Who are we? We are our stories.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Last Saturday we went out to the old church cemetery, where both mine and Lorna's families are buried. Usually, as I go about planting flowers about the graves, Lorna walks around, pausing at each gravesite for a few minutes, remembering. Of course this tends to produce a few quiet tears. The cemetery contains both sets of our parents, grandparents, two of my brothers, and most recently, Lorna's niece.

After planting all our gravesites, I took a stroll through the markers. In the center, the old stones are 19th century, weathered and covered with lichens, but I still know most of the family names. When my daughter was young, she thought this was a terribly creepy place. I slowly looped around toward the perimeter and the monuments became more recent until I knew most of the people resting beneath the stones. They were my friends or family. Creepy or not, this is as close to pure "home" for me, as any place on earth.

I suppose as I thought about the folks that have passed on, I should have been thinking heavy thoughts, maybe with hymns softly on my lips. No, I had the words and tunes of Billy Joe Shaver running through my head.

Ride me down easy, Lord, ride me on down
Leave word in the dust where I lay
Say, I'm easy come, and easy go , and easy to love when I stay.

The forest grows around my door now
And I am dreaming of a meadow
Where I may lie in frosty sunlight
Far between the earth's gray shadow

and the more upbeat:
Gonna fly away singin', I'm gonna fly
Gonna wrap my new wings 'round
Few feathered things in that free feelin' sky
Gonna reach a new heaven, higher than high
When I get my wings, hey, I'm gonna fly.

Billy Joe's easier than dealing with the old hymns. Amazing Grace gets harder every time. Like I told a friend, I think grief is cummulative. Every time I hear the song, it brings back the all the sadness of all the past funerals. It's grief compounded. It's tough getting older.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Marlboro Man

Chip and Donna down the street were having a garage sale and I picked up a box with maybe a dozen old cigarette lighters. They were simplifying and purging their lives of all things relating to tobacco so their son Mojo will not consider it as an option. Tools to die by:

It's scary to think about how many coffin nails this hammer has driven. The round bottom indicates that it was manufactured prior to 1945. I'd like to imagine it new; maybe in a foxhole, lighting Pall Malls from the C-ration 4-packs. Safer than bullets I guess. Still works like new.

I don't have any fuel or flints for these. My father was the Marlboro man. Before my Old Man went into real estate he was a farmer. He used to fill his Zippo by clamping it with a Vise-Grip and holding it down in the tractor gas tank. Hell, I've become so disconnected with the real world, I don't even own a Vise-Grip...or a tractor. But I still got me a pickup.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Raw Curt

Here's just a couple of more shots of the Goodrich frame ready for paint. Curt planned on priming it last Friday. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg

Died May 12, 2008.

Nudes and bicycles? An often repeated classic theme? Below is a picture of Lorna's seat...the Brooks, not the young lady. Makes one wonder what the sign says. I hope it's protesting the establishment's greed and stupidity.

Lorna on her new bike. Nearest thing to an angel.

Heron Road

The Heron Bicycle Company recently folded up again for the second, and probably last time. I purchased the bicycle shown from the late, great Sheldon Brown at Harris Cyclery. I was told it was the literally the last bike made before the first Heron failure. Unlike the second generation bikes, it has 531 tubing and horizontal dropouts. Also, I had it repainted by Chris Kvale. Eventually it is probably going to get upright bars and a chaincase to make it a better town bike.

(Note: the red chain is not BMX! It is a vintage Everest.)

Monday, May 12, 2008


From Ad:

Happy 63rd birthday! Hey dad, ya old fart, I hope all is well. I am in Agra right now. I am planning on seeing the Taj Mahal in a few hours. It's pretty exciting, though I am more excited about going into the Himalayas tomrrow. A few days ago I was in Rishikesh which is in the foothills of the Himalayas. It was beautiful; I was white water rafting down the Ganga. I got out a few times to swim, the Ganga supposedly cleanses all sins, so I am officially pure, thanks to my rafting adventure. I read your blog the other day, where you talked about searching for maturity vs. enlightenment, and I've been thinking a lot about it. I think one of the reasons I am who I am is because I had such mature(enlightened?) parents. I always believed that your maturity and wisdom came from your age, but I don't think that is the case. Maturity is strived for and earned, not gained by default. So here is to your maturity!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Naked Goodrich

I stopped by to talk to Curt Goodrich about final braze-ons and paint colors for Addy's bicycle. Curt is a relatively young man, but he has built over 1,700 frames. That's a lot of cutting, brazing and filing. He has definitely mastered his trade.

While I was there, I met the now famous Bob Brown for the first time. Bob was recently covered in an article in the Rivendell Reader for building a bicycle for a gentleman who weighed over 500 pounds. Thanks to Bob, his bike and the man's will power, he now weighs just over 200 pounds. While I admire Bob's skills, I admire the man who was able discipline himself that much even more. Continued power and good life to him.

The close-up shows the head tube lugs of Ad's bike. Curt files the shoreline profile of the lugs before brazing, then after the frame is assembled he will thin the lugs down with a file.

I have changed my mind a dozen times on colors. While Curt and I were discussing and I was try to describe paint colors by drawing pictures in the air with my hands, Bob excused himself into the conversation holding a paint can lid, wet with a dark merlot red. A color so good you could eat it - or drink it. In my mind it will forever be "Bob Brown Red". Thanks Bob, I appreciate the help.

The photo below shows the rear dropout surrounded by the organized chaos of a frame shop.


Addendum: Bob Brown Red is out, in favor of green and yellow - Limetime Pearl with Lime Gold trim, by House of Kolor. Funky colors that, as Curt says, "Really pop together".

Thursday, May 1, 2008


We received a note from Ad this morning. She is staying in a Bhutanese temple in Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha reached enlightenment. I'm still in Albert Lea. Like Bob Muschler, I'm trying to reach maturity, say nothing of enlightenment.