Maxflies Hub-This HubPage is about my music, my writings, coins and family items. It features a number of my guitars.

Trailer

Below is the trailer to my fifth CD, "Call It Synchronicity". It was made by Tate Music Group of Mustang, Oklahoma.

"Call It Synchronicity" Trailer

Body of Martin Guitar/Neck Removed

This is the body of my 1946 Martin 000-18 guitar after the neck and bridge were removed for resetting
This is the body of my 1946 Martin 000-18 guitar after the neck and bridge were removed for resetting | Source

"He's Jesus Christ"

The lyrics in this music video were spoken after a short instrumental prelude, followed by more instrumental work. Then two final verses are spoken and an instrumental finale. The lyrics describe how we get into Heaven. This production is a little out of the ordinary at least as far as my other songs go.

"He's Jesus Christ"

"Variety... The Spice of Life"

A rather simple blues number done in the key of G. Give it a spin and let me know what you think.

"Variety... The Spice of Life"

"Addy's Song"

Below is a video of a song co-written by Nita Gerson and Max MacPherson Jr. It is about Nita's first child, (and my first blood granddaughter), Adelynn Claire MacPherson. She turns ten days old today.

"Addy's Song"

New Novel

These are the covers from my new novel due in my hands in about three weeks. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing one. They sell for $20.99
These are the covers from my new novel due in my hands in about three weeks. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing one. They sell for $20.99 | Source

Moog Jammin'

Posters Of Albums

11" x 14" poster of my CD cover "As Simple Things Go By"
11" x 14" poster of my CD cover "As Simple Things Go By" | Source
Poster image of album CD cover "Big Plans"
Poster image of album CD cover "Big Plans" | Source

Front Cover of Album

Possible front cover of my new album "Commercially Unacceptable"
Possible front cover of my new album "Commercially Unacceptable" | Source

Back Cover of New Album

This is the possible back cover image of my latest CD "Commercially Unacceptable"
This is the possible back cover image of my latest CD "Commercially Unacceptable" | Source

The Devil's Newsreel

“The Devil’s Newsreel”

Posted on July 17, 2013

I’m going to post something I don’t often do… Poetry. These upcoming words generally are combined with a composition of music before I publish them. But, I like to write rhyming lines to illustrate my thoughts and feelings. So, here it goes…

“The Devil’s Newsreel”

This is a story

About the devil’s newsreel.

Clips that give glory

Describing what the serpent thinks is real.

A movie edited

To make you feel bad.

He wants to make you indebted,

Shameful and sad.

On and on and on it goes.

Fighting despair, dangers and woes.

An inkling of faith

Will bring us free from threatening throes.

A few seconds or maybe hours

As we struggle with panic and pain

While the monster tries to devour

Before we are free again.

A kind word; a pleasant smile

Can often give us relief

As images wain after awhile

And are conquered by our belief.

And then we come back

To a celestial state.

Satan’s defeated and in fact,

His time is growing very late.

His side was pierced by a spear as He lay dying on the cross

late.

* * * * *

Up against a wall;

Up against a rock.

Hercules is in us all.

Achilles heel with no sock.

Nipping, biting,

Eating at our guts.

Satan and God fighting

With no if, ands or buts.

So, it seems

To be an eternal war…

Even in our dreams,

With no future in store.

But, believe me my friend,

Since I know this is true

That in the end God will pull us through.

If you’re having trouble

And all of life seems a sin.

The bad will be burned as stubble

And our good God will win.


T-Shirts Now Available

Today I received some of my third book ("As Simple Things Go By") T-shirts. I have them available in small/youth, XL and 2XL sizes. These will go fast, so order yours now by emailing me from my Book Website's homepage for price and details as to where to send your check. The website link is below.

Covers of "As Simple Things Go By"

Front and back covers of my third novel
Front and back covers of my third novel | Source

Review of "As Simple Things Go By"


Maxwell Macpherson’s As Simple Things Go By is a wholesome G-Rated story about Alex and Bess Samuels, and their two children, Liam and Layla. The family is very close-knit, and prayer in the name of Jesus is often included as part of their daily lives. Considering some of the absolute rubbish and filth that passes for novels today, reading a book with a Christian perspective was refreshing. Macpherson makes use of an interesting explanatory concept in the novel, which he calls “educational narration.” In one example, a high-school music teacher lectures his school’s jazz ensemble about the history of jazz while they are en route to New York City on a train, and the teacher makes reference to one of the long-forgotten fathers of jazz, Buddy Bolden, describing the important contribution he made to American music. A quick Google search led me to information about this legend of American music. The book contains many instances of this type of informative description, and it often connects the fictional Samuels family with American culture and history in this unique way. I did feel that Mr. Macpherson’s dialogue was, at times, a bit stilted. Very few characters spoke using contractions, which seemed very unusual. However, Macpherson’s sentences are good examples of standard English, and young people sorely need to see that kind of writing. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and wish that it could be rated higher than 4, at say 4.5. The strong, positive Christian themes are refreshing and the story is interesting, especially the parts that include educational narration.


Photo of Promotional TiShirts

This is a T-shirt showing the cover to my third book in a trilogy, "As Simple Things Go By".
This is a T-shirt showing the cover to my third book in a trilogy, "As Simple Things Go By". | Source

Chocolate Chip Cookie

"Joy"

TV Event

I will be doing a reading from my novel "As Simple Things Go By" on the Plymouth, New Hampshire television station (PBTV-Channel 20) on February 20, 2013. It will air soon after it is recorded and shown a number of times.

Chapter One/"As Simple Things Go By"

Here is the first chapter to my latest novel "As Simple Things Go By".

BOOK 3:

AS SIMPLE

THINGS GO BY MAXWELL MACPHERSON, JR.

Book 3: As Simple Things Go By

Copyright © 2013 by Maxwell MacPherson, Jr. All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any way by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author except as provided by USA copyright law.

The opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Tate Publishing, LLC.

Published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC
127 E. Trade Center Terrace | Mustang, Oklahoma 73064 USA 1.888.361.9473 | www.tatepublishing.com

Tate Publishing is committed to excellence in the publishing industry. The company reflects the philosophy established by the founders, based on Psalm 68:11,
“The Lord gave the word and great was the company of those who published it.”

Book design copyright © 2013 by Tate Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

Cover design by Rodrigo Adolfo Interior design by Caypeeline Casas

Published in the United States of America ISBN: 978-1-62510-451-9
Fiction / Family Life
12.12.28

THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR

Liam was sitting in his fly dressing table in the den, staring out at the two feet of snow that covered the Samuelses’ flower gardens. It was a cold December day two weeks before Christmas. He sat on his padded cap- tain’s chair, deeply attentive to his chosen fly for that Saturday morning’s work. Liam was learning how to dress classic Atlantic salmon flies from a book written in 1914 by T. E. Pryce-Tannatt entitled How to Dress Salmon Flies. The book gave dressings for numerous classic flies and also provided the necessary procedures for putting the traditionals together.

“How’s the fly going, Liam?” his father asked. “It certainly looks good to me. I hope you aren’t using any of that real Indian Crow just yet.”

“The fly’s going pretty well, Dad,” returned Liam. “And I haven’t used the crow feathers either. I’m saving those for a special fly.”

The twelve-year-old boy had started with trout flies when he was seven years old and took on the task of try-

5

MAXWELL MACPHERSON, JR.

ing Atlantic salmon flies four years later. He had made contact with a number of noted classic ties by writing to famous dressers mentioned in Joseph D. Bates book, Atlantic Salmon Flies and Fishing, which was published in 1970. Liam wrote to addresses in the back of the book to ask the expert tiers to sell him some of their exquisite patterns. A number of replies gave the sixth grader the motivation to learn the craft.

Liam struggled with marrying the golden pheasant tail and the peacock wing as well as the yellow, orange, and green goose shoulder feathers.

“It takes me a while,” he commented to his dad. “But I’ll do it. The little zipper-like edges of the golden pheasant don’t like to marry with the other birds’ segments.”

“You’ll get the hang of it,Liam,”his dad replied.“Just take your time, and I’m sure that Green Highlander will come out fine!”

Marrying several different birds’ plumages together was a mystery to most people, but a common aspect of those assembling the two sides to a wing of a clas- sic pattern. A very careful stroking of the three or four fibered pieces of each distinct bird had to be placed edge to edge and then stroked carefully with both hands’ thumbs and forefingers to cause the parts to adhere to each other in what was called a skin. This term was in use way back in the 19th century.

“The colored goose has to be put together in the right order,” Liam told his dad. “These colors go from yellow on the bottom, then orange, and finally green. After that, Dad, the peacock wing and the golden

6

BOOK 3: AS SIMPLE THINGS GO BY

pheasant tail follow. I wish I had some real swan for the colored sections. That’s what the original dressings should use.”

“Maybe you should ask some of your fly-tying friends if they can find you some swan,” his father answered. “But I know that you know swan is a restricted plumage.”

Alex, Liam’s father, knew, as well as his son, that many of the plumages used in dressing classic salmon flies in an authentic manner were from birds that were indigenous to foreign countries and often on the endan- gered-species list. Some, like eagle feathers that come from birds in the United States, are even illegal to pos- sess with severe fines if a person is caught with them. Native Americans can keep the various eagle plumes to use in traditional religious ceremonies. Also, museums and educational facilities might be granted permission to display rare, protected birds and their feathers.

“Once I attach the golden pheasant toppings on this Highlander, the fly will nearly be done,” offered Liam. “Then all that’s needed is to put a head on it, whip fin- ish, cut the excess thread, and lacquer the head portion. I’ll let the head dry overnight and then place it on a card inside a reclosable bag.”

“Perhaps you should sell some of your flies, Liam,” his dad noted. “You’ve been doing this for a while now, and I’m sure salmon fishermen and people in the arts trade would enjoy them.”

“I am not sure I want to charge people for these creations,” Liam countered his father. “When I become a little better at it, then maybe so.”

7

MAXWELL MACPHERSON, JR.

Liam began building up the head area of his Green Highlander into a bullet shape. When he finished that, he took his whip finisher, a peculiar-shaped tool that allowed him to tie off the tying thread with a knot and then cut the excess thread.

“Now he’s ready for lacquering,” Liam said with a sigh. “That made me tired, Dad. I could sure use a drink of water. I think I’ll take a break and maybe try a Jock Scott after lunch.”

“Good idea, son,” replied Alex. “Don’t want to overdo it. I understand that it takes a lot of concentra- tion to tie those flies. What do you say, when your mom gets back from the grocery store, we go out for pizza?”

“Yes, Dad, that sounds terrific! Can we have sausage on it? That’s my favorite.”

The sun’s rays came through the den’s east window, and Liam watched as particles of dust floated sporadi- cally in a phenomenon known as Brownian movement. His father watched it too and thought back when he was a young man in Belchertown, and it seemed like only yesterday. Alex placed his hand on Liam’s shoul- der. “Nice work, son, nice work!”

“I remember when Mom, Dad, Abigail, and I lived in Manhattan. We used to go to a pizza joint called Goldberg’s Pizza,” Bess explained to Alex and Liam. “The joint was on York Avenue between Seventy-sixth and Seventy-seventh Streets. The pizza was thick and had better sauce than the Italian pizza parlors. One

8

BOOK 3: AS SIMPLE THINGS GO BY

large pizza gave the four of us our fill plus a snack the next day!”

Bess, Alex, and Liam ate that afternoon at Village Pizza on Route 3A, just north of the village of Belchertown. It was where they always went for Italian food. Though the pies were thinner than what Bess recalled at Goldberg’s, they were typical New York City pizzas.

“I sure like the sausage on this pizza,” Liam said. “It is kind of hot, just the way I like it. The cheese is great too!”

There was quite a crowd of eaters at the restaurant. It was kind of noisy from the television in the main dining room where it was hardly being watched. A replay of The Glenn Miller Story was pumping out some old tunes but the customers didn’t notice. But Bess and Alex liked it. It took both of them back to their years when they were just young kids with their parents watching old segments of the big bands.

”Why don’t you pick up on an instrument?” Bess asked her son. “You like humming and singing with music at home on the radio. You could play in the band in school. Just a thought, Liam, but think about it for a while. I know you’d be good at it.”

Alex had eaten too many hot pepper seeds on his pizza, and he decided to buy a beer to try to cool off his burning mouth.

“Wow!” he moaned blowing air out of his mouth. “Those things are hot. I can recall when Dad grew Thai Dragon peppers in the garden back when I was just a boy. Dad had me try a tiny piece to see how I would

9

MAXWELL MACPHERSON, JR.

react. My mouth felt like it was on fire. But you know, there was something captivating about the pain. These peppers are a lot less hot than those as I remember but still make a nice sensation. Just as long as there’s a way to cool myself with a beer.”

“Honey, you very seldom drink beer,” Bess said, sort of admonishing Alex. “I mean it’s okay just as long as you don’t make a habit out of it.”

“Right dear,” acknowledged Alex. “If I drink more than one bottle, it will give me a headache. Sometimes one bottle will do that. I don’t plan to do this on a regu- lar basis.”

“Dad, what does beer taste like?” asked Liam, “I never had it.”

“It’s an acquired taste,” Alex informed his son. “But you don’t want to start that, especially at your age. You have to be twenty-one in New Hampshire to drink alcohol. Even at that age, I don’t recommend it to you. It hinders you from thinking clearly, and your reaction time is longer when driving or working with machinery.”

“I won’t be driving until I’m fifteen, so there’s no need to worry about that,” Liam said. “I don’t think I’d like to drink beer anyway. It smells funny!”

“That’s a good idea, Liam,” Bess added. “A lot of people become alcoholics from drinking too much beer or liquor and it ends up ruining their lives.”

“Yes,” contributed Liam’s dad. “Alcohol and drugs are things to avoid. I’ve heard that the schools today are full of drugs, and that definitely is a bad situation. If anyone offers you drugs at school, be sure you tell them that you don’t do that.”

10

BOOK 3: AS SIMPLE THINGS GO BY

“Right, Dad,” said Liam. “I’ve been asked before if I wanted to smoke marijuana, but I told the boy that offered it to me that I don’t use drugs.”

On the way back to their house, the Samuelses passed by a police cruiser with its blue lights flashing. It looked like the officer was trying to help someone whose car had skidded off the road. The roads were a little icy, and it appeared that the car probably took a curve too quickly. As the Samuels passed the situation, Alex became aware that the driver was his good friend, Phin Billy. Alex did not recognize the car at first, but when he did, he immediately knew it was his life- long buddy.

“Hey, let’s stop and see if we can be of any help,” Alex said to his family. Maybe Phin will need a ride.”

It looked like Phin’s car might roll over on its side, as he had slid off the road and down an embankment where it was precariously leaning over at an angle. As Alex stopped his car to assist, Phin opened the driver side door and pulled himself out. On the steep hill, his 1980 Plymouth was awkwardly balanced and ready to tip over onto its roof. Phin appeared to be unharmed. Alex approached his good friend and the police officer to offer his help.

“Phin,” Alex said in a concerned voice, “what happened?”

“Well, I guess I hit a piece of black ice on the corner. Before I knew it, my car started to slide. Like a jerk, I hit the brakes hard, the wheels locked and ended up sliding down this valley. Boy, that was scary!”

11

MAXWELL MACPHERSON, JR.

“He was very lucky,” Slim Wilkins, the local police officer, said. “Good thing there was nobody behind him. It looks like Phin’s car is okay, but we’ll need a wrecker to pull it out of there. I can call the Belchertown Garage and have them appear pronto.”

“Thanks a lot, Slim,” Phin replied. “I sure am glad that I’m not hurt and that my car is in good shape. I’ll wait until they get my Plymouth out of there and then see if it drives okay. Sure nice of you to stop by, Alex.”

“That’s what good friends are for, buddy,” consoled Alex. “Why don’t you stop by the house for coffee and we’ll talk? We haven’t gotten together for quite a while. I’m sure Bess and Liam would be glad to have you come over.”

“Will do, my friend,” returned Phin. “Hope to see you in a while if my car is still in order.”

It was about midafternoon when Phin pulled into the driveway at the Samuelses’ house. The sun was shin- ing and the temperature was around the freezing mark. Liam was at his tying desk, attempting that Jock Scott he had planned earlier to try. Bess and Alex were in the living room watching the evening news on channel 9. Alex rose from his easy chair to open the front door to greet his best friend.

“Hey, Phin, come on in,” Alex said, beckoning his pal in. “Nice day out for this time of year. Maybe some of the snow and ice will melt.”

The pair walked into the living room, while the news was giving a business report for the day. The announcer

12

BOOK 3: AS SIMPLE THINGS GO BY

was told by the business expert that the interest rates for CDs were somewhere around 16.5% effective annual yield. Loans for houses and other things were a few percentage points above that.

“Hi, Phin,” said Bess with a smile, “how did you make out with your car?”

“Oh, it’s all right, except for a small dent in the right rear fender where I hit the other side of the embank- ment. I’m not going to have it fixed. I had to fill out an accident report with Slim Wilkins, but that only took about fifteen minutes.”

“I’ll put on some coffee,” Bess said. “Still take cream and three spoons of sugar?”

“That’s fine, Bess, thanks,” Phin said happily. “Always nice to visit with you all. What is Liam up to? Still tying flies?”

“Yes,” Alex said, “he’s in the den right now trying to dress a Jock Scott. He tells me that’s the most famous salmon fly of all. Let’s go in and see how he’s doing.”

Liam was in the process of putting on the inner wing of the white-tipped turkey tail strips. This was the foundation for the married parts to go over. It is a tricky little operation and takes fine dexterity to posi- tion the two sides of the inner wing in the proper way to have them sit straight down the top of the hook shank. Liam pinched the back-to-back feathers and carefully drew the bobbin’s tying thread over the butt ends of the two feathers.

“There,” commented Liam softly. “I think I have it.” He gave a couple more turns of thread to secure the inner wing and then sat back in his captain’s chair to

13

MAXWELL MACPHERSON, JR.

appraise the job. “Very nice,” he said, “If I do say so myself. What do you think, Dad? Guess I’m ready to put on the married wing. But first I have to assemble the segments.”

Phin looked on in amazement as he watched Liam perform the delicate procedure of marrying the outer wings.

“I don’t know how you have the patience to do this kind of work, Liam,” said Phin. “My hands are way too big to handle that kind of stuff. You are probably doing finer work than a doctor. I’m sure it takes a lot of prac- tice to do what you are doing.”

“Definitely,” interjected Liam’s dad. “He’s only been at this for a couple years. If he sticks with it, he will be an expert in three more years. Five years of busking is necessary for having this craft turned into an art form. It is only then that the salmon fly dresser can develop his own signature or style that signifies his work and tells it apart from other expert flytiers.”

“I had no idea there was so much to this fly-tying thing,” said Bess as she brought in the men’s coffee. “Liam is so enthralled with this hobby. He hopes to one day do it on a professional basis. There is really much that he has learned about it these last couple years and has made many connections by mail with some of the top fly dressers in the world.”

Bess, Alex, and Phin sipped their coffees as Liam continued with his work. It became more colorful as he applied the married wing with its yellow, red, and blue- colored goose shoulder parts.

14

BOOK 3: AS SIMPLE THINGS GO BY

“You get to learn a lot about color combinations when you dress these flies,” Liam said. “Each separate pattern of the Full Dress flies has different colors and in varying positions in the wing structures. Soon I am going to start dyeing my own feathers to get the shades and hues that I need to create my own patterns. But for now I am going to concentrate on the traditional pat- terns. There is still much to be learned and I enjoy the learning of it.”

