Archive for December, 2009

MEMORIES OF CHUKCHI, OUR CHRISTMAS DOG…

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

It seems so long ago…atop the mountain, at Button Top with my wife, Susan, and two growing children, Nick and Gwen…Christmas approaching, the kids yearning for another dog. Truth to tell, so was I.

While I was away on a business trip, my wife had been forced to bury our friend, “Irving,” an exhausted, cast-off collie who had, one winter evening,  limped into our family circle out of a blizzard roaring through the surrounding woodland. The bedraggled Collie entertained us through that next summer with numerous porcupine chases, all ending painfully for Irving – though happily enough for “Dr. John,” our local veterinarian over in the town of Meshoppen. Irving’s porcupine adventures came to an end one sultry summer day, in the shade of my wife’s car where the old fellow breathed his last. My wife, along with a visiting woman poet and the children, solemnly laid Irving to rest in the clearing behind the cabin. (more…)

WHAT’S A DOG DOING IN MY TRUCK? – OR HOW “PIP” POPPED INTO 3 ACES.

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Whenever you pull alongside a big truck and glance up at the driver, you may spot another face staring down at you, that of man’s best friend. Truth is, many drivers – not to put down their womenfolk, at home with the kids – welcome a dog’s company. Reciting your troubles to a canine pal won’t get you any answers; on the other hand, it won’t produce any criticism. When you’re all done kvetching to your four-legged friend, what you will get is an impulsive slurp or two on the kisser accompanied by an enthusiastically wagging tail. Your long haul pooch is happy just to have you all to him or herself.

A trucker faces often impossible delivery deadlines, grueling hours behind the wheel, arguments with his dispatchers, and telephone battles with the home front – if there’s anything left of the marriage after a few years of regional or long-haul driving. You want to rest assured there’s no one breaking into your cab while you’re in a truck stop shoveling down a meal or enjoying a good, warm shower; a snarling beast steaming up the windows of your truck is a wonderful deterrent. (more…)

RESHAPING MY VISION OF NORMAN ROCKWELL

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Growing up during World War II, one of the things I most looked forward to was running to our roadside mailbox and greeting the weekly arrival of the Saturday Evening Post. Each issue was sure to feature a cover by Norman Rockwell. I didn’t realize it then, but those incredible magazine covers – and the associations they represented – were to become an indelible part of my life.

In the course of nine years of long haul truck driving – the main purpose being to gather information for my recently published novel, 3 ACES – I often ran trips to New England, each time routed up I-84 to reach the eastern portion of the Mass. Turnpike. Only once did I run the western section, unaware, at the time, that I had passed a few miles north of Stockbridge, Mass. and the Norman Rockwell museum.

Last Saturday, returning home in my car from a holiday visit in Boston with my son’s family, I found myself driving west on Mass. Route 102. I decided to both reawaken a few childhood memories and make up for that occasion I’d missed visiting the Rockwell Museum. At Route 183, a bit beyond Stockbridge I turned left, then left again less than a mile down the road, into the tree-shrouded Museum drive. (more…)

 

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