My Acadian Friend

I have got to put this picture back on the revised-edition of RJsView as it is one of my favorite memories from my visits to our northern neighbors. This old guy has likely spent a very long life in a very cold place. When I came across him, I almost had the feeling that I was invading his space, but got the idea that he really didn’t mind.

Life Stories – Remembering Don

My college years were probably the most important years of my life. They were a time when I quit being a skinny kid from a very small rural conservative town. They showed me that I had responsibilities as an adult to more than just myself. They showed me a world that I never knew even existed. I will have a lot of stories here are RJsView (of the world) about those years, but I want to start them out with my memories of Don.

Don was two years ahead of me in college. I was initially introduced to him when I was promoted to a “captain” at the dormitory cafeteria waiter staff. He was the dining room captain. Don just spewed “class” whereas I was just a country pumpkin. He dressed well and lived in Fowler House which was an exclusive part of Fowler Courts dormitory. He was as sophisticated as I was naive. As strange as the possibility was, he became a friend.

One of the things that drew me to him was that he, like me, was a lover of folk songs. I played the guitar in those years but never to the level that he did. Most importantly maybe, was that he introduced me to Bob Dylan and that cinched me to the folk music genre for a lifetime. Once I started buying Dylan records I discovered that Don had Dylan down pat. You almost couldn’t tell the difference between the two when they sang. 🥴

I never felt that welcomed by my dad’s new wife when dad moved into her home. She was just totally dedicated to her two boys to even bother with me. As a result, I often spent the holiday seasons on campus instead of going home. One of those times Don invited me to go home with him for a few days and I readily accepted. When we first went into the door of his lifetime home old people, I mean those in their 40s and 50s, started calling him Uncle Don. That confused me until I learned that when Don was born his parents were in their 50s and already had several already grown children!

Don loved his nieces and nephews even if they were 20 – 30 years older than him. They were a tight-knit family. That closeness was something I just didn’t fathom. My dad, like Don was the baby of the family, but unlike Don he was never close to the rest of the clan. I think part of the reason for that was because of who dad chose to marry. The rest of the clan just never got along with his self-centered narcissist wife. She was just too uppity for them. But, I’m getting off-topic here. That is the story for a future post here.

Don graduated in 1968 and pretty quickly married his childhood sweetheart. That year was also at the height of the Vietnam War. He was drafted into the military within a couple of months after graduation. I later found out that Don was killed within a month of going to Vietnam. This was the first time in my life that I saw death at such a personal level, and I was devastated by it. Even more so when I found out that his wife was pregnant and his child would grow up never knowing what a great father he had. Of course, I would end up losing other friends to that stupid war, but none hit me as hard as Don.

Every time after that when I listened to my Dylan records I thought, and mourned for Don all over again. But, as usually happens that grief gradually subsided, that is until about twenty years later. That was the time that I visited the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC. I just wanted to see his name on that wall. Little did I know what effect that would have on me.

From a large book at the site I got where on the wall where his name was and got into a rather long line. After about fifteen minutes the designated slab came into view. At first, I couldn’t find Don’s name but suddenly, it appeared and I just totally lost it. I was crying like a baby and all the good memories of Don flashed across my eyes. I wondered how his now twenty-some year old son, who Don never knew he existed, was doing. Then a second wave hit me as I remembered the high school classmates who were also lost in that war.

It was at that point that I become much more politically involved. One reason is that I wanted to do whatever I could to prevent us from getting involved in other useless wars that wasted so many young lives. Of course, more wars happened despite my meager efforts, but thank God none of them have caused the loss of American life as the Vietnam War.

I know the picture at the top of this post is a pretty blurry one, but I still love it as it was one of the few pictures I had of my college friend that I will never forget. It is how I want to always remember him.

Simplicity

I took a lot of pictures of the Mississinewa 1812 reenactments in 2019. Little did I know that this October 2019 event would be the last road trip until 2021. Hopefully, the pandemic will be under control this year so that my trips across America can continue. I chose this picture for today due primarily for its simplicity. It just seems like a serene scene in the middle of the chaos of battle.

Life Stories – The Sound Of Music

The above photo was taken at the 2019 Mississinewa Battle Reenactment. When I took the picture my heart sunk just a little and sadness overcame me. This is not the first time that has happened. In fact, I have felt the same thing hundreds of times in the past 20 years or so.

In my youth I very much enjoyed music. It was not until my college years that I could afford my own record player, so I had no records until then. I was a folk song guy so most of my records were of that genre. But, I also enjoyed orchestras and a few soloists outside of folk. Johnnie Mathis, Pat Boone, Montivonti Orchestra, Henry Mancini, and probably a dozen others that I can no longer remember. No, I didn’t much care for Elvis, he was too flashy and noisy for my tastes. 🤪

I loved to turn on my music in my college dorm room, it helped to study.

I guess maybe it is time to tell you about my sudden sadness on taking the picture above. I went deaf in 1988 and of course that abruptly ended my music appreciation time. But until a decade or so after I went deaf my mind could still conjure up the sounds of the music that I loved. After that, the sounds of musical instruments started to fade, and today I just can’t remember what sound any musical instruments make. I played the guitar in my youth, being a folk song guy, of course I did 😋 but what came off those strings is just not imaginable now. I can still feel myself plunking the strings but that is it. Pianos, horns, drums make no sound for me. I have no sound of music in me anymore and when I am reminded of that fact, such as taking this picture, my heart slows down a few beats.

