Miss Miller’s and home the boys had gone missing. Miss Miller had assumed the boys had taken ill with the cold or flue and since the valley had no telephone it was no immediately checked on. No one could have thought it would be anything else.

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It was something else. That morning the three had met up as usual. Luke had shared some of his cake with the other two. They had chatted about the new foal at the Miller’s. White horses were born only very rarely in the valley. God seemed to favour brown for horses.

They were nearly halfway to the old schoolhouse when all three heard something. None of them knew what it was exactly, only that no one they knew had a voice anything like it. Still, whatever of whoever it was, was asking for help and the all three knew what needed to be done. They needed to go and see if they could help and if they could not they should fetch someone who could.

There was a small patch of forest where the voice emanated from. A little forests on the east side of the valley before the river. A small brook ran through it and the boys knew there were caves in this forest up against the hillside which were dangerous. The caves were from a long, long time ago, before the families had moved here, when other strange people had lived here. Inside the caves there were paintings of large cat life animals and lizards such as no one had seen ever in real life. Those were stories of course, in modern times no-one had dared go into the caves because they knew it was dangerous and everyone was quite happy without having any danger in their lives.

The boys ran into the forest, convinced that there was hero business to be done. They had long talked of being like super heroes, able to fly, to save the innocent from harm. Maybe this was their day to become heroes. That was a far as they had thought it out. They ran from one direction to the other as the voice seemed to change a great deal. At last they were exhausted and could not run any longer.

John had blisters on his feet and was complaining a lot. Luke was hungry and had started his lunch sitting on a large rock by what might have been an opening to a cave.. Jack had not quite run out of energy and paced up and down the path kicking stones. He kicked one rather hard and it went flying. They heard a small scream, it cam from right over Luke's head. It was a very good thing that the three had used the bathroom before leaving home or all three would have been standing there in wet pants.

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There sitting perched on an old stump, over the cave opening, was the strangest creature. It wasn't very big but it was very odd looking. It had very large lizard-like eyes, and it's skin was a little scaly like a fish. It's hands or where one would have expected to see hands were talons like covered to the nails with small feathers. Feathers, I kid you not. They would have gasped or screamed for sure, but they had no breath at all, not for that moment. They scarcely caught one breath before the next fright.

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Just behind the three, standing on another stump, stood another just like it. This one was a bit larger with a very round belly. They struggled to scream. They were starting to turn a little bluish from not breathing. Finally breath came and they let out a blood curdling scream which was met by another as the two strange looking creatures screamed too.

The earth shook a little and they were silent. "oh no." said the sitting creature. "Oh no," echoed the second creature. "What, what, WHAT?" screamed the three boys, no longer sure what they should fear more and their feet still frozen to the forest floor. They shot glances between the two creatures and each other. The booming continued, the earth shook and there was a thunderous sound coming form everywhere at once. The little grey creatures with the big eyes were no less frightened than the boys, actually they seemed more afraid and were turning strangely pale.

The sun seemed to appear and disappear and a twirling whooshing sound was overhead they dared look, they might as well, they were no able to run and screaming had not made anything go away. What they saw was beyond belief. Meaning that if they told this story to anyone they would be laughed at for making up ridiculous lies. Still there it was, a large flying reptile with wings and eyes a fiery orange colour, it had a split long tongue which flitted before them, and talons with long brown nails.

One of the little grey creatures looked up clasping it's hands, well whatever passed for hands, and pleaded, "let us go, we meant no harm". A booming voice came from the great lizard, or it might have been a dragon if you don't consider fire breathing important. "Get away from the humans, or you will have to deal with me. The two ran away into the cave. The dragon, to call it something for the sake of argument a dragon will do, perched above the cave opening, he shook his head and mumbled, "halloweenies."

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Now he gazed straight at the boys who had just found their feet and were bouncing around a bit trying to figure out where to run to. "Get out of my forest, the lot of you." The boys ran and clamoured all the way up the hill to where the graveyard stood but the dragon followed them out. No matter where they ran the beast was not far behind. "Climb into this tree", yelled Jack. Which is where they were headed to, the biggest tree in the valley. Unfortunately, just as they were nearly there they were caught except for Jack as the dragon swooped down and caught them with his brow talon nails.

