Category: Uncategorized

Ugh. Hate this.

From ffffound

Passing the buck

I’ve never been afraid of heights. Love it in fact…

Thum!  Thum!  Thum!  The whole tower shook when Billy was coming up to visit/check on me.  I was the young Forest Service lookout , or half the team.  Jane , my wife , worked the days I was down.  Dry Park Lookout tower was 125 feet tall.  The highest in the State of Arizona.  So high because  sitting on the Kaibab plateau at 9,000 foot elevation and all around were not prominences or hills or buttes but flat looking terrain.  “Mountain laying down”, the Piutes called it..Kaibab,  the north Kaibab sitting just next to the Grand Canyon.  Only when it rained and the fog and water dogs delineated the many ravines and washes of this forest could a lookout judge distance.  A firefighter needed to know how far away from the tower was the smoke, not just the azimuth; degrees from north.

Eight sets of stairs one needs to ascend to get to the little 8’X8’ box on top.  Thum!  Thum!  Thum!,  Billy, in his 50’s needed to rest every second flight.

“God Damn stairs,” he started after grabbing breaths and holding on to the window sill.

“Gotta fix ‘em some time.”  The stairs were old wood and painted battleship grey with sand sprinkled on them while the paint dried.  There were galvanized steel  2 inch hand railings along the flights and nothing else.  Billy Swapp stood over six feet not including his Stetson and cowboy boots.  Dark as an Indian he was 3rd or 4th generation Morman of the Arizona Strip; a cowboy with a “Good govment job.”

My wife and I and our daughter ,Maura were up here on the North Rim, summer of  ‘71’; our second year employed by the ranger district.  Maura was blond and blue eyed and innocently working on 2 years old.. toddling around a bit, crawling and staggering then finding her balance, running then falling down and laughing.  Billy loved her.  His job was to bring propane tanks for the refrigerator and heater and cookstove.  Also he arrived occasionally with a trailer of water for the cistern and candy for Maura.  A Jack Morman, ex alcoholic he needed his coffee and Maalox.  Gruff and stern and nonforgiving to me—he’s sit and chat for hours down blow the tower in our cabin with Jane, Maura crawling, climbing balancing about.

One day, the constant breeze, the sound of wind  thru the adjacent Ponderosa pines’ branches  and needles; stopped.  I heard a faint vibration and just  a  little  little shaking.  I put down the book I was reading; some Carlos Casteneda tome on being a “Man of Power”, and looked out the window and down down to the ground.  I saw no green FS pickup, no visitors’s cars, nothing.  Thum.  Thum.  I was sure I felt something in my seat; some small shaking.  I raised one of the four windows the tower had for walls and leaned way out holding on to the sill;  and down on the 3rd or 4th flight of stairs, coming up, determinedly was a little crawling blond haired girl just  chugging along upward.  There was no gate below at the ground and no fence under the steel railings over the stairs.  Just air.

“Hi, Daddy!”  She saw me looking down from above.  “I come!”

I swallowed hard my surprise and my fear and called out to my wife who was doing something or other inside the cabin.

“Jane?!”  My voice was now under control, barely.

“Jane.”  I said not yelled.

“Come out ,please.”  I was leaning again out the window looking, talking firmly to my wife to “Come out.”

She opened the screen door and looked up.  “Lunch isn’t ready yet, you’ll….” Then she saw Maura headed almost half way up the tower stairs, one knee up, one hand, the other knee up , one hand.

Jane walked to the tower as I began going down through  the heavy trap door that was part of the floor.

“Well, hey Maura, coming up for a visit?”  I squeaked out.

“Don’t move, honey, wait for Mommy.”  Jane was going up the stairs softly so softly and talking, cooing to her daughter now more than 50 feet up the steel  tower.
“ Hey baby, going to visit Daddy?”  She joked tightly while moving as quick and steadily up as she could.  I was moving down talking, chiding the little girl.  Both parents kept their tension,  the out right panic out of their voices and their minds.  Neither of us was going to sound scared or upset or angry to Maura.  Total calmness prevailed as we talked to our little 2 year old as we ascended and descended to her.

“Why don’t you just sit down and wait for Mommy, Maura?”

“Daddy will come down and get you.”

Jane was there first.  She got her scooped up and held her tight then instead of retreating downward the stairs, she came up to me and inside the tower, trap door shut now.

When Billy heard the story the next day, he looked carefully at us and demanded we repeat it.  He picked up Maura on his knee and said so sweetly while anger was in his eyes,

“We’ll just have to do something then won’t we honey?”

Three men arrived the next morning with chicken wire and built a gate at the bottom and fenced in the whole stairway—hand rail to wooden stairs.

I said to Jane, “I guess this is what ‘People of Power’ do when things need to be done.

Always loved this. Been in my archive “inspiration” folder for years. Figured it should live here too.  xomg


August 18, 2012

The downstairs neighbors are fighting, have been for an hour or more… The pain, fear, frustration of their words comes up through the floor. It makes my heart hurt, my skin numb.

Well the last one wanted me to be the dominate one. This one wants me to be the submissive one. For the record… I never agreed to be discreet with any messages I warned..


The following is evidence of a very brief time on a dating site, doing my best to move forward in my life.

This is what I’m dealing with folks.


From a 22 year old:

Then 28:


Back to 26…classy:

48 year old actually convinced me to give him my phone number..he seemed like maybe he might be a respectable adult..nope.

Sexy playmate desired for he and his 27 dogs:


I’m leaving out the messages from 60+ overweight, dejected poor souls of men. They have had a hard enough time of life it seems.



The past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions.


A nice video illustration of Ira Glass’ The Gap.

Found via the illustrious Swiss Miss.

The Gap

Goodbye Frank. I’ll miss your smiling face, your positivity, and that unsquashable pride and love of your family.