“You are very talented, Liam,” Phin said with a grin. “Someday you’ll probably be at the top of the heap. It’s a joy just to watch you doing the things you do. Flytying is an honorable pastime, and I can see that it is very important to you. Keep up the good work, Liam!”

While Liam finished his Jock Scott and Bess began to labor in the kitchen to prepare supper, Alex and Phin put on their coats and went outside to look over the damage to Phin’s car. The temperature was dropping, and it appeared that clouds were moving in, which looked like snow would be coming. They say in New Hampshire that “if you don’t like the weather, wait a short while and it will change.”

“It doesn’t look like too bad of a dent, Phin,” Alex said,analyzing the damage to his friend’s fender.Cartins here in Belchertown could probably do the bodywork. You might want to take it over to have them give you an estimate.”

“Yeah, I guess I could do that,” replied Phin. “But maybe I’ll just let it go as it is. It’s not all that bad. I don’t have insurance on the car, so I’d have to dish the money out myself, and as you know, I am not a rich

15

MAXWELL MACPHERSON, JR.

man. If the estimate is free I’ll take it to Cartins and at least go that far. If it’s over a couple hundred dollars I’ll probably just let things be.”

“If you do get it fixed, it will add to your resale value later on when you decide to sell it outright or trade it,” countered Alex. “If you need some help with paying for it, let me know, and I’ll see what I can do.”

“Okay,” Alex’s friend added. “I hate to do that, but maybe it’s the best thing to do. Thanks a lot, Alex, for your help. Monday morning I’ll take the vehicle over to the body shop and see what kind of price they can give me. You’re a great friend.”

The two friends parted company, and Alex went inside where Liam was reading about salmon flies in one of his old books and Bess was finishing the evening meal. She had prepared brook trout cooked in bacon fat and breaded with cornmeal, salt, and pepper. The great odor pervaded the whole house. Bess had brown rice and spinach to go with the trout.

“Oh boy,” Liam said with glee. “My favorite trout. We caught them in September up to Pasquaney. I can still remember catching them in the honey hole. That place on the river is my best spot for hooking up brook trout and landlocked salmon on my 2wt Orvis rod. I can hardly wait for trout season to open on January 6, so I can go up to the river fishing.”

Alex shut the television off and the three Samuelses sat down at the kitchen table to eat the sumptuous meal. “Too bad about Phin’s accident,” Alex remarked. “We are not exactly rich either, but I’d like to help him

16

BOOK 3: AS SIMPLE THINGS GO BY

with a few dollars for the repair of his car. Phin was a bit reluctant to have me help him.”

“That’s what friends are for,Alex,”his wife exclaimed. “That’s what friends are truly for!”

"As Simple Things Go By" Now Available!

My newest novel, "As Simple Things Go By", is now available, but the formal release won't be set for a month. Readers can purchase them from me directly now. Please review my blog entry below to learn more about the book.

Push Card For New Novel

This is a Push Card (promotional tool) for my new novel, "As Simple Things Go By", due out in a couple weeks.
This is a Push Card (promotional tool) for my new novel, "As Simple Things Go By", due out in a couple weeks. | Source

Crossroads 2

Crossroads 2

The above video is another cover of the famous song "Crossroads", which was written by Robert Johnson back in the 1930s. The lyrics describe the composer's battle with right and wrong as he prays to God but feels "... he is sinking down".

Vintage Fret Shop 2

Vintage Fret Shop 2

The video above returns us to The Vintage Fret Shop in Ashland, New Hampshire, where three of my musician friends perform on acoustic guitars. The Fret Shop, in central New Hampshire is an ideal place to find guitars, banjos, mandolins, fiddles and many other items to satisfy your musical appetites.

Computer Class

Computer Class

The above is a video I shot at a biweekly computer class my friends and I attend to learn more about basic as well as advanced computer skills. We meet every other Wednesday at the Pease Library in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Nancy Nieves, our instructor, does a wonderful job of helping beginners to become more involved with computers. I operated the camera and added to the sometimes humorous dialogue.

"Catfish Blues"

Catfish Blues

The video above was recorded in New Smyrna Beach, Florida a couple days ago. It is a cover of an old blues number dating back into the early 20th century. I has been covered in many different versions by a large number of blues musicians, most notably by Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King and Muddy Waters. My version uses my own arrangement and some slight changes in the lyrics. It is done on a Dean acoustic/electric guitar and captured on a Canon HD camcorder.

SRLK

SRLK

The video above is about an organization Jerry Garcia and I formed back in 1973 in Stinson Beach, California. The letters refer to "Society For The Recovery Of Lost Knowledge". I was the president of the group and Jerry was vice-president. Jerry died in August of 1995. My song was written two days ago and tells briefly what the society is about. It's about synchronicity and how it is perceived by some individuals. It is not really a formal society, but those that understand it and live it know it's effects.

The Vintage Fret Shop

The Vintage Fret Shop

The video above was shot on November 18, 2012 in Ashland, New Hampshire. My friend, Chris Cumming, plays in the opening clip and I play my original song, "California" toward the end of the video. David Colburn's shop is open only on the weekends from noon to 5:00PM and also by appointment. David has one of he largest collections of Martin guitars in central New Hampshire. There is a large number of other stringed instruments such as mandolins, violins (fiddles), banjos and electric guitars. A wide assortment of strings, harmonicas, tuners and picks also are there.

"Turkey Day"

"Turkey Day"

A video shot of Chris Cumming, Tony Taylor and me the day before Thanksgiving at the Pease Library in Plymouth, New Hampshire. I wrote the song about an hour before recording this video. I've been teaching Tony and Chris how to play guitar for almost two years now. We enjoy playing in an improvisational style.

My Family Tree

This is a Wheel Family Ancestor chart that shows my mother's, Sherley Holden, heritage. The chart was compiled by my grandfather, Jonathan Holdeen
This is a Wheel Family Ancestor chart that shows my mother's, Sherley Holden, heritage. The chart was compiled by my grandfather, Jonathan Holdeen | Source

Tascam DP-24 Digital Recorder

I recently purchased this new recorder to take over from my Pro Tools 10 software that all of a sudden stopped working. The Tascam is much simpler to operate and has great audio quality. It also has a built in CD burner as well as a USB connection to my MacBook Pro computer. I'm presently working on a new blues tune in the key of E. I will make it available once it is completed. For detailed information on the DP-24 click on the link below.

"I Don't Know"

This is an original salmon fly broach pin named "I Don't Know". A beauty for any lady's nice sweater or blouse.
This is an original salmon fly broach pin named "I Don't Know". A beauty for any lady's nice sweater or blouse. | Source

Chapter 20/The Marriage Of Liam & Tally

Below the photo on this page is the final chapter in my new novel "As Simple Things Go By". Liam and Tally tie the marriage knot and go on an Atlantic salmon fishing trip to the Big River in Labrador. This chapter completes the trilogy, still untitled. I will work with the publishing company in the weeks ahead to determine a name for the trilogy. We're looking for a late September release.

Dam Pool On Pasquaney River

Here is the Dam Pool on the Pasquaney River in Belchertown, New Hampshire, where Liam and his family fished for landlocked salmon.
Here is the Dam Pool on the Pasquaney River in Belchertown, New Hampshire, where Liam and his family fished for landlocked salmon. | Source

The Marriage Of Liam & Tally

Chapter 20

The Marriage Of Liam And Tally

“It’s so good to see you brother,” said Layla as she hugged Liam at the airport in Boston.

“This is my fiancé Tally,” Liam said. The two girls embraced each other as Liam continued. “I am glad that could you could come east for our wedding. As I mentioned to you over the phone, we will be leaving on a fishing trip to Canada soon after our marriage. We are really looking forward to our wedding and the salmon fishing in Labrador. Did you bring your saxophone?”

“Yes, I did,” Layla replied. “Tally, you play the keyboards, right?”

“Yes, I do,” answered Tally. “We will have to play together. Liam wrote a new song the other day called “A Whim And A Wish”. He said it’s not great, but I think it’s wonderful! Here’s a copy of the lyrics.”

On the way back to Belchertown, the two girls became more acquainted with each other. They would be sisters-in-law in just a few days, but they already felt like they had been sisters for their whole lives. As Liam drove north on Route 93 Layla read the lyrics to Liam’s new number.

We're just grains of sand

On an endless beach.

Then we stand

On solid land.

Delusions of grandeur

Have always plagued us,

As we walk and wander,

As we think and wonder.

Chorus:

We start as small fish

In a deep and dark sea.

With a whim and a wish

Of what we'd like to be.

And then there's the other side

Where worry winds us to hell.

When we're on that roller-coaster ride

And all we want to do is hide.

Repeat Chorus

Somewhere in the middle of these extremes

Is where we long to be

Where we can realize our dreams

And life is not as bad as it seems.

Repeat Chorus

“Great lyrics, Liam,” commented his sister. “I would like to hear the tune and perhaps improvise some sax parts to it. Do you play the keyboard on the song, Tally?”

“Oh yes,” returned Tally. “It’s kind of a dark song, but the emotion of it is very moving. We’ve only practiced it a couple times. It’s coming together though. We would love to make a trio out of it with you playing alto sax, wouldn’t we Liam?”

“That would be fabulous!” agreed Liam. “We could work out a rendition with several breaks in the lyrics to let Layla put in some notes. I’m really looking forward to that project. It would be nice to add a drummer to our work. I was just thinking that my friend, Ed Moses, could play his drums for us. He’s talented with percussion and has played in several bands. I’ll give him a call when we are home. I can hear the music in my head right now!”

The threesome talked about simple things as they made the two- hour trip back home. Layla informed Liam and Tally that she had made the Dean’s List for the spring term. Her grade point average was 3.7. She had auditioned for the Young Adult San Francisco Orchestra and had been accepted for ‘first chair-second stand’ in the clarinet section of this prestigious Bay area orchestra. Liam and Tally described the upcoming trip to Nova Scotia and then on to Labrador. They had changed their plans from driving up through New Brunswick to Nova Scotia to taking the ferry from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, N.S. They had heard a lot of good things about the ‘Scotia Prince’ ferry. It was very luxurious and had nice rooms with bathrooms equipped with showers. And they heard that the food on board was like eating in an elegant restaurant. There was also a band that played during the evening on the ten-hour voyage from Portland to Yarmouth. And, of course, their car traveled on one of two lower decks. The ship carried about one hundred vehicles. Layla looked through some of the brochures and other literature that Tally had brought to show her.

“That’s one fancy looking boat,” commented Layla. “I kind of wish I was coming with you. I’m sure it will be a trip of a lifetime. I have to be back in San Francisco by the twenty-third of this month to start my clarinet and saxophone teaching lessons.”

X X X X X

“Make sure you don’t let the cat out of the bag by telling anyone else about our surprise wedding gift for Liam and Tally,” advised Alex to Bess. “We were fortunate to be able to buy their new home right on the western side of the Pasquaney River. They will have an excellent view of the Upper Dam as well as being able to go fishing within ten feet of their front door.”

“Mums the word on the house,” remarked Bess. “This will be the surprise of a lifetime. I’m sure they will be very happy there. I will keep my lips sealed with regard to the house.”

“They will be able to move in on the first of July,” continued Alex. “That’s three days after we arrive home from the fishing trip. And, as you know, the great thing is that the house is fully furnished. Those beautiful oriental rugs really set the place off. The location is off the beaten path and the area around will be wonderful for children when they come.”

Alex and Bess had made all the necessary arrangements for the purchase of the house. They placed the ownership in the names of the newlyweds and established a fifteen-year mortgage so they could pay off the loan in a shorter period of time than most buyers would. The young folks would have a monthly payment of $305. The couple should have no trouble handling that mortgage payment. The Franklin Savings & Loan Bank would hold the mortgage until it was paid. There was a branch of the bank proposed for Belchertown in the near future, so that would make it easy for them to make their payments. Liam has a savings account there, as do his parents. The Samuels had been using the bank for thirty years. The bank was first chartered in 1869, so they have endured for way over a hundred years.

X X X X X

“You know, I often wonder where this music thing will lead me,” said Liam to Tally. “Sometimes it seems like a lot of good leads will open up and then it seems like it’s all a waste of time and effort. I guess that’s true for anybody in any walk of life, but it is discouraging when I feel that my musical pursuits aren’t going anyplace.”

“Sounds like you need to sit down in the living room and write lyrics about it,” responded Tally trying to comfort her husband to be. “Writing about it in rhymes could provide the answer to handling that situation. You have to think it through. I often write in my journal about both positive occurrences and thoughts that are hurting me emotionally. Writing can be a cathartic stimulus to solving my problems. It’s kind of like gaining insight into your life through dreams, only in this case it is a daydream.”

“I guess you’re right,” acknowledged Liam. “Talking to you about my ups and downs helps me tremendously. While I’m alone and nobody’s around nearby to help me work out my problems, writing could be just the medicine I need to help me understand this fluctuation of thoughts and emotions. I know you need to go back to your parent’s house to prepare for work tomorrow and to sleep, so I’ll drive you over and then come home to try to write a song. Thanks so much for your thoughts. I love you very much, Tally!”

Liam drove Tally to her place and gave her a kiss and a hug and told her he would see her in the morning when he picked her up to go to work. Liam drove home quietly without music playing on the stereo system. When he arrived back at his house he took out his guitar and started searching for some new chords. After he had put together a sequence of chords in a blues style he began to write some words to accompany the musical arrangement he had made. He wrote the lyrics on the back of a large manila envelope. He called the song “Guitar In A Case”.

I have a guitar.

Will it take me far? (2x)

Now it's in a case

In a really safe place.

When I take her out

I sometimes think about (2x)

The roads I will face

With my guitar in a case.

Chorus:

Guitar in a case

Guitar in a case

And you all dressed up in lace

With my guitar in a case.

Show me yours; I'll show you mine

We'll go past the end of time. (2x)

Into Eternity

Forever to be free.

That guitar is sure a lady

Who's a little bit shady (2x)

But not too loose.

Simply a victim of abuse.

Repeat Chorus

I'd really like to take her out.

Know what I'm talking about? (2x)

Just for a little fun...

Back in the case when I'm done.

Repeat Chorus

Liam played the union of music with the freshly written lyrics about ten times so he wouldn’t forget the song the next day. He promised himself that he would practice the new tune the next few days to imbed it in his memory. Usually the process of playing a song with no sheet music to refer to took about a week of playing. He looked optimistically toward the day when he would be able to play this number without having to search his memory for either chords or words.

X X X X X

Tally tried on her white wedding gown for the second time with help from her mother, who needed to take the waist in about two inches. The gown had been her mother’s wedding dress twenty years in the past. About the same time as Tally was having adjustments made to her gown, Liam was trying his black suit on. It fit well. He decided to attach a lapel pin in the hole in his lapel. It was in the motif of a couple gold eighth notes on a backing of sterling silver. He looked at the addition to his attire with admiration.

“Your big day is only two days away my dear,” Belle said to her beautiful daughter. “I know Liam will be extremely happy to see you dressed as you are now. You will make a wonderful pair of soul mates. Your father and I know that you will be happy. I’m sure that the Samuels feel the same way toward Liam.

“I am not the least bit hesitant about this marriage,” Tally said as she hugged her mother. “I hope and pray that our lives together will be as joyful as they can be.”

X X X X X

“Do you have the wedding bands, Liam?” Alex asked his son an hour before the wedding was to begin. “We just want to be sure you are well prepared.”

“Yes, Dad, I have them right here in my suit jacket pocket,” replied Liam. My stomach is a little queasy, but I’ll be all right. I’m only going to do this once so I want to get it right.”

Phin Billy with his family knocked on the front door of the Samuels home right after Alex asked that question. They were all dressed well for this very special occasion in their lives. Phin repeated Alex’s question about the rings to Liam. The groom produced the two gold rings from his pocket and handed them to Phin.

“Don’t lose them, Phin,” Alex admonished his lifelong buddy.

“I won’t,” Phin said.

“I think we better be heading to the Church,” Bess said as she glanced at her wristwatch. “You know the old saying… Don’t be late for your own wedding! The Samuels and Billys piled into their cars and headed for the center of Belchertown where the Church was located. When they arrived there were a lot of cars and trucks parked in the Church parking lot as well as on both sides of the street. When they entered they saw about thirty people all dressed in their best clothes. Liam did not see the Chases there and began to think that they might be late. Just as he was turning that thought over in his mind, he saw Belle Chase enter the Church alone. She took a seat in a pew up front. Alex, Bess and Layla sat next to Belle. Phin Billy’s family sat in the second row right behind the Samuels. Liam and Phin stood next to Reverend Mathews as they waited for the marriage ceremony to begin.

The organist, Mabel Smith, was playing hymns until she was given the sign to start playing “Here Comes The Bride”. As she started playing Tally and Barry Chase appeared at the door to the Church and the congregation stood to their feet. They ceremoniously smiled as the bride and her father slowly walked in step with each other toward the podium. Behind the Chases walked Layla Samuels carrying a bouquet of flowers. As Tally and her father reached the position where the minister, Liam and Phin stood, the congregation seated themselves. Tally took her place beside Liam and Phin and stood at the groom’s side.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to witness the marriage of Tally Chase and Liam Samuels, who are to be wedded in Holy Matrimony for all Eternity,” Reverend Mathews said in a very humble yet strong voice. “If there is anyone here who does agree with this marriage, please say so now or forever hold your peace.”

The chapel fell silent for about five seconds.

“Do you, Liam Samuels, take Tally Chase to be your lawfully wedded wife for this life and all Eternity, to be faithful and loving in times of sickness and in health?”

Phin Billy handed Liam the gold ring and the groom placed the band on Tally’s left ring finger.

“I do,” said Liam.

“And do you, Tally Chase, take Liam Samuels to be your lawfully wedded husband for this life and all Eternity, to be faithful and loving in times of sickness and in health?”

Phin handed the larger ring to Tally and she put the gold band on Liam’s left ring finger.

“I do,” said Tally.

“By the power and love of our Heavenly Father, our Lord, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, I now pronounce you man and wife as Tally and Liam Samuels,” the minister said finishing the ceremony. “Liam, you may now kiss the bride.”

The newly married Samuels kissed.

The bride tossed the bouquet to the crowed attendants on the sidewalk just outside the Church. Layla Samuels caught the flowers. Everyone clapped loudly as Layla lit up in a huge smile. Afterwards the folks all gathered in the room below the chapel. There were congratulations to the newly married Samuels by all who attended the ceremony. They had some refreshments. They talked mostly about the upcoming excursion to Labrador to fish for Atlantic salmon. Liam, Tally, Alex and Barry would be leaving in just a few days. They were wished good luck from everyone!

“We have something to say to the newlyweds,” Alex said gleefully. “We have bought a home for Tally and Liam. Lets ride up to the Pasquaney River and take a look at their new place.”

A caravan of vehicles headed up two miles to the road that led down the western side of the river.

“I can believe it!” gasped Liam. “The Gate House is our new home? I must be dreaming!”

“All I can say is WOW!” Tally exclaimed. “This house is fabulous. “We will need to buy furniture.”

As the large group of wedding guests followed Liam and Tally into the house, they all realized that the home was already furnished.

“Right down to the plates, pots and pans,” laughed Bess. “There’s not a thing you need to bring in except for your clothes and food. There’s even sheets and towels provided.”

X X X X X

The salmon fishing travelers drove across the Scotia Prince ramp and were led into the bottom of the huge vessel. After they hard parked their car, they headed up two flights of stairs in the elegant ship to locate their staterooms. The older men would stay in one double room while Tally and Liam occupied a room next door. They left their fishing gear in the locked car, but they brought just enough baggage to their rooms to be needed for just about ten hours. After they had stowed their stuff, they headed to the galley for a dinner of roast pork and all the trimmings. It was one of the best meals any of the New Hampshire fishing group had ever had.

