Saturday, October 22, 2005

An Artsy Essay Entry

I will post an entry tomorrow with part two of my vacation. Today I want to take a brief moment to thank those that voted for me in the VIVI Awards nominations. To be nominated for Best New Journal is an honor in itself that I cherish. Thank you, my readers for the vote of confidence. I am awed at the company I am in and, to echo a thought being shared in journals all around J-Land today, just to be nominated is a great honor that I will always have to remember.

I didn’t know if I would be able to entry Judith Heartsong’s Artsy Essay Contest this month. Tonight is the deadline for entering. I believe so strongly in the effort that Judi puts into this contest every month and the spirit with which she holds it. Here is a link to her entry site:

Like the VIVI Awards, all the entrants in this contest each month are winners for the effort they put out and all of J-Land benefits from the exposure to these great journals and the journalists who write them.

This month the subject for the essay is:

The one thing I would most like you to know about me........


Tell us something: a secret, a wish, a thought  or hope, your greatest desire or temptation, or something unique about you in poetry or prose. Tell us what you feel strongly about, something funny or serious..... what you most want us to know about you. Don't just tell us this special something and leave it at that.... we want to know so much more! Help us to feel and know what it is you think and why. There is LOTS of room for creativity here and descriptive language, and engaging writing will earn you points. Thiswriting exercise is about self-expression and communicating clearly so that we can share your feelings for a bit.

And remember as always: Descriptive,

Here is my entry!

My secret wish would be to have been an actor. I started acting very, very young. Not professional, of course, but as a young child of about five or six, I participated in neighborhood shows that my older sister and her friends would put on for our parents on warm summer evenings in Montgomery, Alabama back in the very late fifties.

Remember the old movies where Mickey Roonie and his neighborhood pals would have some deep need to raise some money. They would get together and vote to put on a show and charge for entrance. It was just a coincidence that everyone in his neighborhood sang and danced like a professional, LOL! Something would always happen and Mickey and his pals would insist that the show must go on and they always were a smash hit!

Take away all the professionalism and the entry fees and that was kind of what my neighborhood was like when I was five or six years old. My sister Jan gets most of the credit for staging these summer evenings with her friends. They needed extras to fill in and I would be allowed to join the cast.

Later, as a high school student, I acted in Church plays and had the lead role in my senior class play the year I graduated. At no time during all of this did I think about acting as a vocation. I was more interested in the mechanics of it all and how to produce and direct stage acts and television shows.

I later changed my major in College from Marine Biology to Communications and went into the television production end of things in a big way. My lack of aptitude in higher math helped me with that decision. I was off to a fabulous career behind the scenes and I never looked back. Well, almost never.

I can still remember the thrill as I stepped out on a stage and the spotlight suddenly hit me. The fear of blowing the most important lines of the show and the feelings of love for the audience as they were pulled into the story by my acting and dialogue. How my heart would soar when they laughed at the right time. The rush of adrenaline as they gasped during a dramatic climax to a plot. How the power of my performance would render an entire auditorium so silent that you could hear a pin drop between my words.

I have allowed myself to think from time to time through the years about how it would have turned out if I had chosen to go in front of the camera instead of behind it. I have shared this little wish with no one. It’s just been hanging around in my inner sanctum only to surface privately at very odd times throughout my adult life.

In my private thoughts I can see myself as the Wilford Brimley type making a decent living acting as an aging cowboy or selling senior citizen type stuff on television advertisements for nice size fees that would take me effortlessly through the retirement years. As it is, I’ll probably have to keep working a full time job until the day I drop. Good thing I chose a profession I can enjoy as an older gentleman. I can see me as a Dock Master or marina manager for years to come.

Still yet, every fall, as we progress towards winter, I think about how the winter of my life will end up and I still feel that little tug at my gut. I think about "the what if…" and the "If only I had…"

That’s my secret wish, I wish I had been an actor.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Vacation Day One

I made it back from my vacation in one piece, so I thought I’d share with you some pictures and a few details about the trip. First off I’d like to thank my friend Ken and his wife, Joyce, for being such excellent hosts. I’d rather spend a few days with them than do just about anything in the world. Thanks for making my time with you such a wonderful experience.