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The dragon had miscalculated and a wing clipped into the old oak and all four of them tumbled down back to front and front to back and out they fell right in front of Miss Miller's one room school house. Well the boys thought they were safe. Miss Miller was not scared of anything they knew that and surely she would come out of the house running with her cane and thump the dragon on his scaly behind too.

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Miss Miller did not. She stayed in and did not even open the door for them. The dragon righted himself and lumbered over them. His talon reached out and the boys cringed. Well they thought they were dragon kibble right about then. They were too tired to scream or cry.

"Never," said the dragon poking Luke with his talon, "never go into the forest without an adult, those halloweenies play tricks on you, and since you'd eaten all your goodies already you'd have had nothing to pay your way out with. I am getting too old to keep saving lost children from halloweenies, sprained ankles and sick stomachs from eating the wrong mushrooms." He stood up and looked his most fearsome. "If I see you in the forest again I will let the halloweenies have you." and with that he rose up, flapped his wings and flew off back to his forest.

"Did you see that miss Miller, did you see the dragon?"
"No, didn't have my glasses on. No one else saw it because school is out and they are all gone home. Besides," said Miss Miller, "there is no such thing as dragons and no-one will believe you. Next you'll ask me to believe there are creatures called halloweenies in the forest who tricked you? No boys, you were loafing off in the forest where it is dangerous, now go home and stay on the path."

They did stay on the path and never did they see the dragon or the halloweenies again. That was on October the 31st, coincidence?

The Secretary goes shopping

The Secretary goes shopping
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
On the advice of the Gypsy Queen, the Secretary went shopping to PANDORA'S BOX, A naughty paparozzi took this snapshot of the change. Some of the Donkeys' Union didn't recognize her while the Boss Donkey told her she looked "positively silly." (She didn't hear a word for the sound of the pipes.)

The secret river road that leads

Originally uploaded by FranSb.
The Secretary's note pad helped her now as she recalled the leaf boats. She plucked the leaf and held it firm then launched it, firmly sitting in the prow. She sailed through the wood beneath the overhanging boughs until they came to the bustling campground where the "girls" were cooking, the donkeys were singing, the Gypsy Queen was dancing, and the Handsome Young Chief was holding up his hand in greeting. Welcome, Old One, welcome, but you promised to wear a kilt."

The entrance to the stone bridge

The entrance to the stone bridge
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
The Secretary knew that if she entered there would be no returning. She still tried to contact her donkeys without success. Suddenly a raven appeared in the shadow," They are waiting for you, waiting, waiting, but first you must pay your ticket." Ticket? The poor Secretary was puzzled. "Luk, luk, luk, you silly woman, luk.

Fran among the guardians of the secret garden

Originally uploaded by FranSb.
The Secretary asks the way to the Gypsy Camp but no one here seems to know anything about anything except white butterflies. How can I find my donkeys she asks everyone. Then, in the treetop a raven appears," Go through the arch and over the bridge, throw two stones in the river and, if you are lucky, you will be told.

At the top of the mountain by the wood

Originally uploaded by FranSb.
We travelled far
and came upon a magic garden, marigolds, and verbena, poppies and silver beet, tiny onions, garlic
and rosemary, all guarded by the red coated witch and her henchmen. The magpie called to us and deep in the shadows we knew there were all manner of strange creatures waiting for us to go beyond the stone wall and over the bridge. I called and called but not one of our donkeys answered for they were all at the Gypsy Camp ready to sing. How will I reach them before it is too late?

Lemurian Artefact - Lazy Time

Donkey Tale - Name Games

My donkey, impishly grinned and said, "you don't know my name, do you?" "no," I answered. "Well," he mused, knowing I was embarrassed at neither knowing nor having tried to know, after all I could have asked. Trying to set it right I bit my lower lip and said in a barely audible voice, "what is your name?"

"Well," he teased, "it is not sweetie, or babe, or little donkey, and it most certainly is not you stubborn old thing." I tried to mutter an apology, again, he stood there, grinning.

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"You can be insufferable." I was nearly crying.
"You've nearly made her cry" came a small voice just to the side of me. I was quite shocked as I was not aware that the geese in the gypsy camp were also able to speak.