“I hope we all are successful in landing a salmon or two,” offered Liam. “But half the fun will be the trip there and back. I’m sure we will have fun!”

The foursome landed in Yarmouth the next morning and began their trek to Halifax along the southern shore of Nova Scotia, a very scenic route. Their jet left from Halifax about four hours later. As they landed in Goose Bay, Labrador they knew they were in some very rustic country. A Beaver floatplane then picked them up near the Goose Bay airport and flew them the hundred miles or so to the camp on the Big River. The camp was a couple miles from the mouth of the river where it emptied into the Atlantic Ocean. Just as they brought their gear up the front steps of the lodge where they would stay for a week, the Beaver roared its twin engines and took off for a return trip to Goose Bay.

“The last few days have been the most momentous ones in my entire life,” said Liam to his wife. “It doesn’t matter if we catch salmon; we are in heaven already. I am with the most important person in my life and I know that God willing, we will have a long and eventful life together and be in Eternity with each other. That’s forever, Tally!”

“That’s right, my dear Liam,” Tally expressed with tears of joy. “And I love you very much!”

“And I you, my lovely wife,” tearfully replied Liam.

Chapter 19/"The Editing Department"

The next to the last chapter in my manuscript for the novel called "As Simple Things Go By" was finished yesterday. This chapter is about Liam and Tally's new job with a printing company in Concord, New Hampshire. It also has a salmon fishing scene. In just a few days I will be finished with the manuscript. Below is chapter 19.

Chapter 19

The Editing Department

Curtis Castle, the Chief Editor at Capitol Offset Printing, asked the employees in his department to gather in the conference room for some brainstorming regarding one of the company’s accounts. The newest addition to their client list, Stone Edge Outfitters, needed a new catalog of their fishing equipment for the fall season.

“First off, I’d like us all to welcome two newcomers to the agency,” began Curtis. “Liam Samuels and Tally Chase, from the Belchertown area, have joined us in the editing department. I want you to give them all the support you can so they will quickly learn the ropes here. Liam will be involved in editing text and Tally will be helping us with the image editing. Today I want you to take a look at the projected plans for the Stone Edge deal. They are one of the largest outfitting companies in New England. They need their catalogs ready by the end of July, so that means we have to really jump on this job. I’d like to aim at a mid-June completion of the editing. Are there any questions?”

“Do we have any previous catalogs by Stone Edge that we could use as a basic format for setting up this project?” asked Sherley Holden. “It would certainly help if we did.”

“Yes, Sherley,” replied the chief editor. “We have their last year’s catalog to act as a guide as to how we want to set up the new one. They expressed that although there is some different content to the new work, they would like the same sequence and fonts as their older catalog.”

Sherley’s job was to make sure that the images and text of the various items for sale in the outfitters catalog were sequenced properly. She would be working closely with Tally and Liam as they performed their part of the production. Sherley was kind of like an overseer of the imagery and text union. She operated one of a dozen McIntosh computers in the editing department. Sherley also worked with May McCloud, who was the head proofreader for Capitol. Together, May and Sherley would help generate the galley proofs for submission to Stone Edge Outfitters for their approval. If approved, the actual printing would take place to make a run of twenty thousand copies of the 120 page catalog.

“This project is a major one for the agency,” Curtis Castle added at the end of the meeting. “This account could turn into a yearly project for Stone Edge. If they value our work they will probably return to us for the next job. So, I can’t stress enough that I want your best work and close attention to the editing process. I know we have a great team of workers here at the agency and that your potential for success is tops. Good luck with your various parts in this elaborate work.”

X X X X X

“When I was in high school I wasn’t very good with words,” explained Liam to Tally. “My grades in English class were barely passible. Whenever I read stories it seemed like my mind would wonder to other things, so I had terrible retention of what I was reading. I failed a lot of tests because of that. I certainly never thought that my life would be involved with literary concerns in my adult life. I had to practice the skills of writing for a long while before I could be coherent with my thoughts.”

I would have pegged you for an ‘A’ student in English,” said Tally. You are such a good talker and writer of song lyrics. I guess people do change as they get older. Sometimes the things that you are good at are not the pursuits you like. I really admire your artistic side. You are talented with music and writing. And, you know what… even though your past life was not good with regard to literary abilities… I still love you and can hardly wait to be your wife.”

Tally, I love you too,” Liam said as he kissed her. “You are the world to me. I want to spend all of eternity with you. I know that this life is just a beginning to being together forever. I am forever yours, my dear!”

On the Saturday following their first week in the editing department at Capitol Offset Printing, the couple spent the afternoon preparing wedding invitations for their upcoming marriage in June. They had about twenty people they wanted to be at the Church on that special day. Layla would have the summer off from school and would be flying back to Boston from San Francisco the first week in June. She would be Tally’s maid of honor. Liam had chosen his father’s lifelong buddy, Phin Billy, to be his best man. Liam thought of the story that his father had told him about Phin not wanting Liam’s mother and father to wed. Phin loved Bess too, but reconciled his feelings when he finally understood that Bess loved Alex and they wanted to be together forever. Several years after Bess and Alex were married, Phin married Emmy Wright, a pretty girl from Nashua. They now lived down in Bedford, New Hampshire with their two children, Arthur and Priscilla. Emmy, Art and Priscilla were extended invitations to Tally and Liam’s wedding ceremony.

“The Billy family had been a big influence on me as I was growing up,” Liam said to Tally. “Phin was like an uncle to me even though we are not related by blood. Art and Priscilla are about five and six years younger than me, but we spent a number of summers together when the Billy family came up to stay in Belchertown for part of each summer.”

“I look forward to meeting them,” replied Tally. “Those who are close to you will be close to me. I have no other blood relations in New Hampshire other than my mother and father.”

“Yes,” acknowledged Liam, “ My loved ones will be yours. “I know that everyone I love will love you. We will be one extended family.”

Later that night the prospective newlyweds did some of their editing work on the Samuels’ computer. Liam did some of the typing of the text material for the catalog they were helping to prepare for Stone Edge Outfitters. Tally worked on adding images to the written parts that Liam was putting together.

“Some of the fishing and fly tying items look very interesting,” Liam said to his soon to be wife. “Look at these feathers that are used for dressing salmon flies. The outfitter is offering speckled bustard and florican bustard for sale. Wow… the prices are pretty high! The speckled version sells for $50 a feather. Before this new catalog these feathers could not be purchased from a retail store. The only way to procure them years ago was from collectors. Now they are available to anyone.”

“They are really pretty fancy looking,” remarked Tally. “What are they used for?”

“They are usually part of the married wing sections of classic salmon flies,” offered Liam. “They are attached to other birds’ feathers from all over the world to unite in one, continuous skin. The skins are placed back to back to form the main wing of a classic fly. It’s one of the most interesting aspects of dressing traditional salmon flies.”

“What happens if they are separated?” asked Tally.

“Well, they can remarry together again or be taken from the married strip and used in another marrying situation,” returned Liam. “All birds have this marrying quality with any other birds and you can put six or seven different marriages into a skin. It’s certainly one of God’s wonders.”

“That’s for sure!” exclaimed Tally. “I would like to see the process of doing that.”

“I’ll show it to you,” Liam said to his fiancé.

Liam and Tally went into the den so that Liam could show Tally how the marrying process went. Tally was amazed at Liam’s ability to unite sections of feathers with each other by placing them edge-to-edge and then stroking the fibers until the different sections hooked together. After Liam had demonstrated this procedure he asked Tally to try it. She had a little trouble duplicating what Liam had just done at first, but after a few minutes she figured how to do it.

“That is simply amazing!” commented Tally softly.

“This process is the same maneuver that birds perform when their feathers become disheveled,” added Liam. “The bird merely strokes his or her feathers with its beak to reunite the separated fibers of their feathers. If they didn’t have this ability they couldn’t fly again. This is just part of the magic involved with dressing classic salmon flies.”

X X X X X

Tally and Liam went up to the Upper Dam of the Pasquaney River for some exercise and to see if anyone was fishing. Liam brought a camera along to take some photographs of the pools on the upper reaches of the river. They did not have time to fish as Church was in session in just an hour and a half. When they parked on the dirt access road, which went along the upper river, they could see a man down at the next parking area. He had his waders on and was stringing up his rod. Liam and Tally took a couple photos of the Upper Dam Pool and the Honey Hole. They walked back to Liam’s car and talked.

“Let’s go down to where that fisherman is gearing up,” Liam proposed. “Maybe he can tell us if there’s been any action.”

They drove just beyond where the other fisherman’s car was parked and did a three point turn to go back the way they had entered. Liam rolled down his window.

“Any luck?” Liam asked with a smile.

“I just had a large salmon on, but I was only using a 4-weight system,” the older man said. “I lost him. So I’m rigging up my 7-weight rod.”

“My fiancé killed a nice salmon on opening day,” said Liam. The Honey Hole down there is my favorite spot for landlocked salmon.”

“Yes, that’s been a good place for me too,” responded the man. “But farther down the river is a better pool. I’ve caught quite a few large rainbows there in past seasons. A simple Wooley Bugger has been my favorite fly.”

“That’s a good one,” Liam agreed. “Tally here was using a Grey Ghost when she hooked a nice salmon. It was her first. Needless to say, she was pretty excited. You from around here?”

“Meriden,” replied the fisherman. “My name’s Jeff. Are you two locals?”

“We’re from Belchertown,” answered Liam. My name is Liam and this is Tally. We will probably come up after Church and do some fishing. Good luck to you, Jeff. Hope you get that salmon.”

“Thanks, same to you two,” Jeff replied.

The Samuels and the Chases went to Church together later that morning. The sermon was on ‘Faith’. A guest minister from Danville spoke with powerful yet humble words. The congregation was very moved by the spirit that morning. Being spiritually filled the two families decided to go back to the Samuels’ house and have a ham dinner. Bess cooked a spiraled ham flavored with honey and cloves. Pieces of pineapple were spiked to the ham with toothpicks. Sweet potatoes and peas accompanied the meal. Afterwards Alex and Barry did the dishes while Bess, Belle, Liam and Tally went into the living room to play with the McIntosh computer. Tally and Liam had finished their work for the next day’s work, so their mothers played a game of double solitaire. The two younger folks had made a copy of their work on a floppy disk.

“Our job is so fascinating,” Tally informed their parents. “Editing is a very interesting and demanding task. Every little thing has to be perfect. There is no room for error, particularly with regard to a company’s catalog. We have to triple check our work to make sure there are no mistakes. Together, Alex and I have a lot of responsibility for ensuring that the images are the right size and clarity as well as the written part being free of typographical errors.”

“That’s right,” agreed Liam. “I have to be sure that punctuation, spelling and grammar are correct. Besides that the written parts have to be compelling and positive to help sell the products. We have to finish our current project before we go on our salmon fishing trip. So, it is a tight deadline for us. There will probably be some overtime work to finish before the early June projected date of completion.”

X X X X X

As Liam progressed through the shallow rapids just upstream from the Honey Hole, he noticed a salmon rising halfway down the pool where Tally had hooked her salmon on opening day. The fish was probably feeding on nymphs as they came near to the surface of the river. He felt his stomach growl a bit; probably a nervous reaction to the anticipation of approaching the rise. He took his time working his way downstream methodically casting, letting the Black Nose Dace imitation he was using make graceful arcs across the head of the pool. He would cast twice to the same spot, strip in his line slowly and then take a step forward on the rocky river bottom, and repeat the sequence. His heart began pumping a little faster as he neared the position where he had seen the salmon rise. Tally was watching from some boulders on the eastern side riverbank. She smiled as she observed her loved one stalked his prey. The salmon rose again in the same place. Liam made what he thought would be his best cast to swing the Black Nose Dace in front of the salmon’s mouth. As the floating line showed the position of the fly, Liam raised his rod tip about a foot. Bang! There he was! The salmon had risen and taken the baitfish imitation.

“Wow, Liam… you have him!” Tally said loudly.

Tally smiled. But Liam looked determined and his lips were tightly pressed together as he knew he would have a battle ahead of him to turn this fish. It felt to him like it was a monster. The only sound for about ten minutes that warm spring day was the screaming reel as the landlocked salmon made repeated runs, first downstream, and then back upriver. Liam had to gather his line quickly to keep the line tight. He didn’t want to give the fish any slack as it could throw the hook and the fisherman would be fishless.

“Tally, get down to the edge of the water so you can tail him when he’s ready,” Liam said to his fiancé. “When the time comes just grab him by the front of his tail and lift him to shore.”

Tally quickly approached the water’s edge and waited nervously until Liam managed to steer the large fish toward her position. As usual with salmon, the fish made one last attempt to break free from the power of Liam’s tightly grasped rod. He slowly recovered control and forced this Salmo salar to Tally’s location. Then she reached down under the surface and firmly grabbed the male salmon as she’d been instructed. She pulled the fish out of the water and immediately carried him up the bank from the river.

“Great job, Tally!” laughed Liam. “You did a terrific job girl!”

The six-pound male salmon flipped and flopped around until Liam left the water and climbed the bank himself. He took the same rock that Tally had used to dispatch her salmon on opening day and gave the salmon two quick, hard blows to the head and the salmon was dead.

X X X X X

“She did it just like a seasoned angler,” Liam told their parents. “I’ve killed salmon before, so it was no big deal for me. But, to see my future wife perform like that was nothing short of a thrill of a lifetime. Girl, you did it just right!”

The next day at work, Tally and Liam related the fishing tale to some of their fellow workers. Everyone gave the pair congratulations and claps on the back for the feat they had accomplished. Working on the Stone Edge Outfitter catalog that day made each employee who had heard the story of Tally and Liam’s salmon killings more motivated to do excellent work on the task at hand. That night Liam and Tally both dreamed the same dream of landing big salmon on a big river somewhere up in Canada. But the real dream was their hooking and landing of a huge male salmon on the Pasquaney River the afternoon the day before.

Chapter 17/"A Concert & Fishing"

I just finished the 17th chapter in my new manuscript. "As Simple Things Go By" will be on the market as the third book in a trilogy by the end of September, 2012. Tate Publishing is the new publisher handling the job. Below is the 17th chapter.

Chapter 17

A Concert & Fishing

“Take a look at this letter that I just received from Jerry Garcia this morning,” Liam said to Tally. “Jerry sent me two backstage passes to a concert in Portland, Maine on March 30th. I met Garcia when we were in San Francisco for Christmas.”

“Wow, you actually know Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead?” Tally returned. “That is really amazing. I would really like to meet him. I have been a fan of his since I was very young.”

“Would you like to go with me?” asked Liam. “Not only would we meet Jerry and the other members of the band, but also we could view and listen to them play up close on stage. I’m sure we would enjoy it. It’s only a couple days from now so we would have to find directions on how to locate the Theatre. I’ve never been to Portland, but from what my father told me some time ago, it’s only about two hours away from Belchertown.”

Two days after the concert salmon fishing season would be opening. Liam had done a lot of trout fishing in his youthful years, and killed a few salmon. He and Tally talked about buying their fishing licenses and going up to the Pasquaney River in town to try their luck for the elusive silver leaper. Tally had fished when she lived in Oklahoma with her father, mostly for smallmouth bass and pickerel. She had never fly fished. Liam explained that the Pasquaney River was fly fishing only. He had an extra fly rod and reel that Tally could use. In addition he had a pair of hip boots and a vest to carry the necessary flies, leaders and tools for angling.

“April first is opening day for salmon,” Liam explained to his new friend. “It’s also April Fools Day, so we have to be careful wading the river. You never can tell what will happen on that day!”

“Well, I’m not really superstitious,” Tally said with a smile. “But

2

I know that anything could happen. I have never waded in a river so I will take your advice to be careful. We should probably buy our licenses today, don’t you think?”

“That’s a good idea,” agreed Liam. “We can go up to Newfound Sales to purchase them. We will probably be given a booklet describing the rules and regulations for fishing different bodies of water. We are entitled to two salmon a day and they have to be at least fifteen inches in length. Maybe we should pick up a couple small streamers as the salmon are usually feeding on smelt. A good bet would be a Mickey Finn or two in size 2 and possibly a few Grey Ghosts.”

“What’s a Mickey Finn?” asked Tally.

“It’s a two inch long imitation of a smelt,” replied Liam. “The wing of the fly is composed of yellow and red bucktail that when wet gives fish the impression of a baitfish, most particular a smelt. A Grey Ghost does basically the same thing but with slightly different colors. You should take up fly tying, Tally. It’s a lot of fun, especially when you catch a fish on a fly that you personally tied. If you’re interested, I have a second set of tools and many materials for making several types of flies. And, if you’re captured by the bug of fly dressing in a big way, you can take on the art of tying classic atlantic salmon flies… the epitome of fly dressing!”

While Liam and Tally were talking about fishing, Liam’s father came into the living room. He had overheard part of their conversation and wanted to ask them a question.

“Would you mind if I came along on your fishing trip?” said Alex. “I have a lot of experience fishing the Pasquaney and might be able to help you both. Besides, the salmon bug is biting me too. It’s been a couple years since I’ve been up there and I would like to rekindle the passion for salmon fishing. Perhaps we could talk your father into going with us, Tally. I bet he would like it.”

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“That’s fine with me, Mister Samuels,” responded Tally. “My dad taught me some things about fishing, so I know he understands what it’s all about.”

“Great,” said Liam with his right thumb up. “We could make it a foursome and, if we catch a salmon we could cook it for supper for both of our families. “Dad has told me many stories about his younger years when he was courting my mother and they did some fishing for salmon in those days. Tally, ask your father what he thinks about the proposal.”

* * * * *

Tally and Liam went over a road map that would help them determine the best route for driving to Portland. The path there did not look too complicated. The Rand McNally ‘Atlas’ showed that they would travel through Sandwich, Tamworth and Ossipee along Route 25 to Route 16. They planned to travel south on 16 and then take a left and go through the western part of rural Maine to Portland. They would leave the next day at four in the afternoon.

“Let’s pack a couple sandwiches for supper,” advised Tally.

“How about salami and cheese?” proposed Liam. “I think mom has some meat and cheese in the refrigerator. I saw some oatmeal bread on the counter in the kitchen; that would be healthy.”

“Sounds good,” agreed Tally. “A little lettuce and mustard would add to our health and spice up the taste. “I will help you make them. Some cranberry juice would go well with that. We can go to Stop and Shop for the drink. My mother made some carrot cake the other day. Do you like that?”

“Oh yes,” replied Liam. “My mother said we could take her Camry for the trip. It’s a late model and pretty reliable. Not too bad on gas as well.”

4

When they arrived at the Orpheum Theatre at around six o’clock the parking lot next door was full. They had to drive down several neighboring streets to find a parking place. They locked the doors to the Toyoto as the day’s sunlight was starting to wane. From the number of cars parked near the theatre they figured there was going to be quite a crowd. They were right. They showed their passes to a security guard standing next to the backstage door. He let Tally and Liam in and they walked up a purple colored, carpeted staircase to the dressing room area. Liam spotted Bob Weir, the rhythm guitarist and vocalist for the Grateful Dead. Liam asked him where Garcia was.

“I think he’s in the next room down the hall tuning his guitar,” Bob said. “Go right in; he won’t mind.”

As Liam and Tally walked through the door Jerry looked up from his chair and gave them a big grin.

“Hi Liam!” the rock star greeted the pair from New Hampshire. “I can vividly remember meeting you in San Francisco back in December. How are you and who is your friend?”

“This is my new friend, Tally Chase,” Liam told the lead guitarist. “We just met a few months ago. She told me she always wanted to meet you. She’s been a fan of the Dead for several years. I can’t thank you enough, Jerry, for writing me and sending these special tickets for the show.”