Now, what is it with the journalers here in J-Land that attracts major atmospheric disturbances whenever vacation plans are executed? Mrs. Linklater got blown back early from her vacation on The Outer Banks by a major storm that threatened a direct hit and I had to drive home early from South Florida to avoid being trapped in a mass exodus from Hurricane Wilma.

I woke up the first morning of my stay at Kenny’s house to hear that forecast models had now projected Wilma to pass almost directly over Vero Beach, Florida after it made landfall near Ft. Meyers Beach on the west coast of the state. I knew then that I’d probably have to leave early so I’d better enjoy what time I had. Kenny made sure of that. Here’s my story!

This is a picture of Ken’s house just after I’d parked my truck in the driveway. I rang the bell and knocked on the door, but no answer. Maybe they packed up and left when they found I really was coming to see them! Nope, I turned the corner of the house and there was Ken looking just the same as the last time I had seen him about three and a half years ago.

Sitting in the drive was the fishing boat Ken had purchased since my last visit. This boat would serve as the main platform for our entertainment over the next two days and performed its task without flaw.

After catching up with each other about family and mutual friends, we were off to the local Wal Mart to purchase a temporary fishing license for me and to get a few needed supplies for our fishing outing planned for the next morning. In honor of my visit, Kenny pulled out his Pontiac Trans Am for the errand run and actually let me behind the wheel.

I just had to throw this close up shot in. I’d say this car is a nice fit on me, wouldn’t you?

Food was ordered in for that first evening, allowing Joyce, Kenny, and I some time to talk and reminisce about old times. Here’s a shot of my hosts.

The moon was full as we loaded up to depart the next morning and the sky was clear. There was no hint on the horizon of any storm activity at all. I guess what they say about the calm before the storm is true.

The vista that confronted me after I launched the boat just about took my breath away it was so pretty. I had to take a shot of it.

We used the public boat ramp just over the Wabasso Bridge on the Indian River.

After a short stop at a bait house on the water, we headed for our fishing spot for the day. Ken was at the helm and anticipation loomed large.

Ken and I have always had a friendly competition between us when we fish together. We give imaginary awards for all kinds of categories and go way out of our way to try and win each category. These are a few of the categories:

  1. First Fish of the Day
  2. Biggest Fish of the Day
  3. Most Fish of the Day
  4. Biggest Keeper of the Day
  5. Most Keepers of the Day
  6. Biggest inanimate object

This list goes on as we make up new categories along the way. Today, Ken would win the first fish of the day and the biggest keeper of the day with this fish he caught on an artificial lure not five minutes after we started fishing.

It was a while later before I caught my first trout.

To make a long story short, Ken won the tournament for the day hands down. I really didn’t mind getting bested by my best friend, I knew there would be another chance before I left to even up the score.

Around noon we knocked off fishing and headed for what has come to be one of my most favorite beach bar and restaurants that I’ve ever been to. It’s name is Capt. Hiram’s and the food is every bit as good as the fun atmosphere that greets you. Here’s the view as we approached it from the river.

We got the boat beached right in front so that we could keep an eye on it while we dined. I love a place where you can just pull your boat up on the beach to visit.

Ken went in and found us as spot that afforded a good view of the boat and surroundings.

I wondered around with my camera happy with all the unique things I could shoot to show you. Capt. Hiram’s has a formal dining area, if you care for that sort of thing. It also is known as one of the most fun bars to frequent on the local beach scene. The floors of the bar area are sand and most of it is an outdoor establishment. There was a lot of fun put into the d├ęcor. Most of the tables are made of old surfboards.

One section is made to look like an excursion boat. Here’s Ken and my self sitting in front of it.

I just had to shoot this boat seating section from another angle to show you how it opens onto the beach.

If you care to spend an entire afternoon or even full days here there are lounge chairs on the beach for your comfort.

The fun starts and ends with the personnel of any establishment and the staff here was no disappointment. Our bartender and waitress for the day was Angie and her infectious laugh and constant smile kept us entertained for hours.

After lunch it was time to find a nice sand beach and do some serious floating and relaxing. We spent a lot of time just lounging in the water and joking around. It was a perfect way to end a perfect day on the water.

As I piloted Ken’s boat back to the launch area, I was reflecting on my friend and our friendship that has spanned the last 27 years.

