I wanted to be like everyone else

I was tired of my life at home. My Parents were always fighting, my sisters were never home, and I was the 5th wheel as they say!

I presented my arguments to my parents. They could only agree with me, and granted permission to be moved to another family. I researched my new family at our local library, and finally found one that suited me. My last day at home with my own family was just like any other day. My Mother and Father were bickering in the background, my sisters were looking dreamy eyed at their boyfriends, even my dog would rather chew on an old bone, than look me in the eyes. My Father shook my hand, while my Mother looked uncomfortable at the whole process, and just blew her nose politely into a handkerchief.

I took off, suitcase in hand wondering if I’d ever return to the old homestead ever again?

My new Family greeted me with open arms. The family dog barked and wagged his tail, dropping his ball at my feet, wanting to play immediately. My new Parents stopped to say a prayer of thanks, to let almighty God know, that their prayers had indeed been answered.

My new mother was as American as Apple Pie. We were a typical WASP, White Anglo Saxon Protestant nuclear family with 2 Parents and 2 Children. My sister had long, brown hair, pure white skin and complexion, having a perfect Grade Point Average in School. My new Father had a desk job, was a member of the Masons and attended Church regularly, serving also on the council of Church Elders.

My Mother was a typical 60s housewife, attending bake sales, and the regular meetings of the PTA. My sister was on the swim team and was expected to use at least 2 days a week performing Community Service helping the poor and sick of our fair town.

I attended the normal, good old American Primary and Secondary Schools, excelling at everything that was presented to me. When the time came to serve God and my Country, I willingly volunteered to join the Military, having the honor to serve along side the other Americans in Vietnam. I could only hope for a chance to sit upon a helicopter gunship, strafing the rice paddies of Southeast Asia, cleansing the Country for Commies, once and for all. When my tour of duty was over, I came home with my share of medals, showing my Parents and my Country that I was worthy to live in the greatest Country on God’s Good Earth.

I immediately presented myself at the home of my sweetheart, and promptly asked her Father for her hand in marriage. He consented as he knew of my strong moral fiber, good earning potential, and countless hours providing the poor and the sick with free help and guidance, as well as my commitment to God and our Country!

On the day of my marriage, I happened to run into my previous Family, while picking up my wedding bouquet. My old Father actually seemed pleased to see me, but saddened at the mention of my old Mother. I guess, she had passed away a number of years before, a broken woman with a broken heart. My Father had quit his job in order to take care of her in her poor and sick condition, having no one else to assist him. My old sisters had married and moved away, but were unfortunate in having lost their husbands in Vietnam. It seems they were killed by friendly fire, when an American Helicopter Gunship accidentally fired upon their position, while providing medical aid at a small Vietnamese town surrounded by rice paddies. Even my old dog had gotten cancer of the eyes, stopping him from noticing anything else than his old bone, but whimpering and crying himself to sleep each night, for lack of attention from his long, lost owner. My Father could only wish me well, and was quite astonished at my accomplishments in life, after having left them. He and my mother had reconciled their differences and worked together to create a warm and loving home. They used their sparse savings and ample spare time to help Vietnamese refugees, make a new home in the United States. They helped the local church, in raising funds and creating a good, strong Community spirit which made the local area a more safe, and sound place to call home.

I wanted to be like everyone else, and became so. I guess, if I had just thought about others a bit more, and was patient in my wishes, the same expectations and accomplishments would also have come my way.

I drove off in search of my new Wife and our new Life, wondering if the choices in my old Life were the right ones after all?

I wanted an elephant, but Mom said no.

My Parents are really unreasonable. My friends all have pets, but not me. My Dad says that we’ve tried it before. I got a Rabbit for my Birthday. One day when I went out to feed it, it just kept staring at me. I looked over my shoulder, at what it was staring at, there wasn’t anything. It wasn’t my fault that while I was sleeping it decided to do a Buddha on me and go over the Garden Wall. You know, after sitting under his fig tree, he finally went AWOL, over the wall. Nirvana you know? No, not the band. Nirvana. Enlightenment? Doesn’t anyone read books anymore? It doesn’t matter. My rabbit is caught in permanent stare-mode.

