All posts by salty986

Retired newspaperman. Vietnam Navy vet.

February bench

The temperature is just above freezing but the sunshine feels as good as a lover’s touch. This old comfortable bench is where my wife sits in our yard to smoke and seek relief from the physical pain of a weakened spine.

Birds come and go at the feeder while quail and doves prowl the ground for dropped seed. They sing through their struggle that seems to never end.

Traffic noise invades from the always busy roads below and above. (Is there no escape from the freedom lie of automobiles?)

Maybe this is the best place on Earth for us. Our own yard and garden where we have toiled and played with children and talked with guests and each other and sat and felt the origins of us.



Our ship of fools


You can make me your president
and I will destroy you.
You know that is what you want.
You are weak and afraid and bored with these feelings.
So give me the power to make it all happen as you know it will,
it must, so let me get it over with.

I am the clown you want to kick.
Follow me over the edge.
You know where you want to be.
It must end. Choose me and I will pull the change you dread from your swollen, sour gut and shove it down your throat.

What the father misses

The laughter on his sixth birthday, and the unspoken “where” for those missing.
Again and again: Not your fault.
The anger of tantrums.
Peanut butter and jelly toast sans crust.
Homework. Emergency room visits. Catch in the yard.
First and last days of school and holiday shows.
Morning breath when he just wants hugs.
Dog day boredom and stupid videos.
The day he will forgive


I hope the Public Broadcasting Service survives this administration. I hope we and this country survive this assault on decency.

But I have to complain about the PBS fund-raising infomercials. The experts who stand there very convincingly to hawk their products. Unbelievable.

Lawn-time coming

Here come the weeds. You can’t see them yet but as a longtime something of a garden caretaker I can feel and hear them growing, ready to crack the surface.

The stuff we like is also growing. Plants from forgotten bulbs are breaking green. The lilac bush whose buds have been ready since before Christmas. And the insects are coming at us with the first bit of sunshine.

Only one patch of sad lawn remains in our yard. I’ve planted stones and old bricks throughout. Lawn belongs in parks and maybe not so much there. We live in the West where precious water should not be wasted on useless greenery.


We can lose many things in our lifetime. Everything, eventually.

Some things, however, can never be taken. Things that highlight the mystery of us. Here are some:

My 32 years of dedicated work on the staff of a daily newspaper.

The children I helped raise and provide for, despite their choices.

My marriage of four decades and counting.

Trips to the desert and mountains.

Hours at the seashore.

Which one?

Both were Marines.

One was twice wounded in Vietnam. He was a devoted member of a local and perhaps notorious bikers club for over three decades.

The other served during the same war. He was a proud member of the NRA and John Birch Society.

These things stood out as I read their recent obituaries.  Which would you rather have had a beer or two with?