I still remember the words of many of my favorite songs. Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, even Peter, Paul and Mary’s words still ring in my ears. I can remember the cadence and the words but what accompanied them is gone. But that doesn’t keep me from blurting out my own transition of them when I am alone. I mean completely alone. In fact, I have small tattered copies of a couple of dozen songs that I still cherish. Of course The Sounds Of Silence is one of them. Little did I think that that song would someday mean so much to me.

Wall Art

For this post, I give you a piece of wall art. I mean that literally “wall art”. I need to give you a little background before I tell you more about it.


I went deaf in 1988. It was not a sudden thing, it slowly evolved for a 20-year period. One of the things I missed the most immediately was that TV was just not the same. In 1988 closed captioning was in its infancy. Most of the programs I had watched were either not captioned or the captioning was so bad that it really wasn’t usable. But still, I refused to give up on one of my life’s pleasures. So, what I would do was to watch the pictures and make up my own stories about what was happening. 🥴 Most often the pictures ended up very mismatched from my personal storyline, but that was ok.

Luckily, it would only be a year or two until captioning was greatly advance and I could actually see/hear again, at least as TV was concerned. Now getting to the link between this picture and my words. It’s been thirty years + since those days, but I still like to make up stories about many of the photos I have taken. So, that is what I am about to do.


Right now I don’t remember exactly where this photo was taken. But I do remember it was from a small abandoned town somewhere in Indiana. About the only buildings still occupied was the fire station and post office. That is not too unusual as buildings seem to live way beyond their useful life when they are funded by taxes. But, I am getting off the story. I do remember that this was on a jail. One window still existed with bars on it and there was still evidence of a jail cell in the back.

I can conjure up a story about a jail breakout causing the damage repaired. Maybe it was from a Bonnie and Clyde small-town bank robbers. From the other buildings in town, one was used to be a café, and yet another was a general store and a hotel. That would seem to make it a prime target for a bank robbing couple who cruised through the time. My mind conjured up several other stories from this picture. But, the final chapter was always that the repair just wasn’t done right and over the years the amateur job failed.

Like my TV watching time, I’m sure my stories don’t come close to matching any reality, but that is ok. That is what life is all about.

Coastal Taco

I love things that are unique and this picture is one of them. I love the randomness of the wires and lighting. This picture was taken at Coastal Taco in Cleveland Ohio. The building and even the menu were unique. And the tacos were pretty good.

Here is a couple more pictures for your perusal.

Chillin Out In Cleveland

A little self-abstract for you today. While visiting some high school classmates in Cleveland we decided to see the famous city market there. The original of this abstract was taken at a small café that was in the same building. It ended up that the market was closed that day (Tuesday?), but we still enjoyed a tasty breakfast and a quick peek through the market doors.

Most Beautiful

I want to present you with one of my 5star photos from my portfolio. It is of a junkyard in La Fruto Colorado. We happened upon it on our return trip from Santa Fe in 2015. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw it so had to go back for another view. It was a beautiful day in a very beautiful part of the country.

Hobo Signs & Symbols

T-Shirt from National Railroad Museum – Milwaukee

Like so many others, I found this T-shirt in the back of my closet the other day. I always wanted to post about it, so here it is, even if it is 4 years late. 🤪

I think one of my winter projects will be to make digital emoticons of the symbols for use on my blogs and for anyone else who might want them. For some reason I have been drawn to symbols lately. I even did some prep work for a new blog but decided there probably wasn’t much interest in that narrow topic.

Another possibility is to kind of borrow these symbols and add some of my own. In my studies signs and symbols have been around for most of humanity. Maybe the cave dwelling were the start of that. Sounds like an interesting project for the coming winter project.

Outside The Box…

I love outside the box buildings. They spark my creative imagination. I love things that stretch your imagination, stretch your brain.

For this post, I want to show you an “outside the box” art museum.  I don’t think there is another building quite like this one.  It is the Milwaukee Museum of Art. I usually only give you one photo at a time but since I had trouble picking it I  will give you a few more here. The inside shots are both in the lobby.

Milwaukee Art Museum-3
Milwaukee Art Museum-4
Milwaukee Art Museum-5

Looking For Humor In The Crappy Stuff

I have let it be known at my daily journal blog over at RJsCorner that Will Rogers is one of my top heroes in life. If you want to see some of the many posts about him just go there and select his name from the tag cloud.

For those of you who might not be familiar with him, some called him a satirist, some a humorist. He lived and wrote during the Great Depression in the 1930s. He had a lot to say about his view of the world, but he always did it with a dose of humor and respect. His most famous saying was.

I never met a man I didn’t like.

He made fun of many people, but he never did it with contempt. That, finally brings me around to the title of this post. I have made it a pledge that I will NOT use the blog to talk about the dark side of life, but it is kinda hard right now for me to find the humor in all the crappy stuff going on now! But if Will could do it, I certainly can too.

It is likely that most of my stories here will be autobiographical. I certainly have made many mistakes in my life and if I can help you not make the same ones I did, my words will be worth it! How’s that for a goal here at MyViewOfTheWorld? 😎