Food Fight!

When Sarah Winchester died there was enough new lumber stacked outside the San Jose mansion to build an entire second mansion and then some. I sit here looking over my built-in bookshelves, contemplating how high the yet-to-be-read books would stack after I get moved out to the old folks home (or even worse).

images.jpgRealistically, I could be sixteen years old and the number of books I might want to read still would be daunting .. well, yes and no .. when you’re sixteen the idea that you won’t live forever is never considered. Can I get Dad’s car on Friday night? Will my cow-lick ever lay flat? Is that a zit on my nose? When your brain is full of important questions like those, who has time for mortality?

Continue reading

Stairway To the Wall

images.jpgAfter the death of William Wirt Winchester, his wife Sarah inherited vast amounts of money including a sizable interest in her deceased husband’s firearms company. She also received a spiritualist warning that as long as the construction on the family palace in San Jose continued, she would escape death, possibly from the ghosts of those killed by Winchester repeating riles.

I first heard of the Winchester House in grade school when a student shared the story about stairways to the ceiling and doors in the walls with no rooms on the other side. Several years later on a family trip to San Francisco we drove past the house but didn’t take the tour. Years after that I saw the house again, standing in the midst of typical suburban sprawl: strip malls, multi-cinemas, car dealerships.

Continue reading

Without Luggage

Theodore Roethke is undoubtably my favorite poet, especially if you don’t count Milton, Pope, and Keats. Although this is a long-ish poem, it contains the one image that the poet burned into my mind and there is an interesting video at the end.

The Far Field
I
images.jpgI dream of journeys repeatedly:
Of flying like a bat deep into a narrowing tunnel
Of driving alone, without luggage, out a long peninsula,
The road lined with snow-laden second growth,
A fine dry snow ticking the windshield,
Alternate snow and sleet, no on-coming traffic,
And no lights behind, in the blurred side-mirror,
The road changing from glazed tarface to a rubble of stone,
Ending at last in a hopeless sand-rut,
Where the car stalls,
Churning in a snowdrift
Until the headlights darken.

Continue reading

Mumblety-peg

The_Persistence_of_Memory.jpgThe subject has come up in several venues and I found it a useful exercise to consider all the things one might engage in to pass the time while living in isolation from the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.

First, I have a literary bucket list gathering many of those big fat, possibly difficult books I know I should read but never seem to have the time or the inclination. Do you have a bucket list too? Maybe now is a good time to start one. There’s a good chance that, despite all his best efforts, Der Drump (Dishonest John) will not kill us all off and we might truly make a dent in that scary ol’ bucket list.

So what to do while avoiding social contact?

Continue reading