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"You can speak too?" "If you are willing to really listen, we can be heard to speak," the goose explained. "I'm sorry I did not mean to be insensitive, but since I did not know you could speak it seemed silly to ask you your names. Still I am truly sorry if any of the things I've called you made you feel hurt. Would you tell me now please, what are your names?"

"Mine is Ginny," said the goose, "and my grinning friend the donkey is Doncaster Grey, he likes to tease, don't feel too badly" with that ginny crawled into my lap like a cat, she was a lovely and affectionate goose. The donkey was still grinning and making faces.

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"Alright, Doncaster Grey, what is it?" "Well," started the donkey while shuffling his donkey feet in the dirt, "I've been thinking I should like to have a Halloween costume too, just as the humans do. I thought I'd like to be and angel, after all I already have wings." It seemed like a fair enough request and after a bit of consideration I took Ginny off my lap and made a few changes to have Doncaster go from just plain old flying and talking donkey to an angel donkey.

Some glitter in the wings and sparkly eyelashes glued on and a halo fashioned from tin foil and wire. "Would you mind very much, marm, sketching me in costume, to remember the moment by?" so this is what I sketched. Donkeys can be very silly.

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The Party At The Chamber of Horrors Has Begun!

Halloween is upon us and to start off the fun you could toddle over to these sites for a little bit of fun:

Then grab your lantern and say a prayer and head ( off...cackle cackle ) on over to the Chamber of Horrors and see what the Writers, Artists and Poets of the Soul Food Cafe have cooked up for you.

Welcome to the Party.....

Bugle Call for Market, Halloween and All Soul's Day

The bugle has sounded, calling everyone to make their way to the bloggers to post for the Sunday Market, Halloween and All Soul's Day. There are lots of activitities to choose from. You can go to the Divination Tent, use the Golden Bone Chair, sail across the lake with Baba to the Isle of Ancestors or do your own thing.

Baba Yaga lives deep in the forest, in a hut that stands on chicken legs and is surrounded by a fence of bones. It is said that she guards the gate to the Other World. Are you willing to go for a ferry ride in her black swan boat to the Isle of Ancestors?

Lemurian Artefact - Golden Bone Chair

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Baba Yaga brings out this designer, hand crafted, chair especially for Halloween and All Soul's Night. The idea is that travellers can take turns to sit on the chair and have five minutes in the spotlight as they perform for the crowd. Come October 30th - through to November 2 Baba is hoping that one by one travellers will take the golden seat and make a special presentation. Costumes and wigs are available in Pandora's Costume Box. Excuse drunken Silenus who can never miss a party. Hopefully the donkey is taking him away.

The Golden Bone Chair will be included in a collection of Lemurian Artefacts that will be shown in this year's Advent Calendar in December. Each presenter will be entitled to show three artefacts. Many of these highly collectible items will be seen here in the market place first.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Dream seeds and weeds

This story is mostly true,
and never shown before.

It is a little long perhaps,
but worth the read and dream


The Greensall Shoes

"It's almost like terrorism!"

"What?” I stammered confusedly, my mind still on the mounting intrigue of the novel in my lap.

"Daddy, isn't it crazy about people putting viruses in other peoples' computers. Who would do such a thing? I mean, doing something crummy ‑- you know ‑‑ even criminal if you can make some sort of sense when you can see the result. Why would anybody do something to hurt somebody and not know if it happened or not and what the effect was? Do you know anybody like that?"

I didn't know how to handle this interruption. Do I try for a meaningful answer to one of the questions or ignore the subject and parentally discuss the use of runaway pronouns? The memory popped into my head and mouth.

"It was probably the guy who stole the Greensall shoes."


"Never mind. Just a flashback to grammar school days."

My mind wandered. "Greensall. Chester Greensall. The year he decided to be my friend. Funny, the transition from third to fourth grade is usually not a memorable one; not the subject of a novel certainly." I picked up my book and tried to ignore my daughter. Minutes later she was still standing there.


"Yes, there is a story there," I sighed resignedly. "It's not about transition, though. However, that event did have a profound effect on my early life."