Dad said that it was my fault. I had neglected it, spending too much time on my Schwinn, polishing my sissy bar. Sissy bar? You know that hoop-like thing in back. We used to shine them up with steel wool, you know. My rabbit was taking a sort of LSD break. I don’t know. He used to eat, and other rabbit-things. It was the 60s. He could have been taking a trip, just like my Sister sitting on her floor, screaming how she had seen Jesus. I looked around. Maybe I could catch sight of him. Nope. Just my Mom, yelling. No Jesus look-alikes here. My rabbit was a junkie. I wanted to get him some shades. You know, dark glasses. Remember Steppenwolf? They had a hit of sorts, or two back in the 60s. My sister married John Kay. You know, the lead singer. Just it wasn’t him, but his double. Everyone at school asked if he had given me all their albums? No, but what did they know! He used to have shades on, like the sun was too bright for his eyes. My sissy-bar started to rust. Never use steel wool on your sissy-bar.

I wanted an Elephant. I had swept out the back porch. I measured the back gate, and the garage. It could just about go. If I moved my Schwinn over to one side, and looked through a glass darkly, it would just about make it. I had saved up some money. My 2 older sisters used to pay me to fix their speakers. The wires kept falling out. Girls, what do they know? Later on I learned that they had been taking the back off to stash their stuff! It didn’t matter to me, I was rather dense, and wouldn’t know what substance abuse was, even if it bit me in my big toe. I did worry though if the Elephant started to throw its head back, then it would go through the roof! It was a pinkish color with ripples in it, the roof I mean, so the rain could run off. I used to throw the ball for my dog, until he ran himself into the ground. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I use, and abuse my pets. The Rabbit is still there, on an extended trip. Sort of like those 45s you could buy. 45 RPM. Little LP’s. Some of them had songs that were too long for one side, so you had to take off the needle, flip it over, and continue grooving to the tunes. Boss and Groovy. Tie-die your paisley jeans and put your patchouli, where the sun don’t shine.

My Father just shook his head. What was the Elephant going to do when it needed to relieve itself? Who was going to do the shoveling? Hey, I’ve picked up after my dog for years now. We could sell it as exotic fertilizer. We used to buy horse manure in large plastic bags, with almost no plant nutritional value. 1-1-1 was the percentage N-P-K. It didn’t matter, it was cheap and we used tons of it on the flower bed. It stank to high heaven, but we didn’t care what the neighbors thought of us anyway. Elephant manure for the masses! I could get a piece of cardboard at the local market and make a sign, “Elephant Poop – Get it while it’s Fresh”. Mom didn’t go to that market anymore. Her checks were rubberized and would bounce, bounce and bounce away…..

I really felt that the Rabbit and the Elephant could get along. Just like my and my little Sister. We were too young to fly away to San Francisco on PSA to see the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and It’s a Beautiful Day, like my 2 jet-setting Sisters. We were the young, left-at-home children, destined to experience the melt-down of our Parent’s marriage, and lack of Elephant consolation. I tried to get my sister on my side telling her how she could play with the Elephant in all months that began with ”P”. What, aren’t there any months that begin with “P”. Glorioski! And she caught on right away. Now you’re probably thinking that besides Rabbits and dogs that I also mistreated my little sister! She didn’t want an Elephant anyway, but would probably want to play with it, if she wasn’t allowed to. Little sisters are like that you know.

The day was growing old. My Elephant-dreams were not coming true. I returned my Schwinn to its rightful place and swept the dust back into the patio. No need to clean up, unless I got money for it. Then I could buy some metal polish, and shine up my Sissy-bar, which was really the most important thing in life anyway. That and shaking up those soda cans, then poking a small hole in the top so the pressure would blast that good old sugar right up into my mouth. My Mother would complain years later, how many cavities I had, and how could I have done that? I was probably bored out of my mind, not having an Elephant to pass the time with, and that’s why I got so many cavities, drinking unhealthy sodas, and deciding finally that my Rabbit was not going to come back from the beyond.

That’s what lack of Elephants can do to a young mind……

I just closed my eyes for a moment

The bus rumbled along. The kilometers flew by, as did the countries. First Germany, then Luxembourg.

