Friday, August 11, 2017

Cumulus Clouds

I golfed today with
my friend Bob and
shot a 72. We played
the senior tees today
since we're both accumulating
the years, he more than I.
A blue sky was filled
with fluffy white cumulus
clouds with flat gray bottoms.
Later I researched
why they had flat bottoms
and it has to with temperature
gradients, humidity,
and air currents.
Temperature gradients
tend to be horizontal
so at a certain altitude
the water vapor condenses
in tiny particles attached
to dust particles and floats in
the air. A larger accumulation
of these small droplets
blocks more sunlight
and therefore appear gray.
They float because they are
so tiny and light and the
fact that updrafts are an element
in their formation.
If they grow sufficiently,
they fall as rain drops.
A 72 is a pretty good score
for a golfer on a summer day.
Those floating white cumulus
clouds with their gray flat
bottoms was just a bonus.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Edward Babe Gomez Avenue

Edward Babe Gomez Avenue

The Metropolitan Community College
Campus where I work
Is on the land where the
Omaha Stockyards used to be,
bounded by L St and Q St to
the north and south and
30th St and 33rd St to
the east and west, give or take.
The Livestock Exchange Building
Is still on the site but has
Been converted into apartments
And businesses.
I attended a ROTC Ball there
When in high school. The top floor
Was a ballroom. Might still be.
But the stockyards are gone.
The MCC hallways are lined
With photographs, black and white,
Of the stockyards in full operation, and other
South Omaha’s businesses of the day.
The campus is on Edward Babe Gomez Avenue.
Babe Gomez earned a posthumous
Medal of Honor for covering a grenade
Tossed into his group of soldiers
During the Korean War, a “police action”
By the United Nations.
An elementary school is named after him, too.
Other Nebraskans earning a Medal of Honor
Include Wild Bill Cody and former
Governor and Senator Bob Kerrey.
As I arrive in the mornings about 9:30
I will often pass long lines of brown UPS trucks
Headed the other direction out into the community
Delivering their goods.
I will also pass long lines of areated semi-trucks trailers,
Filled with cattle at one of the
Remaining processing plants
Up on the hill just north and west.
One by one they back up to the
unloading dock to dispense their cargo.
“Processing plant” has a much better
Sound that slaughterhouse, but those cattle
When unloaded meet a sudden fate
At the hands of workers, mostly immigrants,
Making their living.
On warm humid days,
In the MCC parking lots,
You can often smell the “processing” odors
Wafting up from the sewer grate storm drains,
Another reminder of days long gone.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Saturday, Aug. 5

Saturday Aug. 5

It is unusually cool
for August this morning,
currently 65f.
I am sitting on my patio
sipping coffee enjoying the
cool morning air and the quiet
of the neighborhood.
Rain has fallen
and the sidewalks are wet.
Random leftover rain
from the two
decks above filter down
and lands on the outer edge
of my patio in slower
and slower drips.
It’s a grey day.
I see only the occasional
pedestrian through a
gap in the trees by Shillaelagh Blvd.,
exercise walkers.
Even the birds are quiet
this morning, except for those
seven noisy geese.
A small airplane
just flew overhead, its engine working
hard on its climb from the
Millard airport heading
south and east.
At 10 am, though the emergency
siren across the way on a nearby hilltop
screams in preparedness
for severe weather,
or worse.
It’s good to have that siren
nearby and it has warned
of severe weather several times
this summer. I read this week
that North Korea now has
ballistic missiles that
could reach Papillion, Ne.
Our President is on an
extended golf vacation
in New Jersey. I think
those missiles can reach
New Jersey, too.
These are unsettling times.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Another Saturday Morning