Confusion. "What had I said? What had I only thought?" I put down the book and tried to bring it together. "My story will not unfold gracefully, or even sensibly," I mused, caught up by the way in which the memories tumbled down; one blurred glimpse leading to another. "I suppose some analogy about dominoes or RNA acting like skeleton keys would be apropos but "opening Fibber Magee's closet" would be closer to the truth. That analogy would be work; the time would be correct ‑‑ spring of 1954." I found myself surrounded with numerous packages of untold stories and forgotten fantasies. As I started to make sense out of my comment about the Greensall shoes I knew that I had many stories to tell, to an audience nearly grown. With conscious effort I spoke out loud.

"I'll try to stay on the subject. Start over, please."

"You didn't have computers then."


"Oh. You knew somebody crummy in grammar school."

"Well, I knew he was there."


"Let me read my book."

"Tell me. You were always in trouble, and having fun."

"That's not true at all. In those ..."

"Tell me anyway!"

"The important fact about second and third grade in Carson City relevant to the Greensall brothers was the fact that classes were held in Quonset huts set on an old playground three blocks from the main grammar school. The hot lunch program offered for 22 pennies not only a reasonable meal for a famished 9-year-old, but also a race for freedom. The lunch was served in the basement of the huge old prison‑stone building down the street. Those who got there first could eat and be on the playground with up to 40 minutes of football, marbles, or mischief remaining. Those who tarried stood in line for life! I was a skinny kid. My mother was certain it came from wolfing down my food ‑‑ or a tapeworm. No! My slender form was the result of running the 440 in under 2 minutes every school day for two years. Next year fourth grade was in the main building.

Only three people could outrun me regularly; my brother, Larry Greensall, and Chester Greensall. They all got a lot of practice running away from things. Eddy was already in fourth grade, as was Larry. Chester had to go home for lunch. The Greensalls lived two blocks from the Quonset huts and mother Greensall believed she could make a lunch for less than the subsidized hot lunch. Chester hated the arrangement because he always got in trouble at home. (He got in trouble at school too, but nobody whipped him there.)

Everyone else liked the arrangement because they all hated Chester ‑‑ except me. I didn't hate anybody. I liked the arrangement because I didn't have to beat Chester in the race for noonday freedom. Yes, I realize that coming in second, or even tenth would suffice to save me from a purgatory of staring at the back of a dirty neck. That was not the issue. Chester cheated, played dirty, threw rocks, threatened, kicked, and won. To come close to beating Chester might mean not finishing the race at all! I was taught to count my blessings. Chester's mother was one, a blessing I mean, though I never met her. Some of this plenary indulgence rubbed off on Chester.

It all changed in the fourth grade. Oh yes! The Greensall brothers didn't wear shoes. Neither did their cousin Finigan. I don't know if I could outrun Finigan; probably not. He never dropped a ball, or struck out, or got a passing grade. He didn't run to lunch. He just got in line wherever he wanted. He wasn't a bully ‑ he was just Finigan.

It all changed in the fourth grade. We moved joyously to the 'big' school. Unfortunately, the school lunch program moved to the old first grade building ‑‑ over by the Quonset huts. We all got to race; me, Larry, Chester, and the LINE. I considered taking a sack lunch. Actually, it didn't turn out as badly as I had feared. During the summer I had beaten Chester fair and square (sort of) in a race at the VFW picnic. More importantly, I had inadvertently provided Finigan with an alibi and kept him out of trouble for the one thing he hadn't been guilty of. He and a friend ....

"Daddy! What about the shoes, and the computer fiend."

"But you have to understand about the characters."

"OK, but stick to facts. What was different about the Greensalls and Finigan? What was his last name?"

"I was going to get to that. His name was F. N. Hengon III and any questions about the initials were settled in the dirt. He was defending his mother or something, but that is another story. He was not Irish as his name suggested, but the Greensalls were. Shanty Irish to be exact, although I don't even today know exactly what that means. What was different about the Greensalls was everything. I don't mean different as strange, or wrong, or even weird. Everything about them seemed in contrast to what was normally accepted. A lot of what they did made sense to a boy of 9 but obviously drove the adult world bananas. At least they were easy to gossip about. I'll try to recall some examples."

"What do you mean ‑ 'sort of?'"