Everyone piled out of the bus. There were buses everywhere. It was midnight. It was time to brush teeth, comb hair time to sleep. I stood in the middle of a large parking lot, surrounded by a myriad of Nationalities, all going in different directions. Confusing, it was, but you just had to go with the flow.

Back onto the bus, down on a bed. The kilometers flew on by. The sun came up, and we were in France. Time for a change of bus drivers. We continued towards the border. No passports necessary. No time to stop. No need for German, or French. The kilometers flew on by.

Crossing the border to Spain. No Spanish necessary. No passports. The kilometers continued.Arrival in Spain. Off the bus, out with the suitcases. Up to the room. Dinner at 6pm.

More buses and more days, sometimes Spanish. Sometimes English.

Back onto the bus. First Spain, then France, then Luxembourg. Then Germany. Then Denmark.

When I opened my eyes again, I was in Denmark. Everyone spoke Danish. All the signs were in Danish. I didn’t need a passport. I was merely on a bus, on a motorway, in the middle of Denmark.

If I just closed my eyes again, where would I be…

– to be continued…

once upon a time…

I’ve been asked to tell a story, and most stories begin with, “once upon a time”.

  • Capitals. You didn’t capitalize the title.

Once Upon A Time. satisfied?

Once upon a time, when I was younger,

  • Are you sure anyone really cares to hear this? You might as well make up a story. It’ll surely sell more hotcakes than, “when you were younger!”

Once upon a time there lived a dragon. He wasn’t very good at being a dragon, never having gone to Dragon School. His parents said, it was a waste of time. Everything he needed to know, they would teach him. His friends made fun of him, not being able to make fire, or fly, or scare little children.

  • If this is going to be a Children’s story, you shouldn’t be scaring little Children. The first part was OK. He had parents, but they were over-protective, and his friends bullied him. Those are the makings of a good story.

Once upon a time there lived a dragon. He wasn’t very good at being a dragon, never having gone to Dragon School. His parents said it was a waste of time. Everything he needed to know, they would teach him. His friends made fun of him, not being able to make fire, or fly. This made him so sad that he decided to run away from home. He was determined to be like everyone else, but didn’t know where to start. He sneaked out at night, while his parents were having a furious game of ping-pong.

  • a furious game of ping-pong? Couldn’t you be more lyrical than that? They might have been in the throes of a rasher of bacon, which by the way sounds more interesting than furious and ping-pong!

while his parents were enjoying a moment of inattentiveness. He walked out into the night and disappeared like a wisp of smoke.

After having traveled down the winding road, he came to a sign, at a fork in the road. To the left was “uncertainty”, while to the right was “uncommon thought”. He was confused.

  • I would be confused too, if I had those choices. The Children, you had as a target audience, have suddenly grown up, and are attending Philosophy Classes at the University. I don’t mind a Quantum Leap once in a while, but just where are we going with this story?

After having traveled for a while he stopped, and had a sandwich. He loved pickle and onion sandwiches, just about more than anything else in the world. He sat down and rested his tired feet and wondered about what to do next…..

  • I don’t like the look of those ….. I think you’d better put this blog on the back burner, until you’ve coughed up a few more ideas. Do you want to delete this one too, due to lack of views and likes?

It’s not always easy, dealing with my alter ego. My split-personality. The voice in the back of my head. The little guy on my shoulder.

once upon a time…without capitals…there lived a dragon….

it’s also good to be rebellious once in a while…

Have you hugged your Kale today?

I was tempted, and I gave in to temptation. I was a victim of desire. I went down the wayward path.

My Kale was yellowing. I desired it when I saw it in the grocery store. I gave into my desires. It was mine.

  • “It could have been somebody’s daughter, did you ever think about that you beast?!

I admit, I didn’t. I would like to say that it has never happened before, but there was the celery root on the counter. I had also desired that. I had plans about soup, or such, but I ended up neglecting it too.

  • “Look upon him children, look at the face of an abuser!” “Oh Mom, he’s covered his head with a bag”!

I couldn’t deal with their criticism. I knew public opinion was against me, but I tried a new approach, anyway. I did use the spinach, while it still was green. And the celery root too, before it rotted!