“I am happy that you two are happy,” smiled Garcia. “As I remember you are a singer and songwriter, Liam. I would like to hear one of your tunes. Here’s a Martin D-28 acoustic guitar. Can you play for me?”

“I’d be glad to,” replied Liam as he put the strap to the Martin around his neck. “This is a song I wrote while my family and I were traveling through Marin and Sonoma Counties in California. It’s called “California”.

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Liam began playing with a slight nervousness as he performed the introduction to his original song. When he reached the beginning of the first verse the unsettled feeling left him and he played with great force and dexterity right to the end of the number.

“That was great, Liam,” Garcia said enthusiastically. “You have certainly come a long way. I like the lyrics, the arrangement and your playing and vocalizing. Very neat! The only thing I think is bad is that you aren’t playing with us tonight. I would like to collaborate with you sometime. Here is my personal phone number. Please don’t give it to anyone else. I will be off the road and home in about a month.”

“Show time!” someone yelled from out in the hall.

“That’s my call,” said Jerry as he gave Liam and Tally both a bear hug. “I look forward to talking with you again soon. We have to work on some songs. I would be glad to add parts to some of your tunes. Enjoy the show my friends!”

* * * * *

The concert was the usual spontaneous Dead show with the band going on a seemingly rollercoaster ride of emotions, taking the audience and those on stage to deep lows and soaring heights. The band opened with “Morning Dew” which went immediately into “Truckin’” and then “Box Of Rain”. Jerry Garcia’s lead work took everyone to places they had never been. This was a miraculous evening for Liam and Tally. The music and lyrics were invigorating and well tied together, but the greatest bonding was forming between Liam and Tally. The couple rode home quietly.

* * * * *

“Let’s go up to the river and try our luck,” Alex said. “It’s opening day for landlocked salmon and we all have spring fever. Hopefully fishing will be productive, we’ll have some exercise and maybe see some

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wild animals. It’s good your father is going along with us. It’s a moderately warm day and the sun is shining. I’d like to offer a prayer so we might be safe in our angling and to thank God for bringing us into each others’ lives.”

As they parked by the upper dam they realized they were not the only ones interested in fishing. There were six other cars on the end of the dirt road that ran along the edge of the Pasquaney. It took the foursome about a quarter hour to put their boots on and string up their fly rods. An elderly man and woman were casting off the boulders below the dam. The man was adept in his handling of his fly rod. He very gracefully false casting back and forth until he had extended enough line to cover the far shore of the river. The older woman was also a seasoned angler as was seen by her stripping in of the sink tip line in a very professional way.

“Dad, let’s walk down to the next pool,” offered Liam. “It might not be occupied. We can let Tally and her father have first crack at ‘The Honey Hole’. I would really like to see them both hook into a big salmon and that’s the best pool of the upper part of the river.”

“Good idea,” conceded Liam’s father. “We’ve had our share of salmon out of that pool, so I agree that we should relinquish the best prospects to our new friends.”

A young man was just finishing his turn through The Honey Hole and had apparently not had any luck. Alex showed Tally where to enter the river to begin her casting. Liam coached her where to cast her Grey Ghost to best cover the pool from the head of that section of water. Tally learned very quickly how to manage her rod, reel and streamer. Her ten foot, sink tip line allowed her fly to sink enough to put the fly deep into the current of the pool. Liam was right in back of Tally and on her left side so he did not interfere with her casting. Alex and Barry stood on some rocks up the bank from the water’s edge.

“I can see three salmon laying on the bottom with their heads up

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river,” Alex informed the others. “They’re all about two-thirds of the way down the pool. If Tally casts about twenty-five feet up river from them, she stands a good shot at provoking them.”

Liam ran over his father’s explanation to Tally. Because neither of them could see the fish due to being too close to the water’s surface, it would be necessary to follow Alex’s instructions to tempt the wary salmon. Tally followed their advice right to the letter. Her first cast was a little short of the three landlocked salmon.

“Let out about three more feet of line,” Alex advised Tally.

She stripped in her line to regain her cast and then false casted to let the fly fall a little farther toward the opposite bank. She dropped her Grey Ghost right where was best. As she let the line and fly swing across the pool with the flow of the current, it arced two inches in front of the lead salmon’s nose. Then silver leaper rose off the bottom of the river and snatched up Tally’s Ghost.

“Raise your rod tip, Tally,” admonished Liam. “You have her!

The six-weight rod bent over as the big salmon started to make a run down river. It was a big one. Tally was so excited that she couldn’t stop laughing.

“Let her run with it,” Liam advised. “Don’t try to hold her. She’s a powerful one. When she stops running try to regain some line by reeling. That’s it… you’re gaining on her.”

Just as Liam said that, the fish made another attempt to run. Liam informed Tally to put a little pressure on the hen salmon to tire her out. After a fifteen minute battle Tally was able to pull the fish toward her. Liam told her to coax the fish back by pulling back on the rod and then reeling in more line. The young Chase girl was starting to overpower the strong salmon bit by bit. When she had the fish within about ten feet from the shore, Liam stepped into the

8

river to ‘tail the salmon’ as was the traditional method of taking the salmon out of the water. As he reached below the surface to grasp the salmon around the forward part of its tail, he realized the battle was not quite finished. This female fish was not caught yet. She gave one more, strong attempt to free herself from the tackle that had hooked her and then capitulated. Liam lifted her from the water to a clapping of hands from several spectators!

“Way to go, Tally!” exclaimed Liam. “You just caught your first landlocked salmon!”

Liam took the fly from the salmon’s jaw and placed the fish on the top of a boulder near where Alex and Barry had been watching.

It’s not over,” Alex said to Tally as she stepped on dry land. “You have to do the honors of ‘dispatching’ the salmon.”

“What does that mean?” she asked, looking quizzically at the other fishermen.

“You must kill the salmon by hitting it on the head in a very strong manner,” replied Liam. “It’s part of the ritual when catching a salmon. In fact, you do not catch salmon… you kill them. Don’t be afraid. It’s really the most humane thing to do. Think about it. Other types of fish usually go through a prolonged suffocating process when they are caught. It’s either that or to carefully remove the hook from the mouth of the fish and let it slip back into the water.”

Tally thought about the alternatives for a brief moment and then picked up a large smooth rock and gave the hen salmon a couple hard blows to the head. The fish quivered a few seconds and then was motionless.

“She’s gone.” Alex advised. “Think of it this way… people have to eat to stay alive and in this case we will honor this salmon by

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eating her to support our lives. We will have a celebration tonight as Bess bakes this beautiful animal.”

As Tally was coming to grips with what had been done, she peered down at the ground next to the boulder where she had dispatched her first salmon and caught the glimpse of an old rusty nail. She bent over and picked it up. She stared at it for a while and showed it to her father and friends.

“Whooh! Alex said with great power. “This old nail is the companion to a horseshoe I found many years ago in this same spot. In this same place I kissed Bess for the first time after finding the horseshoe while we were just in our teen years. This is simply a miracle!”

“That’s amazing,” replied Tally as Liam stepped up to her and gave her a kiss on the mouth.

Tally, Liam, Barry and Alex joined hands in a prayer to Heavenly Father.

“We are eternally thankful and grateful to Thee, Dear God,” began Liam. “This is surely a sign from Thee that we were destined to come together here at this time. We offer this prayer to Thee in faith that Thou wilt watch over our families and other loved ones both near and far. Please bless us with Thy Holy Spirit at this time. We are so thankful for the guidance and interaction of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ in our lives… in the sacred name of Jesus Christ… Amen!

Chapter 15/"Liam's Lyric Writing"

The writing of the 15th chapter of my new manuscript is done and I have completed a quick proof reading of the work. The Samuels and Ortons are in their last two days together in the Bay area. It is planned that the novel will be out by mid summer of this year.

Chapter 15

Liam’s Lyric Writing

The Samuels vacation in California was drawing to a close. They planned to fly back to Boston on the 29th of December. The Ortons would stay with Valerie and Layla until January 2nd, so they could celebrate the New Year in San Francisco. Alex and Layla drove up to Petaluma on the 27th to put a retainer on the new house. Bess, Ben, Belle and Valerie took the bus down to Union Square to do some shopping. Liam stayed at the apartment that day to play his guitar and write a song or two. He was feeling very creative and had an idea for a song about time and places. He put on a local radio station with the call letters KSAN. It was a classic and contemporary rock station that Liam had been listening to since he arrived in San Francisco. Comparatively speaking the programming had fewer commercials than most of the other Bay area stations. When Liam tuned into 107.7FM the Quicksilver Messenger Service was playing “Have Another Hit”. It had a great rhythm to it and the lyrics described the fresh air of California. Ben Holt, the DJ who was spinning discs when Liam started listening, was a very funny guy but did not use excessive dialogue to detract from the music played. The Quicksilver classic inspired Liam to grab a sheet of paper, a pen and to sit down on the couch to see what would come out of the inspiration moving him. Thirty minutes later he had the makings of what he believed was a pretty good song.

“In this eternal progression,

While we’re often in a position

To realize another omission

Is really just a transition.

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To another time and place,

When and where we can come face to face

With the realization that we each can trace

Our own lives at our own pace.

A black shadow down a crimson coat

Vague reminiscence of yesterday’s note

On Protagoras and Gorgias, diamonds from a boat.

Only yesterday and so remote.

To another time and place,

When and where we can come face to face

With the realization that we each can trace

Our own lives at our own pace.

Yesterday’s over but where was that then

Compelling, telling, swelling and finally when

We reached it, discovered and then did transcend

The inkling, the instances of all men.

In another time and place

When and where we can come face to face

With the realization that we each can trace

Our own lives… at our own pace.”

* * * * *

While Liam was preparing to set his new lyrics to music, Alex and Layla were at the real estate office in Petaluma. There was a lot of paperwork to do to begin the process of actually buying the Samuels house. Termite checks, a title search to determine if the parcel was actually owned by the supposed

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deed possessors, a needed lawyer and the bank that was going to handle the loan.

“Do you have a lawyer lined up?” asked Albert Coons. “It is generally accepted that a lawyer should oversee the entire process of purchasing the house and land. If you don’t have an attorney, we could certainly suggest a good one.”

“We have a lawyer back in New Hampshire,” answered Alex. We would like to seek his services in completing the transaction. I realize that the entire acquisition cannot be handled in one day.”

“That’s right,” continued Coons. “When the papers are all drawn up we would send them to you and you could consult your lawyer to look at them. Then your bank could handle the loan papers. I understand that you want to put a ten thousand dollar binder on the deal. That would be put in escrow to bind the purchase. If you decide to change your mind about buying the place we will give the money back to you minus a two hundred dollar penalty. I want to make sure you understand this part of the exchange.”

“I understand that,” agreed Alex. “Here is my check for $10,000 which is drawn on the Franklin Savings and Loan Bank back in Franklin, New Hampshire. They will be handling the appropriations of money to pay for the real estate. The money should not be a problem. I’ve dealt with FSB for over twenty years. The bank has been around for over a hundred years and has a very good reputation.”

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Right about the time Alex handed the check to Albert Coons, Bess, Belle, Ben and Valerie were walking down Hyde Street in San Francisco and admiring one of the street’s cable cars, which was ringing its bell to notify its riders that a stop was approaching at Hyde and Geary Streets. They turned east on Geary and quickly found themselves in the middle of the Tenderloin area. This was a place of much crime, many bars and stripper joints. All of a sudden Bess and the Ortons knew they were in the wrong place. They called upon Heavenly Father to guide and direct them as they passed through this area of sin and degradation. After Bess said a prayer for the four visitors they stumbled upon a poor looking, old man who was lying on his side against the foundation of a bar called Psalms.

The man was probably drunk as he held a bottle of wine in his left hand and a paper cup in his right. They noticed that there were a few crumpled dollar bills in the cup. Ben Orton knelt down beside the poor man who had a long grey beard and hair that obviously hadn’t been washed recently.

“Can I help you sir?” asked Ben.

“Yeah, can you say a prayer for me?” the intoxicated and distraught man said. “I haven’t eaten in three days and my right hand hurts awful bad. A friend of mine broke it trying to steal my money. The world is a horrible place. I just wish I could die!”

“Can you stand?” Ben questioned him again. “We can help you to a restaurant where you can eat something. Just be careful of your bad hand.”

The poor man rolled onto his back and then very slowly

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rose to his feet. He was very weak and wobbled some. Bess tried to grab the bottle from his hand, but man help tight to it. Between Ben, Bess, Belle and Valerie they were able to awkwardly walk the poor soul to a McDonalds and help him sit on one of the benches in the fast food place. His head fell on the table and he started to drool. Ben finally managed to wrestle the wine from him. He took the man’s money and stuffed it in the pocket of the down and out person. Valerie went to the counter and ordered a hamburger, fries and large coffee.

“Would you put a couple cubes of ice in the coffee?” asked Valerie. “We don’t want our friend to burn himself..”

The Ortons and Bess stayed with the poor old guy for about half an hour until he finally came to and sipped on the now warm coffee. He then devoured the food with great haste. The wine seemed to be wearing off as he began talking about his problems.

“I don’t have any place to stay,” he cried. “My luck has completely run out. “Can you help me?”

“We passed a YMCA a few blocks back,” Belle informed her companions. “We could try to walk him back there and see if they can do anything for the poor man.”

“Let’s try that,” Valerie said in agreement. “Perhaps the YMCA could find a hostel to stay at. He needs a clean set of clothes, a shower and someone to watch over him.”

The man at the desk of the Young Mens’ Christian

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Association was very helpful in leading the unfortunate man to a room on the first floor while he informed the New Englanders that this was a common situation in the Tenderloin district of the city. The ‘Y’ would take care of the elderly soul for a few days and then hook him up with a social worker who could find him more permanent quarters and the necessities of life. In room number seven they all gathered around the man who they learned was named Mel Campbell. Bess offered a prayer before leaving the individual in the hands of others.

“Dear Heavenly Father please look down on our friend Mel Campbell and help and comfort him in his hour of great distress. Please send him the Holy Spirit to guide and direct him today and in the days ahead. We are so thankful for our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who is the Great Physician. May your guidance be with Mr. Campbell in the future. Bless him with a roof over his head, food to eat and the other needs that he has. We say these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ… Amen!”

* * * * *

After shopping at Macy’s and a few other stores near Union Square the foursome walked a bit more to California street. They had surely done their exercise regimen for the day. They stood near the corner of Powell and California and waited a brief while for the cable car to arrive. They all paid the brakeman as they climbed up to the seating area.

“California cable car,” the brakeman barked out loudly.

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The tall muscular operator of the car rang the bell several times in succession. This line went from Powell Street, where the Ortons and Bess boarded it, as far west as Van Ness Avenue where it turned around on a turntable. The first cable car in San Francisco was first operated on August 2, 1973. The cable cars in this city are the oldest in the world. In 1877 the California Cable Line came into existence. Belle Orton struck up a conversation with an elderly woman as they rode to the end of the line.

“Are you a native of San Francisco?” Belle asked the lady. “You seem to fit in here more than we do.”

“I was born in San Francisco in 1906, the year the most disastrous earthquake to tremble the city in history occurred. The fires that destroyed a large part of downtown areas were more devastating than the actual quake. I don’t remember a lot of it because I was so young. But it took years to rebuild the structures that were burned. I can remember my father, who was a banker, coming home some days and telling my mother that the city was like ‘burnt toast’. Every time I burn my toast I think back to the tragic occurrence.”

“That’s very interesting,” Belle commented. “I imagine it was a terrible thing to go through. The city is so beautiful today that visitors would not see any sign of the earthquake and fire. I will have to read up on the disaster. It is so nice to chat with you and to be able to visit the Golden Gated City. Thanks for the conversation.”

“My pleasure said the woman,” as they climbed down to the street at California and Van Ness.

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One of the Muni buses that carried passengers along Van Ness Avenue was apparently broken down in the direction the visitors were traveling. Mechanics were working on a back wheel.

“It looks as though a wheel bearing went bad,” explained Ben. “I can see that the hub is scorched. “That’s the reason for all those people on the street corner. They’re waiting for the next bus.”

When changing directions the ticket that they received on boarding the cable car was punched and that made it acceptable to transfer to another part of the city Muni System for no extra charge. In a couple minutes another bus arrived to pick up the waiting travelers. They would take it north on Van Ness to Union Street where they would get off. Before the bus reached Union Street they went up and over a hill that provided a spectacular view of Alcatraz. Bess, Belle, Ben and Valerie decided to walk the rest of the way to 2341 Union Street. Alex and Layla had returned from Petaluma and were being entertained by Liam as he played his new song for them.

“I think Liam has something here with this arrangement and composition,” said Layla to the rest of the folks. The words are really well done and the music certainly promotes the lyrics. You should play it again, Liam. I couldn’t take it all in from just one playing. Can I see the lyrics?”

“Sure,” replied her brother. “They’re right here. The words came to me all of a sudden. I think they were breathed into my ear by an angel sent from God. I really believe that. It took a little less than a half hour to write and I haven’t changed a

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word. This writing thing is so new to me. It is certainly a gift from on high. I thank my Heavenly Father, my Savior Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit for giving me this talent.”

“It’s a gift from God,” agreed his father. “I see what you meant when you said that you wanted to follow this musical path. Trust in God. He will show you the way.”

The two sets of family members sat at the supper table eating spaghetti with homemade sauce prepared by Valerie as well as fresh asparagus spears. It was healthy and very tasty. They all talked about their activities of the day and what they learned from their experiences. That’s what made life interesting… going separate ways and then coming together again to share what had been happening in their lives. We are individuals in our own bodies, but connected by delicate ties with each other.

Chapter 14/"Christmas & The Concerts"

I finished this chapter last night and did a quick edit this morning. This excerpt takes place in San Francisco with descriptions of various places in the Golden Gated City. A Grateful Dead concert, with backstage visits, finds Liam Samuels meeting Jerry Garcia.The Samuels and the Ortons attend a concert with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra playing the "Nutcracker Suite".

Chapter 14

Christmas And The Concerts

“Boy, that goose was terrific,” exclaimed Liam. “The sweet potatoes, gravy and dressing really hit the spot. I think I like the goose better than the traditional turkey. You know when I was younger the presents were the best part of Christmas day, but now the family dinner seems to take first place.”

“Yes,” replied Bess. “Family events seem to take precedents to material things. True happiness comes from God and being with relatives and friends. We are so glad to be together with our own family and with you Valerie and your mom and dad. I feels like we have known you for a long time even though it’s only been a couple days.”

“So true,” added Layla. “I am really happy to be here with my family and for having met some truly wonderful people like the Orton family.”

“We too are glad to have met you folks from New Hampshire,” agreed Belle Orton. “Though we usually live so far apart, our coming together has opened the doors to a great friendship that we hope and pray will go on for eternity. Valerie, Ben and I thank our Heavenly Father for

our association with the Samuels family.”

“That’s right,” continued Ben. “We know that meetings like this do not happen by chance. God has brought us into each other’s lives through His love for us. And, celebrating Christmas with each other lets us feel the love and power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We all know that the

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power and grace of the Redeemer is an integral entity of our everyday life. Without Christ we would be lost in the world and not be able to enjoy eternal life in the afterlife.”

“I am thankful to be here at this time,” testified Valerie. “I know it is not coincidence that brings us together and lets us do the things we do together. It is all a part of God’s plan of salvation. Each of us has a purpose and all that we do is part of Heavenly Father’s and Jesus Christ’s design for establishing a better world and bringing all souls to immortality and eternal life.”

