Wednesday, October 25, 2017

OLD FLAME

A restaurant I used to work at 40 years ago had a reunion. It got me to reminiscing about my old girlfriend Kristi. I hadn’t talked to her since 1982 or so. We went together for about a year and a half.
So I thought I’d look her up, see where she is. I found a likely candidate, way out in Santa Monica. That’s where she was from originally. And it seems she is a Doctor of Psychology, which also made sense.
Kristi had wanted to be a Doctor.

Her Website had a message center, where you could set up an appointment by message, and a phone number, and also a picture of Dr. Kristi, which was a dead ringer for her in my opinion.

It took a few hours to screw up my courage and send her a message. I cant recall exactly what I wrote. And the pity is --what tortures me is—that after sending the message you have no copy of whatever idiot thing you might have written!
Agghhh! What have I done?

A day went by. No return message. Did I give her my correct email? A week went by. How dumb was that message I sent. Then two weeks gone; she must hate my guts, even after all these years. But on the sliding scale of breakups it wasn’t nasty, it wasn’t dramatic, it probably fell somewhere between the thrill is gone and disappointment.

So I wondered should I inflict myself on her further by calling? Perhaps when I sent the message, I messed up on my return  email address.
And then the dreams started…

I was sitting at a bus station, phone in hand. I called and left a message. A few minutes later a woman is walking by me. Its Kristi! Wearing the cranberry floweredy knee length skirt she used to wear
I said “Kristi” and she turned and looked, but didn’t notice me and turned away.
"Kristi!" again, and she turns, and turns away again.
So I said “Kristi! “ a third time, and she turned and this time she saw me.
She came over where I was and started explaining that she didn’t want me to try to contact her any more.
“Hi Steve! I got your message at the office. And I saw you called a while ago” she said and smiled “but you shouldn’t call again”


She wasn’t rude, she wasn’t mad, she was just…Kristi.
Her voice was perfect, her mannerism’s, just like Kristi.
Kristi was really cool, California cool and laid back. I never saw her mad, but she was excitable in a happy kind of way, and really really mature for her age. Somehow after all these years I still remember her birthday as being March 16, 1961.

You would think a dream like that would prevent you from calling, right? Not me baby. In for a dime, in for a dollar. I came this far so what the hell…
It went to a recorder. “Dr. Kristi cannot take your call right now but if you leave your name a number we’ll be glad to get right back with you….BEEP” and so I left my message.
Unlike my written message (from what I recall) I kept it shorter and sweeter. A keyboard is a dangerous thing in my hands. God only knows how creative I got. How charmingly idiotic I might have tried to be.

Its been a month or so. I guess that would be the end of it. Of all my girlfriends in the past, there is only her and one other that is not still a friend that I see and talk with from time to time.
~But I did have one more dream.

I was cooking for Kristi. A pasta dish, glasses of wine poured, flowers on the counter, silverware and china on the table. She was Kristi from 1981, 20 years old. I was Steve of present day, 60 years old. But she didn’t seem to notice. As we were talking I wanted to reveal to her that I wasn’t present day Steve, that I had come from a dream, I had come from a future, and started to speak.
“You are going to have a great life. You’ll meet lots of men. You’ll stop playing with frogs, except in school. You’ll give up golf, and tour the Alps. You’ll trade fishing from my piece of shit boat for scuba tanks and Cozumel. You’ll go to France. You’ll study hard. You’ll be a doctor.”
“How do you know all this?” she asked.
And I knew better. I knew I’d gone as far as you can go in a dream. I knew I wasn’t supposed to say, not in a dream, but I couldn’t help it. I looked deep, deep into her eyes, then down at the ground.
“Because I’m not really here, Kristi. I’m just visiting in a dream” and I looked back up to her…
And she was gone.
Just me, the steam from the pasta, and the Cabernet.

Two Thngs
(1)Never reveal that its a dream to some one you are dreaming of,
(2) Not all who are lost want to be found.