  • “Save it for Sunday”. We know about your kind. We’ve seen it before. Life without parole isn’t even hard enough for your kind. Don’t hold your breath that the Governor will sign your release”.

I looked to my soup for Salvation. I asked God to forgive me. I started a petition, a letter writing campaign and a community bake-off. Organized Religion shunned me. There was no forgiveness.

  • Don’t think that you’ll beat the rap, we’ve got witnesses, iron clad witnesses. They’ll swear in court that you did the deed, fully aware of the consequences. You’ll fry for this one, or drown in your own soup.

That might just be my epitaph, “He drowned in his own soup, the one with the yellow Kale leaves”.

Remember to hug your Kale, and keep it cold……

Black and White Photographs

Way back when, I took a course in Black and White Photography. I printed out in 8×10″, which is close to A-4 in metric.

Those photographs, just like others in color, represent a period in my life, back when I was young(er). I decided to put them on my Facebook page, as I knew they would illicit a response from my Family in the States.

On my course, we would take the film, develop it into negatives, then make a “proof sheet” in order to view our “positives” to determine, which photos deserved to be printed. The funny thing is that as unimportant many of those photos were back then, makes them all the more important today.

I know as well as anyone, that we can’t continue to hold on to the past, but it frustrates me now that those “rejected photos” are but a few pieces of plastic, that may or may not be found clumped together with other just as meaningless negatives in some box. I remember taking them, when I here in the present, see them on the “proof sheets”. I just can’t turn the clock back to do anything about them.

I hope that I never reach a level of indifference with the past that I won’t want to talk about it, or remember that it is a part of me, just like the present is.

In some ways those proof-sheets represent a sort of treasure, which I alone possess, but which I now can share with others.

I guess back then, those photos are like the others are today. “Uh-huh”, and “that’s nice” are some of the things that we all say, but then it’s onward to the next 500 or so, that were taken while on vacation, or perhaps just last weekend.

I’m happy to be able to experience them again. I took them, they still exist, in some timeline or another…


The Major Mountain Peaks of the Danish Alps

I have promised you a list of the names of the Major Peaks of the Danish Alps. It should be noted, at not all peaks are named, other than the historic, local names, often only in Danish. I’ve tried to research the background for these names, but not all Danes are willing to disclose their most treasured secrets to Foreigners, citing the codex of the Danish Underground Movement of WW2.

Here they are:

  1. The Twin Mystery Spires
  2. The Left Bank
  3. The Right Corner
  4. Mermaid Mountain
  5. Sky Mountain
  6. Adventure Mountain (also known as Storyteller Peak)
  7. Round Tower Peak
  8. The Pinnacles of the Large Belt Axis
  9. The Zealand Doldrums

Peaks 1-4 are between 4-5000 Meters, depending on the curvature of the Earth, The Solar Wind and the before mentioned Subduction Zone Effect.

Peak Number 5 is the Highest Point in Denmark with its lofty 5500 + Meters.

Peaks 6-8 are between 3-4000 Meters depending on your Political Views at the time.

Some might argue that “The Zealand Doldrums” don’t really belong on my list, due to the controversy concerning their right to be in the Danish Alps in the first place. The argument has been that the Doldrums lie so far out in the Eastern part of the Range, that they don’t really deserve to be in the “Alps”. The Doldrums are, otherwise, a rather largish group of non distinct peaklets, which have only one major high point. This Peak weighing in at a modest 3500 Meters sports a local name, Trælsø. I wouldn’t say that it was my first choice for climbing, but at some point in time, it might just merit my attention.

There you have it, the short version of a long Mountain Range. There are countess other Spires, Peaks and Bjergtops, but it would take a lifetime to name them all, due to the enormity of the task.

Now is a good time to dust off your Crampons, File the end of your Ice Axe, and make sure you have a good supply of European Union Approved Bio-Degradable Toilet Paper, and set off in search of Adventure.

Remember to use a bit of Danish while exploring this vast area. It’s always nice to impress the local population with your knowledge of the local language. Today’s word is “Vallerværk” and is used thusly, “Jeg laver valleværk når jeg klatrer.” which means “When I’m climbing, I really put my all into it!” Wait and see the response from the Danes you encounter. They will surely look upon you with a new respect.

Good Climbing!