"Huh! What are you talking about?"

"You said you beat Chester fair and square 'sort of.'"

"I thought you wanted to hear about the shoes."

"You said that Chester became your friend. Was that because you beat him, or because you cheated in doing it."

"I didn't cheat! There were hundreds of people watching."

"You didn't answer. You didn't tell me what F. N. stand for either and I bet you know. I don't want half a story."

"You'll get what you get. It took me many years to live it and you don't get it all in ten minutes. Be quiet!"

"They were called Poor White Trash too, but I never have met any Rich White Trash. There weren't any black people in town then either. Our Irish heroes were shabby with no shoes and patched clothes but they bathed every night. Their mommy washed them in a big tub on their back porch. She yelled ‑‑ they yelled - the current man of the house yelled. They were the cleanest kids in town but people always used words like 'dirty' when they talked about them, especially Mrs. G. I don't know if Finigan ever bathed. At least he didn't yell about it and people only said 'that woman' when they talked about her, his mother I mean. People always said those kids were ignorant and stupid but that wasn't true. I only knew Chester close up, but know the others were sharp too. See, most of us liked school all right but didn't have strong feelings about 'learn'n'. The Greensalls had the desire for 'learn'n' beat into them at home but didn't fit into school. They were unruly ruffians in the schoolyard but NEVER misbehaved in class. They learned everything the teacher presented but never did homework. Lazy? No, they weren't allowed to take books home! The dog always ate them or something. Chester always got good grades in subjects learned in the class but failed everything else. In second and third grade he got better grades when the weather was good. In forth and fifth grades he got better grades when the weather was bad."

"I read an article about that Daddy ..."

"No, you didn't smarty! Here's what happened. In the Quonset huts the heater was in the back of the room and all the ventilation in the front. The teachers always moved the better students to the front of the class. In good weather it got hot under that steel roof and it was a pleasure to sit in front and get benefit of any breeze. Chester was right up there volunteering answers and racing to the blackboard. In bad weather the front was drafty and cold. Dumb old Chester, sans shoes, sans sweater, couldn't do anything correctly and had to sit in the back by the fire.

Now, when we moved to the 'big' school some of the teacher's attitudes changed. Bare feet WERE NOT ALLOWED! Kids without shoes were forced to sit in the hall or library by these 'progressive' teachers. So, in good weather the Greensalls spent a lot of time out of the classroom and didn't learn anything. In very bad weather the brothers wore galoshes. They didn't fit at all ‑‑ huge. They were tied on with ropes to their belts and came up to their knees. They qualified as shoes, though, even in old 'Ogrin the ogre's' class. So, their grades went up! Finigan never seemed to learn anything, anytime. He proudly displayed straight F's on his report card. Foolish! He knew everything, always. They say he only passed each grade because his mother had the goods on the Principle.

Now we come to the shoe crises. Mrs. Ogrin made the mistake of sending Chester home because he had no shoes. Everybody got an education that day. All that bathtub screaming practice came in handy. Chester was screaming because he was whacked with a stick every step. Momma G. was screaming because she was MAD. For three blocks we could hear them coming. No one in the school made a sound. My vocabulary doubled in one afternoon. Strangely, the volume didn't change as it approached the school and stormed into the Principle's office. It was the same impossible loud for about an hour and a half. The result of it was that Momma G. would take care of switching anyone who broke the rules, including teachers who refused to teach and Principles without any. (I think she meant rules). Her kids wouldn't accept charity, but if shoes were essential to learning the kids would accept jobs to pay for them. Of course no one wanted these kids in their businesses. Momma went home and the kids went to class. They had won a battle of sorts but definitely lost the war. The teachers totally ignored them.

As I said, the Greensalls never acted up in class. Chester sat rigidly still except to raise his hand to answer a question. He was never called on, even when his was the only hand up. He didn't scream in the bathtub anymore. He didn't even try to run to lunch.

Larry got shoes! Mr. Wilton owned a shoe store on Main street that we all visited once a week at least. The closest thing to television was the fluoroscope that let us look at each other's feet, five or six at a time, all crammed under the sill. I'm certain I will die of either foot or eyeball cancer someday. Now, the Greensall kids weren't allowed in the store and had never seen their feet even though they were bare. Mr. Wilton hadn't seen them either, so Larry's shoes didn't fit. It didn't matter. Everybody decided to wear the shoes.