* * * * *

Christmas night Valerie, Layla and Liam attended a concert with the Grateful Dead headlining a show at the Carousel Ballroom in San Francisco. They had passes to enter the stage door and mingle with the members of the famed rock and roll group as well as other guests. Liam, who had emulated Jerry Garcia for several years by playing guitar and trying to copy Garcia’s style of doing lead work, was actually going to shake Jerry’s hand and talk with him for a few minutes. It would be the opportunity of a lifetime for Liam to meet his idol. When Liam boldly walked up to Jerry the famed rock star was pouring some coke into a glass.

“Would you like something to drink?” Jerry asked Liam.

“Yes,” Liam answered. “That would definitely please me.”

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“Is this your first Dead concert?” Garcia asked. “Or are you a longtime Dead Head?”

“This is my first concert,” answered Liam. “I have been following you for several years. I am visiting my sister here in San Francisco. She goes to the Berklee School of Music. We’re from New Hampshire.”

“The Dead played a show in Portland, Maine about a year ago,” Jerry smiled. “We have a lot of fans from around there who have been devoted listeners ever since we first started playing in the mid 1960s. In fact, we are going to play there this spring. If you’re interested, give me your address and I will send you some free tickets for the show. You could come backstage and visit with us again.”

“Man, that would be a real treat!” Liam responded. “You are so kind to do something like that after only talking with me for a couple minutes.”

“I feel like we are kindred spirits,” Jerry said as he placed his hand on Liam’s shoulder. “I could sense that you are a musician and felt an immediate connection with you when we shook hands.”

Liam produced a pen and piece of paper from his wallet and wrote his name and address down and handed it to Jerry. Jerry smiled and offered his hand again. That night was one of the greatest events Liam, Layla and Valerie had ever attended. The Dead played for about two hours and captivated the audience by playing several ten minute songs. “Dark Star” and “Saint Stephen”, as well as “Playing In The Band”, with Jerry Garcia doing some extended improvisation with Bob Weir , Phil Lesh, Brent Midland, Bill Kreutzman, Mickey Hart and Donna Godchaux added other parts to the music that gave the audience much delight. Viewing the band from behind the players was an especially delightful experience for Liam, Layla and Valerie. They could hear the music very well through the stage monitors and were within a few feet of the musicians. This vantage point caused Liam to feel the extreme exuberance of this concert. He made a decision there and then to become a performer. He reveled in the thought that this was what he wanted to do with his future. The elation of the show and having met Garcia backstage was to become a driving force in his life. As the evening went on the three newcomers to San Francisco nightlife felt the rapture of a truly extraordinary

happening.

* * * * *

“That show was out of sight!” Liam said to his parents the next morning. He was already starting to pick up on some of the language so common in California. “I know now that being a performer is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

“Well, it sounds like you had a great time last night,” Liam’s father said. “But you know that being a professional musician is not all good times. You give up a private life and have a big responsibility to your fans. If you think and feel that this is your true calling… go for it. There will be mountains to climb and rivers to cross in your pursuit of a musical career. But then any profession has its ups and downs. If this is really what you want to do, your mother and I stand behind you. We love you and want the best for

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you. Professional music is a very competitive field, but with your motivation and abilities you should succeed. It means a lot of work, but the rewards can be enormous both monetarily and with fame.”

On the night of the 26th of December, the Samuels and Ortons went to the Warfield to see and hear the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra perform. Just before the show they decided to go to Chinatown to walk past the many Oriental shops near the city’s downtown area. Many of the Chinese stores had art objects that pleased the eyes of the seven travelers. Bess bought a Bonsai plant that the proprietor said was fifty years old even though the small, treelike object only stood about six inches high. The shopkeeper said they were actually called ‘pensai’ plants in China. The bonsai plants were mostly cultivated in Japan where they have been created for over a thousand years. The price on the tiny tree was ten dollars. Bess bought it.

“How will I transport it back to Belchertown?” Bess asked Alex. “ Guess I’ll have to hold it on my lap on the airplane.”

Alex talked to the owner of the store and found out they could package the miniature tree in a small crate that could be checked as baggage at the airport. The cost for the crate was only two dollars but would be sufficient to protect the plant even when bumped around by the baggage handlers. There were small holes in the top and sides to allow air to enter. The total package was only

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about ten by ten by ten inches. I was very light too, weighing maybe three pounds.

The rest of the visitors each bought little statues and other art pieces that cost less than ten dollars each. Layla picked out a pretty red blouse made from silk. It was fancifully embroidered with yellow and blue stitching portraying dragons and Chinese buildings. It looked like it would cost several hundred dollars, but sold for eight dollars. Layla was able to haggle with the owner who originally was asking ten dollars for the fancy blouse.

The two families decided to eat in a Chinese restaurant before the musical event. There were dozens of restaurants in Chinatown that all looked very enticing. The menus were listed on the inside of the windows of the food places. They were conveniently written in Chinese and English, but even still they really only understood the dishes from explanations of what went into the various food types.

“This seems like a nice place,” said Valerie. “The sign says ‘The Cheerful Garden’. Nice name”

The seven tourists perused the menus for five minutes and then decided to enter the restaurant. A very attractive girl led them to a table that looked out on the street. The interior looked clean, well decorated and very neat. They sat at a table for eight and were promptly brought a pot of black tea and menus.

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“The place is packed,” Belle contributed. “That speaks well for the quality of the food. Most of the clientele are oriental and that’s a good sign too. I bet a lot of them are local residents and probably come back often. I think we made a good pick.”

Everyone agreed with Belle’s analysis of the restaurant. They looked over the offerings and made their decisions for ordering. They decided to choose several dishes that could be shared by all. They thought eating healthy would be a good idea so they picked dishes that had a number of vegetables.

“I want to go easy on the meat,” Ben said. “My doctor advised me to avoid eating too much red meat. Most physicians agree today that three or four different veggies, fruit and grains are better for you. Because of my weight problem I have to watch the fat content of food as well. I love pineapple. It has detoxifying qualities to it. Besides that, it tastes awful good!”

“Orientals do not have as much weight trouble as do Americans,” added Belle. “On the average they do live longer than some ethnic groups who eat a lot of meat. Overall I believe the oriental people, who eat a lot of fish, are healthier than Americans.”

Their dishes were on the table in less than ten minutes. The aroma was tantalizing. They ate quietly, only momentarily talking, mostly to compliment the food. The waitress periodically brought water to keep the guests well hydrated. After their dinner they opened the

8

fortune cookies. They had mixed feelings about their fortunes. Some thought they were funny, while others thought they were true. Alex’s said “Soon you and your family will be well entertained”.

“Is this a prediction of tonight’s performance?” asked Alex as he read out his fortune. “I hope so!”

“I’m sure it is very accurate,” responded Layla. “From what I’ve heard the Orchestra is surely going to please us. But we’ll know in about an hour. Which reminds me. We probably should pay the bill and be going.”

* * * * *

The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra had performed the “Nutcracker Suite”, by Tchaikovsky, the night before Christmas as well as on the 26th. Valerie had bought seven tickets for seats in the first row of the balcony near the center. She was assured that the sound would be great. The Warfield had the best acoustics in the Bay area. It would seat 2300 people. It was built as a vaudeville theatre, which was originally called the Loews Warfield opening on May 13th, 1922. It was named after David Warfield. In recent years it had turned into a rock concert hall featuring such groups as Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead. Tonight Michael Tilson Thomas would conduct the Symphony.

The show was to begin at eight sharp. The Samuels and Ortons arrived and were seated by an usher at about

9

fifteen minutes to eight. The seats were well padded and very comfortable. The early twentieth century décor of the theatre added a feeling of mystique and opulence, especially to those there for the first time.

The room was full of chatter from the audience and the visitors from New England added to it. Then, at precisely eight o’clock, the lights dimmed and the curtain started to rise, revealing the orchestra. There was a thunder of applause after which the host, Tom McPheter, introduced Michael Tilson Thomas. Michael thanked the people in the audience for supporting the work of the orchestra and its members.

“We hope you all have an enjoyable experience this evening as the “Nutcracker” is played,” said Thomas. We think you will love this arrangement by the famed Tchaikovsky. He is infamous and known worldwide. So, sit back, relax… and enjoy!”

The concert was a stupendous success and its conductor impeccable in his leading of the orchestra. A standing ovation followed the finale of the Suite. Michael raised his arms to signal to the musicians to stand as he turned to the crowd and bowed. A pretty girl dressed in a long white, lacy gown took a bouquet of red roses to the stage and the famed conductor took the flowers in one hand and kissed the girl’s hand.

* * * * *

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The Ortons and Samuels rode a trolley car down Market Street to Van Ness Avenue where they stepped down and waited for a city bus to take them north to Union Street. All had peaceful smiles as they enjoyed the warm air of a special evening. When they descended from the Union Street bus near Filmore Street, they gathered in a circle on the sidewalk and hummed a few bars from the night’s musical event. When they arrived at the apartment the answering machine for the telephone had a light blinking. The message on the machine was from Albert Coons saying that the house in Petaluma would be theirs. It was just a matter of paperwork now. The next morning Alex called Albert and said he would be up with a check for ten thousand dollars to seal the deal. All involved were happy!

“I think it is a good deal,” remarked Bess. “The house will give us a base to further explore California and the Northeast.”

“Yes,” Alex added jubilantly. “And we could rent to others during the time we need to be on the East coast. All in all, a very wise decision if I do say so myself. This is for sure the best Christmas holiday we have ever had. Who wants to drive north?”

Chapter 13/"House In Petaluma"

This morning I finished chapter 13 of my manuscript for my upcoming novel "As Simple Things Go By". It's just below and chapter 12 is right below chapter 13. It will take about ten minutes of your time to read. The main characters, Alex, Bess, Liam and Layla Samuels, are in northern California pursuing the possibility of buying a home on the West coast.

Chapter 13


House In Petaluma



The Samuels and the Ortons planned to go see and hear the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra while they were visiting Layla and Valerie. Ben and Belle Orton had never been to a musical event of this enormity. The Samuels had all attended a production of the Boston Symphony a few years back. Valerie Orton had been to some major rock concerts in San Francisco a couple weeks before Layla moved to live with her. The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Starship performed concerts at ‘Winterland’. Though Valerie was training to become a classical musician, she still liked rock and roll.


“The Dead were so good,” Valerie said with exuberance. “I’d listened to them on the radio a lot in my high school years. But, hearing them and seeing them in person took their music to a whole new level. They are playing at ‘The Carousel’ two nights from now. Maybe Liam, you and I could go.”


“That is a great idea,” responded Layla. “Liam and I use to listen to Grateful Dead albums back in the 1970s. Jerry Garcia is such a charismatic personality. It would be nice if we could meet him.”


“It just so happens that I might be able to swing a few backstage passes from one of my classmate’s father,” laughed Valerie. “William’s dad is Bill Graham, one of the biggest venue promoters in the United States. He books the majority of rock and roll acts in the Bay area. Let me


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call William and see if he can get us in the stage door and meet the members of the Dead.”


“Wow, that would be very nice,” exclaimed Liam. “It would be the highpoint of this visit for me.”


“Me too,” Layla said. “Hey, why don’t you get your sax out Valerie and Liam you grab your guitar. Liam, if you would play your new song, “California”, Valerie and I could do some improvising on the clarinet and sax.”


“Cool,” agreed Liam.


The trio jammed for about two hours and had one of the best musical experiences they’d had in a long while. Playing in the key of A, Liam did what he called a ‘turnaround’ at the end of each verse. He explained that that was the setup for the regular ‘A-D-E’ chord progression. The sound of the clarinet and saxophone added to the guitar in a simply outstanding manner. The blues was Liam’s favorite genre.


“What we really need is a tape recorder,” interjected Liam. “And also, we should find some other musicians to add parts to what we are doing. A bass, keyboards and drums would be welcomed additions. I wish I could stay longer!”


* * * * *


The Samuels traveled over the Golden Gate Bridge and into Marin County again the next morning. Alex had called Albert Coons the day before to set up an appointment to see the house that interested them. Liam sat up front in the new model Ford with his sister who drove. Liam tinkered and tweaked the radio knobs and surfed around looking for songs that he liked. He settled on a tune by Max MacFarland called “Big Plans”. MacFarland was a noted underground artist whose songs were generally not big commercial hits. The station was KPFA out of Berkley, California. Liam hurriedly wrote the words to the song on the back of a Wheat Thins box as Max sang them.


I just don’t know anymore

What my life is for,

So please don’t ask me what to do.

I try as a man

To do what I can

But I never seem to know what I knew.


Chorus

And I got no more big plans for me honey.

I’ve unlinked the chain of tomorrows from my mind.

I’ve got no more big plans for me honey

I’m gonna sit back and watch my life unwind.


Now every time

That I define just what I have in mind

I get bored with the picture that it makes.

I do a lot of thinking about words and their linking

And about the right way one creates.


Repeat Chorus


Now I don’t want to bother.

I guess I’d really rather

Let ideas pursue a pathless scheme

And in this manner I hope I’ll see

All my life in reverie

Reflected off an eyeball in my dream.


And I’ve got no more big plans for me honey

I’ll wrestle with tomorrow when it’s now.

No more big plans for me honey.

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Big plans always wear me out somehow.

Big Plans always wear me out somehow.


About forty minutes later they came to the exit that led to the real estate broker’s establishment in Petaluma. They were a little early so they stopped at Dunkin Donuts and bought an assortment of jelly, Bavarian crème and plain donuts to take the edge off their hunger. They ate inside and there they met a group of elderly ladies who were eating egg and sausage croissants and drinking coffee. The Samuels sat down at a table next to the women.


“Nice day out,” offered Bess.


“Yes it is,” replied one lady who was wearing a white blouse and red sweater. “You folks from around here?”


“Actually we’re visiting from New Hampshire,” answered Bess. “We’re going to be looking at a house in this area. We are so captivated with our first trip to California, that we might buy a home here. Do you live locally?”


“Yes,” added a thin woman dressed in navy blue attire. “We meet here regularly mainly to have a snack and coffee. We’ve been doing this since Dunkin Donuts opened here about four years ago. We’re cousins.”


“Are there any good restaurants, other than this place, around here?” asked Alex.


“There are several closer into town,” advised the lady in blue. “There’s Juanita’s just down the road here on the left.


5


The Koffee Kup is right on the corner near the traffic light in the very center of town. They are both very good places to eat. Juanita’s has a mixture of Mexican and American meals. I would suggest the chuck eye steaks there. They are out of this world. The Koffee Kup is mainly a breakfast nook. The food is really good, the service is great and the prices are low.”


“Well, very nice talking with you,” said Bess as the Samuels prepared to leave for the broker’s. Thanks for the information on the restaurants. I think I would like to try Juanita’s. I don’t eat Mexican much, but the idea of it interests me.”


“The steak sounds good,” Liam added. “We cook chuck eyes out on the grill most Friday nights back home. They are like cotton candy, just melting in your mouth. And they are cheap compared to some other cuts of steak. Have a nice day ladies!”


“The same to you folks,” the lady in red reciprocated. “Hope you find a home here that you like. Until we meet again, best wishes!”


* * * * *

The New Hampshire family met Coons at the brokerage and together they drove over to the house to have a look. It being of new construction, there was nobody living there. As they drove in the driveway they were all taken back with the beauty of the place. It had a nice front yard,


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freshly mowed lawn and shrubbery along the front and sides of the dwelling. The outside was covered with light grey vinyl siding and cobalt blue shutters. The style of the house could be called contemporary with a modern elegance. The attached garage had the same color scheme as the house. The group of five walked through the breezeway to the back yard. It had a newly mowed lawn as well. About thirty yards or so beyond the lawn was an apple orchard with approximately forty trees.


“The apple trees were harvested back in September,” Albert Coons announced. “The Baldwin, Cortland and McIntosh apples are in wooden crates in the basement where it is cool. The orchard was much bigger before the house was built. The landscapers cut down about thirty more trees and then pulled the roots out with a backhoe. So, if you decide you would like to acquire the house and attached parcel of land, you would be able to make some tasty apple pies!”


“We could probably ship some back East for eating there,” Alex proposed. “I like all three species of apples and I know that speaks for the rest of the family. Also, Layla could take some back to her apartment in the city.”


“Fantastic,” added Layla with glee. “I use to make apple crisp with mom years ago. It is definitely my favorite way to eat apples.”



Now it was time to go into the house and see what it offered. They entered from the front door after Albert produced the key. There was a screen door and then an elegant, paneled, heavy storm door painted white. It opened smoothly and closed firmly and tightly. The entrance was tiled in dark grey slate of irregular large pieces. The Samuels remembered the spiral staircase from the photos in the brochure, but to see it in person produced open mouths in all the family members. It was exquisite!


“Here’s the kitchen area,” beckoned their agent to Bess and Layla. “This is one of the main extravagances of this home.”


Again, the picture they saw in the flier did not do justice to the real thing. Bess fell in love with it. Alex, Layla and Liam were drawn to the massive living room with cathedral ceiling sporting skylights and two crystal chandeliers. A huge rock and cement fireplace was off to the left as they entered what would probably be Alex’s favorite room. To the rear of the living area were three picture windows offering a stunning view of the apple orchard and rolling hills to the west. There were bookcases built into the walls on the right side of the room with space for several hundred books. A little cubicle opened up a space about five feet by five feet.


“This would be a good place for fly tying,” said Liam. Every member of the family was already starting to lay claim to different parts of the house.


“Lets go upstairs when you are ready,” Albert politely said. “There are three conventional bedrooms with the master bedroom facing the front of the house. Then there is another room which could be a den or double as a fourth bedroom.”


An oak railing ran the length of the upstairs hall and looked to one side on the living room and a close up view of the ceiling beams, while the other side had doors to the four bedrooms. A large bathroom with shower, tub and Jacuzzi was located on an ‘L’ from the hallway. The master bedroom had its own bath with elaborate facilities including two sinks. There was an abundance of closet space upstairs which would certainly accommodate everyone.


“So, what do you think?” Albert asked the Samuels. “Are you interested in the house?”


“We are very positive about the place,” responded Alex. “We are prepared to buy it, but would like to talk about this piece of real estate before actually paying for it. We can offer $130,000 for the property. Can you notify the owners of this?”


“I think they’re quite firm on the asking price of $150,000, but I will notify them of your offer,” Albert advised. “I will call you later in the day to see what the owners think.”


“Okay,” Alex answered. “Thanks for the tour and we hope that we can do business. We look forward to hearing from you.”


* * * * *


Later that evening as the Samuels and Ortons were


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eating supper at the apartment, the phone rang. It was Albert Coons. He told Alex that the owners of the property would accept $140,000 for the property but not one penny less. Albert smiled and gave a thumb up gesture to his family. Alex told the agent that he and Bess would be up on Monday morning to give signatures for the deal and arrange for payment on their new venture. Alex mentioned to his wife that they would try to secure the deal by putting $10,000 as a binder and down payment. There would be a lot of paperwork and the final transaction probably wouldn’t be completed until after they arrived back in New Hampshire. The folks at 2341 Union Street finished their supper and spent the evening talking about California.


“I know we’ve been busy the couple days we’ve been here,” said Bess. “But tomorrow is Christmas. The weather here has been so great that it really doesn’t feel like the Holidays. How about we cook a goose for our Christmas dinner?”


“That sounds tantalizing,” Layla quickly responded. “I’ll go down to Safeway to buy the goose and all the fixings. Liam, will you come along?”


“Sure enough Sis,” he agreed. “I guess I’ve never had goose!”

Chapter 12/"Northern California/Big Plans"

I just finished the twelfth chapter of my third novel and thought it might be appropriate to include it here as an incentive to buy my novels of which the third one of the trilogy should be released this summer. The title of this new work is "As Simple Things Go By".