I never realized how much Kristi looked like Catherine Deneuve until I found this picture of Deneuve.
And here is Kristi with me as scarecrow, Halloween, 1981

Monday, October 23, 2017

THE PLEDGE DRIVE

Every year I’ll be watching something on PBS and it will hit me. I’ll make the call. Time to support Public Television. Its not out of a sense of duty. Its always because I’m moved by what I am watching. And every year when I make the call I always end up with a lump in my throat. Two years ago the gift was Louis Gates “Many Rivers to Cross” the story of black history in America. It was an 80 dollar donation. With a cracking voice I asked the lady if we could just go ahead and make it an even $120. “Are you OK?” she asked. “Yeah, I’m fine “ I said, but I had tears streaming down my face. Last year the offer was Ken Burns “Baseball” “Jazz” and “The Civil War” for a $240 donation. It was during a commemoration piece on the 25th Anniversary of Burns heroic Civil War series. I pick up the phone. They answer. What is wrong with me? I can barely say it, I’m so choked up with emotion. “I-I-I’d like t-t-to pled-pledge t-t-wohunderedandf-f-forty…..dollars, for the K-K-Ken Burns package” Whew, I managed to get through that. ‘Thank you Mr. Renfro, that’s wonderful” And that’s all it took. The floodgates opened. Now I’m bawling, and tell the lady: ‘It j-j-just means s-s-s-o m-m-m-uch to me” I can barely get it out. ‘That’s OK” she says. “Does this ever happen to anyone else calling in? Where they end up crying on the phone?” “No Mr. Renfro, I don’t think so. But I’ve only been doing this a week” “Well that makes me feel better” There must be something wrong with me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE U.N.

"Right now we're living in what Carl Sagan correctly termed a demon-haunted world. We have created a Star Wars civilization but we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. That's dangerous."
- E. O. Wilson


Image~President Donald Trump mocks and threatens North Korea during speech at UN General Assembly while Secretary of State listens intently.

Friday, October 13, 2017

FOUR ARRESTED IN EMPATHY TENT RUCKUS


“If you look at them, it’s ridiculous,” Sgt. Marquis told the Los Angeles Times. “You’ve got a guy with purple hair with a fucking lightsaber talking about Hitler to a guy dressed in a banana suit. Then someone takes a knee, allegedly just to tie their shoe and all hell breaks loose. It’s hard for me to take any of this seriously but I'm sworn to protect the peace and dignity of the community.”
Good luck, Sgt. Marquis

Thursday, October 12, 2017

JERRY TAKES A KNEE WITH ONE THING ON HIS MIND...MONEY



"Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it really isn’t about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death. Maybe it isn’t about who can sit and who has to kneel or stand or lie down, legs spread open. Maybe it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing."
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaids Tale

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A LIST OF FAILS



I look back on my life and see failure after failure.
When I was three I failed at eating Brussels sprouts. When I was four I failed my ballet and tap dancing lessons. At the age of five I showed a lack of talent at not setting things on fire. Then came First Grade and things got real. Of the many things that I failed at my first two years of school, perhaps standing quietly in line and keeping my hands to myself was the most challenging. Its been a life long problem. In the third grade I single handedly turned the class mural into a vulgar piece of graffiti.
A year later I hit the wall at memorizing poetry.
When we moved back to Texas my baseball dreams died when I could not hit a 40 MPH David Hutts screwball. My football career ended on a high note when I finally made a tackle on my very last play and the coach asked me “Where the hell have you been all year, Renfro?”

In the ninth grade it was Algebra fail.
In the tenth grade it was Geometry fail.
In the eleventh grade I blew Chemistry, Typing, General Business, and History. But for Dan Washmon spotting me a point in Journalism I might never have graduated.
So I decided I would be a chef, and I failed at that too.