Another Saturday Morning

It’s another Saturday morning.
Seems like there’s one every week or so.
I’m sipping coffee again on my
small patio. I can hear airplanes
leaving or approaching
the Millard airport, but can't see them
due to cloud cover.
I’m the only one I see
sipping coffee on a deck or patio.
In fact the only people I’ve seen
at all was a woman on a sidewalk near the
Papillion Senior Center who
appeared to be out on her
morning walk and
a guy spraying weed killer,
I presume, on a decorative
boulder feature in my parking lot.
But that was it; no other people.
Maybe they are sleeping in or think
it is too hot out. It really isn’t.
I wish I could sleep in like that.
I seem to wake up about 7 am
no matter what time I go to bed
or how tired I am at the end
of the previous day.
I sometimes can nap in the afternoons
in my leather Barca Lounger recliner,
but even that’s rare anymore.
Today is a blank slate,
tabula rasa,
sort of day. I have no
scheduled events
or appointments to attend to.
So far I’ve put away a few dishes,
took out the garbage,
watched some tv news,
and sat for a while on my patio.
Maybe I’ll write a poem.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer Memories

I have sixty-seven
summers so far in the
northern hemispphere.
Memories of swimming,
baseball games on
warm summer nights,
fishing in Turkey Creek,
hauling hay bales,
or irrigation pipes,
or stacking hay
are what come back to me
from earlier years.
Other years before
and after contained
vacations to
Stinson Beach in California,
or the Rocky Mountains,
or New England.
In the early 1960s,
my family toured New England
for several weeks camping, and
canoeing, and fishing.
We collected blueberries
in Maine and made blueberry
pancakes. We had lobster there, too.
We swam at Cape Cod. That Northern
Atlantic water is just as cold as
northern California’s Pacific.
In one New England overnight
camp, a new friend and I
tried to catch a raccoon.
We caught a fish, tied a long string to it, and
at bed time tied the string to
my friend’s toe. We put the fish
in an empty garbage can.
The plan was when the raccoon
grabbed the fish, it would pull on
the string, thus alerting my friend
to the nibble. The plan was
then to jump out of our sleeping
bags, and contain the raccoon by
putting the lid back on the can.
I don’t think we thought
the plan entirely through in
that when the raccoon grabbed the fish
and tried to getaway
the force of the string on my
friend’s toe caused him considerable
pain. And at any rate, we hadn’t
determined what to do
once we had the raccoon.
Probably for the best
the string broke, the raccoon
got away, and we finally
got some sleep.
Some plans are best foiled.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Egg Foo Yung

I drove to 84th and Center
tonight to have dinner at
The Top of the World
Chinese Buffet.
But it is no longer there.
There's another Chinese
restaurant there now.
I didn't go in.
I liked that place.
It wasn't fancy at all
and the food was delicious.
It was a family run place,
with cousins
at the cash register
and their teen age kids
working the water
and cleaning tables,
all the while doing
homework at an empty table.
I called it the place where
Mexicans went out for
Chinese. I heard four
languages being spoken
one time there: English,
Chinese, Spanish, and
possibly Farsi
although I'm not sure
about that last one.
For a while they
had egg foo yung there,
one of the few places
to have that -- a favorite of mine.
And their ice cream
had to be the coldest
ice cream in history -
anywhere - the kind
that gives you a
headache if
you eat it too fast.
Vanilla. Just the one
flavor, and you could
dispense a cone
or eat it in a dish.
No toppings, just
cold, very cold,
ice cream for dessert.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Necco Wafers

When I was a kid
I thought these were
called nickel wafers.
I would buy them at the
WYO movie theater
in Sheridan, Wyoming,
for a nickel and they would
last most of a double feature:
usually a western and a
World War II movie.
I would ride my bike the
several blocks to the
downtown and settle in
for a Saturday afternoon matinee.
The wafers could last for several hours
if you were careful and sucked
them gently until they were
thin and fragile in your mouth.
For a burst of flavor, you could
wedge them between your teeth
and tongue and break them in half
stacking the two halves and then
breaking that in half so you have
4 quarters of a wafer ready to
crunch for that flavor burst.
I usually ate (and still do) the
white and purple ones first,
my least favorite,
next were orange, green, and yellow,
and then pink, black, and brown,
my favorites.
You can buy rolls of the chocolate
wafers at some locations.
Sometimes, though, I’ll alternate
orange, green, yellow,
or black and pink,
and yellow and brown
go together well.
A few years ago, Necco
changed the flavor mix
and public outcry and lower sales
led Necco to return to the original flavors.
I’ve been munching on them
while I write this
and now have two yellows, one pink,
and two chocolates left.
It’s nice having something
to look forward to.