Chapter 12

Northern California/Big Plans

The Samuels left the Trident around one that afternoon and headed for their first planned stop at Muir Woods situated in the prominent Marin landmark, Mount Tamalpias. On the winding Route 1 up into the highest peak in the area, they passed many mighty Eucalyptus trees. They were a species the Samuels had never seen before. Over 700 species of this beautiful tree are indigenous to Australia and were transplanted in the early settlement days of California. As the family entered Muir Woods, they were captivated by the many tall redwood trees. Some of the trees were over a hundred feet tall and had diameters of over five feet. As the travelers walked down the path into the depths of the forest they came across several of the red giants that had been hit by lightning hundreds of years ago. The bases of these enormous trees were often charred from the lightning strikes. On several of the trees Liam was able to walk into the center of the bases and stand up straight.

“This tree has a hollow opening that goes up its center more than twenty feet,” exclaimed Liam. “The walls are charred black from the century’s old fires. You can actually have some of the burned parts rub off when you touch it.”

“Let’s get a picture of the family standing inside this tall redwood,” advised Alex. “Liam you take one of the rest of us and then I’ll shoot one with you in it.”

“The sign says that tree is a Douglas fir,” offered Layla. “They are as big as some of the redwoods and are a big source of lumber for building purposes here in California and throughout the United States. Mom, could you take a photo of me standing in front of this giant fir tree?”

“Sure,” answered Bess. “It really makes you look short. “The sign near the giant redwood over there says it’s 258 feet high and is probably around 800 years old. Further up north there is the tallest redwood on earth… about 379 feet high. It’s actually about forty feet higher than the Statue of Liberty in New York. Redwoods have attained the age of 2200 years!”

The Samuels continued on their walk along the Muir Wood trails. About a third of the way to the northern most part of the main path they came upon some trees that came out of the ground and turned ninety degrees and grew horizontally parallel to the ground. Most of these unknown trees were about a foot in diameter. The travelers took several photos of the odd trees. Bess sat on one and pointed to a huge redwood nearby. John Muir was the founder of the Park. And, he was known as ‘The Father of The National Parks Service’. Muir Woods is in the town of Mill Valley.

“What do you say we head up Route 1 and see some more of the beautiful California coastline?” offered Alex. “A short side trip up to the top Mt. Tam would be interesting too.”

They drove up the many switchback curves in the road to the top of the mountain. The view from the summit (2571 feet above sea level) was just plain stupendous! The visitors on the highest point in Marin County had a 360 degree view of San Francisco to the south, the East Bay area to the east, northern Marin on the north and a spectacular vantage view of the Pacific Ocean to the west. Liam snapped a dozen shots of the panorama surrounding them. They jumped back in the car and head down the western slope road to Stinson Beach, situated on a hillside and flatland leading to where the breakers were forming and pushing the salty water up the clean beach area. As Bess spotted a bakery in the center of this small community of 632 people they decided to go in to see what the baked goods were like.

“Here’s a nice loaf of freshly baked Italian bread,” said Layla, feeling the condition of the twenty inch long loaf. “Feels good and it smells even better.”

“What do you say about this pound block of Locatelli cheese?” asked Layla while she gave it the sniff test. “You like it, Dad!”

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“Locatelli is actually a Pescorino Romano cheese and the salty, hard, tasty cheese is actually owned by a company based in the United States,” explained Alex. “Very nice stuff!”

“Here’s a slice of the cheese for each of a you,” the Italian proprietor said as he cut off four generous pieces of the cheese. “It’s a my favorite. You won’t a be sorry you a the purchase a this!”

Now that the family had the additions to their proposed wine tasting afternoon up in Sonoma County, they pulled out from the bakery and continued up the coast highway making a detour to take in the artist colony of Bolinas.

“This was a great area for the hippies back in the late 1960s and early 70s,” smiled Liam. “It is definitely inspiring me to write a song. “If I’m quiet back here, don’t worry. I’m doing some writing.”

The Ford Torino meandered through the many curves and hills up through Olema and then took a left in the Point Reyes area to Inverness, a quiet, quaint, small community most of which was very near the northern coast. After they went to see the beach there they doubled back to reunite with Route 1 and progress northward. Liam had his guitar out in the back seat and was practicing some chords. He had written some lyrics based on their trip to California. The poem that he planned to set to music was called, appropriately, “California”. He read the poem to his family as they were passing through the small town of Tomales.

“California”

Goin’ to California

Where the sun shine most of the time

Goin’ to California

Where the sun shine most of the time

Livin’ the blues is hard

But so easy to rhyme.

4

Gonna fly out of Boston

One of these days.

Yes, I’m gonna fly out of Boston

One of these days

I love the West Coast

In so many ways.

Had my bags packed for weeks

Waitin’ for the right time to blow.

Had my bags packed for weeks

Waitin’ for the right time to blow.

Got a girl here on the East Coast

Who don’t want to see me go.

Instrumental Break

I’ve made up my mind.

Ain’t gonna stick around.

Yes, I’ve made up my mind.

Ain’t gonna stick around.

They say in California

That there’s gold in the ground.

So Mom I’m gone.

No advice for anyone.

Mom I’m gone.

No advice for anyone

I’ll miss you each day I’m away…

But I just got to go it alone!

“Hopefully, it will be in a blues format,” Liam said with a chuckle. “I’ll do it in the key of A. Granted, I’m not too good at this point of my song writing, but maybe it will sound halfway decent to others. What do you think of the words?”

“Very good, Liam,” Layla said. “You’ve only been doing the guitar thing and writing for a short time. I look forward to hearing it.”

5

Bodega Bay was the next stop on the Samuels California journey. The views of the coast changed to some inland areas where the houses were spaced far apart. They went by the right turn to Bodega and continued on to the Bay. The most prominent landmark on the Bay was the Tides Restaurant. It was a couple hours since they had eaten in Sausalito, so the family decided to follow the winding road to Jenner and then bear eastward to Guerneville where they stopped at their first winery. Korbels was located just out of town on the east side of the small community. The vineyards lined the road for what seemed like miles when they approached the famous winery. As they entered the door to the reception area they were greeted by James Noonan, the tour guide.

“Welcome folks!” said James. “Have you been here before?”

“This is actually the second day three of us have ever been in California”, responded Alex. My daughter, Layla, has lived in San Francisco for about four months where she is attending the Berklee School of Music. We are enjoying our Christmas vacation here.”

“Well,” continued Noonan, “we have some interesting things to show you and, of course, some excellent wines from our own local vines. You can sample some different types and if you are pleased we have wine for sale. Let me lead you into the tasting room.”

The Samuels followed James through the elaborately decorated rooms and halls to the rear of the big building. Various wine fragrances pervaded the air as the family progressed to the sampling location. There were perhaps a dozen other visitors standing in front of an ornately carved round table with various wine bottles and glasses. On the upper part of the walls were gargoyles and serpents looking down at the visitors. Some of the carved figures were smiling and others appeared to be in distress. The air of the room was both scary and delightful.

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“I guess I won’t have any wine,” Layla said with a sigh. “For one thing I’m driving and the other matter is that I am not twenty-one yet.”

“I might try one white sample and possibly a red as well,” Bess informed the other family members. “It looks like the glasses hold about three or four ounces. That shouldn’t really hurt me any.”

Alex and Liam agreed to do the same. They sipped first a white wine called Chenin Blanc. It was very pleasant to the three tasters. They became very talkative almost immediately after the drink. James Noonan gave them a pitch about buying a bottle or case of the types that they liked. They decided to try the red Cabernet Sauvignon before making a decision to buy anything. The red wine went down very well too. By this time the testers were laughing and carrying on a little more than when they had entered the building.

“They both taste good, but I’m not up on the particular phrases to describe the qualities of fancy wines,” Alex went on. “It makes me feel good and I guess that’s the main reason people buy it. What do you say we buy a bottle of the Chenin Blanc. We can’t carry a case back to New Hampshire very well, but maybe Layla would like some.”

“I guess not,” replied Layla. “I will try some of the bottle you buy of the white wine after we arrive at the apartment. “I will only have a couple sips.

James Noonan gave the young woman a smile that quickly turned into a grimaced as he realized the Samuels were not big spenders when it came to wine. After the tasting session the New Hampshire folks headed for the front door.

“Come again when you are in the area,” Noonan said as they departed.

“Yes,” replied Bess. “And thank you for the tour and wine

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tasting. We are very appreciative for your kindness and generosity.”

As the family climbed back into the car they remembered the bread and cheese. They decided to save them for when they arrived back in San Francisco. All agreed it was a very interesting experience but the idea of stopping at another winery was a bit disturbing. About eight miles eastward they came to Route 101 and drove south on the heavily traveled road. They soon passed through Santa Rosa, a city of about ninety thousand people.

“Santa Rosa is where Charles Shultz, the author of the “Peanuts” comics, lives,” Bess remembered. “The buildings of their downtown area don’t seem very tall, but the city is well spread out. There sure are a lot of car dealerships on the right. The traffic is terrific. I don’t think I’d like to live here.”

Further on down Route 101 they passed the town of Petaluma, which seemed a little less populated than Santa Rosa. Alex saw a sign describing real estate in the area. He mentioned to Bess that they ought to stop and gather some information on prospective investment properties. At her father’s wish Layla pulled off the highway and ventured in toward the more populated region of the town. They stopped at an agent’s office and talked with Albert Coons about property that was available. He seemed like a very smart man.

“Yes, Sonoma County is growing at a high rate right now,” Coons said. “Speculators have been buying up property in bigger numbers than I’ve ever seen in the last couple years.. I’m a native of Petaluma. Did you know that this town is known as the ‘Arm Wrestling Capitol’ of the United States? It is televised on Wide World of Sports every year. It is also the ‘Frog Jumping Capitol’. The town use to be one of the largest chicken raising areas in the United States. Here, take our catalog of property in the Sonoma County area. Here’s my card as well.”

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“Thank you very much, Mister Coons,” Alex said, shaking hands with the older man. “I am glad to meet you and we may be in touch after we research some of your material. Also, thanks for the information on the famous things happening in Petaluma.”

* * * * *

That evening the Samuels arrived back in San Francisco and related their experiences of the northern travels to Valerie. She was preparing for her trip to the airport to pick up her parents the following day. Alex offered to drive Layla’s roommate down the peninsula to pick up her folks. He wondered how he would handle the driving, not knowing the route there and back very well.

“I can direct us down,” Valerie said. “It’s really not that complicated. Getting to the highway by going over the hill in this city is a bit difficult, but once we make it to Route 101 it’s quite simple. Since the car has been rented to you, Mister Samuels, you should probably do the driving.”

“I think I can do it if I’m not too distracted by the many beautiful views,” Alex explained. “We’ll be gone a couple hours so Bess and Layla will need to find something to do. Perhaps you could travel by bus or cable car to downtown Market Street and do some sight seeing and shopping.”

After everyone slept through a dream filled night they awoke to cloudy skies and light rain. The temperature was about sixty-five degrees. They had a breakfast of oatmeal, fresh fruit and yogurt. Alex spent some time after eating going over the real estate information he had received from Albert Coons. He was especially interested in some of the new houses built on the western side of Petaluma. He looked at a couple prospects that had around four acres of land included with them. One such listing was a two level house that had a cathedral ceiling in the living room with skylights in the roof. This particular building had three bedrooms upstairs and a modern kitchen with a central counter that had a range.

9

There were a lot of windows in this house, which made use of the sunlight on the southern side. The four plus acres of land had a small stream running through it. The listing mentioned that it had native brown trout in the brook. The house had an attached garage for two vehicles, with a breezeway connecting to the house. Solar panels on the roof provided power to run most of the electrical components in the modern looking, reddish-brown building.

I located a good prospect for a house and land in Petaluma,” announced Alex to his family. “You might like to look at the photos and descriptions of this place. It could be just what we would want to buy.”

“What’s the price on it?” asked Bess.

“$150,000,” replied Alex. “The view from the backyard is apparently very picturesque with oak trees, a stream and no other houses to be seen. The whole package is very attractive with yearly property taxes of around three thousand dollars. Come take a look, Bess.”

Bess read over the listing and looked at the four photos of the inside and outside of the house. She was immediately drawn to the photo of the kitchen, which appeared to have all the luxuries she might like. A double door refrigerator with separate freezer on the bottom, a rack over the center- mounted stove that could accommodate pots and pans within easy reach. Bess really liked the many cupboards and drawers as well as a walk in pantry with bins for flour, sugar, grains and other staples. Layla liked the spiral staircase that led a full 360 degrees to the second floor. The only trouble that Alex thought about was the electric heat.

“Though electric heat is very clean and trouble free,” Alex explained, “it is generally expensive compared to oil or propane heating.”

10

“Yes, but doesn’t the house have solar panels?” asked Layla. “I would think that might take care of some of the cost of the electric bill. Is there a description of the annual cost for heating?”

“You’re right, Layla,” commented her mother. “Here’s the figure for the average, yearly heating costs… $655. That is surely manageable. The electricity cost is around $75 a month. That’s not bad at all, Alex”

“I guess that’s true,” replied Alex. “I’m really optimistic about the possibility of investing in this property. Let’s call Albert Coons and make an appointment to go up to Petaluma again and see the actual property. What do you think?”

“Sounds good to me,” answered Bess.

“Me too,” added Liam.

“I agree also,” said Layla, making the decision to have a closer look at the property unanimous. “It’s about ten o’clock now. Why don’t you try to reach the real estate broker, Dad?”

* * * * *

Later that day Valerie showed Alex the way to the airport where they picked up Valerie’s mother and father. They were happy with the warmer weather and the sights of the San Francisco area. Though it was a dreary day in the Bay area, they enjoyed the reunion with their daughter and meeting the Samuels family. The whole group went to Tommy’s Joint on the corner of Geary Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue, traveling by bus from the apartment. They had bison stew, which was one of the restaurant’s specialties. After an enjoyable meal at the famous eatery they went back to the apartment and the two sets of parents had the wine, bread and cheese bought the previous day. It was a full house as they all bedded down for the night. Before drifting off to dreamland Liam played his new song, “California”, for everyone.

Thanks for taking the time to read my material!

Peace,

Max

Where Is Gold Going?

At noon on February 27th, 2012 gold was selling for over $1770 an ounce. It's up about $35 an ounce in the last month and $360 in the last year. I paid around $300/oz thirteen years ago, so I have made a good amount of profit... if I was to cash in for dollars now. However, I think gold will go up even more, so I'm holding fast. No one knows for sure how high this precious metal will climb. And if you hold gold coins that have numismatic value (old coins), your holdings are worth even more. Collecting old, rare coins is a pleasant hobby and one that tends to go up in value as the days go by. As a kid I use to collect old pennies and placed them in a collector's album according to their issue dates. I can't say enough about children becoming involved in coin collecting. It not only teaches them about the various histories surrounding older coins, but it also promotes a saving attitude early in a youngster's life.

You can follow the day by day fluctuations in gold, silver, platinum and other metals as well as the monthly, yearly and decade changes in value. I've included the website of a major precious metal listing below. It's fun to follow the ups and downs in these markets even if you don't become involved in actual buying and selling. But when you witness a rise in prices like I have for the past decade and a half, you will wish that you had bought when the metals were low and then sold at a good profit!

Gold Coins

Ten of these Dean acoustic guitars are as valuable as a single one ounce gold coin today (February 27th, 2012)!
Ten of these Dean acoustic guitars are as valuable as a single one ounce gold coin today (February 27th, 2012)! | Source

Sunny Florida

I'm down in sunny Florida visiting my son, Seth, and his mother. Although the past two days have been pretty nice, this past Sunday was cold (40 degreesF) and very windy. We are having a good time and I hate to think of leaving. My ex-wife, Pam, and I get along very well most of the time, but sometimes have disagreements. She's a very emotional woman. The odd thing, I am told, is that my present wife, Darlene, and Pam get along very well. Darlene could not come down as she had to work.

I've been doing a lot of guitar work down here, mostly with my regular repertoire. Other trips to Florida have been very creative times, but this visit I haven't been inspired to write... yet. Some of my best songs have come to life here. A change of location is often enough to stir the creative juices. Maybe today will be the day. I have an acoustic guitar here as I hate to fly with guitars; they usually get damaged.

Out Of Oneonta

In the Spring of 1966 one of my college buddies and I hitched a ride on a freight train from Oneonta, New York to Cooperstown (where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located). We had a few beers in Sam's Bar on the southern edge of town, and decided we would walk down by the tracks to just watch the freights come and go. We were carrying a couple bottles of wine with us. My friend Ed said to me, "Why don't we jump on this coal car and go for a ride?" We were both drunk and the decision to 'ride the blinds' was easy to make. The next day we were due to take the last of our final exams before we would go back to our hometowns for the Summer. So, we quickly climbed the steel ladder to the top of the coal car and jumped inside the car that was almost full of number nine coal. We clung tightly to our bottles of Port wine from central New York.

A few minutes later the freight train, which was eastbound, left on its route toward Albany. It was cold that starry night and the moon was full. After a brush with the brakeman we pulled the corks on our bottles and took several long pulls on the sweet nectar. Then we fell asleep and were awakened about an hour later by some blasts on the engine's whistle. The freight braked to a stop in a small town and we climbed out of the dusty coal car and down the ladder to the ground. I looked at Ed, who was totally covered in coal dust. His face and hands were black as were his clothes. I checked out my hands and saw that I was in the same condition. We crossed some tracks to a Chevron station that was well lit. A cop drove past in his cruiser as we headed to the phone booth next to the gas station. I called my roommate, Harry, who was back studying in our dormitory room at Hartwick College. He came to pick us up, but Cooperstown was about an hour away by car. Ed and I used the bathroom at the filling station and washed some of the coal dust off our faces and hands.

The next morning as we woke up in Leitzell Hall (our dorm) Ed and I had headaches and hangovers. Our exams started at 8:00AM and we were both surely to fail the year end tests. Later that day we headed to our homes for our three month vacations. We suspected we had failed the grade and would probably flunk out of Hartwick after our sophomore was finally finished. But you know... life is strange sometimes. It turned out we received 'A's in that biology class! Just when it seemed like the end of our higher education, things turned out alright.

That train experience is vivid in my mind today. I was thinking about it the other day and decided to write a song about the experience. You can check out my musical story about this trip by clicking on the link below.

Out Of Oneonta

Where these tracks will lead is anybody's guess. But I figure we have to ride them anyway!
Where these tracks will lead is anybody's guess. But I figure we have to ride them anyway! | Source

"The World Is A Dream"

This is the title of a new blues number I wrote today. It's about a dream I had last night. Often I dream about having a hard time making it back home, losing one of my shoes or losing my car. Most of these dreams are in the dark. I generally wake up feeling lost and bewildered and it takes an hour or two to reorient myself so that I feel more comfortable. Anybody else have that happen? It made me feel better after I wrote the song and recorded it using Pro Tools 10 on my MacBook. Kind of a cathartic happening!

New Album

I've put together a new album of some of my most recent songs. The title of the CD is "Big Plans" and it features a brand new tune called 'It Takes Time'. All of the six numbers on the album were composed on Pro Tools 10 software operated through my MacBook Pro computer. Pro Tools is the leading musical production system in the music industry. It has 96 tracks available for each song and a myriad of virtual instruments through various plugins. I am currently learning how to run the system in a productive way. Though my recent works are far from perfect, they are still ten times better than using regular digital recorders.