Oh, what a plan to trick the ugly Ogrin at her own game. The shoes were secreted in a gunnysack under the NW steps to the school. All the kids knew, and Bill the custodian (one of us), but no one else. Larry, Chester, and Finigan would run out between classes and put on the shoes before going to Ogrin's class, then out to the gunnysack for the next needy person. It worked out well. Ogrin thought she had won and relaxed her mental boycott. The brothers knew they had won but continued their earnest classroom ways. Larry won the school spelling bee. Chester stayed after school and did his homework even though he got a beating when he got home. There were a lot less black eyes around school. Then somebody stole the shoes!

It had to be between 9 and 10 on Thursday. The gunnysack was still there. Not a trace of shoes. Chester skipped Ogrin's 10:00 o'clock class. The next day he came to class with bare feet, but his homework was done. Ogrin ignored him. We were all dumbfounded. No one said a word of sorrow or encouragement, but I learned what empathy meant. For the rest of the week no one raised a hand in Ogrin's class, except Chester. As he was not called on no questions were answered at all. Larry's and Finigan's classes did the same. We never knew who stole the shoes."

"What happened to all of them, Daddy?"

"The brothers moved away during Easter vacation but it had nothing to do with the school problem. Larry's dad had shown up after many years and they all went to Texas where he had a big oil job."

"So, I don't know, and neither does the crud who stole the shoes. That is the senseless part."

"What about Finigan?"

"That we could see. He sort of got even for his cousins. They found out he needed glasses during one of these traveling exams they did back then. Finigan learned to read instead of memorize. He got the highest SAT score in the State when he graduated from high school. He won a good scholarship but turned it down. He inherited a fair amount of money from some uncle back east."

"Rich White Trash?"

"Could be. Just a crazy mother, probably."

"Now I want to know about how you tricked Chester and what F. N. stood for."

"Which one first?"


"I told you I don't know, but I heard how you can find out."


"It's on the Viet Nam Memorial."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dream Seeds Available in Divination Tent

The 'Fertility Goddess' or 'Mother Goddess' is a more complex image than most people think. She is not only the Mother Goddess who commands fertility, or the Lady of the Beasts who governs animals and all wild nature, or the frightening Mother Terrible but a composite image with traits accumulated from both the pre-agricultural and agricultural eras - Maria Gimbutus

In the Northern Hemisphere there were traditionally fertility ceremonies during the latter part of October. To mark this period le Enchanteur is offering dream seeds for travellers to plant, nurture and use to identify their creative dreams.

Tree of Lost Letters - Hermitage

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

This is a tree of lost letters. Seeing Halloween is coming up, the Hermitage is welcoming lost letters, so if you have a letter that was lost, this tree has caught them all. Feel free to write that letter and make it breathe new life. Even if you just think the letter, it might come to pass. The tree is for lost wishes that are captured by nature, and may come true one day.....

Monday, October 24, 2005

Shared Bodily Warmth

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Quite a day at the gypsy camp yesterday, after a few hours I was done for the day. My donkey's welcome bodily warmth soon had me drop into a slumber on his broad little back. A good thing these donkeys know as well as we where to take us. He took me to my favourite clearing where I fell into a deeply satisfying sleep, dreaming of markets and fine wares and new friends.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Traveller's dictionary ATCs

ATCs illustrating a dictionary definition

The first one is "scrapboook". This one shows the miniature scrapbook closed

this one shows the miniature scrapbook open

This one is "fox"

This one is "Diana, huntress"

Cloak for sale


One old battered cloak for sale. Dracula not included.

Victoria 1880

This is the last card for Victoria. The set could be sold as a group with one or more of each card.

Victoria's White Gown

Here is Victoria in her white gown for the card series. By Sylvia

My Visit to the Market

I have wandered quickly through this market once before, so today I thought I would take my time and look closely at the stalls. There certainly are some beautiful wares on display.

On my table I am displaying one of my cards. I like to make cards sometimes for the local gallery.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Spring nature pics

Some Australian Natives & Lavender from my garden.