I don’t know anyone who knows me as well as Ken does and yet he still puts up with me. We seem to have a good time no matter where we are and we always look forward to seeing the other walk through the door. He’s a part of my family, my tribe, if you will.

I’ve invited Ken to write an entry and let me post it for you to read in my journal. Ken reads Docklines… regularly and thinks we have a pretty nice community here in J-Land. He enjoys reading all the comments. He’s not an AOL or AIM member, so he can’t comment himself. I hope he takes me up on my offer.

I’ll leave it here for now at the end of our first day and post again in the next day or two about the rest of the vacation. There’s more pictures to share!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Gazebo

It’s been too long since I came here to post and I regret my absence. I want to thank those who have emailed me and left comments checking in to see if I was okay. Yes, I’ve been fine, it’s just that I’ve been so busy I have not been able to get into this room long enough to write anything worth putting down here.

We’ve had a brush with a tropical storm since I last wrote in this journal. While it was nothing compared to the aftermath of a hurricane, there was plenty of debris to pick up as there always is after a wind and heavy rain event. While parts of our area experienced some flooding, most of that was to the south of us and only in some isolated communities.

The only casualty at our household was the tent I wrote about in one of my first journal entries. The tent actually had come down once before during a thunderstorm about two weeks after I wrote about it and I had fashioned a PVC frame around it and stretched a tarp over it to protect it from heavy rain. It worked beautifully all summer and the bonus was that the tarp kept some of the intense heat out of the tent as well.

Tropical Storm Tammy thought my earlier efforts were a joke and promptly collapsed the entire structure. I was at work when this occurred. There was probably nothing I could have done to save it anyway except to have taken it down before the storm’s arrival. It had survived some very heavy winds a few times this summer; it was the heavy rains that proved its downfall.

As you may recall from the early post on the tent, it was mainly built to accommodate my sister in law’s cat, Blanca. Blanca had taken to the tent in a big way and very rarely a day passed that he did not go outside in the tent at least two or three times.

Blanca has been begging at the door to go out into his tent every day since the storm passed. I knew I’d have to rebuild, so Monday I put pencil to paper to devise a structure that would stand the kind of wind and rain we had just experienced. Here’s a look at that sketch.

Well, Sketch in hand, I headed off to Home Depot to price out my intended project. After realizing how much it would cost, I went back once more to the store and looked in the Garden department at some of the pre-manufactured structures. I found one that would fit our needs quite nicely and was only a little more money than the one I would have to fashion on my own. I bought it and lugged it home. Now all I had to do was put it together.

Yesterday, the project began after a quick trip to the barbershop. Here’s the cleaned off patio slab and the box with my new Gazebo.

It was hard to imagine that before the day was out this challenge would come to fruition. The best picture I had to work off was a drawing on the side of the box. The pictures in the instructions were nowhere near as good. I was going to be racing the setting sun on this one, I thought, and I turned out to be right.

I got this far before I had to go pick up my Grandson Trenton from school. Today he was coming home with Grandpa because he was going to have dinner with us before we dropped him off at his house. I knew he would want to help and I worried about how much extra time that would add to the construction process.

Well, as it turned out, Trenton was a big help carrying screws and screwdrivers and anything else Grandpa needed him to hold for him. We got this far before sunset.

The light was going to fade fast now so I had to hurry to finish. Here’s a shot with Paulette standing inside the new Gazebo. It was pretty dark by this time and I was lucky to be able to get any image at all, sorry this one is so dark. This will be a nicer area for the cat and the humans, LOL! It’s also a little more pleasing to the eye for the neighbors and should take the wind and rain better. I screwed the legs down into the concrete pad for some extra insurance.

I have some good news to report before I end this entry. I am taking next week off to go visit my friend Kenny in Vero Beach, Florida. Some of you may remember that I had to postpone this trip in the late spring. I’ll be down there for six wonderful days of swimming, fishing, boating and just having a good OLE time with my friend.

Paulette won’t be able to make the trip this time and she will be sorely missed. Kenny and his wife, Joyce are excellent hosts and I’ll fill you all in on my return. Take care, everyone. I may try to post from Kenny’s house, but I don’t want to promise anything. Hey, a vacation is a vacation, right?