Album Cover

The album cover to my new mini album containing six of my original songs. Catch 'em on Soundcloud through the above link. Turn up the volume!
The album cover to my new mini album containing six of my original songs. Catch 'em on Soundcloud through the above link. Turn up the volume! | Source

Time & Place

I've created a new CD after having written the lyrics, composed the music and recorded the seven songs on it all in the space of about two weeks. The lyrics are what I would call 'love poems'. There are a couple country songs in the album, a new style for me. I find words very easy to write. This CD is completely unlike my other six albums. Even my voice overlays are sounding different from past recordings. Most of this work was down in New Smyrna Beach, Florida a week ago. A change of location is the best stimulant for creativity. I am currently waiting for the imprinted, blank CD-Rs to arrive so I can finish the project. If you would like to hear some of the songs on this album, ("Time & Place"), check out the link below.

Recent photo of me in Florida

Me in the sunny South taken November 2nd, 2011
Me in the sunny South taken November 2nd, 2011 | Source

"Blue Max"

My new album of all blues tunes is done except for the imprinted discs. I've been working on this 'totally blues' production for the last three weeks. The album is currently just a demo work. I would like to take the material into a professional recording studio and perfect it. Below is a photo of the imprinted discs, which I am waiting for from California in about a week. If you are interested in an album, I am asking $5.00 a copy plus a dollar for shipping. My email address is emax@metrocast.net.

"Blue Max" Disc Graphics

This is a proof of the disc imprint of my new, soon to be released album of 'totally blues' compositions
This is a proof of the disc imprint of my new, soon to be released album of 'totally blues' compositions | Source

Meaningful Supports

Below is an article I helped write for my friend, Angela Resino. It is about the ways we look at developmentally disabled individuals particularly and all people in general. The short essay is based on the readings from a textbook called "Everybody's Different" written by Nancy B. Miller and Catherine C. Sammons and published in 1999.

Meaningful Supports

The Case Against "Special Needs" and People First Language. Reaction Paper for Both

by

Angela Resino

Fifty years ago the common feeling among the large part of society was that people with developmental disabilities should be segregated from the rest of so called 'normal' people. But what is normal? Everyone, in my opinion, is unique with regard to physical appearance, psychological make up, spiritual beliefs and values. What the vast part of our world's people (different nationalities, ethnic groups, religions and colors) was doing many years ago was to categorize people that were different into neat little 'boxes' and tuck them into segregated places. As this happened people with disabilities were labeled and expected not to participate in the real world.

A fictional character who I will call Jack was born on December 7th, 1971. In his first year of life his parents realized that there were aspects of Jack's behavior that the world would not look on as being normal. As Jack progressed the differences between the boy and others his age seemed to be increasing. He did not speak or handle the necessities of life like most in his age group did. At first this 'problem' scared his mother and father, but they loved their young boy very much and knew he had a special place in the world. Jack's relatives and friends could also see that he was not an ordinary person.

As Jack progressed in learning how to deal with his needs, or in some cases not handle them, he was subjected to some name calling and ridicule. People often could not understand his behaviors and would be put off by many of his actions.

Then there were others who wanted to treat him as though he was extra special. In the years before establishing the integration of those with mental disorders into the world around them, people like Jack were institutionalized and kept in 'State Schools' where they were given menial jobs such as dish washing, cleaning floors and other low end tasks. They weren't expected to progress, go to public schools or college. They were largely kept from the fields of graphic arts and music. The people who were responsible for caring for them in the institutions thought that since they didn't learn something quickly they couldn't learn at all!

Labeling these disabled individuals was instrumental in forcing them into stereotypes and making them appear as though they didn't belong. When we label people we restrict them from much advancement in society's areas of concern. But giving too much attention to our friends with disabilities also singles them out too and makes them feel like they're being coddled. In actuality they just want to be useful parts of the world. They want to be accepted and they want to learn things. They might want to ride a bicycle or learn to read and write. They often desire to paint an exciting picture or play a musical instrument.

Now granted some of our less fortunate people cannot do these things, but that does not mean that they are incapable of helping the world to progress to a higher degree of life. They just want to be accepted as individuals regardless of their appearance or harmless behaviors. Many people believe we should work to change those harmless actions of our disabled friends. As long as their behaviors do not cause pain or undo psychological stress to others there is really no problem there. The problem would be with the ones judging them.

Who's to say our folks with developmental disabilities are not living their lives on a higher plane than the rest of society. The world is changing and some of us believe it can be a better world. If we live our lives with the faith that there is a higher authority who is guiding us to a more fruitful and accepting point of view, we can look forward to a more loving relationship with all people.

Everybody's Different

Angela's textbook for her course 'Meaningful Supports'. An excellent book for understanding how we look at others and thus treat them.
Angela's textbook for her course 'Meaningful Supports'. An excellent book for understanding how we look at others and thus treat them. | Source

Synthesizers and Recording Stuff

Moog equipment, mixing board, drum machine and partially shown Roland DiscLab.
Moog equipment, mixing board, drum machine and partially shown Roland DiscLab. | Source

Music Devices

Here's some of my musical stuff in the newly set up studio
Here's some of my musical stuff in the newly set up studio | Source

Recording Studio

I've been assembling my recording studio down in my amateur radio room. All my musical tools are now ready to start a new album. In the past my instruments and recording devices were located in several different places. So I'm all set to do both audio and video productions. And the room has heat which is great... especially with cooler weather coming on now! My ham radio stuff is also down here as well as my computer. With my recorders on hand I will be able to produce my music utilizing acoustic guitars, vocals, electric guitar, Moog synthesizer and drums. Will probably do videos as I record as well.

Older British Motorcycles

When I was at the 'British Invasion' in Stowe, Vermont the third weekend of September I saw some older British motorcycles. One was a Norton 'Commando' and the other was a Triumph 'Bonneville'. They are pictured below. I'm not quite sure of the manufacturing year of these two bikes. They looked brand new. I also photographed a poster showing an old 'Ariel' motorcycle, but HubPage wouldn't accept it (I guess because of its format).The first motorcycle of this make was made in 1911. Earlier in their productions they made bicycles. That was back in the late 1880s. Ariel is currently preparing to make a new motorcycle, but it will be very different than their old styles. Check out the photos below.

Norton 'Commando'

An older Norton the year of which I'm not sure
An older Norton the year of which I'm not sure | Source

Triumph 'Bonneville'

Not sure of the year for this Triumph
Not sure of the year for this Triumph | Source

Joy

Below is an instrumental video called 'Joy'. I composed it about 20 years ago. It's one of my few songs with no lyrics. It is played on my McPherson MG 3.5 acoustic/electric guitar.

"Stop Time"

The video below is a song I wrote on September 8, 2011. I recorded it on a Canon camcorder, processed it through iMovie and then uploaded it on Youtube. It's about stopping time... don't look to the past, don't look ahead... just use your intuition in the present. You can accomplish much more by operating in the here and now. Good creativity works best when you are not encumbered by constantly reflecting on the past. Living in the moment opens the door to better artistic pursuits, the so called 'Crack In The Kosmic Egg'

British Invasion Show

The 16th through the 18th of September bring us the 'British Invasion' in Stowe, Vermont, where over a thousand British automobiles and motorcycles will be on display. I've never been before, but my friends Beth and Larry Bartlett have attended the event for years. It is reputedly the largest assemblage of older British cars on the East Coast. Spectators from around the world will come to attend this annual event. Stowe is a resort community that attracts large crowds for skiing in the winter and numerous attendees for other activities throughout the year. If you have an older British car that you would like to enter into the various contests you are welcome to participate for a nominal fee. There are quite a few places to stay in and around Stowe.

British Invasion Pamphlet cover

This is the cover of the brochure for last year's 'British Invasion' in Stowe, Vermont. This year's show is from the 16th through the 18th of September. If you want to see an assortment of old British cars and bikes this is the place!
This is the cover of the brochure for last year's 'British Invasion' in Stowe, Vermont. This year's show is from the 16th through the 18th of September. If you want to see an assortment of old British cars and bikes this is the place! | Source

1913 and 1916 Indian Head Nickels

Here are the two nickels (Indian Heads) that were minted in my father and mother's birth years. They are definitely not for sale.
Here are the two nickels (Indian Heads) that were minted in my father and mother's birth years. They are definitely not for sale. | Source

Indian Head Nickels

When my father and I started our coin collection back in 1998 we bought s small number of Indian Head nickels. These were first minted in 1913 and continued through 1938, fulfilling the required twenty-five years of coinage. The Indian Head nickel is sometimes referred to as the 'Buffalo' nickel since the reverse side (or tail) of the the coin has a buffalo on it. In 1939 the nickel became known as the 'Jefferson' five cent piece. A commemorative Indian Head/Buffalo has been fashioned in recent years (2001?). Two of my Indian Heads were minted in 1913 and 1916, the years of my father and mother's births. Both of my parents are gone now and I plan to hold onto these nickels until I pass and then they will go to my son, Seth.

Ticket to Mark Knopfler Concert

I arrived in Santa Rosa, CA tired from a long trip from New Hampshire. My brother, Jon, said, "Hey, Mark Knopfler is in town tonight". I bought the last ticket close to the stage. What a show!
I arrived in Santa Rosa, CA tired from a long trip from New Hampshire. My brother, Jon, said, "Hey, Mark Knopfler is in town tonight". I bought the last ticket close to the stage. What a show! | Source

Mark Knopfler

On April 14th, 2010 I went to a concert in Santa Rosa, California. Opening for Mark was Pieta Brown, a very talented singer/songwriter. Mark played selected songs from his recently released album called 'Get Lucky'. The performance that evening was just plain spectacular with both artists doing their own tunes. Knopfler has been one of my most looked up to performers for many years. After being the frontman for Dire Straits back in the late 1970s and early eighties he embarked on a solo career. One of his first albums without DS was 'Golden Heart'. This work many believe is his top release... ever! But Get Lucky is surely a contender. Mark is an excellent lyricist crafting ballads of various menial professions such as lorry drivers, boat captains, publicists and many other strange personalities. His guitar playing is impeccable. He's done albums with Emmylou Harris and Chet Atkins. He also writes soundtracks for movies. All in all he is a very accomplished musician and definitely one of my super heroes.

Motorcycle Accident

I was taking the Basic Riding Course in Laconia, New Hampshire this last weekend. When it came time for the first test I was trying to do a 'swerve' routine and I dropped the bike. Was knocked out for awhile... concussion. The ambulance came but I can't remember much about the accident. Injured my back as well. The pain in my back is unbearable at times. So, it's the end of my motorcycle riding. Going to sell my Ducati. The past week has been hell!

Teaching Guitar To Developmentally Disabled

The last three months I have been teaching guitar to some of my developmentally disabled friends up in Plymouth, New Hampshire. It takes a good deal of patience to teach these wonderful souls how to play. Lately we've been expanding the group of learners to the disabled peoples' co-workers. We have a terrific time each time we get together. I try to have a group of us play different parts with some doing the chords and others playing lead notes. Our love of music has bound us together over the past meetings. We are also adding some other instruments to our groups such an alto sax and flute. This musical enterprise really lifts the spirits of my friends who are often quiet and unable to socialize in the usual manner. Today we will all meet at Subway in Plymouth to eat lunch. After that we will go to Fox Park for a couple hours of entertainment.

Martin Guitar

This Martin XC1T Ellipse acoustic guitar is the one I've been playing a lot lately. It has a softer sound to it compared to my McPherson MG-3.5 and the strings are lighter.
This Martin XC1T Ellipse acoustic guitar is the one I've been playing a lot lately. It has a softer sound to it compared to my McPherson MG-3.5 and the strings are lighter. | Source

When I Get Hungry

When I get hungry for a sweet treat, I usually go to the pantry and get some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, or out on the counter in the fruit bowl, maybe a kiwi. Both of these pick me ups will satisfy you anytime you start salivating for something sweet. And... the kiwis are very healthy for you, providing a daily dose of Vitamin "C". To hear my two original songs about these tantalizing tidbits and see the treats go to the link below. Enjoy yourself!

Don't Fiddle With The Outhouse Door

I've been continuing on with some of my humorous songs on Youtube, Facebook and WordPress. This new one was inspired by a title given to me by my friend, Larry Bartlett. "Don't Fiddle With The Outhouse Door" is a short tune (about 2 minutes) that was written and arranged by me. I finished the composition this morning, memorized it and recorded it today. I doctored it up on my MacBook and burned a bunch of DVDs for friends. People ask me why my demeanor is so serious even when I'm doing funny songs. I tell them it is not intentional... my work just comes off in that way. If you scroll down a ways you'll find the link to my Youtube site where this new number is located.

Another Photo of My McPherson Guitar

This is another view of my McPherson MG-3.5 acoustic guitar. The case is a production of Ameritage and custom built to fit this axe. It's snug as a bug in a rug!
This is another view of my McPherson MG-3.5 acoustic guitar. The case is a production of Ameritage and custom built to fit this axe. It's snug as a bug in a rug! | Source

Out Of The Ordinary

I've been experimenting with some new musical creations the past couple days and have come up with my first song that is not in my usual genre of writing and composing. Blues is my main medium but I've done a different sort of arrangement here without the standard three chord progression. This initial rendition is a simple tune with a more relaxed feeling to it. I've placed it on a couple websites to see how it is accepted. If I find that it brings some interest to my audiences I will do some more in a similar vein. I will place a link to Youtube where you can watch and listen to it below this writing.

New Songs

I've written three new songs in the last week... "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away", "You Can't Get There From Here" and "Fishing". My friend, Larry Bartlett, came up with the titles to the first two songs and I hatched the third tune. The lyrics and the arrangements are all my own. They are located on my Youtube Channel Page and you can access them by Googling "Tooey222". They seem to be going over pretty well but "Fishing" does not look like a subject matter that many people want to consider. Everybody's fishing in one sense or another, whether they know it or not. Many times we don't know if we're the fish or the fisherman! But if you get out your fishing equipment, literally or symbolically, you just might be surprised what you will catch!

Safety First

Me on my Ducati after a run. Full apparel like this is the smart way to go when riding motorcycles. My riding gloves are sitting on the gas tank. When riding I always wear all this protective clothing
Me on my Ducati after a run. Full apparel like this is the smart way to go when riding motorcycles. My riding gloves are sitting on the gas tank. When riding I always wear all this protective clothing | Source

Man & Machine

My wife took a couple photos of me on my Ducati today in full apparel, which I always wear when I ride. Motorcycle Week in New Hampshire this week shows that the vast majority of riders wear very little protective clothing. Many do not even wear a helmet. Most bike accidents occur at less than 30 miles per hour. Even at that relatively slow speed a fall can seriously injure or kill a rider. Every year here in New Hampshire at least one bike rider is killed during this busy week. Alcohol and/or drug use account for a large number of crashes, often between motorcycles and four wheel vehicles. In a lot of these so called 'accidents' the drivers of cars say they never even saw the motorcycle before the crash. So, for all of you riders who are reading this, I say, "Ride Safe"! And for those of you who are in four wheel cars, PLEASE keep an eye out for motorcycle riders. Regardless of who is at fault, an accident means much grief for all involved.

Front Brakes/Pirelli Tire

This photo shows the dual front brake discs and Brembo calipers on my Ducati 'Monster' 796.
This photo shows the dual front brake discs and Brembo calipers on my Ducati 'Monster' 796. | Source

Brembo Brakes/Pirelli Tires

The brakes on my Ducati are really high performance. The front wheel has two discs and Brembo calipers. I haven't used them to their full capacity yet, but I can sense that they are very powerful. About 75% of the stopping power on most modern motorcycles comes from the front brakes. I have to be very careful not to squeeze the front brake lever too quickly. That would probably throw me off the front of the machine! Also the manual says to go easy on the brakes for the first 600 miles.

Motorcycle Riding

I passed my New Hampshire motorcycle written test yesterday and am now able to ride my Ducati 'Monster' 796 on the road. This machine is a non-fairing, racing machine and handles great with an ample amount of torque. It's taking me a while to get use to motorcycle riding after being off bikes for about 40 years! Ducati machines have an excellent reputation and do well on the race track as well as on the street. I plan on riding this bike for a year or two and then upgrading to the Superbike '1198'. 

Ducati Motorcycle

This is my Ducati 'Monster' 796 sport bike. It's a wonderful machine both in looks and performance.
This is my Ducati 'Monster' 796 sport bike. It's a wonderful machine both in looks and performance. | Source

Playing Music

I played a few of my original songs at 'The Back Room' at The Mill in Bristol, New Hampshire last night. It was a full house with about 16 acts being performed. It is a nice, cozy venue for those of all musical levels. Attendance is free for both musicians and listeners. It's held every Friday night during the warmer months. It's a great place, especially for those just beginning to learn their instruments and making their initial, public performances. Food and drink is available but is not required for admittance. I've been honing my guitar and vocal skills there for about three years. Most of the regular musicians consider themselves to be 'family'. And, newcomers are greeted with smiles and acceptance. The show lasts for about two and a half hours and there are generally two rounds with three numbers being played the first session and then two more the second go round, time permitting. Last night there were so many players there was only time for the first session. It's a lot of fun and sure to bring you back on following weeks for some wonderful entertainment!

Musical Events At 'The Mill'

This is the guitar that I played at 'The Back Room' at The Mill in Bristol, NH last night. Guitars, banjos, autoharps, dulcimers, mandolins, etc. are played there.
This is the guitar that I played at 'The Back Room' at The Mill in Bristol, NH last night. Guitars, banjos, autoharps, dulcimers, mandolins, etc. are played there. | Source

Salmon Flies/McPherson Guitar

This photo shows my four salmon fly brooch pins (top fly-"Blue Breeze"; bottom three are all called "Sunset"), against  the body of my McPherson MG-3.5 acoustic guitar.
This photo shows my four salmon fly brooch pins (top fly-"Blue Breeze"; bottom three are all called "Sunset"), against the body of my McPherson MG-3.5 acoustic guitar. | Source

Stella 'Harmony' Acoustic Guitar

This is the headpiece of a 'Stella' Harmony acoustic guitar. I recently acquired one and now I am giving it to my nine month old granddaughter. She has already taken a great liking to it.
This is the headpiece of a 'Stella' Harmony acoustic guitar. I recently acquired one and now I am giving it to my nine month old granddaughter. She has already taken a great liking to it.

Headpiece of McPherson MG-3.5

This is the headpiece of my McPherson MG-3.5 acoustic guitar.
This is the headpiece of my McPherson MG-3.5 acoustic guitar. | Source

The Time & Place

Photo out our West window of Mount Cardigan... highest peak in central New Hampshire. Will it be another time and place?
Photo out our West window of Mount Cardigan... highest peak in central New Hampshire. Will it be another time and place? | Source

McPherson Guitars

This is my first McPherson guitar. The name is the same as on my birth certificate. My grandfather, John Whitelaw McPherson, came from Glasgow, Scotland.
This is my first McPherson guitar. The name is the same as on my birth certificate. My grandfather, John Whitelaw McPherson, came from Glasgow, Scotland. | Source

The "McPherson MG-3.5" Is Here!

This beautiful guitar looks and plays like a dream! The sound is impeccable. It has a Redwood top and Indian Rosewood for back and sides. And the case has a humidifier with built in humidity and temperature gauge.
This beautiful guitar looks and plays like a dream! The sound is impeccable. It has a Redwood top and Indian Rosewood for back and sides. And the case has a humidifier with built in humidity and temperature gauge. | Source

Jesus Christ/Spear of Destiny

The Savior, Jesus Christ,  with my Dad, a friend and me. The spear that pierced his side has been called the 'Spear of Destiny' or 'Longinus' Lance'
The Savior, Jesus Christ, with my Dad, a friend and me. The spear that pierced his side has been called the 'Spear of Destiny' or 'Longinus' Lance' | Source

"Too Blue Too"

This is Chrissy holding her wonderful cat "Marbles"
This is Chrissy holding her wonderful cat "Marbles" | Source

Writing

I've written two novels and had them published. The first book is "On Love and Animals" and its sequel is "Forever Yours". They were published in 2005 and 2007, respectively. They are about a young couple who love animals. The settings for the stories are in central New Hampshire and various places throughout the world in the 1950s and 1960s. My first book was actually written in longhand in 1990, and was an attempt to write dialogue. I'd never done that prior to 1990. I wrote for fly fishing and fly tying magazines before that. One chapter led into another and before I knew it... there was a manuscript! I am currently working on my memoirs.