I sat there at the State Fair yesterday and watched a woman demonstrate how to make Gumbo. She talked about roux, and explained how long it took to make it. She had a long list of ingredients, about half of which I would not have thought to put in there. She had a little nylon bag full of spices she threw in, probably made by Zatarains, and cautioned against leaving in too long because it would eventually burst and there would be bits of sassafras bark, peppercorns, bay leaves and God know what else floating in the Gumbo, and it would take hours to pick it all out. Somehow I knew this is what would happen to me if I used one of those bags.

I wanted to stand up and display my years of knowledge by asking her if she had ever heard of using cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni (which classically is what her little store bought bag is called), but hey, she’s the one still in the business, doing the glamorous work of demonstrating proper culinary technique, explaining we get the word “Gumbo” from the Bantu word for “Okra” in front of hundreds of fascinated State Fair attendees. Would I earn any points to point out that a nice roux can be made in minutes? No, I would just end up looking like a washed up, bitter old chef that thinks he used to be hell on wheels.

The fact is I’m just a lowly shipping clerk in my twilight years. I remember little about Teapot Dome and the Dawes Act. I couldn’t math my way out of a wet paper bag. In ballet, my allegro is mostly adagio, I tend to confuse avant with arriere, and that’s just the “A’s”. I also discovered my jete’ grande’ ain’t as grand as I imagined. and not because someone had tied my chausson de danse together.
But at least I no longer wake up smelling like shrimp and onions.

Friday, October 06, 2017

TAKING A KNEE IN PROTEST



The best explanation I can think of to your question is that sports bring out the best that one can hope to aspire to. The amount of dedication and desire it takes to excel and win can hardly be measured. it requires a high level of personal competence and accountability. For the student fans in the stands, its a metaphor for what they should try to acheive in the classroom. I never went to college, but I would imagine after the game over the weekend, whether won or lost, inspiration is drawn from that and applied to their studies. Same with everyday folk. I went to a Rangers game a few weeks ago. I watched Gomez, on his first at bat as a Ranger, hit a 3 run homer. It made me proud to go to work the next day,a nd proud to live in a country that lends itself to such principles and aspirations.
So we say the pledge, and listen to the National Anthem at sporting events to remind ourselves that the principles of fair play of the event we are about to see also reflect what should be the principles of the country we live in.
In reality this is not always the case, and the history of sports reflects that as well, as in the cases of Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Mohammed Ali, and countless others. For that reason, I don't see taking a knee during the pledge as being traitorous; I think it is patriotic. Its very brave to go against the social norms, and lend your voice, and your ass, to a group of people that wants to be heard.
Thats the best explanation I have for you.





I think it has a place. Sports bring out the best that one can hope to aspire to. The amount of dedication and desire it takes to excel and win can hardly be measured. it requires a high level of personal competence and accountability. For the student fans in the stands, its a metaphor for what they should try to acheive in the classroom. I never went to college, but I would imagine after the game over the weekend, whether won or lost, inspiration is drawn from that and applied to their studies. Same with everyday folk. I went to a Rangers game a few weeks ago. I watched Gomez, on his first at bat as a Ranger, hit a 3 run homer. It made me proud to go to work the next day,and proud to live in a country that lends itself to such principles and aspirations.


So we say the pledge in classrooms, and listen to the National Anthem at sporting events to remind ourselves that the principles of hard work and fair play of the event we are about to see also reflect what should be the principles of the country we live in.





In reality this is not always the case, and the history of sports reflects that as well, as in the cases of Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Mohammed Ali, and countless others. For that reason, I don't see taking a knee during the Anthem as being traitorous; I think it is patriotic. Its very brave to go against the social norms, and lend your voice, and your ass, to a group of people that wants to be heard.

OCTOBER



October smells like smoke to me
Smells like dogs and leaves and bare trees
It looks like rain in blurry beads
on windows
Like slippery streets, corn in rows,
Tight woolen sweaters on busty girls
I can almost taste it
Blue cotton candy at the fair,
Wet fall kisses and juicy over ripened pears.

bulletholes 10/2017