I also have been a song writer for forty-six years. Although I've been recording my original songs for about thirty years, the most exhilarating experience is playing to a live audience. But it took years of doing this to feel comfortable on stage. Then, one night the fear and butterflies were gone... just like that! When I compare the quality of my musicianship today from five years ago, I'm like a totally different person. It's a miracle!

I presently have two professionally done albums and five that I have assembled myself. I have about 170 blogs on a WordPress site that is my primary arts and music place. I'm on SoundCloud.com, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube as well. And I have two personal websites, one of which is devoted to my novels and albums (CDs), and the other about my classic atlantic salmon flies.

Color Me Blue/iMovie Creation

Book Binding Video

Cover of Max's Second CD

Max's "Ordinary Man" Album
Max's "Ordinary Man" Album | Source

Back Cover of My "Ordinary Man" Album

This photo is the back cover of my second CD album "Ordinary Man". The artwork for the album was done by DiscMakers..
This photo is the back cover of my second CD album "Ordinary Man". The artwork for the album was done by DiscMakers.. | Source

Song List For "Ordinary Man" CD

1) Think, Say...Do! (4:23)

2) Shallow Thoughts (2:53)

3) It's Raining (3:49)

4) Ordinary Man (3:58)

5) Mystic Highway (Instrumental-(3:01)

6) Love Is Really Real (4:23)

7)I'm Nobody Now (3:56)

8) Love A Girl Like You (4:44)

9) That's The Way It Seems (3:16)

10)Cruise Control (5:17)

11)On An Angel's Wings (3:51)

Copyright 2005 "2Recovery Music". All Rights Reserved

Front Cover of "On Love and Animals"

This is the cover of my first novel, published in August of 2005.
This is the cover of my first novel, published in August of 2005. | Source

First Chapter To My First Novel

 This the first chapter in my novel "On Love And Animals"
Below is the lead off chapter for my book. It is printed here to give my prospective readers a chance to get interested in my first novel.

First Chapter In Book
Chapter 1- "The Horseshoe"- I found a horseshoe the other day. Didn't think much about it. Just slipped it in my pocket. Going down to the river's edge was a daily ritual with me. I'd fish, of course, but that was inconsequential to my real reason for going there. I'm sure my tracks helped to form the wellworn paths that follow the eastern bank, but the day I found the horseshoe I was off the beaten path. Over the years I approached the various holding pools at the same places each time I entered the water. It was just lately that I began concentrating on entrances to the river that were not frequented by many other fishermen. This was the reason I stumbled onto the horseshoe. The horseshoe sure had some age on it. Just how many springs' trillium had been sharing this location with the iron shoe would be anybody's guess. How many generations of red-wing blackbirds sat in alders over its hiding place, buzzing at each other and the surrounding locale? Maybe a hundred or a hundred and fifty. One thing was for sure—the shoe was well-used, being almost wafer-thin. One old nail was still stuck in a hole alongside one edge. Possibly the rain and high water of years past had washed the metal shoe up out of the earth. Maybe I was the first one to see it in over a hundred years. When I arrived back home that morning, I put the horseshoe on the front floor of the car thinking perhaps I'd clean it up a bit and nail it over the barn doorway. That was a week ago. It still remains on the car floor. Early spring on the river is generally bleak and cold. The trees haven't really thrust forth their new buds. The usual late-year inhabitants, other than humans, have not yet shown themselves. The fish—what there are of them—don't bite well either. A few salmon are taken in the opening weeks of April, but not the way they used to be. But there is a certain enjoyment there, knowing that within just a matter of weeks the scenery would change completely. Then the minks would be slinking along the water's edge, in and out of crevices in the rocks and tree roots. They'd slide into the water and before you could count to ten, they'd emerge thirty feet down the shore amongst the roots and rocks again. The minks are fishers and hunters too, like the rest of the animals that live around there. The blue heron will be on the scene in a week or two. He'll be stark still when you see him—if you see him. To many eyes, he blends in with the fallen trees and stumps. He mostly makes two motions: one when he strikes downward with lightning speed for a fish, and another when he is disturbed and flies around the next bend to take up another position in shallow water to resume his fishing. As I dreamed about the alterations in river habitat that will soon be here, my trance was broken by a voice that startled me back to reality." Alex, it's time to eat", my mother yelled from downstairs. I collected my thoughts and lifted the cat off my lap, patting it a couple of times on the head. Then I went downstairs to the kitchen where the usual Thursday night beans and hot dogs were waiting to be heaped onto my plate. The hot dogs with spicy hot mustard tasted good. The beans I could have done without, except for the fact that they would give me some visceral entertainment later on in the evening. Mom, Dad and I ate half our supper in silence. Then Dad broke the quiet. "Did you catch any fish today, Alex?""Nope", I answered. "I don't think they stocked the river yet. Not much going on up there. Hardly any fishermen.""Did you learn anything new in school today?" my mother quizzed. Anything that might be interesting to your father and me?""Nothing I can think of," I replied. "Last week I found an old horseshoe by the Honey Hole. I may give it a washing and then maybe hang it in the barn over the front door.""Maybe it will bring us some good luck", Dad suggested. "Maybe bring us some money to help buy some food. That would be a blessing. When you get the horseshoe cleaned up, I'd like to see it.'"Tomorrow morning I'm going to change the oil in the car",I said, changing the subject. A week from today I'll be able to drive at night"."Yes", Mom replied. "It'll be your seventeenth birthday. Anything special you'd like to do?""No", I answered with resignation. "I'll probably just go up to the river and do some fishing." We finished supper and I went up to my room to study for a math exam that was coming up in a few days. It was still light out at six thirty, and I saw Bess through my west window. God, how my heart yearned for Bess. She hardly knew I existed. If I could get up enough nerve, I'd ask her to go with me to the junior prom. Yeah, if I could get up enough nerve. But I knew I wouldn't. What would a fancy New York girl like Bess want with a country bumpkin like me? I finished studying about isosceles triangles and went to bed. The next morning I rose about six o'clock, took the trash out to be burned, and then started up my car. I'd saved up from six weeks allowance to buy the five quarts of oil that were badly needed in my '54 Ford. Made a mess of my hands and face doing it, but the job was accomplished by seven-thirty, and I went back into the house to clean up for school. I brought the horseshoe in with me and lay it on the dresser. Gee, I thought, if only that shoe would really bring us some good luck. While walking to school that morning, I ran into old Henry, a longtime friend of my family. Henry must have been close to seventy years old when I first knew him as a child. Now he was running close to eighty-five or so. Henry always had a good word for me, and usually he threw in a little philosophical advice to add to his pleasantries. Today was no different. "How ya doin' Henry?" I yelled across the road at the old timer. "Can't say I'm doin' bad; can't say I'm doin' good", Henry barked back at me. "How's yer mom and dad?""Oh, they're okay, I guess. Dad hasn't been called back to work yet, and Mom is having a little trouble with her heart. The doctor says it's worry, but we all know it's a lack of money.""That's too bad," Henry remarked downheartedly. "Seems like luck oughta run yer way one of these days. Been catchin' any fish down at the river?""No", I dejectedly answered. "The water's too high right now. I did find an old horseshoe though. Going to clean it up and hang it over the barn door.""Make sure you nail it with the two ends up," Henry advised. "That way you'll have some good luck for a long time to come. Hang it the other way and the luck will run out of the shoe.""Thanks a lot, Henry", I gratefully acknowledged. "I appreciate your advice."Think nothin' of it," Henry replied modestly. "Take care of yerself, boy." I headed for school and just made the eight o'clock bell. At lunch time, I saw Bess again and wished deep down inside I could find enough courage to talk to her. We passed each other in the hall, and she gave me just the hint of a smile. I knew then that I was head over heels in love with her. Now if I could just get my timing right, I'd be brave enough to ask her to the dance. School was out at three o'clock and I walked home talking to myself. I was rehearsing what I'd say to Bess. At first something would sound right, and then when I repeated it to myself, it would sound stupid. This play-acting occupied my mind the whole mile to my house. When I arrived I'd come to no satisfactory greeting to help me break the ice with Bess. I changed into my grubby clothes, neatly folding one of my two sets of school clothes and packing it away in the dresser. Then my eyes fell on the horseshoe. Maybe I'll wash it now, I said to myself. Then I thought about it for a while and figured if it wasn't clean from being rained on for a hundred years or so from all the rain over those years, it never would be. I took it downstairs and went into the barn. With four thin gauge nails, I tacked the shoe over the doorway to the barn. On the inside, not outdoors. If I was ever going to have good luck, I wanted it each time I left home. If it worked, I'd find another one and put it on the outside, so some luck would return to me whenever I came home. The horseshoe looked nice where it hung with the two curved ends pointing down. I'm sure, I thought, that was the way Henry instructed me to hang it. I went back into the house where Mom was putting together a meal of fried potatoes and pig's liver. I wondered out loud if we would ever be able to eat steak again. "Not until your father gets back on the job", Mom said, with tears in her eyes. "And maybe not even then. We've got a lot of bills piled up around here, and even his job won't help with all of those.""I know, Mom, I know", I whispered as I put my arm around her. "Maybe something good will happen to us before long. I'm going fishing for an hour or so. I'll be back for supper.""Okay, hope you catch something", she said as she wiped the tears from her cheeks. When I arrived at the river's edge in my old Ford, I felt like this was not the right place to be at this time. Intuition seemed to be begging me not to fish. But I pressed on. I took my rod, reel and boots out of the trunk and prepared myself for whatever the river had to offer. I stepped into the water at the place where I'd found the horseshoe, started falsecasting, and immediately got caught up in a tree branch. It took ten minutes to climb the tree and rescue my fly. It was the only Grey Ghost I had. Other fishermen would have snapped their line and left the fly where it was, but I didn't have an assortment of flies the way some fishermen did. After coming back to the head of the pool known as the Honey Hole, I decided to be brave and wade out a little deeper in the fast-moving current. This was something my father had instructed me never to do. "It's not worth it"! he would always say. And, as usual, Dad was right. The gravel bottom started eroding away under my feet as I stood there. All of a sudden I lost my balance and was up to my neck in cold water. Still hanging onto my rod, I was swept downstream. I went under twice and came up each time coughing water. Just as I was being taken under for the third time, a log that juts out from the tail of the pool caught me in its grasp. I coughed and coughed. With my feet now more firmly planted on large rocks, I pulled myself to shore. I was breathing like I'd just run a mile. Needless to say, I was completely exhausted. Phin Billy, an old friend of mine, found me and helped me to my car. "You better get home and get out of those clothes", he warned. "Could catch pneumonia after an accident like that." I couldn't even answer Phin. Somehow I had the strength to control the car the three miles back to the house. After I'd changed my clothes, Dad came into the room and sat down beside me. "You could have drowned down there, you know. Didn't wade out too deep in the current, did you?""Yeah, I guess I did, but I never will again. I learned my lesson". "You know that horseshoe you brought home yesterday?" Dad asked. "You hung it up the wrong way. You should have hung it with the ends pointing up."So there it was. I'd misunderstood Henry's instructions. That had to be the reason I'd fallen in. Dad said I'd better go downstairs and put the shoe in its proper position. I was only too happy to oblige him. The next day was Saturday. Since the prom was only a week away, my thoughts were on Bess. I'd have to make my move soon if I was to do anything at all. Old Henry stopped by around nine o'clock that morning to see how Mom was making out with her heart ailment. When I walked through the kitchen where Henry, Mom and Dad were talking, Henry grabbed my arm. "You know they raised the dam this morning, Alex. Word is that the trout are hittin' like wildfire. Better go down there and catch yer limit"."Thanks, Henry", I replied. "I think I'll do just that". It was Henry to the rescue again, but this time I heard him right. Now maybe I could put some fish on the table tonight. My boots were still soaked on the inside, but that didn't dampen my enthusiasm any. I hightailed it right down to the river. When I arrived at the river's edge, who were there but Phin Billy and Bess. Bess was standing on shore watching Phin cast for trout. He caught a couple ten-inchers while I was putting my rod together and tying on a fly. Here was the love of my life with one of my best friends. I was sure now that she would go to the prom with Phin. That was probably why he asked her down to the river in the first place. Dejected, I stepped into the river with my waterlogged boots and started casting behind Phin. He had the best position to cover the pool, but I could throw my line closer to the bank on the other side. Phin brought another small trout to net. I was feeling about the size of that fish—small! On my next cast, I had a bump. I couldn't be sure it was a fish. Could have been a stick or a rock. But with great determination, I threw my fly again to the same spot and started stripping in line. There was a bump, then another bump, and finally the water exploded with a fish on the end of my line. I knew right away that it was something big. It broke the water three times, the last two coming a foot out of the river. "Get him, Alex!" Bess yelled from the shore. "Oh, please catch him!" Phin stepped out of the water in a gentleman's gesture to let me fight the fish using the whole pool. Finally, I slid my net under the salmon and proudly walked to shore. Bess came up to me and gave me a kiss...right on the mouth! "You sure deserved that fish, Alex." Phin laughed. "After what happened yesterday, you really deserved that fish." It was a twenty-four-inch landlocked salmon. A beautiful thing to behold. Bess stood by my side while I measured it. Then I hit it on the head with a rock. "We're eating this tonight", I exclaimed. "There'll be a good supper on the table tonight. By the way, Bess, would you like to go to the prom with me?""Oh, yes", she said emphatically. "I certainly would!" Phin, Bess and I drove back to the house in separate cars. Phin had to ride by himself. Bess went with me. I was kind of sorry for Phin that he'd lost out on Bess, but I was elated to have her there beside me for the three-mile trip back to the house. When we arrived there, Mom and Dad could see that a commotion was under way. They came outside and gasped at the sight of my salmon."You did good, son", Dad said. "That sure is a pretty fish!""Yes, it is a nice fish, Alex", Mom added. "We'd like to tell you something. Your father has just been given a job painting houses over in Boastown. Two dollars more an hour than he was getting before he was laid off". "It looks like we'll be doing okay for a while around here, son", Dad boasted. "Alex, why don't you show Bess and Phin what's hanging over the inside of the barn door?" Bess, Phin and I left Mom and Dad looking at the salmon and went into the barn. "There's a horseshoe I found down by the Honey Hole last week", I said matter-of-factly. "I think it's just starting to work.""It sure is", Bess and Phin said simultaneously. With that, Phin shook my hand, and Bess put her arms around me and gave me a long kiss. The leaves should be sprouting on the trees around here before long. The animal life should be more abundant in a week or so also. From time to time I'll go to the river and think about how my life has changed for the better. I'm just beginning to understand what this time of year is all about.

The Second Chapter
The second chapter is about the Walton family who move from the stressful life of New York City and settle into a simpler way of living in Belchertown, New Hampshire. It is there that the two Walton girls, Bess and Abigail, become involved with the lead character, Alex Samuels.



     

Availability of My Novels

Both of my novels are available direct from me. You can contact me by email at:

maxflies222@gmail.com

"Forever Yours" Covers + Max

This is me just before the second novel was assembled.
This is me just before the second novel was assembled. | Source
Maxwell Looking At Manuscript
Maxwell Looking At Manuscript | Source

Big Plans

Front Panel of Max's First CD
Front Panel of Max's First CD | Source

Song List For "Big Plans" CD

1) Rooted Tree (3:57)

2) Big Plans (3:25)

3)Spellbound (3:10)

4) Images In Motion (2:20)

5) Color Me Blue (3:10)

6) How Many Times (3:14)

7) Happy Birthday Baby (4:01)

8) Love Is A Funny Thing (2:21)

9) Too Blue Too (3:21)

10)Spirea (Instrumental)-(3:42)

11)Out Here Alone (2:43)

12)Step It Up And Go (3:19)

13)Kozmic Kiwi (3:31)

14)Chocolate Chip Cookie (4:30)

Copyright 2003 Big Plans Music- All Rights Reserved

Comments 2 comments

Rob Hanlon profile image

Rob Hanlon 5 years ago from Epicentre of everywhere

Good song,'California' - I listened to it on SoundCloud and I like it !

Well done !


Maxflies profile image

Maxflies 5 years ago Author

Thanks for listening to "California", Rob! I have it on Youtube too, but I don't think I'm allowed to put that link in here. If you go to one of my videos at the bottom of my "Maxflies Hub, that will take you to my Channel Page on YT. "California" is right at the top of the photos. Hope you like it live! Thanks, again.

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    Max With Martin 000-16 GTE Acoustic Guitar

    This is the guitar on which I played the Slide Blues CD. I have it tuned in an 'Open D' tuning. I go between this guitar and a Martin XC1T Ellipse for most of my acoustic tunes.
    This is the guitar on which I played the Slide Blues CD. I have it tuned in an 'Open D' tuning. I go between this guitar and a Martin XC1T Ellipse for most of my acoustic tunes. | Source

    Moog Little Phatty Stage II Synthesizer

    This is a photo of a Moog Little Phatty Stage II synthesizer. It is great fun to play. You don't need any musical training to have a great time experiment with it!
    This is a photo of a Moog Little Phatty Stage II synthesizer. It is great fun to play. You don't need any musical training to have a great time experiment with it! | Source

    My Moog Slim Phatty

    A  Moog "Slim Phatty" Set Up With MIDI To A Moog Little Phatty Stage II Synthesizer In My Recording Studio
    A Moog "Slim Phatty" Set Up With MIDI To A Moog Little Phatty Stage II Synthesizer In My Recording Studio | Source

    Moog Slim Phatty Video

    Moog E1 Electric Guitar

    A red Moog E1 Guitar With 3 MoogerFoogers and an Expression Pedal. This axe is the greatest of electric guitars since the first electric guitar around 1957.
    A red Moog E1 Guitar With 3 MoogerFoogers and an Expression Pedal. This axe is the greatest of electric guitars since the first electric guitar around 1957. | Source

    My Other Albums (CDs)

    I have five other CDs that I recorded. The first one after "Ordinary Man" (2005), is "Spirit", which has nine of my own spiritual songs (with lyrics) and three Primary songs from our church. The fourth album is a composite of Nursery Rhymes on which I play acoustic guitar and sing. The rhymes are mostly old English poems from a couple hundred years ago! Most of them you've probably heard. The fifth CD is a 25 minute song of a medley of various blues numbers done on slide acoustic guitar. Then my sixth album has 10 songs on it of Moog synthesizer music, with lyrics. The seventh album is a grouping of songs done on my Moog E1 electric guitar along with three MoogerFoogers.

    If you are interested in any of these, leave a comment with an email address and I'll forward a listing on the names of the songs. These albums will sell for $3.00 each shipping included.

    This is a photo of Max which is on his Youtube site
    This is a photo of Max which is on his Youtube site | Source

    Guitar Used In Videos

    The guitar used in most of my videos is a Martin XC1T Ellipse. The videos below both use this guitar. I have three Martins, but  this one is the most inexpensive and I like playing it more than my Martin 000-18 or the Martin 000C 16 GTE Auditorium. It is probably cheaper because it's made in Martin's Mexico based factory.

    Step It Up And Go

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